Utilizing Social Media for Your Medical Practice
In the world of medical practice marketing, professionals are beginning to understand the need for an active social media presence. But do they understand the value of each social media platform and how to use them correctly? We’ll explain what the most popular social media sites and apps are, why they’re important and how you can use them to benefit your practice.
Facebook is the most popular social networking site, with over one-billion monthly visitors. While you may be familiar with using it to connect with friends, upload photos, send videos or share an event you’re going to, there are extra features Facebook has to offer for business purposes.
Having a Facebook Page for your practice allows you to build a community. When a user visits your page, they can see your hours, location, customer ratings and more! Having a Page for your business also opens more ways for potential and current patients to get in touch and form a relationship. Since users can post on your Page or direct message you, it’s important to make sure someone is actively answering your followers’ questions. Posting frequently, hosting events and even broadcasting live videos will enhance your Facebook Page.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Facebook, organic (unpaid) posting can only do so much. The people who currently ‘Like’ your Page can engage with your posts, RSVP to an event, and more—but how do you increase Page Likes and show your content to users who aren’t already fans? If you want to grow on Facebook, advertising is essential. And if your practice does not have an existing Facebook Ad budget, this is something you should strongly consider.
Snapchat is a popular messaging app used to send photos and videos (snaps) that traditionally disappear after a few seconds, with the exception of those set to 'infinity.' You can add fun features like text, drawings, geofilters (artwork you can add to your snaps based on your location) and bitmojis (a personal emoji that looks like you) to anything you create.
Businesses typically utilize Snapchat Stories, which are a collection of your photos and videos that can be viewed for 24 hours. After 24 hours, they disappear, similar to how direct snaps will not exist a few seconds after they’re viewed. While paid snaps are an option, it isn’t necessary for a medical practice to put any advertising dollars into this app.
As a practice, it will be more beneficial to utilize a public Snapchat account and allow it to grow organically. Encourage patients to add you as a friend, letting as many people see your stories as possible. Depending on what your practice offers, you could show daily videos of treatments being performed (with consent), before and after photos, contest details and more. However, since success of a Snapchat account depends on frequent updates—sometimes multiple throughout the day—this app requires internal practice management. Someone in-house needs to dedicate enough time to share updates and interact with friends, or Snapchat won’t be very beneficial for your practice.
Instagram is a highly visual platform that allows users to upload photos, videos—and now, video loops—to engage with one another in the form of likes and comments. Businesses can advertise on Instagram as well to increase brand awareness, promote discount codes and more. And like Facebook, you can go live on this app, notifying all your followers when you do so!
Similar to Snapchat, Instagram Stories are also available, allowing users to literally tell stories through photos and videos. Aside from the usual photo filters, there are features made exclusive for stories, giving you the ability to be as creative as you’d like! Paid advertisements can also run on Instagram Stories, allowing business profiles to view their results and analytics.
Instagram is a great tool for engagement and brand awareness, providing a platform to publish live treatment videos, before-and-after images, special offers and announcements. But with the nature of consent, it is another platform that requires internal management. Users are more likely to interact with your practice if you’re consistent and post frequently—a task that should be assigned to an internal employee. Be sure to set up a strategy and be creative in what you decide to share on a weekly basis.
Similar to posting a status on Facebook, Twitter is a timely platform completely based around the idea of sharing updates. Users have 140 characters per tweet to share their thoughts, with the ability to engage with people they follow through favorites, retweets, mentions, replies—and running Twitter Polls! Like most existing platforms, Twitter makes it easy to share photos, videos, links and GIFs.
Advertising on Twitter is an option, but it isn’t necessary. If you’re on top of your strategy and content creation, you can build a large enough following through organic (unpaid) tweets and trending hashtags—keywords and phrases that help categorize your content in Twitter search! The trick with Twitter is staying on top of important news and topics your target audience cares about. While adding a budget to Twitter doesn’t need to be a priority, this is another platform that requires frequent in-house management due to the type of content you would be posting.
Known as the world’s catalog of ideas, Pinterest has become a popular way of finding DIY projects, health and beauty tips, recipes and more. Users can create boards and pin anything they find inspiring to reference later. Businesses use this platform to give advice, share ideas, or simply promote their products.
If your practice is interested in Pinterest, it makes the most sense to promote your content. Unless you’re able to consistently share DIY face masks or other tips and tricks that will spark interest, it will be difficult for your practice to see the engagement numbers you’re looking for. On the other hand, you can stay active on the platform by pinning content to boards that complement your services and treatment options, also sparking the interest of your patients.
Social Media in Medical Practice Marketing
If you would like to integrate social media in your practice’s marketing plan, but aren’t sure how to start, our team at RAMP is here to help. Our agency specializes in medical practice marketing, helping clients build a customized content marketing plan. Call us at 1.855.937.7267 to learn how we can help build your social media presence—and more!