Social media is a triple threat: You can use social networks to establish yourself as a thought leader, curate your healthcare practice brand, and boost return on investment (ROI) by engaging with patients online. Especially in order to meet the demands of patient acquisition in the digital age, social media marketing is an essential healthcare marketing strategy for even the busiest doctor when it comes to increasing online visibility.
If you aren’t already sold on social media marketing or just need a little motivation to take the first steps, here is an introductory guide to the benefits of social media marketing for healthcare providers and healthcare marketers.
Your Audience Is on Social Media
While the act of creating social media accounts might seem daunting, rest assured by the fact that 80 percent of internet users in the U.S. search for health information online, and of these, 74 percent use social media in their search.
One of the biggest audiences on social media is undoubtedly the Millennial generation, which accounts for $200 billion in annual buying power. Bring some of this money to your healthcare practice by targeting this audience with social media marketing, where they are more than twice as likely to engage in health-related discussions than older generations.
Focus on your Brand on Social Networks to Build Your Patient Base
With the breadth of online tools available, patients are more empowered than ever to take control of their health. A big piece of the decision-making process for prospective patients involves choosing a healthcare provider.”
In fact, 41 percent of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or healthcare facility. The best social media healthcare profiles give followers a glimpse at what their patient experience might be like, similar to an online review.
Optimize your healthcare marketing strategy with social media profiles that have consistent business information, including your hours, biography, and imagery to help convert searchers into customers.
Take a look at these five doctors who serve as a great example of successful branding on social media.
Be a Follower to Become a Social Media Thought Leader
Online social relationships are often no different from those in real life in that they are a two-way street. You must share and engage with other social media accounts — people in your area, people in your professional network, medical organizations and associations — in order to get the most from social media marketing.
After all, being “social” is the name of the game. So, if you’re engaging with others on social media through liking, commenting, and sharing, you’ll see that in return on your own valuable content.
Share your Expertise, But Comply with HIPAA
For the most effective healthcare marketing on social media, create a schedule that cross-promotes your blog posts across all social media channels. Send out a social post including a message that calls out a key point from the article and its URL. If you choose to blog on a timely healthcare topic, engage on social with relevant hashtags.
In any case, all information healthcare providers share online must comply with HIPAA. Don’t let this scare you away from social media marketing and growing your online presence, simply follow guidelines for protected health information before posting to social media.
If you choose to give responsibility of social media to your front office staff, be sure to educate them on HIPAA and establish a set of marketing rules to maintain your healthcare practice brand.
Get Active on Social Media to Boost Your Healthcare Practice
The old rules of healthcare marketing and dental marketing such as sponsoring your local soccer team or sending direct mail no longer suffice as ways to grow your healthcare practice. Today’s patients are going online in search of meaningful and easily accessible information. Take initiative in providing this through social media and see the boost in your practice’s bottom line.
Looking for more information on how to set your practice up for success on social media? Check out this blog “4 Steps Healthcare Providers Should Take Before Using Social Media for Business.”