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May 2012

7 Hot Social Media Tips For Healthcare Practices

Teaser: So you have finally realized that you need social media in order to compete in this new age of web-based marketing. What social media tactics will help you attract more patients and different types of patients to your practice? Here are seven social media tips gathered from small business social media experts that will help take your practice to the next level…

1. Show Patients and Referring Colleagues the “Real You”
You can use Facebook to show patient prospects the “real you.” The occasional health tip or link to your latest blog post is great, but you also need to show your audience that you are a real person by posting regular updates about things you’re really passionate about outside of medicine. If, for example, you are a plastic surgeon or cosmetic dentist who loves painting or sculpture in your spare time, post pictures of your work and talk about your love for all things that are esthetically pleasing. If you love to cook, post your favorite recipes. If you love rebuilding vintage cars, post before-and-after pictures. Whatever you do, try to keep it interesting, different, real and even humorous.

2. Pick One Network and Master It
Healthcare practices have to prioritize their resources toward those activities that will deliver the greatest results. With social media, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options that are available and the notion that you have to have a presence on every social media channel. It’s also easy to get lost trying to manage too many different networks. Giving them all partial efforts will not bring you good results.
That’s why we recommend that healthcare practices focus their initial social media efforts on networks likely to have the highest concentrations of their target audience. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter are all excellent places to begin. If you start with Facebook (850 million users worldwide), put 100% of your effort into mastering it. Develop a strategy to engage prospective patients only on Facebook. Once you’re successful there, you’ll have a much easier time repeating your success on another social media network.

3. Turn Your Facebook Page Into a Patient-Generating Machine
A necessity for any healthy practice is developing a list of potential new patients, also known as qualified leads. Collecting names and email addresses from visitors is essential to your practice. One of the smartest tactics is to create an opt-in strategy on your Facebook page. You can use iFrames to create a custom welcome tab. On this tab, you can create a two-step process called a “reveal tab.” Your first step should include a call to action to encourage non-fans to click “Like” and become a fan. The second step, once you get the “Like,” is to offer something of value in exchange for their name and email address. Using this example, you can increase your fan base and grow your qualified lead list at the same time. It’s a valuable double-whammy for your practice.

4. Invest in Your Twitter Profile Design
If your practice is geared toward a particular niche market such as bariatric surgery, make that the all-out focus of your Twitter profile. Show your potential followers how serious you are about the weight loss/obesity niche and helping people with these problems. Just by looking at your profile, people will see that they can gain access to valuable content if they follow you on Twitter.

You should also look for other Twitter IDs that market to your niche. Start to follow their followers. Most of them will get an email notification from Twitter telling them that you just followed them (many people forget to turn off their email notifications). Many will click through to your Twitter profile, check it out and if they’re interested, they’ll follow you back.

5. Let’s Go to the Video!
Video is the hottest, most effective use of social media today. YouTube now attracts over 3 billion views per day! Recent changes in how Google and other search engines index web pages make adding short videos the best way to improve your standing in search results. It’s easy to create a custom channel on YouTube (children do it every day). Creating a series of short videos based around testimonials from satisfied patients is a great way to add credibility to your practice and dramatically increase the chances of viewers going to your website. Remember, shorter is better — preferably 90 seconds or less, but no more than three minutes.

6. Monitor Your Patients and Prospects
Create alerts for your patients. Follow their blogs with your RSS reader. Explore whether your CRM (contact relationship management) tool (such as ACT!) allows you to add social connections for your patients. Monitor what your patients and prospects are doing and saying in social networks to better anticipate and serve their needs and build relationships faster. You can also do the same with key referral sources and strategic partners in your practice. This can make your social media efforts pay off immediately.

7. Give Away One of Your Secrets

Start developing content about an industry secret or how-to tips that your competitors wouldn’t dare touch. This can be your competitive advantage. By creating the kind of content that really solves your patients’ problems, you’ll find your content being linked to and shared more often. Your content will rise in search rankings and be actively shared on Twitter and Facebook.

How do you begin? Write down all of the most interesting and hard-to-answer patient questions and create online content based on each question. Do this as often as possible for six months and you’ll soon begin to see a significant difference in your practice and the types of patients you can attract.

To learn more about using social media to promote your healthcare practice, call Practice Builders at (855).898.2710 or follow this link.