Hopefully at this point, you are using social media to interact with your viewers and learn more about the interests of your patients and potential patients. After all, social media is clearly where your market hangs out.
According to the Pew Research Center:
- 85% of Americans are using the Internet
- 63% of cell phone owners use mobile internet
- 71% of adults are on Facebook, followed by LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube/Vimeo and Instagram
- 43% of seniors over 65 use social networking sites
- Additional social tools to consider include Google+, Vine, Reddit, Foursquare
- 82% search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo for their health conditions, even before speaking to a healthcare provider. Of those searching online, only 35% sought medical opinions from a professional
The number of active users has increased since these numbers were published. So, clearly, you can touch people’s lives and influence their health by going to where the patients are. Social media gives you access to a much wider audience than anywhere else.
Taking an active role is great for patients, but can you, the doctor, benefit from this as well?
The short answer is YES. Take advantage of the tremendous access to the world (and community) that you are granted. It comes in the form of:
- Higher search engine ranking
- Increased visibility
- Positioning you as an authority
- Increase in DATA!!
Expansion and Benefits of Data Collection
1. Email Marketing Campaign
According to research by McKinsey & Company, email is almost 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring clients.
The top three most emails involved mobile opt-ins (76%), birthday emails (75%) and transactional emails (74%). I like to add thank you emails for referrals here as well.
When a set of forms that new patients fill out or old patients are updating is given, add a space for patient’s email and ask them to check whether they are willing to get emails from you. Only a small minority will say no.
2. Ongoing Conversation
Just like forums and chat rooms in social media sites, by responding and continuing to ask questions, people will naturally continue to interact, attracting more participants to engage. This not only increases your community, but also helps grow your practice by prospective patients.
3. Ask for Feedback and Questions
Feedback is critical (but the key is implementing the feedback that you find valid!). This only improves your services and your engagement with others. Fostering questions enables you to touch upon issues that are of importance to your followers.
4. Flip the Office Appointment
Provide data and information to patients and caregivers prior to the appointment so that they can prepare their concerns and questions, allowing them to help set the agenda and course of the doctor’s visit. Flipping the power dynamic of typical communications to a more engaged approach, empowers the patient and by validating patient concerns, increases satisfaction exponentially.
5. Run a Contest
Contests are a fun way to attract viewers and have them respond to you. Consider presenting a set of symptoms and have them guess what the mystery diagnosis would be. Show a funny picture or cartoon, which is medically related, and reward the winner for the best caption. Just like MadLibs® that used to be a fad; this contest is always a big hit.
6. Increase Your Fan Base
Irrespective of whether you call them subscribers, friends, fans, viewers, or followers, the truth is that you need an audience to implement your social media strategy. Fortunately, by attracting a few faithful followers, you can boost your potential audience exponentially. Great content makes you go viral, spreading the word to networks of other patients along with their family and friends.
So just how do you increase your fan base? Follow these 5 simple steps.
- Contact– the most important step is putting your social media contacts on your general contact information. This will be located on your website, your business cards, blogs and each one of your social media channels.
- Add value– enter posts and entries that are worthwhile and relevant to your target audience.
- Ask for likes– have your staff, family and friends like your Facebook page, twitter site and other channels. Ask your patients to like your pages and enter comments. People are more likely to like your site if there are other followers already there.
- Post to Like-Minded Sites– valuable content on forums and chat rooms in sync with your mission and message will more likely get people to come to your site and see what other posts you have or other information that you are offering
- Interaction– social media sites are geared to be social. Posting and then letting it lie ignored, will not help. You need to engage your followers and interact with them, having timely and interesting responses. If you do not respond, people will not comment or view your site again. There are too many other competitive sites where they can derive satisfaction and validation.
Too, algorithms on social media sites are taking engagements into consideration with the amount of social likes and comments in a set period of time.
7. Offer an Exclusive Gift
While it may be exciting to win a contest, or helpful to sign for medical newsletters, it is infinitely more enticing to participate by receiving something that is not accessible to everyone else. For no cost, you can create a Tip Sheet made from the ten FAQs from your office. Better yet, for a few dollars, you can create a Tee shirt for the winner that has your name and logo on the front or back of the shirt. This serves to further advertise your services.
Physicians and healthcare providers really shine in this category. Tell your viewers about the latest medical breakthroughs, the latest medical devices or health apps (which seem to come out daily). Let them know about the technical services that you provide, who is a candidate and the benefits as well as the possible risks.
Getting email address, life stories, location, preferred activities, enables you to branch out and educate your followers further about your field, and your unique services.
Illustrations and photos really attract viewers. Create Infographics and videos with your information.
9. Development of New Project or Service
Ask your fans what they would like you to provide or expand upon. Their ideas can ignite a new project for yourself- a way to stay unique.
10. Analyze and Modify
Look at your data through objective eyes. These emanate from your email campaigns and will help shape future campaigns. If you didn’t get the responses that you expected, alter the wording or drop the topic completely. Registering with Google Analytics, which is a free tool, will help you see what your followers liked and pored over. Concentrate on these in the future. The ideas that got ignored- drop them!
Send out surveys (Survey Monkey is free and easy to use). This will additionally help you see where you need to concentrate your efforts.
Unless you are strictly a researcher in a lab or library, the successful practice of medicine is a social effort. Your patients have been trying to tell you this for years! It’s now time to jump in and be social with them!
Don’t have time for this? No worries- outsource it! Look for a social media specialist who is up on your medical field. Call 516-647-3002 and we can discuss your needs.