How to Acquire New Patients Using Social Media
How can a medical practice create engaging social media content for its channels?
Posting content on social media is straightforward, and social media channels make it only a click away for their users, including medical practices, to post online. As easy as it is posting things on social media channels, developing new and engaging content continuously takes time. Many medical practices find it challenging, and as a result, a daily post soon becomes a weekly post, and then a weekly post soon becomes a monthly or every other month post. Social media is a big part of many people’s lives, and more than half of the population accesses social media at least once a day and spend over 2 hours on social media channels. A medical practice has a lot of competition for the attention of these viewers, so they need to put extra effort into their content to get the attention of potential patients.
As mentioned before, creating content is easy. However, consistently creating content that engages with a target audience can take time and effort. A medical practice is not only competing with other practices for the attention of potential patients but also against other things on social media, like funny cat videos and links to stories about celebrity gossip. Content posted by a medical practice will compete against these posts, other practices, and many other things. Below are some great tips to follow when a medical practice wants to create engaging content for their social media channels
When posting content, a medical practice should use text and as well as videos.
A potential patient is likely to continue scrolling through social media for paragraphs of text. Many people and businesses post text, and it begins to all blur together for most people. They may read the first few lines, but unless they are very invested in the topic, they will be unlikely continue. However, engagement with posts and even getting the attention of someone to stop scrolling and engaging with a post can be achieved by adding a video or an image to the published content. Pictures and videos are much more likely to be engaged by those scrolling through social media. Photos should highlight the post’s main points in a way that is easy to understand. Videos should be short and try to accomplish the same goals. As much as people are not on social media to read a novel, they are also not on social media to watch a movie.
Avoid using stock photos and use actual images of a medical practice.
Stock photos make adding an image to a social media post easy and quick. However, stock photos do not perform as well as real, authentic photos from a medical practice. People today are smart enough to notice the difference between a stock photo and an authentic photo of a medical practice. With that said, taking any photo with a cell phone and posting it online may not give a medical practice the results they are looking for. Posting blurry pictures will not make the medical practice look professional. Here are some tips for posting good images for social media accounts.
- Hire a local photographer to take professional photos of a medical practice’s facility and staff.
- Have the photographer come in a few times a year to match the season or theme a medical practice is promoting.
- If a staff member takes photos, use high res photos. Most cell phones can take high-quality pictures that will meet the needs of a social media profile.
- Ensure there is good lighting so that all details can be seen clearly.
- A medical practice should keep HIPAA regulations in mind, so do not show any sensitive information, like patient files or patients’ faces, unless they’ve explicitly given a practice permission to take their picture.
- When using images in social media posts, ensure it matches the post’s text. For example, if a post is about x-ray services, the photo should be of the x-ray room, not another area of a medical practice.
Create Content That Can Be Used Again and Again
Many medical practices will make a post and never revisit that content. However, a medical practice can make a post that they can use repeatedly. These posts are known as “Evergreen Content.” Much like the trees, that remain green throughout the winter, Evergreen Content is content that can be reused throughout the year. The best evergreen content uses photos, graphics, and infographics to convey information to promote a medical practice.
When creating graphics for evergreen content, follow these tips:
- Use quotes from easily sharable content
- Reword main points to make them shorter and more comprehendible
- Showcase the main points in a way that is easy to read.
- You do not have to reinvent social media posting strategies: Many platforms (like Canva) have ready-to-go templates to showcase information.
Feature Patient Reviews and Testimonials In Social Media Posts
Before anyone makes a significant purchase or hires someone to perform a service, they are generally going to do some research before making a decision. The same is true with anyone making a significant decision regarding their health. Potential patients will often research before selecting a provider, including looking at reviews. Someone is much more likely to trust a review from another patient than the talking points of a doctor or front desk receptionist. Many people trust online reviews and say it impacts their decision to select a doctor.
With that in mind, it behooves a medical practice to highlight positive reviews and use them to effectively promote their business. Highlighting these reviews is a great way to promote a medical practice and help build trust in their brand. While reviews should be posted on the websites of medical practices, they should also be shared by medical practices across their social media networks. When selecting reviews to share, pick the best ones that highlight points a practice wants to market. Try to find short, quotable reviews. Do not edit them beyond spelling and punctuation corrections so they remain as authentic and legitimate as possible. Finally, remove any identifiable information from the review to maintain HIPAA compliance.
Spend Time Researching The Latest Trends On Social Media, Especially Visual Trends
The most effective content posted on social media has a visual component. Social media is all about trends. From the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to “The Harlem Shake,” many brands take advantage of trends to help promote their business and have fun. It is only to the advantage of a medical practice to research current visual trends and try to incorporate them into their social media posts. Here are some tips to find the best visual trends:
- TikTok and Instagram’s most popular posts often reflect the current visual trends in the world.
- Select a visual trend that works for a medical practice. Not all trends may be appropriate for a medical practice.
- Search through popular hashtags for inspiration for social media content.
- Monitor competitor social media accounts for any trends they are following.
- Monitor social media metrics to see if past posted content gains traction with followers
- Ask staff for trends they have seen and anyone willing to participate in creating social media content.
Hold A Competition On A Social Media Account
A way that many medical practices grow their audience quickly and increase their engagement is by holding a competition on their social media channels. Some of the most popular and effective social media competitions include:
- Content Created By Followers – Followers create content (posts, videos, images) according to a theme and post it with a medical practice tagged in it.
- Inviting Others To Follow – Another common contest is tagging friends on social media profiles and getting more entries if those friends are to follow.
- Share, Comment, or Like to Join – One of the most common contests is the easiest. People enter by liking, commenting, or sharing a post. Some competitions will issue additional entries for those who do all three.
It is important to note that contests must abide by specific rules for certain social media platforms. Each platform has a different set of rules, so it benefits a medical practice to review them to ensure they do not violate any of their rules.
Facebook and Instagram Guidelines
- A medical practice is responsible for their contest or competition for being lawful. They need to spell out who is eligible, the official rules, and the prizes for the winners. If winners receive a prize of value, there may be tax implications. While this may seem a little overwhelming, the process is relatively straightforward to ensure a lawful contest.
- Ask users to upload content (Pictures, Videos, Ect) that they created and not stolen from others.
- Note that although a contest may be held on Facebook or Instagram, neither company sponsors the contest.
A specific list of rules for contests on Facebook can be found here.
A specific list of rules for contests on Instagram can be found here.
- Refrain from encouraging the creation of multiple accounts to make entries. This may cause a contest to be flooded with fake entries and make future contests look illegitimate.
- Ask participants to refrain from spamming a message repeatedly on Twitter. For example, avoid making the top prize of a contest awarded to whoever tweets a message the most from their account.
- Do not ask for content from users that might put them in physical danger or in an illegal situation where they are breaking the law.
- Do not ask for adult content or accept adult content as contest entries.
- Do not ask people to post their private information or other people’s private information.
A specific list of rules for contests on Twitter can be found here.
- Do not have contestants use logos and trademarks from SnapChat in their videos.
- Do not encourage contestants to engage in illegal behavior.
- Do not encourage contestants to spam Snapchat with content to enter a contest.
A specific list of rules for contests on Snapchat can be found here.
Tag Other Social Media Influencers and Bloggers In Posts When Quoting Them
Finding a social media influencer or blogger who talks about the specific area of medicine practiced by a medical practice may take time and effort. It is much easier to find influencers and bloggers as it relates to health and beauty treatments often found in a MedSpa. However, if a medical practice does find a quote they want to share across their social media channels, it is beneficial to tag that person. They may get a notification that they have been tagged and then share a medical practice’s posts across their network. This will increase the reach of the original post from a medical practice. For this to be as effective as possible, a medical practice should:
- Tag the social media profile in the post. Remember that tagging a social media profile can be a little different depending on what platform is used. Double-check and make sure tagging is being done correctly.
- When using a quote, do not just write it out in a text post. Use a graphic highlighting the quote in an eye-catching, flashing way.
- Include a link to a medical practice’s content in the post.
- If a social media influencer or blogger does share and repost a medical practices content, thank them in a private message.
Use The Right Hashtags In Social Media Posts
Hashtags are more challenging than they may seem to use correctly. When used properly, it can help push content to a broader audience. If they are misused, content can be quickly ignored altogether. Hashtags also range in effectiveness on social media platforms. Hashtags perform well on Twitter and Instagram but have less impact on Facebook.
As for how many hashtags to use on a social media channel, here is a good guide:
- Twitter – 1 to 2
- Facebook – 1 to 3
- Instagram – 1 to 30
- Pinterest – 2 to 5
- TikTok – 3 to 5
Use Stories and Reels on Instagram and Facebook
Instagram and Facebook have other features called stories and reels. Short-form videos are becoming very popular. Snapchat and TikTok are very popular places where people post short videos. TikTok has over a billion monthly active users, making it one of the most prominent social media properties people engage with daily. For a medical practice, stories and reels can inspire people, give good medical advice, and connect with others. Creating an engaging story or reel does take a little extra effort, but there will be a much higher chance of engagement with a current or potential patient.
The experts at PatientGain.com are available to help you create a high-performance social media marketing plan. Contact us today, and let us show you what we have done for other practices across the country!