Social media to market my practice, really?
Yes, more and more people today turn to social media, not only to stay in touch with friends but also to get information about businesses. Of course, this includes searching for healthcare providers and the services they provide.
Estimates are that 1/3 of consumers search for and check out a company’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter page before they call or consider a purchase.
So, it may no longer be enough to “just” have a website. Perhaps you should consider adding a social media presence to your marketing?
Benefits of Social Media Marketing…
There are some definite benefits to doing that:
- Exposure: a social media presence can help get your practice in front of more people and get seen by more.
- Awareness: your social media presence makes it easy to raise awareness. For your clinic, this could be around health topics… benefits of not smoking, of eating well, or controlling blood pressure.
- Trust: having a social media presence tends to build trust with your “audience.” Customers like to work with people and businesses they trust.
- Credibility: right or wrong, your social media presence gives you instant credibility. It’s like: “I saw it on TV!”… it must be true.
- Cost: social media platforms are free, which means free exposure for your business. And if you decide to purchase social media ads, typically they can be purchased for a nominal fee.
- Growth: social media is here to stay. It’s expected to grow exponentially as more and more people use their smart phones to access the internet.
Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing…
Of course, there are some drawbacks to social media marketing:
- Time: it takes time to do social media marketing. While it doesn’t have to take a lot, somebody will have to take the time to do it. Like you don’t have enough to do already, right?
- Resources: even though social media platforms are free, it takes resources to do social media marketing. Unless you do it yourself (in which case it costs you your time), someone else has to do it. You could designate an employee or hire a company to do the posting for you.
- Content: you have to decide what content to post or what to share on your social media pages. This is similar to the question of what content to publish on your website, which I talked about in last week’s article.
So are you ready to get started with social media in your business? Great!
Chances are you’re already using social media in your personal life, adding it to your business won’t be that difficult at all.
How To Get Started…
But wait just a minute.
Before you sign up for all sorts of social media business accounts, ask yourself these two questions.
- Who are the people I want to reach? You have to be clear about who you want to talk to. Because, if you talk to everyone, you’ll talk to no one.
- What social media platforms do they use? You must match your “audience” with the platforms they use. There’s no point in posting to Instagram (primarily used by 18-to 29-year olds in the US) when your primary patient population consists of seniors, age 65 and up, who are more likely to use Facebook.
Make sure you can answer these two questions before you open up your social media business account/s.
Do a quick search on Google to get all the data you need. Here are some links to get you started:
Once you know where your ‘audience’ lives, you’re ready to open social media business accounts. Carefully consider your resources before deciding to open up one or multiple social media accounts for your business.
But then what?
Once you understand how the platform works, you’ll need to check your account daily. Create and post interesting, relevant, and engaging content for your “audience.” Make it a point to be consistent in creating and posting to your account.
One of the biggest mistakes made by businesses and professionals alike is setting up their social media and promptly forgetting about it. Don’t do that.
Even if you decide you don’t want to or can’t post daily, decide how often you will update your content and stick to it. Consistency is the key!
Perhaps you’re wondering now: “I run a small practice… considering all the effort that goes into this, would social media be worth it for my business?”
Well, that’s a question only you can answer. However, I can say this…
Most businesses, small and large, regardless if offering products or services, will benefit from social media marketing. The key is to implement a plan that will work for you and your business.
And if you already have a solid marketing plan in place, adding social media to the mix will only multiply your results.
Here’s what to do next…
- Define your “audience.”
- Determine what social media platforms they use.
- Create a social media strategy to reach your audience.
- Implement your strategy with consistency!
Do you use social media in your practice? What has been your experience so far? Why not share your experience with our community so others can learn from them?
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”