As a doctor, every marketing agency that has pushed a sales pitch under your nose has raised the importance of engaging with patients. What does it actually mean though?
In a nutshell it is speaking to your patients on a level that connects with them and drives the practice forward. Engagement builds your brand on a personal level and creates organic brand champions. It’s about creating relationships and social media is the perfect place to do that.
Social media has huge potential for patient interaction which makes it easier to retain them, however this is often a overlooked facet of growth. Businesses across all industries that recognise this and get the right team to do something about it are pulling away from the pack.
What is the best way to connect with patients on social media? The short answer is by starting a conversation. The longer answer will make up the bulk of this article but the important thing to start with is that there is no fixed answer. However, with an intuitive strategy tailored by an experienced marketing professional who understands your practice, those conversations will come naturally and be mutually beneficial.
Medical practices need to seek every opportunity to engage with their patients and grasp them with both hands. A missed opportunity is missed revenue.
Social customer service
Customer service should be important to all businesses yet so many practices fail to have a full or dedicated social customer service function. Your patients are using social media to talk about their brand experiences. You need to be on hand, on their favourite platforms, giving them a good experience. All of your social media comments across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more need to be read and replied to where practical. It’s no good trying to bump up the good ones or downplay the bad ones. All your patients need to feel valued and heard.
Social media comments are invaluable – they give incredible insight into your patients which presents real opportunity for engagement and tailoring services and experiences to their preferences.
There are several online tools available to help track mentions and gather insight.
- Hootsuite/TweetDeck: both offer tools to consolidate and manage your social media accounts.
- Social Mention: one of the best free tools on the market – it analyses and measures influence using 4 key categories; Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach.
When done right content marketing can be one of the most effective and inexpensive strategies for driving growth. The trick is to become a thought leader and a valuable source to your patients through informative articles, tweets and posts. Educational content demonstrates insight and your patients want your insight infinitely more than adverts. Your strategy must recognise this so post relevant articles, blogs and updates on industry as well as practice news. This content can easily be repurposed by using excerpts from your content to create Tweets or reworked to feature on relevant industry websites to help attract a wider audience. You can even repurpose your articles into YouTube videos.
When you think of search engine optimisation your first thought is Google, not YouTube, but the world’s biggest video site is actually just that: a search engine. YouTube could possibly be the most powerful tool in your social media marketing toolbox. It’s one of the most visited sites on the web and used for education as much as entertainment. As with content this shouldn’t be seen as promotional, the aim is to inform your audience. And as one of the world’s most indexed sites your SEO will improve with YouTube content.
The real work starts once you have published content. This means interacting with patients, replying to comments, starting and continuing conversations, connecting and creating relationships. When patients are engaged they become loyal advocates endorsing your practice to their social networks.
Patients are engaged when they feel recognised as individuals and this is where your marketing strategy has to shine. Patient engagement is the future driver of growth and your social media strategy will determine its profitability.
Contact Vividus today to start a conversation on how social media marketing and patient engagement strategies can help your practice succeed and grow.