When people are searching for a new healthcare provider whether they’ve just moved, are unhappy with their previous doctor, or are in need of a new service, they overwhelmingly turn to the internet for their answer. It’s not enough to just have a website anymore.
People want to understand more about your practice, see pictures of your team, get a feel for your expertise, and feel like they have a connection to the person they’re going to trust to stab them in the arm with needles. Having social media accounts setup and active for your practice can help with all of that.
It’s also worth noting that advertising your services on social media platforms often cost much less than paying for ads via the classic Google Adwords route. But that’s a topic for another time.
Getting started on social media for your medical office can be challenging, so we’re offering you tips and tricks to help you better understand the platforms and help keep your social media accounts healthy.
Target Market for Social Media Platforms
To help you understand why your medical practice should be posting (and advertising) on social media, here’s some facts on the different platforms from Brandwatch.
Overall – On average, people have 7.6 social media accounts, and spend 142 minutes per day on social media.
Facebook – The #1 most used social media platform. 79% of adults in the US are on Facebook and 74% of them check it at least once a day (probably while they’re supposed to be working). The average person spends 35 minutes on the platform daily.
Instagram – 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. Users spend an average of 15 minutes on the platform daily. 37% of Americans are using Instagram.
Twitter – On average, 6,000 tweets are sent PER SECOND, so this is the most time-sensitive of all the platforms. 22% of Americans use Twitter, and the average user has 707 followers. It’s worth mentioning here the huge spike in Twitter posts and engagement in the past few years due to the recent political environment.
LinkedIn – 27% of adults in the US are on LinkedIn, and 106 million people access the site on a monthly basis. Because of its reputation as the job search network, people who are happy at their jobs and aren’t looking for a new one engage less with this platform than the preceding three.
Pinterest – 67% of Pinterest users are under the age of 40. 28% of US citizens use the platform. Here’s the real magic of Pinterest: The average half life (when half of the people have seen/engaged with the post) of a pin is 3.5 months per WebFX. That’s not a typo, it’s three and a half months!
By comparison, the half life of a Tweet is 24 minutes, and 90 minutes for Facebook. So that means a pin posted on Pinterest will last approximately 1,680 times longer than a Facebook post, and around 40,000 times longer than a Tweet. This makes it the least time-sensitive of all five platforms. So you’ll get the most bang for your buck posting on Pinterest.
Best Social Media Content for Healthcare Providers
Here’s some ideas for content that works really well on social media that can be used on several of the platforms.
Time-sensitive tips: Advice for cold and flu season, articles about the current news about people getting sick from off-brand vape juice.
Testimonials: Sharing testimonials from your patients about your services. If you’re an ob/gyn or pediatrician, new parents might be thrilled to share pictures of their little one along with a testimonial for you. Be sure you have permission from the clients to share this information first.
Behind the scenes: Share pictures of what happens beyond the lobby and patient rooms. Might include pictures of holiday decorations around the office, cube decorations for someone’s birthday, or team lunches. If your whole office wears certain colored scrubs daily and someone doesn’t match one day, have fun posting the picture of them not #twinning for once.
About the employees: What do your employees do outside the office? Post pictures of them out on hikes, holding up veggies they grew, or running a 10k. These types of pictures can help your patients connect with your team on a more personal level and feel more comfortable when they are in for their next checkup.
Videos: Record videos, even just with your cell phone, of your doctors, nurses, or technicians talking about their passion for the job. They can also explain services that a lot of your customers ask questions about. Record a technician hooking up EKG leads to a stuffed animal or doing an X-ray on an X-man to help patients understand what’s involved without intimidating them. You can create a YouTube page to add these too, then share from there to your other social platforms or embed on your practice’s website.
Recognition: Promote awards or recognition your team receives. Some cities/newspapers have yearly “Best of” awards where businesses need to be nominated and voted on. Go ahead and ask for some love on there from your followers. Also share when your team gets new certifications or completes new continuing education elements. Patients like to know their medical professionals are up to date on the latest technology and skill sets.
The 80/20 Rule: Contrary to what most businesses want to do, to really succeed on social media, your content needs to not be all about you. In fact only 20% should be about you or your practice. You can share articles/posts from other reputable sources, information about happenings around your community, quotes from famous people, recipes, memes – content that will interest your followers and not just be 100% all about you. Very few businesses follow the 80/20 rule in their social media, so by trying to do so, even if you just get to a 50/50 split, your likely to gain more followers and get more engagement on your posts than your competitors. Win/win, right?
Recommended Social Posts for Healthcare Providers
Facebook is the top social media platform, and is the third-most visited website in the entire world. It’s a great place to share all types of content from your medical practice. This is the platform that most of your patients and potential patients are probably already on and engaging with regularly.
In addition to the content ideas shared above, there’s a few items that Facebook works particularly well for.
Facebook Events – You can use the events feature to promote activities that your office has or will be participating in. By adding them on Facebook, it’s easy to send an invite to everyone that follows your page, and for your employees or attendees to invite their own Facebook friends. Also when someone RSVPs, it will show to their Facebook friends that they’re going, so it will do a little extra free, easy promotion for you. This could be used to promote the grand opening of a new office space, a meet and greet with a new doctor in your practice, for a product trial or sale event like a Botox discount day at a med spa, a charity fundraiser like collecting for Toys for Tots, or to promote a free clinic held by the doctor.
Facebook Reviews – Facebook is a great place to gather reviews from happy patients. You can ask for a Facebook review at the bottom of their receipt, via a text system, or while they’re still under the effects of anesthesia (okay, so maybe not that last one).
A number of practices use a contest or free product giveaway as a way to entice customers to leave Facebook reviews. A word of caution here: Facebook (as well as Google) frowns upon this practice, and it could hurt your account if you do so.
Many health care practices don’t think about promoting their business on Instagram, but it’s a great way to reach new markets and patients. As mentioned above, the vast majority of the users are under 35 years old, so it’s the perfect platform if you’re an ob/gyn or pediatrician trying to attract more new and soon-to-be parents to your services.
Instagram can be used to share behind the scenes pictures of your office, a peek into your employee’s lives outside the office, and share awards and recognitions that your practice has received. You can even use Instagram stories to engage with your current and prospective patients.
LinkedIn is often used as a job-search platform, so is a good place to promote your company to get new employees. You can post pictures welcoming new team members or of your team building events.
You can also share advice for office workers such as taking stretch breaks throughout the day, how to incorporate an onsite wellness initiative or healthy snacks for people to get over the 3 o’clock energy slump without turning to a Venti Soymilk Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Because Twitter moves seemingly at the speed of light, it should be used in relation to trending topics or of-the-moment events. Perhaps you wrote an article on your website about the current issue with people becoming sick from off-brand vape juice – this would be a good place to share that article. It can also be used to engage around conferences or events local to your town or community. For example, if your town hosts a largely attended state fair, you can share advice, ideally in a non-preachy way, how to keep hydrated during a long day at the event. Be sure to use the event or trending hashtags to engage with the community on Twitter.
Pinterest is beneficial since it’s not time-sensitive, but shown based on topics. As mentioned above, a pin lasts 1,680 times longer than a Facebook post and ~40,000 times longer than a Tweet. So the time you spend on this platform will last much longer and go much further than all the others.
Your practice can create boards around advice for new parents if you’re an ob/gyn, tips for dealing with the chicken pox if you’re a pediatrician, sharing healthy remedies, or sharing the best chicken soup recipes or vegetarian healing minute-the-chicken recipes. And memes always do really well on Pinterest, so don’t be afraid to poke some fun at yourself to help your engagement. Ryan Gosling Hey Girl memes always connect, or these days you can put any words on the “women yelling at cat” meme and it will go viral.
Creating a Strategy for Social Media for your Medical Practice
We’ve provided a lot of facts, tips, and ideas on ways you can use each individual social media platform to market your practice to get more patients. But even armed with all this knowledge, it can be a daunting task to know where to begin.
Our team can help you create a strategy for your social media platforms, setup the accounts, handle the regular posting, or just train your team on how to succeed on their own. Unlike those big all-in-one medical marketing agencies, we offer a custom approach that’s tailored to your practice’s specific market, needs, and goals.