- Practices worry social media will run afoul of rules about offering medical advice
- Social media is seen as something that might dilute practice branding or credibility
- Lack of access to social media experts means difficulty establishing guidelines for it
But patients no longer see Twitter, Facebook, and the rest as fun diversions. They are used as sources of information and connection across all parts of life. And yes, that includes health.
Rather than shying away from social media, it’s crucial to harness it to build your brand. Medical practices may need to take extra care with messaging, but the benefits are undeniable.
Not only can you attract more patients, but increase engagement with those you have. That means fewer missed appointments and higher adherence to plans of treatment.
In the end, everyone benefits.
But how can you turn social media from a “great unknown” to an integrated part of your brand?
Here’s how to begin:
1. Formalize Your Brand Voice
These days, the majority of medical brands use an authoritative, but warm voice in blog posts, emails, and other communication. This works well for general practice, but your needs may vary.
A chiropractor who is the sole face of a practice might want to take a more personal tone to build rapport. This means crafting all your communications as “you,” not your brand.
As you consider your brand voice, think about these issues:
- Who is your audience? Age? Education? How are they used to being addressed?
- What are the biggest reasons current patients are with you, not someone else?
- What subject is your brand most qualified to speak on? What’s off-limits?
- Will your social media speak as your “brand” (or team) or as an individual?
If you have a large team, you might attribute posts to providers according to area of specialty. Or, you might simply address all communications in “brand voice” – that is, “we” speaking to “you.” These early decisions shape how your social media posts are crafted.
2. Put Editorial Standards in Place
Medical practices need to maintain compliance when posting about health issues. Every piece of content you post should be reviewed for accuracy by a team member who knows the issues.
Most practices have multiple people involved in social media:
- The person who writes the blog content that fuels social media posts
- The person who reviews the content to ensure its medical accuracy
- The person who designs, optimizes, and schedules individual posts
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to have a content calendar. A content calendar ensures everyone has time to develop, review, and weigh in on content relevant to them. It also means deadlines can be recognized and planned for in advance.
You should also draw clear, bright lines about how social media won’t be used.
For example, many medical practice leaders discover social media customer service isn’t for them. Online chat can muddy the waters when a patient really needs to contact a doctor.
“Do’s and don’ts” should be ready for anyone who posts on social media for the brand. And, of course, be sure you have the right disclaimers about medical advice and medical emergencies on your website and social profiles.
3. Optimize Social Media Content Sensibly
Some classic approaches to social media just don’t work that well for medical practices. No one wants to see the raw authenticity of grainy cell phone videos here – they want state of the art!
Luckily, there are three tactics that always help social media soar:
- Keep each post short and to the point, with no matter than two hashtags
- Include a photo, illustration, or infographic in as many posts as possible
- Embrace video marketing in your social media posts and your website
Video is a natural fit for medical practice marketing. Most people find it easier to understand, act on, and remember what’s in a video as compared to a blog post. While your blog should be the backbone of your content marketing, videos make posts better.
Fair to say most medical professionals aren’t part-time videographers – and neither are most social media managers. This is a situation where working with a digital marketing agency is essential.
Modern medical practice marketing sparked our clients’ huge gains in online appointment requests–477%, in one case–and nearly fourfold growth in organic traffic from search engines.
4. Automate and Refine Your Approach
One of the secrets to social media is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Evergreen content is all the stuff – written, audio, and visual – that will be relevant for a long time to come and rarely needs to be updated. Say you’re a sleep specialist. The basics on sleep hygiene don’t change, but your followers will over time.
There’s no need to rewrite that sleep hygiene post you worked so hard on. Simply update it from time to time with any new information. You can keep it in your social media rotation to be shared every 30-45 days without offending any followers.
The reason why is simple: Even your most dedicated follower won’t see everything you have to offer. People are busy and social media scrolls quickly. Automating your daily posts using your existing content library allows your messages to sink in over time.
These are four guideposts to medical practice social media – but there are countless paths to making a strong connection with patients. The team at New York Ave helps you get there.
To find out more or get started, contact us today.