The Social Media ‘Prescription’ for Healthcare Business Owners
Would you ever prescribe a drug to a client that they didn’t need, just because it was commonly prescribed? Of course not, you have better judgment than that. You would prescribe only what was necessary and stood to benefit them. Similarly, when it comes to your healthcare practice— be it in dentistry, orthodontia, optometry, or other private practice area—you should not take on various marketing endeavors if you won’t benefit from them or see some kind of tangible return. That being said, some have posited the notion that healthcare professionals don’t stand to gain much from cultivating a dedicated social media presence. As though it can be equated to a needlessly prescribed drug. When used improperly, you can almost liken it to one!
However, when leveraged, strategized, and managed properly, social media for healthcare business owners can serve as a powerful tool for building client relationships and promoting conversation with current and potential clients – while also generating leads and referrals.
(You probably already have all your baseline socials set up—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. If you don’t, leave this article right now and go snatch up your company’s username before someone else does!) Business owners in certain industries will dismiss some social media platforms on the grounds that their target audience isn’t very active there, or does not go there looking to procure the kind of product they offer. What they fail to realize is that no matter the business, the right content in the right context can generate leads no matter what. As a healthcare business owner, you need a sound plan and strategy for how to get the most out of your social media presence – a social media, prescription, if you will.
The Prescription For:
- Posts. It’s a question as old as the digital age (that is to say, not very old at all). What do you post that is both relevant to your business and will drive engagement/leads? Don’t take the easy way out by simply posting promotions, company news, new hire announcements, and “Happy Friday!” type content. Although this is a good starting point, it accomplishes very little beyond just being filler. That which is germane to your company is not always interesting to your user base. So it’s critical to think outside the box. Would you care to see the same type of un-engaging posts from say, your local grocery store? Similarly, no one cares about seeing them from a local dentist/orthodontist/gastroenterologist, for example.
Instead, for every post idea generated, to see if it’s actually worth posting, consult this list and ask yourself if the content of a given post can:
- Give – offers, or discounts
- Advise – tips, helpful hints
- Warn – potential dangers
- Amuse – entertaining content
- Inspire – images and quotes
- Amaze – pictures and facts
- Unite – be part of the tribe (for example, hashtags and movements meant to show solidarity with a particular cause)
If you answer with an emphatic “yes,” for anyone of these items, then keep calm and post on! If your content doesn’t fulfill any of the above purposes, scrap it. To come up with content to post, you can newsjack if necessary. Find exciting stories relevant to your field (tenuously relevant is okay, too – just engage your audience, get them talking, get them sharing!). Alternatively, give a window into your office – get animated, get personal, get loud. Aim to entertain and inform through the angle of dentistry or whatever your practice type may be. You don’t always need entire blog articles to get a point across. A simple caption on the post of a neat article you’d like to share can serve just as well.
Position yourself as a curator and your social media account as your space to curate interesting and engaging content, not a space exclusively to promote yourself. By making a naturally interesting page with funny, relevant, or awe-inspiring content (which may include fun contests, giveaways, or promotions for awesome events you choose to sponsor), the promotion of your practice becomes the amazing and unintentional side effect.
- Scheduling posts. Consistency is important. Create an arsenal of posts ahead of time and then schedule them at a consistent pace, but not so often as to annoy your audience. (Say, every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am?) This way you are always ahead of the game and the execution of your social media content becomes compulsory, and not dependent on the memory or amount of free time of the person in the office who is tasked with handling it. If you convert your passive audience members into fans, they’ll check back to see if you regularly have new content – don’t disappoint!
- Interaction. Social media is by its very nature is a space for interaction and the exchange of thoughts, opinions, and affirmation (for example, that patient’s before and after shots look great, and everyone in the comments thinks so!). Consequently, you should be intentional about responding to consumer reviews, comments, and concerns. If you get a heated, unhappy customer in your social media reviews (this include your Google Business account—if you don’t regularly check and respond to reviews there, start! This is especially critical for those in healthcare!), respond quickly, calmly, and candidly. Don’t make it your goal to refute, argue, or disprove what they said. Instead, try to offer something of value for free as a means of diffusing the situation – the calmer you remain, the better you look.
Social media strategy is still a nascent area of business strategy at large. Sometimes it will feel like you’re feeling around in the dark, unsure of how to go about it—even with sound guidance. Luckily, the social media experts and strategists at Advantage|ForbesBooks aim to take the guesswork out of social media strategy for dentists, orthodontists, and other healthcare professionals like you. To learn more about becoming a Member of the Advantage|ForbesBooks family and the marketing services we offer specifically to healthcare professionals, contact us or apply now—we would be more than happy to field all questions.