Maintaining a social media presence is an important (and not always easy) element of your practice’s overall digital strategy. Aside from your website, your social profiles are how you are represented to the world. Shaping the perfect online image for your practice takes time and effort – with a seemingly endless list of ways to improve.
Below are four best practices to keep in mind for your social media strategy:
Engage with your audience
Engaging with patients past, present and future is a priority for medical practices. These efforts help to build up relationships and create a foundation of trust. The interactions that you have on your social profiles play a large part in making your practice feel accessible and communicative. Therefore, not reciprocating an interaction online may make you seem apathetic and could possibly tarnish your reputation. If a follower has a question or comment, whether good or bad, you need to acknowledge and address it as soon as possible. The worst thing you could do is to say nothing. Social media, after all, is the new frontier of customer service. A timely, helpful and professional response will show that you care about the integrity of your practice and the experiences that your patients are having.
With businesses that sell physical products, you will sometimes find that their social media channels only contain the “Buy Now!” types of posts. Medical practices can make this mistake as well. You want to attract new patients, of course. Every practice does! However, there needs to be a balance. The general rule of thumb is 80/20 – 80% of your posts are informational and the other 20% are promotional. How can you expect people to seek your services if you don’t show that you know your stuff? Providing valuable content to your audience is one of the most important elements of your digital strategy. Share articles, videos, infographics and stats that pertain to your field. Establish your practice as a knowledgeable source and then recommend making an appointment.
Stay on message
This may seem like a no-brainer but can sometimes be forgotten. Maybe you came across an off-topic article that you thought was simply too good to not share or you accidentally posted something to the practice page instead of your own. Actions like this can not only confuse your followers but may deter them from continuing to follow you in the future. If people see your output as cluttered or not relevant, they will go elsewhere for information. Your audience came to you for a reason! Provide them with the information that they are looking for. If you are a dentist, keep your content related to dentistry and mouth health. If you are known for specializing in a certain procedure, make sure that your social presence backs up that authority. You want your social profiles to paint a clear picture for the world showing what you do and what you care about.
Find your balance
Social media posting is all about finding the sweet spot. Posting too frequently will turn people off and could cause them to unfollow you. Posting too little may read as not being knowledgeable or not caring. Below are the ideal (not mandatory) number of postings per day for each of the popular sites:
For channels such as Twitter and Pinterest, this may seem like a lot. Keep in mind that these numbers are optimal but not required. You must work within the capacities of your own staff (or hire outside help). Also, remember that your practice does NOT need to be on every single social media channel. Choose the ones that you are comfortable with and that make sense for your field. Even if Facebook is the only social network you want to be on, that’s fine! Just make sure that your content provides value and you are posting with appropriate frequency.
Social media for medical practices is an element of digital strategy that can be tricky. You want to create an image that is knowledgeable, trustworthy, friendly and accessible. That’s quite a task. But fear not! If you stay on channels you are comfortable with, interact with your patients and post relevant content at appropriate frequencies, you’ll be a social media pro before you know it.
Want help with your social media? Give us a call at 347-559-4802!
Tags: digital, healthcare, marketing, practice, social media, strategy