Social media is now a vital part of any medical practice marketer’s tool belt — here are a few simple ways to grow your follower count and ultimately, your revenue stream.
Back in 2010, a joint study conducted by Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital argued that social media had a sort of “Wild West” effect on the world of health information, characterizing it as a largely unregulated and untrustworthy medium. But seven years (and several FDA draft guidances) later, social platforms have become an integral tool for healthcare organizations and patients alike.
The data speaks for itself: today, more than 41% of consumers say they would let information they find on social media affect their choice of a specific medical practice or doctor. What’s more, 80% of patients ages 18-24 share health-related posts on social platforms, and 90% trust the information they find there. In other words, for medical practices looking to remain competitive, having an active social media presence is no longer optional.
Of course, your social media marketing strategy will only be impactful if you have a sizeable audience to begin with — here are a few tips and tricks for growing your medical practice’s social media following.
1. Make Sharing Your Content As Simple As Possible
In part, your social media accounts should serve to amplify your other digital marketing activities. Patients love to share informative blog posts, video content, and testimonials; however, it’s unlikely that they’ll be willing to jump through hoops in order to do so. Make sure that your website is optimized in order to make sharing your content as simple as possible. Tools like ShareThis make integrating share buttons on your practice’s blog or website incredibly easy — that way, visitors can share your content with the single click of a button, which will help you reach members of their personal networks.
2. Being Active Pays Off
It’s unlikely that you’re going to see much of a return on your social media marketing investment with a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach. Rather, medical practice marketers should always be as active as possible and pursuing new relationships with like-minded individuals and medical brands. Engaging with other physicians, hospitals, associations, and patient communities will go a long way when it comes to building visibility and credibility online.
3. Keep It Simple
On major websites, it’s not uncommon to see links to as many as eight or more social media sites — therefore, it’s understandable that you might think opening an account on every possible social media platform would be a good idea. In reality, spreading yourself too thin, especially at the start, can be counterproductive to growing your follower count. Instead, you should focus on building your following on one or two sites at first — say, Facebook and Twitter — then start expanding to other platforms once those accounts are up and running.
Building a following takes time and a considerable amount of effort, but remember that slow and steady wins the race. Focus on developing an engaging and cohesive brand voice, one platform at a time, and chances are that it will pay off in the form of more followers, brand evangelists, and appointments booked in the long run.