How can you use social media posts to engage and retain patients? What are some of the easiest tips to make your social media efforts worthwhile?
We all know Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media sites can play an important role in your practice. These sites, for better or worse, allow patients to spread information to friends, family and even strangers – which can result in more reach and increased loyalty for your practice.
While managing every social media site is nearly impossible, it’s important to have a profile created on at least one social media platform to attract today’s patients. Plus, as an added benefit, you’ll get a boost in your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts by being active on social media.
But how can you make sure what your posting works and you’re really doing your best to get the most out of your social media posts? Although there’s no guarantee to ensure success, there are a few things you can do to help put your best social foot forward.
Setup an account with a handle that fits your organization, but keep it short. Keeping it short makes it easier for users to retweet you without going over the 140 character limit imposed by Twitter. Fill out your profile with accurate information and include a URL to your practice website.
Try to tweet 4-5 times a week with links to your blog posts, news about your staff or other information that your followers might find interesting (such as relevant news posts on other sites or retweets from users you follow). The best time to tweet is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and the worst time is between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m.
When tweeting, use questions, facts and figures to engage followers. Just because a tweet can only contain 140 characters, doesn’t mean you should sacrifice grammar. Use mentions and hashtags (those #ThingsThatLookLikeThis) to improve engagement.
To monitor patient feedback, check your “@” mentions and keyword mentions. Third party tools such as Hootsuite can allow you to track searches, schedule tweets and manage multiple accounts at once (we use it and we love it).
On Facebook, start with creating a page and fill out as much of the information when possible. This information should include the address, business hours and contact information.
Be sure to post consistently. The best time to post is between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. The worst time to post is between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Post ideas include:
- Links to blogs
- Event invites
- Patient testimonials
- Links to relevant news
- Staff photos
When you provide a link, use Bit.ly so that you can track how many clicks were made to that link. Posts with photos generate 53% more likes than those without, so post a photo whenever possible. Before posting anything, double check the spelling and grammar.
Monitor comments, private messages and content shared on your timeline by using an app for your Apple or Android device(s). Patients can also review businesses’ Facebook pages with a five-star scale and can even leave personalized messages. Make sure to engage with users with comments and replies whenever possible.
Create a YouTube channel that will house all of your videos. Not sure what your videos should include? Consider:
- Physician interviews on local news
- “Getting to Know” your physicians
- Patient Testimonials
- Procedure Overviews
Use the about section to provide information about your service, facilities and include a link to your website. You can also add links to your other social media channels.
Start a company or group page filling out all of the sections so that you can be found more easily by other healthcare professionals and even potential patients.
It’s a good idea to post content that is geared more toward the B2B audience rather than the general consumer here. Again, be sure to add links to your blog posts or to your YouTube videos (notice a trend?). These links help drive traffic to your website and engage patients. A win-win scenario. Post content between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Try to avoid posting between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.