Social media has been around since 2004, but medical professionals have not been as quick to embrace the technologies as other professions.
Why should your practice consider social media as part of its medical marketing toolbox? Statistics show that Facebook has grown by 145% since last year; of these users, 55% are women. Twitter boasts close to 30 million users; 54% are female. Why does this matter? Women, over the age of 25, make 80% of the healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.
Individuals have turned to the Internet in droves (more than 90%) for researching information and for locating goods and services. Just because you’re embracing social media to promote your practice, you don’t have to toss your traditional medical marketing. Use a combination of the two.
Here are a few reasons to integrate social media into your medical marketing campaigns:
- Participating in social media increases credibility and visibility. The more visible and credible you are, the more profitable your practice.
- Social media allows you to monitor the medical environment. See what people are talking about and respond to concerns.
- The public loves social media. It gives them a voice and an opportunity to interact.
- Social media gives you a way to stay on top of breaking developments in your industry and gives you a way to be the first to spread the word to your “followers.”
Now that you know why you should be using social media to market your medical practice, the next question to be answered is, “How can you add it to your marketing toolbox?” We offer these tips:
- Start with Twitter and Facebook: Go to www.twitter.com and www.facebook.com complete the simple sign up process and begin posting. Don’t know what to post? Write about trends. Is it cold and flu season? Mention that. Back to school and children need physicals and vaccinations? There’s another idea. Are you a plastic surgeon? Comment on the new reality show Bridalplasty.
- Build your “followers” on Twitter and “likers” on Facebook: Announce to your patients that you have Facebook and Twitter pages. Build your follower base by following people who live in the area that your practice covers.
- Engage your followers: Engage individuals with information about what’s going on in your office, the latest trends in your field or medical announcements. Follow the other conversations of those who have linked to your page. Make relevant comments.
- Add a blog component to your website: If your site doesn’t have new information it is not as searchable. Adding a blog component and posting at least twice a week makes your site – and your practice — more searchable.
- Social media should be an integral and consistent part of marketing your practice: Social media is not a time consuming task. In literally 15 minutes a day your marketing department could post updates to Twitter and Facebook. Blogging will, of course take longer, but should also be part of the marketing arsenal.
If your practice hasn’t embraced social media as a medical marketing tool, you will find yourself being left behind when it comes to new patient acquisition, and even in patient retention.