Throughout this past year, thousands of Baltimore and Washington, DC area medical practices (individual and group physicians), healthcare systems, health clinics, and long term care facilities managed to find time to set up their social media marketing profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn; yet, many of these profiles are sitting dormant. No status updates on preventive health tips or new services available at your medical practice; no tweets of your upcoming high blood pressure management workshops or sharing of cancer prevention tips and highlights from a recent medical conference; no reply to questions asked by patients via the social media profiles you set up – Nothing!
Could we be describing the on-line presence of your medical practice? — If so, then you should be aware that healthcare social media profiles with no activity online leads to having your current and prospective patients feel that doctors are disconnected and not really concerned with the welfare of their health. In order to prevent the questioning of your healthcare organization’s brand reputation, it’s critical that you engage in a two-way conversation with your patient community beyond the four walls of the medical examination room and healthcare social media is the silver bullet prescription to engage, educate and empower patients effectively.
Here are some simple and easy steps to defining your healthcare social media marketing goals and creating a social media strategy:
Step #1: Understand What Social Media Is
Social Media is owned, paid and earned media, and you must feed your healthcare social media platforms fresh content daily! Just like there are no shortcuts to healing a broken bone, there are no shortcuts in effective social media marketing — it must be managed daily like your other business priorities. Before you take the plunge in the deep blue sea of social media, it’s important that your medical practice take some time to write down some simple social media marketing goals and a well thought-out marketing strategy. Having a realistic understanding of your goals is essential so you don’t waste your time and money (which are two of your most valuable assets).
Step #2: Identify Your Target Audience
Who is your target audience?
- Individuals / Consumers (B2C) or Businesses (B2B)
- Do you have a niche target audience? Do you have medical specialty area?
- Where is your target audience located? – geographically and what social media platforms are they already communicating on
- What are your patients’ personas, demographics, desires, needs, and pain points?
- What information would patients like to receive information from your medical practice and what solutions can you implement to engage with them?
Step #3: Define Your Social Media Marketing Goals
What are you hoping to accomplish with your healthcare social media marketing plan?
Your social media marketing goals might include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Educate patients and customers about your services and products
- Generate leads for your sales team
- Reach your ideal customers with little waste
- Drive traffic to your website
- Drive people to attend community outreach events
- Engage your social media community and build meaningful relationships
- Extend your services beyond your office
- Build trust and ultimately influence
Step #4: Determine What Social Media Platforms To Use
Choose one goal at a time and select the best social media platform to reach your targeted audience in order to achieve the specific goal.
For example, if you’re a Baltimore medical practice and most of your patients are local, then concentrate on Facebook as part one of your social media campaign. Facebook is a great platform to build brand awareness, nurture relationships and extend your healthcare services beyond your examination room.
Step #5: Create Content, Then Engage and Convert
Your target audience loves new social media marketing content, and search engines are attracted to fresh marketing content as they crawl the web. Take a moment to identity all of your content marketing needs. — Do you have healthcare blog articles, presentations, or videos on-line? Your answer should be “Yes. Yes. Yes.”; as all of them should be part of your social media content marketing strategy. However, for the majority of medical practices on-line, the answer is “No, No. No.”
Who on can create fresh content in your practice, or can curate it? Content is king and the great news is that you don’t have to produce it all by yourself. You can easily curate marketing content that is trending and relevant to the healthcare industry. Strive to be a thought leader in your industry or think about partnering with other local professionals in your industry or someone who can create original blog posts, infographics and more.
Just remember to keep your healthcare social media content marketing informative and of value so that you can build a vibrant social media community that engages your current patients, your target audience and extended community. It’s social media relationship building time! It’s critical to engage and nurture relationships that lead to new business. In order to accomplish this task, this means having an ongoing marketing strategy, consider the following questions:
- Who will lead my social media strategy?
- Who will create and develop the content on an ongoing basis?
- Who will implement the social media plan and interact with customers day to day?
- Who will track, monitor and report on social media activities to measure ROI?
Don’t make the critical and often mistake of appointing these important responsibility to a staff member in your practice who is already overloaded, or doesn’t understand your overall social media marketing plan. If you don’t have the personnel to carry out your strategy, get outside help so you avoid creating suspicion and doubt on your social media platforms. Before you begin your social media campaign, it’s important to define success for your organization. Do you know how much it’s costing you to acquire a new customer through traditional marketing and from social media? Set up benchmarks to measure and track your progress, and adjust as needed. This can range from getting a specific number of “Likes” on Facebook or lead newsletters signups, increased website traffic, % of Request a Price Quote submissions, and converting prospect leads to sales. By defining your social media marketing goals, you can measure the success of your social media strategy.
Get Started & Take Action Now:
The key to successfully achieving any goal is to not procrastinate!! Implement the 5 steps above to help your healthcare organization create the Best Healthcare Social Media Strategy for 2013. Get started today if you desire to be a leader in the medical practice and healthcare industry!! Connect and engage with your patients and you’ll be wonderfully surprised as to how healthcare social media marketing can have a positive, direct and indirect impact on the management of your patients health. Need help with devising your healthcare social media marketing? Not sure whee to get started? Contact our Aiden Marketing team today by sending an email to email@example.com