Updated: Dec 2, 2021
As a physician, the question of increasing the volume of patients in your medical practice is a major consideration. Today, patients expect a higher level of service from their medical providers than in any other industry.
With more than 2 billion active monthly users, social media platforms, like Facebook, are crucial in reaching patients. While it is wonderful that you may have built a stable patient base, using social networks to promote your practice can help to attract more patients and retain your current ones. However, you may only become aware of the negative effect that your less-than-expected presence on social networks can have on your brand image and online reputation when it catches up with you.
You are always competing with new graduates and practices opening up around you providing new procedures and enticing your referral sources to use them instead of you. That is why it is so important to create your own practice pipeline of patients to ensure long term stability and make sure the practice you dreamed of is realised.
Social media marketing for doctors
Social media marketing for doctors contributes massively to increasing the traffic to your doctor's, allied health and dentist's office, website and search engine rankings. It is an integral part of a great medical marketing strategy that helps you share content that reaches your ideal patient base. Social media helps medical marketing strategies reach a wider audience and can be used as a critical tool for lead generation.
Social media marketing in healthcare enables providers to connect with patients, foster new relationships, and enhance the reputation and credibility of physicians. Social media serves as a tool for healthcare providers to share information, engage the public, promote health behaviours, discuss policy and practice issues and train patients and caregivers. Social media can play a major role in difficult and uncertain times such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Coming up with great social media marketing ideas in healthcare can improve your presence, increase the reputation of your brand, and strengthen your relationships with patients. Social media policies for healthcare professionals can help bring everyone together and ensure that your strategy is consistent with the relevant rules and regulations. This includes clear HIPAA- compliant guidelines, in other countries known as patient or personal information protection, for dealing with patient information and social contributions.
Content Pillars for medical professionals
Creating content for your medical practice does not need to be time consuming, random and laborious. It can be fun, organised and part of a structured plan to grow your medical practice. Creating content pillars is the easiest way to do this.
Content pillars allow you to speak about the topic you know the most about and set you up as an authority in the space. This will allow you to ensure that if your target patient wants to know anything about their chief problem, that you are the top medical practitioner they come to for the solution.
Here are our recommendations on how to use content pillars in 4 easy steps.
Determine 4 specific topics that you know well and like to talk about.
Survey your clients to find out what the 10 most frequently asked questions are around each of the 4 topics. If you are a start-up practice or don't have access to an audience, use a tool like https://answerthepublic.com or https://answersocrates.com to see what the most commonly asked questions are around a topic.
Create content answering these questions. The easiest way to do this is to shoot a video where you answer these questions.
Take that video and cut it up into 10 individual videos using an app like https://www.capcut.net, transcribe it into 10 blogs using https://www.rev.com, and create graphic and text content using https://www.canva.com.
We know that these tips will help to increase your engagement in practice and awareness over time. The first objective of any medical practice that is socially minded is to inform and involve potential patients. Start by understanding the patient-relevant questions they want answered, which can be answered in the form of content, conditions, treatments and FAQs, etc.
Why do medical practice owners need to consider social media?
Those who do not participate in social media are falling behind with the increasing complexity of the online space for sharing of knowledge, marketing and other forms of communication. The benefits of the use of social media in medical practice are becoming increasingly clear, putting more pressure on everyone involved.
Your practice is always evolving and growing and one way to make this information public is to share it through your social posts. If you are not talking to your patients then someone else is and you cannot take for granted that your patients will just come back to you.
By staying on the forefront of information, you become a trusted source and authority. This allows you to raise awareness of credible sources and will make it easier for your followers to counter inappropriate claims on social media that they see posted through their own social connections, further increasing your chances of virality and authority. One of the main reasons to get involved in social media is to show commitment to your patients.
Be careful not to share unreferenced statements or statistics that users share. If you cannot verify them, do not share them or add a caveat that they have not been verified.
HIPPA and patient privacy laws
There are many warnings about the use of social media in healthcare, but most focus on HIPAA rules and ethical and legal concerns about sharing patient data. Although participation in social media has advantages that do not require the publication of a PHI, participation in this type of information exchange may violate data protection laws. In short, you need to be extra careful when publishing patient content that may reveal sensitive information or violate HIPAA. Always make sure you have consent, both written and verbal. If you would like a free template, simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to send you one.
Social networks have become an important health resource for everyone, not just millennials. From making it easier to display videos and images on smaller screens to using reasonably sized text, understanding the workings of social media platforms can help make your content successful and accessible to a wider range of people.
Content creation and your medical practice
It's becoming increasingly clear to many serious medical practice owners that using social media will assist them in finding out where their target audience is and deciding how to work with them in a way that complies with your practice goals.
A mindful approach to using social media can help you use digital marketing more broadly and create a mutual interaction between you and your future patients. Many physicians have found that using social media helps them connect with a higher number of potential patients than other healthcare providers. By following useful metrics, you can improve your strategy, drive traffic and grow your customer base.
Most marketing efforts focus on the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn triad but visual platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram, are also popular in health marketing. If you can categorize your current patients to curate what to share with them by determining what challenges they face, you will have a better idea of where they will find information, ask for advice and who they listen to in the industry.
Digital marketing for your medical practice
Successful digital marketing efforts have a common starting point that is no different for medical practices: They define an ideal customer or patient profile. Creating an ideal patient profile allows you to address the right person, at the right time, with a message that encourages and transforms them into a revenue generating patient. Simply put, the patient profile defines the type of patients that your practice serves, outlines the problems you can solve for them and identifies what drives their healthcare decisions.
Adding value to them can be as simple as exchanging information about current illnesses, reminding patients of important vaccinations, giving tips on how to stay healthy or keeping patients informed about practice news like opening hours and staff changes. Developing your community is important as it dives in to your data to obtain audience insights (Facebook and Twitter analytics, corporate site analytics, LinkedIn) to see what amount of time and, more specifically, which times your audience is generally online.
Feel free to share this article with any colleagues who might find it useful and if you, or the practice you work for, could use help with implementing this at your practice, then reach out by clicking here, or simply send us an email at email@example.com.
Happy marketing, build the practice of your dreams and take action.