If you’ve opened a medical practice in a new community, you’re looking to spread the word, and connect with potential patients. Social media, specifically Twitter, Facebook and a blog, can help spread awareness and provide more in-depth information about your medical practice, area(s) of specialization, new patient specials, and more. Social media is a great way for a medical practice to “meet the community” virtually speaking, and give them a way to connect.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO CONNECT WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
No doubt, if you’ve chosen a community to open a new practice, you’ve done your homework on the needs of that community; demographics, existing options for medical care, etc. But social media may not have been a part of your research. Instead, you may plan to spread awareness through word-of-mouth, and a few print and inexpensive cable ads.
Seems reasonable, but did you know that social media can increase awareness of your practice faster, and for less money, with a fully developed social persona for your practice, and consistent engagement with your audience? It isn’t as much work as you’d expect. A few simple steps taken on a regular basis, 15 – 20 minutes/day, 2 – 3 times per week, can boost awareness and connect you with your community, no matter how large that community is, or how many employees you have.
KNOWING WHICH SOCIAL CHANNELS TO USE PUTS YOU AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION
Let’s face it, the medical community isn’t all that technologically advanced when it comes to social media. With HIPPAA laws, some medical professionals just shut down when social media is mentioned. But as a tool for education and connection, social is where you want to be, and a study by NCBI points to the benefits (and challenges) presented to medical professionals when considering the use of social media.
Facebook is a free and easy site to set up and get you started. As of the end of third quarter 2015, more than 1.5 billion people were active on Facebook, but you don’t need them all. Options for geo-targeting, as well as filtering with demographic data: age, household income, special interests, etc. allows a finer focus for your page.
According to Pew Research Center, as of September 2014, 71% of adults were using Facebook, a slightly higher percentage of women over men. Your potential client base is there, and they’re talking about your industry. On any given day, 100,000 people are talking about “medical.” Search for “family practitioner” on Facebook and you’ll see tens of thousands of people talking, and over 100,000 people talking about “surgery.”
If you’re not on Facebook, you’re missing out on an opportunity to join those discussions.
Twitter is another very active social media channel that works well for medical practices. If your website includes a blog, or offers videos of your practice, educational videos of procedures, self-care, etc.,
Twitter is the perfect channel to spread the word, help increase visitors to your site and even make a connection to area practices that relate to your medical services. Establish a Twitter account and make a habit of checking in a few times a week. Share articles from other sites, share items from your blog, follow area practices/businesses who align with you, and like/share tweets that are in line with your medical practice’s brand/culture.
Within a short time you will see your connections grow, and yours will be seen as an engaged, approachable and human-centric practice that patients seek out. With social media, you’ll be top of mind for patients when they need you.
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