Social media is a must for successful medical practices. Presence on social media platforms should be a part of every healthcare marketing plan, but the key to success is to focus on the platform that works best for your practice. For many, this will be Facebook. Not only is it used by the most people, it’s also conducive to building relationships with your patients and sharing information about your practice.
With more than one billion active users, Facebook lets people connect with friends and family, and keep up-to-date on the latest news from their favorite brands and businesses. As a medical practice, you fall somewhere in between here – your relationship with patients is on a personal level, but you also want to establish and grow your brand. Facebook can help.
The key to Facebook success is to organically attract engaged followers. Never pay for followers – this will only hurt you in the long-run. For ways to build a strong following and build a strong presence in Facebook’s ever-growing community, here are some tips to follow:
Start with a Solid Foundation
First, you want to make sure the basics are taken care of. Whether you set up your practice’s Facebook account years ago or you just went live, make sure your page features:
- Your current location, email address, phone number, and hours of operation
- Username and Facebook URL that matches your practice name
- Brief and extended descriptions of your practice
- Your practice’s website address in the About Us section
- Profile and cover photos (don’t use stock images!)
- Special information, such as directions or parking instructions
It’s also a good idea to make sure you choose an appropriate primary page category and subcategories that target your ideal patients.
Spread the Word
Don’t be shy about letting everyone know your medical practice is on Facebook. You want to generate as much buzz as possible. Link your page to your personal Facebook account and encourage your staff to do the same. Also consider any of these promotional tools:
- Including your Facebook URL on print marketing materials
- Adding social media widgets to your practice’s website
- Including a link to your Facebook page in your email signature
- Sending an email announcement about your Facebook page to current patients
- Use hashtags to attract new followers when you share posts on Facebook
Make Sure You’re Part of the Right Crowd
At least as far as Facebook is concerned! It’s important to connect with other local businesses that are relevant to your field. This is a great way to build relationships and to attract local followers. For instance, you might follow area health food stores, pharmacies, or other health professionals or medical facilities. Also seek out reputable medical news sites that will enable you to share useful content with just the click of a button.
Be Smart about Your Posts
The key to Facebook success isn’t a specific number or type of posts, it’s just being consistently active. You can start with two to three posts per week, but it’s going to take some time to find your sweet spot. You’ll also begin to see patterns in what types of posts generate the most activity for you. Pay attention, keep careful tracking notes, and once you find what works keep doing it.
Here are a few general tips for posts that tend to work:
- Include an image with every post. They generate about 45 percent more clicks than text-only images
- Keep your self-promotion to only about 20 percent of your posts. In the other 80 percent, share information that is useful or relevant to your patients.
- Keep posts length short. There’s no need to write paragraphs in every post.
- Be sure to respond to any comments you receive on posts, ideally within 24 hours. You should try to generate responses by asking open-ended questions and encourage followers to interact with your posts.
Assess the Situation on an Ongoing Basis
It’s important to do a Facebook audit every now and then. Review your page to make sure information is accurate and up-to-date. Add anything new and weed out any pages you follow that seem to have gone dead. Consider refreshing your cover photo every so often, especially if there’s something new you want patients to know about.
You might want to take 10 to 15 minutes each month to browse through your information and make sure things are in order. This is also a great time to check Facebook Insights, which provides information about the popularity of your posts, so you know what works I the future.
With a little effort, you can turn Facebook into a valuable marketing tool for your practice. If you’d like more information or you need help setting up an account with any social media platform, give us a call!