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Getting Serious About Social Media For Your Medical Practice

Social media for medical practices is an indispensable tool to augment outbound communications and brand awareness.

Your patients already rely on social media to find new information and interact with their favorite products and services.

Now, they’re also using it to interact with their medical providers. You need to capitalize on the relevant social media channels to grow your own medical practice.

Social media is an indispensable tool for your medical practice to augment its outbound communications and brand awareness.

What to Publish on Social Media

“What should I publish on social media?” is the evergreen question of social media.

You want to publish novel posts that communicate your practice’s brand message.

You can post:

  • Practice updates
  • Educational content (blog posts and practice pages)
  • Interactions with patients

Let your personality show through and get creative.

You want to engage your audience. Adding images and videos is an especially valuable way to up your engagement numbers.

How to Share Articles That Patients Are Looking For

Here’s a basic example of how to share an article that you think your patient pool would find interesting:

“Did you know 1 in 3 adults suffer from chronic joint pain? Check out these 7 helpful tips:

According to a PwC Health Research Institue survey, 90% of 18 to 24 year olds trust medical information shared by others on social media networks. So it’s worth it to share medical blog posts and articles, both your practice’s and those published on other reputable sites.

Use Social Media to Communicate with Patients and Prospective Patients

Social media also facilitates communication with your patients and prospects. They may reach out via social media with questions about the practice, to thank you for your help, or even to confirm their appointment.

The key to this engagement is simply to respond in a timely manner.

If someone is going to take the time to engage with your practice, take them time to engage back!

All too often, patients or customers reach out to a doctor or brand via social media, and their comment is never addressed.

Responding to a patient makes them feel more like a person to your practice, which builds rapport and strengthens your relationship with them.

One study found that 49% of its participants expect to get a response from their doctor via social media within a few hours.

Responding to people in real time takes time, but you can streamline your other social media efforts to keep time for this critical aspect to successful social media engagement.

  • Long Form Content: Take longer pieces of your practice’s content and divide them into “bite­sized” chunks that fit each platforms communication style. Share these posts with a link to the full length article or page on your blog or website.
  • Go-To Sources: Find some go-to sources of great, relevant content you can regularly share. These sources can be other people’s social media accounts or a newsletter that aggregates valuable content.
  • Block Out Writing Time: Set aside a few hours each month to write most of your social media content. This not only save times, but ensures you’re writing consistently across all channels. It also gives you a chance to better strategize when you want to share certain information.
  • Use Scheduling Tools: Use a social network scheduling tool like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Buffer. These tools allow you to schedule posts ahead of time for all your social media channels. Some also alert you when someone interacts with your post or tweet, helping you respond in good time.

Experiment with different times of day to see when your posts get the most traction.

When to Post Different Types of Content – Mind Your Metrics

Be mindful of different variables that influence engagement rates.

For example, you might not want to post a dry piece of content, such as a peer­ reviewed journal article, on a Monday morning.

Experiment with different times of day to see when your posts get the most traction.

If your audience is most receptive on Wednesday evenings, maybe this would be a good time to share a product, service, or new promotion from your practice.

By experimenting with your content, examining the metrics, and refining your strategy based on what you learn, your marketing will have a bigger impact with patients.

Jumpstart with Social Media Ads

Many of the most popular social media platforms have different advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

Facebook and Twitter let you target ads based on demographics, interest, and geography with incredible precision.

Employ ad campaigns during slow times to jumpstart or heighten online visibility:

  • Advertise your practice to bolster its brand awareness, or
  • Advertise a premium content offer you’ve created as part of a larger inbound marketing strategy

Best of all, social media ads also have proven ROI.

No matter what service or content they’re advertising, they’re also advertisements for your practice’s presence on that social media site. They have a positive secondary effect of improving your social media following.

Does Your Social Media Strategy Need a Check-up?

Getting serious about social media?

Start with this social media audit checklist for your medical practice.

  • Have a clear social media strategy, and have a purpose for each social media channel where your medical practice has a profile.
  • Identify any social media platforms where your prospective patient pool is that you need to join and claim your practice profile there.
  • Optimize your practice’s profile on each site, at a minimum this means quality image, contact information, link to your practice website.
  • Get trend metrics from your current posts on each social media site. Use these as your baseline metrics for comparing and refining your future posting strategies.

Once you’ve completed your practice’s social media audit, start posting regularly. Then, monitor your metrics on each platform to see what works.

Delegating responsibility for someone to manage your practice’s social media presence is a necessary condition for a successful practice in the 21st century.

Your patients are all on social media. They expect your practice to be there as well.

If you need some help getting started, check out the examples of other medical professionals on social media or, contact us for a practice marketing checkup.

Garrett Smith

Garrett is the Founder, and Chief Marketer at InboundMD. Garrett has been successfully leading internet marketing campaigns for health care practices across the US for almost a decade. He's a frequent speaker at events, and author of "Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices", and the host of The Practice Marketing Podcast that details how successful practices are winning online.

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