Right now it seems a whole lot of people are on Facebook. According to PewResearch Center’s Social Media Update 2013, Facebook remains the most popular social network among U.S. adults. Marketing research firm Vision Critical discovered that social media has a tremendous impact on consumer decisions. It was reported that of the people who liked, shared, or commented on the the posted retail product, many have gone on to buy that product. Healthcare practices can build similar engagement patterns utilized in the retail sector by developing a similar Facebook Strategy.
Tip #1 – Word Count for Your Facebook Posts
Digital marketing consultancy TrackMaven analyzed more than 1.5 million Facebook posts. They found that posts with 80 words to 89 words double engagement compared to posts with only 70 words to 79 words. Take your time to write a well thought out post before publishing it to Facebook. One could do this by using a word processing document with a word count tool. This helps catch grammatical or spelling errors too.
Tip #2 – Use Visual Content to Increase Engagement
TrackMaven discovered posts with photos had 2.35 average interactions per post compared to only 1.71 for those without photos. Pictures are a great way to quickly build excitement for your practice. Do you have an especially nice office? Show it off. Do you have any changes in the office? Posting photos of new hires or new services also is good content for social media. Do you want to calm the anxieties of prospective future patients? Uploading photos of your waiting room and street view of your medical practice will give them a sense of familiarity before they walk in your door. Images also help to humanize your practice when you post fun behind the scene glimpses of the staff.
Posting videos is another visual method to grab the attention of the Facebook user. Dr. Lawrence Rosen, a social-savvy clinician and practice owner, discovered that videos of his media appearances and webinars would generate a lot of engagement. Using an infographic is yet another way to use visual content. Not only are they eye-catching, they are also extremely useful for conveying complex information. Pinterest and Google Images are two great resources for infographic ideas and content.
Tip #3 – Consider the Timing of Your Posts
TrackMaven reports posting between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. can get your practice 11 percent more interactions than posting during regular working hours. TrackMaven also found that Monday through Friday the average number of interactions per post remains consistent, then increases on Saturday and Sundays. In fact, it was stated posts completed on Sunday have the greatest impact. You can use a facebook scheduling tool so don’t worry about having to work nights and weekends. Remember one or two posts a day is enough to keep your fans interested. Do not pester your audience with excessive posting. When posting, keep selling to a minimum. We recommend you post sales or marketing posts only once every 75 posts.
Tip #4 – Communicate With Your Fans
“Keeping your patients digitally informed makes them feel more valued” states social media manager Michelle Mangino. This in return can earn you their loyalty. There is lots of helpful content you can share with existing and prospective patients. Are you closed during a certain time period because of a holiday or vacation? Is a new service being offered? Did you open a new location? These are all examples of helpful information patients will want to know.
As you know, the internet is full of misinformation. Anytime you can share your medical expertise your patients will be appreciative because you are the voice they can trust to stay healthy. Asking questions is another helpful tool for your medical practice to use when communicating on Facebook. TrackMaven reports posts that ask questions get 23 percent more engagement. For example, ask patients a question for a chance to win a contest, such as a gift card. Another way to post a question is by asking patients to share advice.
Tip #5 – Use a Moderator to Respond to Messages
You should assign a moderator to your Facebook page. The chief aim of the moderator is to answer all fan inquiries so your fans do not feel neglected and take their business elsewhere. The moderator will also keep an eye out for any inappropriate posts that may violate HIPPA concerns and remove those as needed.
Tip #6 – Engage with Other Facebook Pages in Your Service Area
Usually, people think about Facebook pages for their fans. But it makes sense to get into the practice of “liking” other like-minded pages as this is a great way to create a referral network for your practice. For example, it would make sense to like a page for the local farmer’s market since you are both interested in things that promote a healthy diet. Leave a comment on their page. They in turn might start a partnership by reciprocating comments on your page. Just think, you might now have a whole new set of fans courtesy of the local farmer’s market fan base.
Tip #7 – Follow HIPPA Laws
There are many benefits to posting on Facebook, but always remember to protect your practice as well as your patients by following HIPPA laws. The best thing to do is somewhere on your page prominently feature a disclaimer about what is appropriate for Facebook. Remember, the moderator will regularly monitor posts. So if there is a problem, he or she can remove it quickly and send the patient a private message to contact the office directly. By implementing these seven suggestions when posting on Facebook, you will be on your way to successfully marketing your medical practice online.