11 Social Media Tips for Doctors

I had a big response to the article I posted last week about how to improve the social media presence of your medical practice. As I’m sure you know, successfully using social media requires more than random postings about your newest piece of technology, your latest skincare product, or a shameless plug in the local paper. Here are 11 more “hands-on” tips to help you leverage this amazing platform to reach new patients.

1. Choose the right platform
While it’s true that there are hundreds of social media platforms, for the purposes of marketing your aesthetic practice, you want to apply the 80/20 rule and focus only on the three to five social media platforms where your target audience “hangs out.” Unless you have a highly specialized cosmetic practice that works in a narrowly defined niche market (for example, in facial feminization and gender reassignment surgery), then 80% of your target audience is going to be between the ages of 35-65. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are used most frequently by women in this age group. I would also recommend that you have a Google+ page and a YouTube channel. They work double duty to help boost your SEO rankings. Forget Instagram for now. If you don’t have time for four or five platforms, I would focus on Facebook and Google +. Remember, it’s better to do a few platforms very well than a greater number poorly.

2. Use analytics
Social media, just like any other marketing media, needs to be held accountable for your expenditure. Results need to be tracked and analyzed. There are hundreds of tools to help analyze your social media campaign successes and failures. Please use them, but don’t just collect reports and information—use the information to take action.

3. Balance your strategy and tactics
Long gone are the days when you could just push any content onto any advertising platform and expect people to come running to your practice (known as “push marketing”). Social media is no exception. Underpinning each of your posts has to be a sales and promotional strategy. Just “talking” isn’t going to get people to pick up the phone to call you. But conversely, neither is just pitching your services. It’s a delicate balance between strategy and tactics, which is why a social media form should be an integral part of your marketing plan (and not an afterthought).

4. Focus on building relationship
Don’t just preach to your audience. The key is engagement. However, to properly engage them, you have to attract and then hold their attention. Here’s where your copywriting abilities come into play. In order to engage with your target audience, you have to post content that your target audience is already thinking about or is curious about, or content that simply entertains them and makes their day brighter. Social media isn’t a soapbox, but a tool for engagement. The conversation needs to be a two-way street.

5. Use custom images
I recommend avoiding stock imagery if you possibly can and using images of actual patients. Other images you’ll want to consider using are infographics or short, easily digestible videos. These can even be shot on an iPhone and tripod with good results.

6. Don’t use the same content across all channels
It’s tempting to use the same blog posts, articles, and images across each of your social media platforms, but if building engagement is your goal, this is a mistake. You need to make each of your social media accounts mean something different—use specialized content for each channel and you’ll grow your audience much faster.

7. Make being a fan mean something
Offer truly desirable things like discounts and giveaways solely to people who follow you on social media. They should be getting something out of being your fan or liking your page. Make sure your staff mention this to all your patients at checkout. It’s also a great way to gather online reviews.

8. Don’t treat it like a personal site
Just because you have 2,000 Facebook friends on your personal site and they always like your humorous posts doesn’t mean your business audience will enjoy the same content. These are two entirely different audiences, so respect the difference.

9. Build business alliances
Figure out which other businesses in your area complement yours (but aren’t direct competitors) and show them some love on social media. Great examples are dentists, hair salons, fashion boutiques, local entertainment venues, and charities. It’s a great way to build joint-venture relationships with other like-minded businesses. As Warren Buffet puts it, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

10. Fill out your profile and make sure it conveys your USP (unique selling proposition)
Fill out every possible field of your profile and ensure that you’re not using generic language that could aptly describe just about any other aesthetic practice. As part of your marketing across all platforms, you have to carve out your USP and convey this across all channels. Your social media profile is no exception. This is where your business’ personality is developed and it’s important for brand reputation and management.

11. Strike a personal/professional balance
You don’t want to get too personal on your social media sites, but you don’t want to seem stiffly professional either (a more common problem for doctors). It’s a delicate balance to strike, but when done well, fans will feel like they “know you,” and you will build your professional credibility at the same time.