Your practice and social media 101
Consumers and patients no longer rely on referrals or word-of-mouth alone to find the right medical care. In the digital age, patients are more likely to consult with Dr. Google or one of the dozens of peer review websites and social media outlets to decide who to trust with their healthcare needs. Likewise, marketing your practice on social media has become essential if you want to expand your patient base and grow your business. But with all the different social media platforms and apps, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. Here are the 5 most important channels you should begin with.
5 Social media platforms your surgical practice should appear on:
Yelp is the most popular business review website in the world – the first place many consumers will check to review a local business and see what others have to say. Yelp entries include an average rating out of 5 stars and reviewer profiles to help you evaluate the quality and selectiveness of their views. Unlike HealthGrades (below), Yelp does not specialize in the medical field, so it might be hard for patients with very specifics issue to find the right doctor.
True to their slogan “How America Finds a Doctor”, Healthgrades.com boasts the country’s largest database of medical practictioners and practices. More than one million people a day use the website to search, compare and connect with hospitals and physicians based on the most important measures when selecting a healthcare provider: experience, hospital quality and patient satisfaction.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network with 1.44 billion active users, including 58% of all Americans. With Facebook you can easily create a profile, or page, for your business, and promote it for free through your immediate network, or create a paid advertising campaign. Once a Facebook user “likes” your page, they can receive updates of any new posts to your page, and can comment on or share your posts with others. Facebook pages are easy and intuitive to build, allowing you to post images, videos and content in seconds.
Twitter is a microblogging website which limits posts to a maximum of 140 characters. What this does is it shortens content into concise, value-packed nuggets of information – delivering your message without the fluff. To get started, you create a Twitter page for your company so people can follow you and receive your updates. Twitter messages, or Tweets, are shared through hashtags – topic-relevant word tags to help index your message and associated it with other users’ Tweets. For example, hashtags for this blog post could be #surgicalpractice #socialmedia #marketing
Linkedin is the world’s largest professional network, used by individuals and businesses to connect with others, promote themselves and their businesses, and share and manage conversations around common interests. The site is especially effective for building professional ties with other surgical practices and healthcare providers, and can be a great way to generate referrals. Many practices use Linkedin as a platform to distribute content, e.g. blog posts and whitepapers, with links redirecting readers to their website.
All of the social media platforms listed above rank high on Google’s search engine results and can make a significant impact to your practice once you’ve established yourselves on social media. No less importantly, having an online presence on these platforms positions your practice as innovative and up-to-date, which can only be good for business.