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Why is Social Media Important to my Medical Practice?

The horror stories surrounding social media lately have been creating a lot of questions (and fears) around its welcome, or lack thereof, in healthcare. In fact, some are even debating whether or not they should stop using social media for their practices to avoid any risk. While we take security very seriously, we want to remind you that social media is very, very important to your overall online presence. The caveat, however, is that you must learn how to use social media properly before diving right in. 

So, just what are the specific ways that social media can benefit your practice and how do you accomplish them? We’re here to simplify that for you!

Establish a strong brand. 

Why it’s important.

Social Media on Phone

Let’s say that you’re marketing company is fantastic, and has been able to get you ranking at the top of organic search results for a number of your specific services and procedures. A patient does a search and finds you plus three competitors in your area, and decides that they want to narrow down their choice to one or two. After they do a branded search on the name of the practice, they find that the other three competitors have active social media pages, and their brand name remains consistent across all of them. Your practice, on the other hand, has no social media and lacks a strong branded presence. Who’s that patient going to be more likely to choose? If I were a betting man, I’d gather to say that they’re going to choose the one with a strong branded presence. After all, you’re more likely to choose Amazon over an unknown competitor, right? It just seems like the safer choice, and that’s what users want. 

How to make it happen. 

Develop your social media pages (Facebook and Twitter, mainly) with your correct business name, information, and branding like your logo. Add in relevant data including your services, business description, hours of operation, and contact information so that it matches up with your website and other online properties. As you strengthen your social media profiles, the strong ones like Facebook will begin to index. If someone searches your practice’s name, the Facebook listing will come up as another form of confirmation that you are, in fact, a legitimate business. If you have a website, a Google and Bing listing, a Facebook, healthcare listings, and more, the patient will go to you! 

Pro tip: Build on your reviews! Facebook is a perfect way to gain traction in the form of positive reviews. The more people talk about how great your practice is, the more people will be set on picking you over a competitor. 

Communicate with your audience. 

Why it’s important. 

If you’re practice has to shut down for the day due to an unexpected power outage, you’re going to want to let your current and potential patients know. While your website is a fantastic avenue for this, it’s important that you utilize what’s commonly referred to as “word of mouth on steroids.” Social media is basically an active forum for your announcement to generate throughout your community. If one of your patients sees the announcement, they can then share that with others. It’s like the ultimate game of telephone. Keep in mind, this isn’t just for updates on your openings or closings, but also new services, announcements about your doctors, or awards you may have received. In reality, it can be used for just about anything that’s HIPAA compliant. 

How to make it happen. 

You’ll first want to develop your audience, which takes a bit of work. But with a dedicated marketing specialist on your side, that’s fairly easy. Once you’ve gained a bit of traction, it’s as easy as creating quality posts with your announcements. Always remember that visual aids will garner more traction than something too wordy, so use that to your advantage. By connecting your social media outlets together or using a scheduling tool, it’s even easier for you to save time. Make sure to proceed with caution about anything, though. Remember that anything patient related is confidential, and those rules do apply in the world of social media. In addition, if you make and error, it could potentially be shared before you have a chance to edit, so give it a careful read through before making that post official!

Link back to your website, but not all the time. 

Why it’s important. 

Probably the most important part of social media is its ability to develop engagement quickly. All of your social media profiles can act as direct links to your website, known as “referral traffic.” Let’s say you make a post about a new provider and it gets over 1,000 likes and shares. That’s great engagement, right? But unfortunately, that post had no links to your website, and thus the engagement is strictly on the profile. While we can’t say that’s 100% a bad thing, it’s certainly a missed opportunity. Take the time to properly link that post to your provider’s profile on your website, and that engagement will turn into traffic to your site, ultimately helping its overall online strength. 

How to make it happen. 

Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Don’t just post links to your site or people will get bored. Have you ever had that one Facebook friend that posts the same picture every single day? It’s a bit draining, and eventually you just unfollow that person. Don’t let that happen to your practice! Develop a strong campaign in which you utilize both links to your site and shares/links from other relevant sites. In fact, you can even tag a company or person in a post to develop a little more engagement. As you keep your posts interesting, your engagement starts to grow, and thus your Facebook generates more and more power. Your brand becomes stronger, your communication becomes quicker, and your presence takes over! 

Don’t let your social media become stale. 

If you’ve already created social media profiles, you’re halfway there! Don’t let them become stale though or else they’re just not doing their job. It’s almost like having a great building with your practice’s name on the outside, only to open the doors and find that it’s abandoned. 

If you haven’t started to dive into social media, or have questions about how to develop a strong presence, there’s only one choice to make. Contact Practis today to learn more about our programs and get started!