Tips for How Doctors Can Use Social Media to Connect With Patients
Let’s connect, friend, like, tweet, post, and share! In this digital era, these words have taken on a whole new meaning. This new digital vocabulary is connecting people all over the globe. According to a study conducted by LinkedIn, 81% of small and medium business owners use social media to drive growth. Social media is bigger and better than ever and healthcare professionals want a piece of the pie.
If you have been dragging your feet or underutilizing social media to reach new patients the worst thing you can do is to do it for one more day.
Social media is an incredibly powerful way to develop a direct know, like and trust relationship with patients that it would have been difficult to reach in the past. Now you can bring them into your office and show them your exact approach to patient care and your key differentiators.
All of this can be done hyper-local and targeted without having to spend thousands of dollars on advertising.
I like social media growth and impact to that of a snowball rolling down a hill, you need to follow specific steps, strategies and a little “elbow grease” to build engagement and a targeted following but once you do its powerful stuff.
So with that said, there is no denying the importance of Social Media but here are the top 6 ways doctors can utilize social media:
1. Establishing Your Practice Brand in the Community
This is a no-brainer, claim your business online and take back your digital reputation. Allow patients to easily find out the basics of your practice. For example: where are you located, what is your specialty, hours of operation, are there multiple locations? These questions can be easily be answered by creating practice profiles.
Social media profiles are one of the most important local ranking signal for search engines and local SEO.
Put it to the test. Do a local search for a business (by name) and 9/10 times if they have properly optimized social media profiles their Facebook will be in the first few search results.
Check out the result pictured here. I searched for a local medical weight loss facility down the road and viola take a look at the 5th organic search result. Their local Facebook page.
That will ring true for your practice too. Therefore, take the time and claim, complete and optimize your social media platforms, especially Facebook.
If you need additional assistance choosing which social media platforms are right for you based on the demographic you are trying to reach we wrote an article recently for just that!
2. Drive New Patient Traffic to The Practice Website
Doctors could all use more traffic to their practice website, right? Well, social media is one of the most powerful ways to do so.
However, we all too often get pushback when we bring this up to potential clients. They will say we have been using social media for years and we never get patients to the website from it. What is the deal with that??
Well, often times the hard truth is the content they are sharing on their social sites sucks and lacks consistency. Social media is not the “Field of Dreams”. You cannot just build it and expect them to come.
If you get this tip and this tip only from this article it will be well worth it: your social media platforms are only as good as the content you put on it.
This is the only way to get new potential patients on your platforms, keep them engaged and convert them into a new patient. There is so much noise out there that you need to create something unique to stand above the rest.
Take a look at these facts:
- Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp handle 60 billion messages a day
- There are 347,222 Tweets sent every single minute
- A total of 300 Million people utilize Instagram’s stories feature daily
- There are 59.3 Million blog posts posted on WordPress based websites along each month or 2 million per day
With that level of content and social media being produced daily, weekly, monthly, yearly you need to work exact hard to produce pieces that people want to engage with on social media.
3. Improve and Streamline Patient Engagement & Customer Service
Gone are the days waiting on hold or leaving a message. Patients can interact effortlessly and ask questions with a reliable and speedy response. When it comes to our health we have a lot of questions and most don’t want to wait for someone to get back to them.
Patients are more likely to move on to your competition than wait for a callback. Social media bridges that gap and connects doctors to their patients. Practices can connect users to the proper tools, links, and help answer any questions.
People are now turning to the internet to research health and medical-related problems and engage with providers directly. Of all internet users, 66% look online for information about a specific medical problem or disease.
Also, your current patients walk out of the office and sometimes they still have some questions. Social media can be a great way to continue to offer a streamlined way for them to communicate without having to pick up the phone every time.
The caveat here is NEVER giving direct medical advice over social media. If the question becomes too medically focused either direct them to materials on their website to help them or direct them to reach out to the office directly. This is a critical process to keep in mind.
4. Join the Conversation and Connect
Connect with your local medical community who share your passion. Social media can be a great way to position yourself as a practice or individual physician as a thought leader in your community and specialty.
If you do this successfully you can have patients seeking you out from all over the world for treatment simply based on what they have seen on your social media profiles about your approach to patient care and successful cases.
Also, social media can be a great way to connect with physicians to grow your new patient referrals. It’s all about relationships and social media marketing can be a powerful way to grow strong referral relationships.
5. Show Patients & Colleagues You’re the Expert
This is a little bit of a repeat of what I mentioned above but we have seen such amazing results it warranted a more focused discussion on just becoming a thought leader.
You didn’t go to med school for the hospital food. You’re a specialist share your knowledge! Inform your patients about your training, degrees, and a unique approach to specialization with their care.
Many physicians have gained massive practice success by utilizing Youtube to educate patients and physicians on procedures or health techniques. A great example of this is Dr. Sandra Lee aka “Dr. Pimple Popper.” Dr. Sandra Lee utilizes Youtube to educate the public as well as colleagues. Her Youtube fame has allowed her to create her own unique brand and she is recognized as an expert in her field.
We have found video can be a great way for a doctor to get involved in social media and share their expertise without having to sit down and write a 2,000-word blog post.
Once you get down your voice, style, and templates it should not take that long to pump out 60-90 second videos on interesting topics in your field. Patients will soak this information up and can even be used as a springboard to land speaking opportunities.
6. Keeps Your Practice Competitive
You may be the best in the biz but you’re not the only one in town. Your competition is out there and they are using social media to reach patients and gain exposure.
Like I mentioned in point number two, patients are using Google more than ever to find the right healthcare professionals. You don’t want to get left out, an active and well executed social media strategy keeps you ahead of the game.
Learn from what your competition is doing successfully. Take some time and do a little research. Is there a local doctor that you think does a great job on social media? Are there things you can emulate or implement your own strategy?
Also, do not waste your time trying to be the biggest and best on every single platform. I mentioned it briefly near the top of the article choose wisely and focus your time and effort on those social media platforms that best fit your target market and the type of content you wish to create.
It cannot be emphasized enough how critical it is for physicians to have active and engaging social media platforms.
Take the time to research and create a well rounded and healthcare content marketing strategy so that you have powerful content to distribute on your social media platforms.
Intrepy Healthcare Marketing is a medical marketing agency that provides social media marketing strategies to grow practices. If you are looking to revamp or create a dynamic and effective social media marketing strategy for your practice give us a call 678-250-4757 or fill out our form.