Social Media Marketing for Doctors: 8 Tips to Get Patients
Learn how social media can be used by doctors to help build rapport with patients, get important information out there, and grow your practice.
Social media includes a number of different websites and related applications that allow users to share content, comment on various types of content, and participate in two-way communications or networking.
This valuable connection with prospective patients and other healthcare workers is one of the main benefits of social media marketing for doctors, and a worthy pursuit if you want to increase your online presence.
Social Media Platforms for Doctors
You may be surprised to find out that depending on where you are in the world and your interests, there are a number of different social media platforms running that you may not have heard of before. Social networking is a big part of marketing strategy for a number of businesses and can play a substantial role in how you connect with your patients.
The most popular forms of social media are household names like:
There are many other social media platforms with equal popularity, however not all of these options will make sense for doctors looking to establish a social media presence.
While you can always jump on one of these sites, create an account, and begin sharing content, you may be doing yourself a disservice by not creating a proper strategy in advance. Sharing strategic content at specific times and learning how to read your target audience can make your time spent on social media more productive and worthwhile.
Depending on your goals you’ll want to look at social media platforms that are widely used by the population you are trying to reach. For example, many doctors post content to youtube as it has a much longer life and viewers or new patients can access these videos for years to come.
The same cannot be said for other platforms like Instagram where posts have a relatively short lifespan of a day or even hours. Some platforms such as LinkedIn may also work for some parts of your medical practice but may not create the online presence you need to reach your goals and prospective patients.
8 Tips for Using Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool, and by following our tips, you can make the most of these resources and reach a more significant number of potential patients.
1. Create a Social Media Strategy
With 70% of people in the US using social media, approximately 230 million people as of 2019, there are many potential customers or patients for you to reach.
The trick is having the right strategy that gets your content to these individuals in a timely manner and without wasting resources along the way.
2. Goal Setting
Creating a social media strategy is a relatively straightforward process that starts by identifying the goals of your social media marketing strategy for you or your medical practice. To simplify this process, focus on goals that correlate with your business objectives and follow the S.M.A.R.T. framework:
Tracking meaningful metrics will help you determine if your social media campaign is working, and where you can make improvements. You can also determine how you can use these metrics to drive traffic from one social media platform to another or to your website.
3. Know Your Audience
The second step to a successful social media strategy is knowing your target audience and figuring out what they wish to see on social media. Once you have this information you can begin to post information they like which will lead to comments, sharing, and potentially new patients.
Knowing your audience includes finding out general information about the group such as:
- Age ranges
- Geographical location
- Occupations and industries
- Average incomes
- Other interests and hobbies
Social media analytics can help you gather this data, and you can use these insights to help you perfect your social media strategy. You can also use Google and LinkedIn to find some of this information about your target audience and also see what other business owners are doing to get ideas.
5. Find Your Competition and Learn About Them
If you want to figure out how to be competitive in your area and have a more dominating online presence, you’ll first need to identify who your competitors are and all of the relevant information about them that might aid you in creating a more effective social media strategy.
To accomplish this you can use Google to find names, addresses, social media accounts, review posted content, and decipher which posts were more successful. You can also find relevant keywords to test and by using a social media management app you can monitor various accounts in real-time.
6. Review Your Own Social Media Efforts
If you already have social media accounts and you’re posting content you’ll want to audit your efforts to see what improvements you can make and what is currently working well. Keep in mind that what is working well at the moment may not always work so it’s vital that you continue to develop your strategy and use helpful metrics to monitor how well you’re meeting your goals.
As you review your accounts ask yourself the following questions:
- Which parts of my social media strategy are working particularly well? What needs improvement?
- Who is engaging with my content on this platform? Can I direct them to more content on my website or another social media account?
- What social media platforms are used most often by my audience?
- How does my presence on social media compare to my competitors?
- What type of content can I post that might do well over the next quarter?
If you have questions about how to efficiently complete this type of audit there are many different online templates that walk you through the process. Some of these templates are more tailored for use by health professionals, but others are more generic and more accessible.
As you complete your audit, it’s a good idea to ask questions such as:
- How does this account help me to achieve my goals?
- Is this the social media platform my audience is using?
- If this platform is what my audience prefers, how are they using the platform?
When you ask yourself these questions as you review the information available, you’ll be able to keep yourself focused on your social media strategy, and how each platform is inching you closer to your goals. If one platform is under-performing, you can also find ways to improve performance, or drop that account to save valuable resources.
7. Maintain your Online Presence
Social media requires that you post quality content on a regular basis that your target audience enjoys, comments on, and shares. Posting only occasionally on social media platforms won’t drive traffic to your medical practice or attract the attention of new followers on social media.
A successful social media marketing campaign requires maintenance, and this is easiest when you already know where to find your audience and what kind of content they want to see. Many doctors choose to use a platform such as youtube that allows them to create longer format content that lasts much longer but is fairly simple to create.
These types of content can include Q & A sessions that you can share across multiple social networks, blogging, or an introductory video that you can use for your LinkedIn profile that will be seen by other professionals and prospective patients.
This content can be shared in real-time and by adhering to basic SEO principles such as using hashtags and high-quality keywords, your online presence can grow.
8. Use Digital Marketing
Digital marketing goes beyond social media marketing for doctors, and content marketing to include the use of the internet and other mobile devices. When you create content for your marketing efforts you’ll need to be mindful that a significant percentage of your audience may be tuning in on their phones or other mobile devices and this requires a different approach.
Making videos and pictures easy to view on smaller screens, using appropriately sized text, and understanding how each social media platform works can help your content be more successful and accessible to a wider number of people.
Taking a mindful approach when you use social media can also help you harness digital marketing in a broader sense to open up two-way interactions between you and your prospective patients.
For example, some of your content may be aimed to advertise your services to your audience, but by giving them a method to engage you are converting a higher number of these individuals into customers.
Likewise, when you post content at specific times, and to specific platforms such as a Facebook page, you are more likely to gain the attention of specific segments of your audience.
Using social media marketing for doctors and their practices is a relatively straightforward process that involves identifying where your target audience lies and deciding how you want to engage with them in ways that align with your business goals.
Many doctors find that using social media helps them connect with a higher number of potential patients and other healthcare providers, and when you track useful metrics you can find ways to improve your strategy, direct traffic, and increase your customer base.