Social Media Marketing & Your Practice:
What Not To Do
The digital age is upon us. The use of social media has morphed from a digital happy hour to an integral part of basic communication. When so often a visit with a patient is cut short due to time constraints of a busy practice, social media, when used effectively, can be the continuation of an important health conversation.
For the scientifically and medically-minded practitioners, social media and the idea of marketing your practice online can seem overwhelming or not top on your priority list. This can lead to improper management of social media sites and failure to follow social media best practices.
Here are the 8 most common mistakes healthcare providers make on social media:
1. Underestimating the Work
Effective social media marketing campaigns take a lot of time and energy. Succeeding at social media requires daily participation, engaging with those who have engaged with you, or are asking questions of you. This doesn't mean daily posts. Studies are showing 3-4 posts a week—tops—is best.
Our Advice: Set realistic goals and remain consistent! Make an effort to post to each of your social media pages a couple of times a week. Over time, build this number up and offer more valuable and custom content to your patient base.
Just because a social networking site exists, doesn't mean you have to use it. Use the social networks your patients visit the most.
Our Advice: Stick to Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is also a great tool but is better suited to connect with colleagues.
Avoid constantly promoting your practice and your products. Users are turned off when they see too much self-promotion. Use the 80/20 rule: 80% about them, 20% about you.
Our advice: Share relevant health content as it relates to your practice. If you read an insightful health article online, share it on your social media sites and add 1-2 sentences with your view on the matter.
4. Paying for Followers
Earning followers takes time and effort, so some decide to purchase followers. This usually leaves you with a low-quality audience that is either fake, irrelevant to your brand, or not engaging with your brand.
Our advice: Focus on quality over quantity. When your biggest advocates follow you on social media, they are more likely to share your content and recommend you to others.
5. Neglecting to Proofread
Poor spelling and grammar can hurt your brand. Being careless can make your practice look less credible and turn off potential patients.
Our advice: Recruit other staff members to assist in the editing process.
6. Failing to Understand Your Target Audience
Before you start posting, be sure to define your target audience and understand their needs. You should strive to be a valuable source of information in their newsfeed, not just another forgotten post.
Our advice: Take 5-10 minutes and write down the characteristics that best define your patient base. Knowing your audience will help you shape relevant content in a voice your patients will relate to and not scroll past.
7. All Work, No Play
Always remember that social media is an inherently social medium. You should use social media marketing to develop your brand and build trust. Humor is a big part of that.
Our advice: Have some fun and be creative in your posts. While your practice social media pages should not morph into your personal pages, showing your patients a bit of your personality makes you more relatable!
8. Giving Up
Whether it's due to time constraints or lack of resources, many healthcare providers abandon social media marketing. When this happens, pages lay dormant, reflecting poorly on your practice.
Our advice: Conduct a social media audit each month by spending 15-20 minutes visiting all your social media business profiles. Ensure consistency between profiles in regards to company bio, contact information and imagery. Create one goal to accomplish in the next month - anything from gaining 50 new followers to submitting 5 posts per week – and create a plan to get you there.
What many healthcare practitioners don't realize is that obstacles like these are easily overcome and completely avoidable—especially if you put an effective plan in place. Take a look at your social media sites today and make changes to better serve your online patient population!