25 Jun Succeed With Social Media: Part One
One of the most important ways that your medical practice can engage with your patients, colleagues and community is through social media. Social media marketing goes far beyond simply updating your Facebook account once in a while, and your practice’s success can be impacted — positively or negatively — by your social media habits.
Over the next several weeks, we will be discussing ways that you can use social media to your advantage. You will likely read about sites that you had never even considered, and we’ll give you tips for using some of these sites.
We will start with Facebook, because it is the most popular of the social media sites. With more than seven out of ten online adults using Facebook, not having an account can be detrimental. In fact, depending on your target demographic, you might have 90% of your patients using this social media site! (As you might expect, younger adults are the most likely to be using Facebook.)
Here are some tips to keep in mind for using this giant among social media sites:
- Interact! That’s the whole point of Facebook. “Like” posts and pages. If someone comments on one of your posts, be sure to “like” or comment back.
- Remember that nothing is secret. One important feature of Facebook to keep in mind is that if you “like” or comment on a news story, a political meme or anything else on a public page, all of your followers and friends will be able to see it. (Private messages are private, however.)
- Keep your personal and professional lives separate. If you currently have an active personal Facebook account, start a new account for interacting with your patients. This helps you avoid the problem of having your political or religious views known by all. It also allows you to post practice-related information without annoying your personal friends and family members. It’s usually best to set up your business account as an actual business page.
- Consider advertising. If you choose to have a business page, you can boost certain posts to get more exposure. There are also options to buy ad space on the site itself.
- Don’t be annoying. Serial posting or posting promotional material exclusively will get you “unliked” or “unfollowed” by many of your fans and friends. Put thought into what you are posting and strive for a variety of material.
The other site that we’ll cover today is Twitter, which is a microblogging site. Instead of drawn-out posts, you are limited to 140 characters, including spaces. The use of hashtags (#) allows people to find your profile. You can interact with others by responding to their “tweets” or by “retweeting” them. The culture of Twitter is different from that of Facebook; you can post more often and be a bit more promotional in your postings. Here are more tips:
- Feel free to post prolifically. While you want to avoid annoying people, Twitter followers are more forgiving of posting several times per day. Just remember to mix it up and not just talk about yourself and your practice.
- Follow and get followers. Everything that you post on Twitter is public, unless you restrict your profile, which sort of defeats the purpose. Make sure that you follow other physicians, people in your local area, and those who you are interested in.
- Use proper English. Yes, it’s hard to get everything you want to say into 140 characters, so some abbreviating is inevitable. Limit yourself to shortening words that are obvious, though; if no one can understand what you are saying, you might as well not post at all!
- Link to yourself! Use some of your tweets to link to your website, articles you’ve published, photos on your other social media sites, and so on!
If you can get these two social media accounts up and running (or re-established, if you have allowed them to languish!), you should begin to see an uptick in your community engagement.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll talk about more social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram, as well as other sites and applications that you might not have considered.
In the meantime, if you have questions about your social media marketing strategy or would like to talk to an expert in digital marketing, please call HealthCare Marketing Group at 800-258-0702 for a free consultation.
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