14 Mistakes Doctors Make with Social Media Marketing

Having a social media profile(s) is just not enough! Social Media can increase your search results, boost reviews, draw in new leads, target ideal patients for unique high revenue services, dive traffic, increase your brand awareness, and so much more! It is a powerful marketing tool, but all too often is done wrong when it comes to the healthcare industry. Here are 14 of the most common mistakes healthcare professionals make when it comes to social media.

1. Stagnant Social Media Profiles

A medical practice is a business, and like any other business customer satisfaction is a key component to a successful business. More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. An inactive profile can be detrimental to your practice, patients and potential patients who receive out of date information and that the practice does not acknowledge or respond to online users. If a patient were to call the practice would you wait 6 months to respond? Of course not, the same rule applies for social media. A stagnant profile reflects subpar customer service.

Did you know?:

Your practice could have Facebook location pages you don’t even know about? Especially if you are a multi-location practice with only one main Facebook page. Case in point: An Orthopedic practice with 8 locations in the Greater Atlanta area created a Facebook page years ago for it’s original, main location and has not looked back. If, in that time period, anyone has ever checked in on Facebook at one of their other locations, boom, Facebook automatically creates a location page and auto fills said page with information it finds on the internet. Now that it has been created people can start leaving reviews whether you know it or not.

Click to read 11 tips to grow your medical Instagram to 1,000 followers.

2. Not All Platforms Are For You

Does the shoe fit? How do I know what the right social media platforms for my medical practice are? Sometimes doctors blanket the social media universe and have all the possible profiles thinking the more the merrier. This is NOT the case for two reasons:

a.) You now have multiplied your problems with stagnant profiles, incorrect formats, wrong information, no posting strategy, and bad posts.

b.) Not all profiles are for you. Know your target audience that your practice services and correlate that with the platforms that align with it the best. Different social media sites have different demographics know the statistics of the profiles. Pick the sites that fit best for your demographic. All the rest are just wasting your time, resources & money.

social media demographics
via Pew Internet

3. Not responding to Negative Reviews

It’s bound to happen the dreaded bad review. It’s never good to get a bad review but its WORSE to ignore it! The fact is people are more likely to write a negative review than a positive one. This is an opportunity for you to turn lemons into lemonade. If a negative review is posted respond immediately (and yes there is a proper protocol when responding). In fact, of people surveyed, 70% of people who write a negative review are hoping to receive a response (source). When you respond to a negative comment, this shows your professionalism and care for patient satisfaction to your social media visitors.

4. Giving Medical Advice

This is a BIG NO NO, you cannot give a person medical advice on your social media sites. Social media is a great tool to connect with patients and share health information but do not forget your Medical Practice is a professional profile. As a healthcare professional, you DO NOT treat, diagnose, or give medical advice via social media. If a patient asks you for medical advice make sure to respond accordingly to HIPAA regulations and laws. Always better to air on the side of caution.

5. Not Regularly Posting

Your social media is there to educate, interact and build new and existing customer loyalty. If you want your patients and potential patients to keep visiting your social media profiles and website then make sure you keep posting on a consistent basis. By providing your online users with new content regularly, they will be much more likely to engage, share and become a brand ambassador. You only have seconds to grab even a loyal customer’s attention. The way to make sure you continue to do so time and again is deliver something of value, consistently, when and were your customers want it.

6. The Used Car Salesman

As marketing professional, this social media faux pas is something that I see most commonly and refer to as the “ used car salesman.” The used car salesman simply means don’t oversell; you don’t want to be pushy or cheap when it comes to healthcare. Don’t abuse your social media audience and cheapen your posting by constantly selling your brand. As I said in the previous paragraph regular posting is essential but keep it engaging. DON’T ram your practice down their throats. When in doubt follow the 80/20 social media marketing rule: 80% of the time post information focused on adding value to your followers (How tos, Tips, Guides, Education, etc.) and the other 20% is the hard ask about converting them to patients. There is always a give and take with any relationship and social media is no different.

7. Not Posting Original Content

Great! You have created a social media account(s), gained a large audience, posted regularly, engaged with users, all to drive them to a competitor’s website, FAIL! It is not enough to post regularly. you need to provide your audience with original content so when they click the link they are taken right back to the source, your website. 60% of social media users are the most likely to trust social media posts and activity by doctors over any other group. At the end of the day you are trying to generate new business with original content like blogs or Q&A’s so you can attract then convert.

SEO Tip: Back links are an important part of any successful search engine optimization strategy for medical practices and it is reported that practices with an active blog receive 97% more inbound links!

8. Not Posting in the Proper Format

Social media is all about judging a book by its cover. Studies show that a post that has strong visuals and proper link formatting has a significantly higher click through rate. It is all about imagery when posting and if the posts are missing images or posted through sister sharing sites they can look “lazy”. You wouldn’t take a photo of your ad in one magazine, and use that photo in another magazine you are advertising in to say, “check out my new ad in the other magazine”. Take pride in your post and get creative!

9. Being Inconsistent With Your Practice Brand

So we know image is everything when it comes to grabbing your audience’s attention. Use your social media profiles to create your unique practice brand style. Customize photos and graphics for posting by using templates with your logo. Not only does this customize your message, but it is a great way to keep brand consistency and if the photos are shared it all leads back to your practice!

Click to see examples of customized brand templates and graphics.

10. Not Sharing or Connecting with “Friends”

You don’t want to be anti-social on social media. Social media is just that, social. Always follow and connect. Don’t forget to post, tag, like, comment, and share your followers and friends content. Spread the love!

11. Ignoring Facebook’s Advertising Platform

When Facebook became a publically traded company it became the first priority to increase stock price and protect shareholder wealth. The way Facebook chose to monetize a large portion of the business side of their platform was via paid advertising. The only way to strongly encourage businesses to utilize said platform is to drastically reduce your organic reach to your medical practice audience. Organic reach is when you post something on your business page and people see it on their news feed without you paying to “boost” the post. Organic reach has been reported to have drop as low as 2% in recent months. Meaning if you have 1,000 likes and put a post up on average only 20 people will see it organically.

Therefore, it has become critical to have a monthly advertising budget involved in your regular social media strategy outside of lead generation to ensure you grow regularly. One part of the budget should be focused on consistent Like growth for your page and the other used to boost posts for increased engagement.

social media facebook organic reach graph
Photo via Convince & Convert

12. Forgetting Routine Maintenance

The beauty of the digital world is the ever-changing flow of news and information so make sure you are on top of it. Social media sites are always updating and adding new features to help optimize business profiles. Make sure you know the best ways to efficiently promote your profiles. Like all aspects of business, it is critical your information is up to date especially contact information. Social media can’t read your mind and you want to make sure all the information and links lead straight back to you.

13. Not Optimizing Your Profiles

Social Media is a powerful marketing tool that most doctors are not utilizing. Your profiles all have unique components to help you market your business. Understanding the tools imbedded in your profiles and customizing them to your practice and audience will increase your organic search impressions, clicks, and ultimately conversions. Generally your Facebook & Twitter profiles will be in your top brand specific search results so make sure they are properly optimized.

14. Forgetting to Track & Analyze Marketing Efforts

Know your numbers! Just like any marketing effort you should track your efforts and develop a strategy. Set up analytics for your profiles to measure the value your social media is bringing. These analytics will be the compass you use to navigate your strategy. You can see what is working and what is not, so you can focus on what type of content works best and if you have the proper profile customization to get in front of the right audience. There is no “magic bean” for social media marketing but there are tested and proven tactics backed up by analytics. That doesn’t mean every one will work for your practice and the proof is in the data. Not just to know what is not working but to make sure that what is working continues to be cranked up!

Conclusion

Social media is one of the best tools out there when it comes to healthcare marketing strategies for a medical practice. It is important to understand the in and outs of utilizing your social media. There is much social media offers that most users are not even aware or have the skill set to execute on. In my experience, most doctors know they need it but don’t really see the value. The reason physicians feel that way is because they are doing it all wrong. This happens because there is an account manager who is familiar with social media but is not marketing professional and lacks the skill set.

It takes more than knowing how to build profiles and post. Social media marketing is a science! A marketing professional can help you get the value you need in your social media efforts. These social media marketing specialist approach it like any other marketing campaign with extensive knowledge, data, experience, and efficiency. We have the capability to expand your reach and a library of resources to execute a successful campaign. If you need help building your campaign let us know, we are here to help! Give us a call 678-250-4757 or fill out our contact form.

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Kelley is the CEO and Co-Founder of Intrepy. She has a background in consulting medical practices on how to grow their new and existing patient base through both digital and physical marketing. She is a proud graduate of the University of Alabama Roll Tide Roll!