With numerous opportunities to market healthcare practices (such as dermatologists, radiologists, plastic surgeons, and orthopedic surgeons), the primary social media platforms that will have an impact on your business are Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. These three tend to have the most impact on the healthcare profession than other outlets. In a poll by Pulse Digital Marketing, 51% of patients say that they feel more valued as a patient when doctors use social media, blogs, and other digital means to communicate. The poll also found that 41% said social media influenced their selection of a healthcare provider. However, directing the focus of your social media posts is really the key.
Facebook is the obvious choice for digital marketing, especially for healthcare professionals in B2C (Business-To-Consumer). Your target audience is looking for healthy living ideas, such as diet and exercise, to health education and events to videos from hospitals and healthcare providers just like you. Along with Facebook’s options to create display ads, and develop engaging posts, the ability to target specific users, it can also become the “voice of the patient”. You can select options like location, connections, demographics and interests. Here are some marketing benefit you can find for your healthcare practice:
- It is FREE and not much time is required to get started.
- Facebook provides a huge connected and targeted community. Why not try advertising on Facebook?:
- Connections: You have the ability to contact people who are connected to your event, app, or page. You can also connect with their friends, offering you a plethora of potential patients.
- Demographics: You can select the audience based on the demographic parameters you want, such as age, education, gender, and more.
- Interests: Find new patients based on their interests, hobbies, and pages that they already like on Facebook.
- Listening to interaction and feedback—sometimes, candid feedback—is extremely valuable to understanding the needs and wants of the customer/patient.
- It is excellent for search engine visibility and visitor traffic. With a PageRank of 1, creating a Facebook page and linking it to your website, blog, or other online accounts will help capture more traffic.
Obviously, there are more benefits to establishing your healthcare business on Facebook. Getting started on Facebook is easy, and will enable you to begin forming personal relationships with patients and other professionals.
Google+ should be in your arsenal of social media and can be a useful tool for marketing your practice. Google+ tends to be more about sharing ideas and content.
According to a 2013 Pew survey, one-third of U.S. adults who have ever gone online to try to figure out a medical condition they are dealing with – diagnosis, and 59 percent of U.S. adults say they went online in the past year to gather health information.
- Rise in the ranks: Participating in Google+ give you an advantage because the content you share has an “edge” against other stories. Everything you post on Google+ is automatically indexed by Google, significantly boosting your search engine results without any extra work.
- Your activity is amplified: As your following gets larger, content that is shared with your followers will also show up on those followers’ relevant Google.com searches. This helps keep your, say, dermatology practice on the top of followers’ minds.
- Be noticed in the crowd: Google+ allows you to create circles to group the people or companies you would like to follow. You can create custom circles, like Customers, Colleagues, Friends, Competitors, etc. without them having to ‘follow you back’. This will help you avoid sharing irrelevant content with people and tailor content you share to specific groups.
There are other advanced tools such as Circles, Communities, and Hangouts (Video chats…a webinar maybe?) that a healthcare marketer can utilize that will increase your visibility. I recommend that everyone that wants to promote themselves via social media familiarize themselves with all the tools at their disposal through Google+…there are many.
Over the past several years, the number of healthcare professionals on LinkedIn and their use of the platform have grown at an increasing rate. At the end of 2013, there were over 4.4 million healthcare practitioners, executives, channel followers, and opinion leaders on LinkedIn. It has over 332 million users and is a place where you can do professional networking. If you have been in business long, you know how crucial networking with others in your field or area is to stay abreast of the latest news, and create “referral” based relationships.
- Engage in groups by j
- Creating Showcase Pages now allows companies that have unique aspects of their business with their own message to share, and a unique audience to share with. This LinkedIn page explains, “Showcase Pages allow you to extend your Company Page presence by creating a dedicated child page for those aspects of your business. Interested members can then follow your Showcase Page as they follow any Company Page”.
- Write “Influencer” Posts if you are a blogger. Linkedin announced its new blogging feature last year allowing anyone to become an “influencer”. However, to properly post the published posts they should be your own original views, not something copied and pasted from your company blog.
- Seek out recommendations and referrals by getting to know other healthcare professionals on the site. Then ask them to refer you to patients in need of your healthcare services.
Social media continues to expand and add tools to aid in building professional contacts so establishing yourself as a trusted medical expert is only going to become more important over time. It is a unique way to market yourself and your healthcare business by choosing a variety of social media marketing tools in today’s fast-paced digital world. With the cost of healthcare rising, patients won’t hesitate traveling longer distances to get better treatment at a lower cost either.