Social Media – Where to from here?

Most medical practices, by now, recognise the power of social media and understand that it?s not just a passing fad.
 
Over the last year, every major social network has experienced significant growth in Australia, especially Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. With the rise of Vine, practices are now also using the platform to promote their own products/services instead of relying on traditional media like TV and radio ads.
 
While most healthcare organisations seem to have accepted that social media is important and are spending more time on it, few have made the step to investing in the tools and executive support needed to use social media effectively. 
 
If your goal is to build a sustainable online presence, then you need to develop a strategy to optimise your social media campaigns.
 
Here are a few tips you can implement to enhance patient engagement and generate more leads into your practice:
 

Facebook: 

1. Be visual.
Facebook is continuously changing and it?s often difficult to keep up. Currently Facebook is all about images and videos, the more you have the more likely you?ll attract engaged followers. 
 
2. Respond 
Social media is meant to be interactive, so when your patients post a comment to your page, whether positive or negative, it?s goes a long way to respond to them within the same day. Make sure that any negative comments are dealt with in a positive, pro-active manner that aims to resolve the issue/complaint. 
 
3. Targeted Marketing
We love how easy it is to target your marketing campaigns on Facebook. You can set up everything from events to posts to ads with a targeted approach for your audience. Define gender, location, age, life stage, hobbies, likes, etc. all of which makes the chances of attracting the right audience more likely.
 

YouTube: 

1. Tutorials
Video is one of the best ways to get your message out there and as mentioned above, the more you have the higher the level of patient engagement and the more Google will love you. We recommend creating short (3-4 minute), well-edited tutorial videos of you or your staff members showing people how to do something related to your service or product. 
 
2. Employee profiles
It?s so much easier to build trust with your audience by using short interview style videos of your staff, and it?s also a great way to personalise your branding efforts.
 

LinkedIn: 

1. Be personal
The number one mistake people make on LinkedIn is being too generic and network-y in an impersonal way. Don?t forget that LinkedIn is still a social media platform even though it has a more professional edge to it; you still need to be personal! If you want to connect with someone, make sure you know who you?re connecting with, and approach them with language as you would in person.
 
2. Don?t neglect your company page 
Other than your website, this is the most public professional face of your company. Be consistent with your messaging and post any company updates as well as job openings there. 
3. Add value
LinkedIn users like to read and engage with content that is industry-appropriate and adds professional value.
 

Twitter: 

1. It?s all about personality! 
Make sure that every post communicates your practice?s personality. After all, the main reason people follow you is to get to know you and what you?re about – so keep them interested with original, interesting content.
 
2. Consistency is key
No one follows the occasional or out-of-date tweeter, so tweet consistently and regularly. Aim for four times per weekday, and if you can?t handle more, schedule it using a social media management tool such as HootSuite.
 
3. Follow trending topics
Just as it?s important to be consistent, it?s also important to listen and pay attention to what?s trending in the world of twitter. By following trending topics, you can take advantage of topics that are relevant to you and tweet about them. It?s also important to note, that it is bad twitter etiquette to jump on a sensitive trending topic to promote your brand. 
 
4. # Hashtags 
Hashtags are often overused, but they are very useful in helping you get found in twitter searches. They are simply a keyword phrase, spelled without the spaces e.g. #socialmediamarketing. 
 
5. Retweets 
You don?t always have to try and come up with your own content, you can retweet content that fits with your community and your voice, and you may pick up a few new followers along the way. You should also aim for a 20% retweet rate on your own tweets.
 

Blogs: 

1. Long form content
Blogs still have a lot of weight in the world of search engine optimisation. This is your opportunity to create long form content rich with keywords and accompanied by interesting and educational images. 
 
2. Get readers coming back for more
Create at least 3 regular series-style posts such as ?Monday health tips?, ?Feature of the Month? or ?Behind the scenes?. This will demonstrate to your readers that it is regular and they will return to read the next feature. 
 
3. Link your blog posts with other social posts
In the world of social media, everything you do is to encourage engagement and drive traffic to your website. E.g. When you post on Twitter, you can end the post with ?read more? or ?more photos? and link to your blog post.
 
4. Use well-written content
?Writing is a skill, and if readers are going to spend time on your blog, you need to make sure you meet their expectations with well-written, interesting and informative content. 
 
Social media may appear more overwhelming than it actually is, but at the end of the day it?s about ?working smart?. Speak to us to find out how you can create a social media plan that will help keep you accountable and make your social media efforts more effective and efficient. 

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