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Social Media Dos and Dont’s for Medical Practices

Social media can provide an expansive reach for your healthcare practice and help you achieve your goals. In healthcare, social media is not only used to build the reputation of your practice, it can also be used to educate and engage with potential patients. As you develop your social content, have it reflect the same things that you establish with your patients – credibility, empathy, and quality service.

Here are some of the top do’s and don’ts for social media best practices as a guide to help you be successful.

Top 5 Do’s for Social Media

healthcare.gov in phone1. Define your audience

If you don’t know who your target audience is, it will be difficult to produce content that appeals to them. Instead of thinking, “everyone,” consider potential patients, community representatives, or a certain demographic of patients you serve. It is important to build your primary social media presence around the social choices of your target audience.

2. Refine one social platform at a time

Figure out which platform is most relevant to the patients you’re targeting and start by doing that one really well. If you are working to attract older women for a mammogram, you may want to start with Facebook as your primary social media platform. If you are targeting younger adults for cosmetic services, perhaps you start with Instagram.

Don’t overextend your reach trying to do too many platforms at once. As you become more comfortable with social media, you can expand your conversations to other outlets. There are also capabilities for “cross posting” certain content to multiple platforms as you become more skilled.

3. Develop a relationship

Social media is meant to be based on a relationship. As a healthcare organization, you may come off stale or stiff if you are not engaging with your audience. Respond quickly to questions, comments, and reviews. Immediate responses are often best, although not always practical. Strive for a same-day response if possible.

You can also develop a relationship by connecting with other healthcare professionals. This provides a resource for ideas, tapping into trends, inspiring discussion topics and for finding and sharing professional ideas, and information.

A good place to see what is going on in the industry is on Twitter. You can navigate the Twitter stream by searching for hashtags or keywords of interest. As appropriate, you can jump into discussions with other healthcare professionals about timely topics, trends, and news.

4. Consider pay-to-play advertising

Paid advertising allows you to target things like a specific age, interests, and behaviors. This can be valuable if you are trying to engage someone seeking a certain treatment, as well as being a good fit for your practice. It is common to have to pay for social media views, so it’s wise to have a small budget for targeted paid social advertising.

The social media stream moves rapidly and single entries are easily missed. Vary your info and post as a different message at different times of day to cast a wider net. With a small paid advertising budget, you can ensure that your content reaches the right potential patients.

5. Generate trust and awareness

As you engage with your audience, you are building trust. People love to see faces on social media, so perhaps you can highlight certain physicians or services. Stale images can often feel stale, so try to increase awareness through video, emojis, or other engaging content.

As you come across a person’s feed, you are building a relationship of trust, expanding their awareness, and perhaps influencing a future patient. This is valuable growth for your practice.

Top 5 Don’ts for Social Media

1. Don’t get caught up in followers

Your social media marketing objectives need to shift from increasing followers. There are many pages with hundreds or thousands of followers but they fail to be seen regularly because they do not establish relationships or provide useful content.

You can expand your view of social media by forgetting about followers. Focus first on adding value, and the followers will be a byproduct of your efforts.

2. Don’t produce lengthy posts

Social content is a game of attention. According to Facebook, for example, the average time spent looking at a post in the feed on mobile is 1.7 seconds. Virtually every social platform provides for easily using pictures, videos, GIFs or other image enhancements.

Strive to present a single idea in a clear but compact message.  Refine the list of words and terms your patients and prospective patients are likely to use in online searches. Long posts are boring and often get overlooked.

3. Don’t post without a purpose

Publish regularly with a purpose. Information needs to be accurate and authoritative. Quality content must be interesting, understandable, and compelling. In healthcare, this can sometimes look like patient stories or other human-interest content that connects people with people.

As you analyze your purpose and your reach, you can quantify the successes and failures of social media content. There are analytic tools available to document and report your wins and losses. Figuring out your purpose before you post, evaluating how things are going, and realigning your efforts are all keys to success.

4. Tell – don’t sell!

Social interaction is fueled by informative discussions and authoritative presentations. Content that teaches, informs, or updates is valuable. Heavy-handed selling is a social audience turnoff. Publish content that readers can use. Useful information is shared in social circles and connections. Over time helpful content engenders trust and shows the expertise of your practice.

5. Don’t rush the process

Commit to being present regularly. Social media takes time to develop.

This requires a regular presence and consistent participation. Devote the time, talent and resources to making daily updates and postings. If you are not prepared to sustain the effort over time, don’t begin until you are ready.

Need help with developing an effective social presence?

The social media marketing experts at Practis can help. Contact us today.