Well here we are in part three of our series on social media marketing. This is usually the time in horror films when things get really cheesy and bad, I promise you I will not take that turn in this series. In this installment we are going to go through some of the things that Physicians can do to better improve their Social Media presence and help drive more business.
First and foremost doctors today need to realize that with the dawn of Social Media business as usual is over. Below are a just a few facts that should make doctors consider moving their efforts in the realm of Social Media Marketing forward.
- 61% of American adults turn to the Web for medical answers
- The fastest growing demographic of Facebook users are 35 years and older
- Twitter top age bracket is 45-54
What this means is that your potential patients are online and the numbers are growing. No longer is the Social Web just for young people.
The tools and channels you will be using are the same that any other business uses to harness the Social Media Market; what will change drastically is how you as a physician will use these tools and channels compared to other businesses. As a doctor you going to want to do almost no marketing through your Social Media in the traditional idea of advertising. The way you are going to drive business is by building an audience and consistently proving your expertise in your field to them. This consists of logging on once a week or a few times a month at scheduled points and allow for a Q&A with your fans and followers. Writing blogs that give them insight into how to do things that will improve their overall health or what they can do to take care or prevent medical issues. Also make use of videos, when people see your face and hear your voice on a regular basis they will start to feel as if they know you on a personal level. This will make them more likely to refer friends or family to you for care. Remember you’re not going to want to run promotions or do much if any self promoting. People are weary of doctors as it is by doing this you may come across as a Social Media equivalent of an Ambulance Chaser.
Those are the whats, now lets discuss the hows. While sites like Sermo, Ozmosis and SocialMD are great to interact with your peers that is where their value ends. Your current and potential patients are not going on these sites as they are not designed for that type of use. Instead you are going to want to make sure you are on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. By having these sites you not only engage an audience but you give the search engines of the world more places to find information to bring up when people are using those search engines to find a physician. As well you should make sure you are checking in on sites that people use to find physicians such Vitals.com, HealthGrades.co and RateMDs.com. While you can’t control what people say about you on these sites you can give yourself a chance to respond to their comments or concerns. All of these methods allow you to connect with your audience on a very real and human level, which is what people are looking for today.
I would like to remind you that the biggest key to Social Media Marketing for doctors is going to be getting out there and engaging. Put a face and a voice to a name and let people know who you are. Tell them about charities you participate in and how you would handle situations if they were effecting your family. When people feel like they truly know a doctor they are far more likely to refer a family member or friend to them.
Lastly a few things to be sure of before diving in
- Make sure that anything you post on these sites is properly disclosed as information based on your past experiences and should not be confused with a medical diagnosis.
- If you do not have your own practice it may be a good idea to check with your partners, supervisors, or board of trustees before you start posting.
- Have a clear and concise plan ready before you start doing anything
If all factors have been thought through and addressed than you are ready to begin your Social Media Marketing campaign.