Now that 2014 is well under way, the time has come to review your professional marketing practices. If you own or manage your own medical clinic, it is crucial to stay up to date with current best practices in the world of business. It is no secret that social media has emerged as a critical piece of the marketing strategy pie. Doctors and social media are no longer an odd pair. For those who have not yet made the leap into social media, and even for those who have but have not yet maximized its great commercial potential, this may seem overwhelming. However, with a little investment of time and effort, these platforms can truly catapult your business forward in the year 2014. Over the coming weeks, we will be reviewing some of the most important guidelines for physicians looking to grow their practice with social media. Today we will begin with some of the basics and also address a common mistake many businesses make in their social media activity.
Set up your Company Page
Of course, setting up a company page in the following four social media platforms is an absolute must:
Each of these sites allows you to construct a page devoted to your business and your brand name. By doing so, you expose yourself to millions of social media users throughout the world. Even if you wish to focus on a narrower local market, people are turning more and more to these platforms to get the information they need as they decide which business to patronize. If you are a physician, you know there are many choices out there for your potential patients. Maintaining a company page on each of these sites is the 2014 version of setting up your office; without it, you will have a hard time finding or retaining any patients.
What Should I Post?
After you have set up your online identity, you need to build brand awareness by engaging with online users across these platforms. A very typical mistake that business owners commit once they have their company pages is that they assume that they should use this new platform to self-promote. This is understandable, but a poor strategy. Unlike television or radio, where the audience tends to stick around for the most part even during the commercials, the social media user is in complete control. He will not hesitate before clicking on the next image that attracts his attention. Therefore, singing your own praises and directly persuading people to be your patients should be done very sparingly. Most people simply aren’t interested. The majority of your posts should have one goal in mind: to provide interesting content to your users. Here are some suggested ideas for posts:
- Links to articles about your field
- Funny images that relate to your area of specialty
- Informal behind-the-scenes information about your office
- Health tips
- Colorful greetings around the holidays
These are just a few ideas of what you might post. Be sure to keep it relevant, interesting, and always try to include an appealing image. Just ask yourself: if this post came across your newsfeed, would you have any interest in reading it?
Engage with Your Customers
One of the most powerful aspects of social media is the channel of communication it opens up for businesses and customers. Take advantage! Invite your clients and potential clients to ask questions, make suggestions, and share their thoughts with you. You’d be surprised just how valuable people find that kind of a forum. Don’t worry; you can moderate what is said at all times. Granting people the chance to voice their opinions empowers them, and ultimately makes them feel comfortable in your space.
Remember, social media is a powerful tool to reach new customers and retain former ones. You really can’t afford to ignore these channels anymore! Stay tuned for Part II of this series, when we will explore how to grow your followers in each of the major social media.
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