An average person spends over 1.5 hours a day on social media. Even when they're at work, people are likely to quickly browse their social media feeds. That's why there're great benefits in using social media to promote businesses.
The combination of social media and healthcare is a good example of how online presence can have a positive effect on real life endeavors. Whether you're a single practitioner, part of a larger hospital system, or a healthcare marketing manager, social media is not an opportunity to overlook.
What 'online reputation' means in the healthcare industry
Years ago, doctors would rely on word-of-mouth and patient referrals to sustain their businesses. These days, people tend to trust the information they find online as much or even more than personal recommendations, so online reputation is a crucial point for any healthcare practice.
Your online reputation is essentially the culmination of anything and everything someone can find about you when they search for your name or 'doctors/hospitals near me.' It is comprised of many elements, including:
- Your scores on review websites.
- Reviews from your clients.
- Activity and quality of your social media profiles.
- User-friendliness of your website.
To ensure the success of your business, you should keep in check the information people can find on popular business review websites (like Google My Business, CareDash, or ZocDoc) and manage your professional social media pages. These two aspects of your online presence go hand in hand, since people are likely to stumble across your professional profiles on review sites first and then visit your medical website and social media accounts.
How social media impacts your online reputation
Each time someone finds your profile on social media platforms, they form an impression of you as a professional. Since any such visitor could be your potential client, it's important to regularly manage your profiles and make them a solid representation of your practice or hospital.
If a visitor sees an abandoned, poorly maintained or unprofessional-looking profile, it can be just as much of a deterrent as a poor online review. Quite the opposite, when a potential patient sees that your profiles are active and up-to-date, your online reputation is given a well-deserved boost.
Here are four tips to follow when building an effective social media presence for a healthcare practice.
1. Choose a social media platform suitable for your practice
First and foremost, define a place that will turn to be effective for promoting your practice. It's not worth your time to make a profile on every single social media platform; instead, focus on the ones that would bring you profit. Snapchat, for example, is not likely to be a very productive platform for medical practices. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, on the other hand, are excellent places to regularly reach to potential patients.
2. Check out competitor profiles
Before you start building your own strategy, take a look at the profiles of your competitors. Whether it's another orthopedic surgeon working in the same hospital as you, a competing doctor across town, or the nation's best hospital system, see what they're doing right and wrong on their profiles.
Take a note of their most popular posts, the frequency they're updating their profiles with, and the type of content they share. The more information you can gather about what potential patients tend to engage with on the existing successful healthcare profiles, the better.
After learning and understanding how your competitors make social media and healthcare work together, you'll be able to model your own successful social media strategy. Just make sure to keep things fresh and unique to your own practice.
3. Create informative and engaging content
Chances are you've scrolled past a pixelated photo with an odd motivational quote plastered over it at least once. This is exactly the type of post you don't want to share to your practice's social media profiles. The reason is simple: it's unprofessional and unhelpful. Besides, people are already used to seeing higher levels of engagement from accounts run by yoga instructors and other 'health gurus' on platforms like Instagram.
To promote a healthy lifestyle through patient education without boring and disappointing your audience, make sure that everything you post is of great quality and has a purpose. If you want to post an image with text over it, opt for a great stock image and a statistic, fact, or 'Did You Know' rather than a motivational quote. If you want to post a graphic, don't hesitate to turn to freelance designers to help you make it look eye-catching.
Be diverse in the types of content you offer. Doctors and hospitals alike can post videos or reshare content from major health accounts, like Humana. Your social media profile is also a great place to chime in on social campaigns, such as #patientsfirst, and trends like the #icebucketchallenge for MLS.
4. Gather patient reviews on social media profiles whenever possible
If you have, say, a Facebook profile for your practice, hospital system, or for yourself as a healthcare specialist, form a habit of asking your patients to visit it and leave their reviews. This way, when a new potential client comes across your Facebook profile, they'll be able to see not only your great content, but also feedback from real patients, which, in many cases, can be a decisive point.
5. Manage your social media marketing from one place
If you manage all your marketing activities separately, consider incorporating a comprehensive marketing platform. From our experience, we would suggest taking a look at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Among all the benefits like good marketing automation possibilities, content management, personalized email campaigns and more, it includes Social Studio a tool to build a social media presence. With Social Studio, you will monitor your company profiles from one place, generate relevant content and, therefore, engage with people more effectively, monitor social conversations and understand what your target audience expect, fear or highly welcome.
Whether you choose one or several platforms to establish your social media presence, make sure you are doing it with a goal in mind. As a healthcare practitioner, you should have a profile that represents your expertise and leaves a trustworthy impression. Ensure your clients' engagement by letting them share their experience of dealing with your health business.
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