Social media can be intimidating to many physicians. But the truth is, it can also be a huge, cheap marketing asset.
Consider that just having a Facebook profile for your practice can improve your search results online.
Social media is also ripe with opportunity for patient engagement and spreading the word about your medical practice online. Whether you’re starting a new practice or just looking to expand your patient base, social media should be part of your practice marketing strategy.
Read on for seven quick and easy tips to promote your medical practice on social media.
Find where your patients congregate online.
It doesn’t make much sense to set up your office building in the middle of nowhere with no patients for hundreds of miles around, right?
It also doesn’t make sense to set up social media profiles in places where your patients never go. Figure out where your current or desired patient demographics spend their time online, and build your social media presence there.
One caveat: While your patients may congregate in a number of different places, don’t try to be everywhere at once. You’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and not making a concerted effort on any one network. Choose one or two networks with the strongest patient presence, and start there. I also recommend Facebook as a good starting point.
Keep contact information up to date.
Arguably the most important content on any of your social media profiles is your practice contact information. Without a way for patients to get in touch with questions or appointment bookings, why make the effort to be on social media?
From your physical address, telephone number, email address, and office hours to links to your website and other relevant physicians’ profiles and reviews sites, all of your contact information should be easy to find within your social media profiles.
Use searchable keywords in your profiles and posted content.
Online search drives business today like never before, so when a potential patient types your medical specialty and local city into a search bar, you want to appear near the top of those search results.
Make a short list of those keywords (your specialties, the treatments or services you offer, your location) and then weave them into your profiles and whatever content you post.
Advertise your availability.
While posting your general office hours in your profile is important, social media offers other opportunities for promoting your practice’s availability for appointments. You can post information about special hours around the holidays or let patients know in real-time, such as via Twitter, that your telemedicine services are currently available for last-minute call-in appointments.
Become a thought leader in your field by sharing smart, useful content.
There’s nothing wrong with sharing witticisms on Facebook and Twitter here and there, but social media can also be a key vehicle for establishing yourself as a thought leader and trusted expert in your field.
If you’re a family physician, posting your own tips or sharing articles from medical websites about seasonal illnesses that commonly impact children could interest patients enough to keep coming back to you for more information. Or decide to follow you! This builds trust and keeps you at the top of readers' minds when it comes time for them to find a new doctor or make an appointment.
Build relationships with patients.
Social media is all about building relationships, whether you’re sharing helpful content or answering questions patients post to your Facebook wall. Respond to questions, comments, and reviews, and provide thoughtful feedback when needed.
You can increase your visibility to the friends and family of your current patients and social media followers, and word of mouth may eventually take over. Just as you build professional but friendly relationships with your patients in person, try to do that online as well.
Share updates about the services and promotions you offer.
As you’re posting general updates, or sharing helpful health articles, let your patients know about any services or promotions you’re offering, such as flu shots during flu season or a video you’ve created to explain a new treatment option available at your practice.
Social media doesn’t have to be intimidating. Use these tips to create your own social media strategy that helps market your practice, and drive engagement with your patients.
About Teresa Iafolla
Teresa Iafolla is an expert writer, researcher, and content wrangler who has previously worked as director of content marketing for a telehealth company and associate editor for a healthcare publishing company.