6 Ways Doctors Can Use Social & Content to Market Their Practice
Social Media for Doctors in conjunction with content marketing can help explode the growth of your practice.
In this modern age of technology, content marketing and social media has had a heavy impact on almost every mainstream business or profession in the world. We all know what social media is, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, but most people aren’t very familiar with the term content marketing.
Simply defined, content marketing is a way to draw in your target audience by giving away enthralling information that they want to consume on the internet. For further information on content marketing, read this.
How can Social Media & Content Marketing Help Doctors?
As mentioned before, content marketing is playing an increasing pivotal role in reshaping businesses and professions around the world medical professionals is no exception. If you thought doctors have no need for content marketing and social media networks then you couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Before there was content marketing, doctors had to rely on costly methods of online advertising to market their practice such as banner ads. Soon the patients grew impatient of these agitating tactics and ignored the ads.
According to Pew Research, today’s patients are increasingly turning towards the internet to find information, not advertisements, about symptoms, treatment and support. That means if your want patients to find you when they go online, you need to be involved in content marketing and social media.
How is content marketing related to social media?
If you’re a healthcare professional who is yet to jump on the content marketing and social media bandwagon, you may be a wondering what’s the connection between the two. Well first of all, both social media and content marketing revolve around educating people (patients in this case) about, answering their questions and sharing intriguing news about your practice or field of medicine. In other words, social media and content marketing for doctors are used to quench the thirst for knowledge of your target audience i.e. your patients.
Secondly, social media is absolutely crucial if you want to succeed in online content marketing. Think of the millions and millions of people on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms who may need your medical expertise and benefit from the knowledge that you share with them.
Promotion and propagation
Coming up with the content isn’t enough. What’s the point of expressing your knowledge and expertise if you can’t exhibit them to your audience? Hence, it is imperative for you to promote your content on social media networks. However, promotion isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
You should understand that social media is basically a hotspot for the most interesting conversations taking place around the world. People using the social media are very active and in all fairness very busy. They have a very short attention span and until and unless you content is appealing, they will not be inclined to read it.
Therefore, the challenge for you as a doctor who uses social media is to be more interesting, innovative and informative. You can call this the 3 “I”s of success in content marketing via social media.
Coming up with the content isn’t enough.
1. Keep on blogging
There are people out there are hungry for medical knowledge and all you have to do is keep feeding them. Develop an editorial calendar to help you blog regularly and more consistently. The content that you put up on Social Media has to be updated regular for it stay relevant.
You need to plan for the interesting stories, facts, figures and discoveries that you will share online and on the social media. The majority of these stories should be derived from your blog but every once in a while, add something new and fresh that will be tailor made for your followers on social media. Photos, videos and podcasts are very well received by social media users.
2. Be a great Narrator
Remember the 3 “I” of success in content marketing that I mentioned above? For me, it’s not about how informative you, it’s how you interesting your information is. It’s kind of like packaging a product .
If you want to garner attention, then you have to present your content in the most enticing way possible and the best way to do that is by narrating stimulating stories about your industry, practice, people and events. Each and every story should be interesting and unique so that it helps to draw in fresh new readers on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites that you use.
Stories that center around real life experiences are popular of course, especially on Facebook. As a doctor, you will most likely have numerous such stories to narrate. Be sure to not breach the patient doctor confidentiality. Stories about your patients will give others a clear idea about how your practice is changing lives and putting smiles on people’s faces.
3. Be a perfectionist
As mentioned before, everybody loves to hear inspirational patient stories. However, narrating the story is only half the job done. You have to pay great attention to HOW you tell the story. Story telling on social is a creative process and requires flawless execution.
If you’re on Facebook, post visually appealing and well edited photos instead of providing drab links to your blog. When it comes to Twitter, you need to be able to captivate the audience with as few words as you can. (A tweet can only be 140 characters long). You also need to figure out the use of relevant hashtags to make it easier for people to find your content.
As you can see, every social media platform is different and you need to master a wide range of skills to demand the attention of their users. It’s all about studying the environment and knowing the ins and outs of making your content go viral.
4. Have an identity
Being an anonymous and generous distributor of knowledge isn’t going to help your cause. You need to have a specific identity defined by your physical location and contact information. In this way, you can encourage patients to “check in” to your location using Facebook places.
These “check ins” can be looked as an indirect form of advertisement that will help bolster the number of people who know about your practice. In other words, it has a similar effect as that of “word-of-mouth marketing”. I understand that most people like to keep their medical information confidential and would not be too zealous about “checking in” to a medical center. If required, offer your patients a small discount for every time they “check in”.
5. Self description
The “About” section of your Facebook page should work like a “self description” page. Fill it up with keyword rich names, categories and detailed descriptions about your profession, your practice and your field of research. When describing your practice, refrain from technical words and use words that reflect the natural conversational language that your audience uses.
In the same breath, the “About” page of your website should offer a lot more than keywords related to the medical conditions you treat. It should contain well explained answers to frequently asked questions. Do a little a bit of brainstorming and figure out a list of common questions that your patients have asked in the past or can ask you in the future.
6. Keep them excited
As valuable as medical information and knowledge is, it’s always not enough to keep your target audience hooked to your content. Hence, you have to devise a new strategy to maintain the influx of new clients. Contests, promotions and giveaways are very effective ways of obtaining new clients via social media.
Make sure that the prizes that you give away have some degree of relevance to your practice. In this way, you can make your contests stand out and keep the audience excited and enthusiastic about your services. There’s no point giving away an Ipad. Instead, spend $500 on giving away an expensive and highly useful medical kit.
Avoid handing out free services because it makes you look like a doctor who is desperate to have a handful of patiends at his door. In addition to that, free services will encourage people to not buy until they find out if they've won.
Give away the products for only a limited time period to create a sense of intrigue and urgency among your audience. If you want ensure high participation, then encourage fans to share your content, uploads photos or narrate inspirational stories about their life on social media for a chance to win.
Bottom Line About Social Media & Content Marketing for Doctors
Many doctors resist the urge to market their services due to a growing sense of pride in their job. There is no denying that operating as a physician is a noble and unique profession that will forever be in demand (let’s face it, the world isn’t going to run out of sick people). However, if you don’t take advantage of doctor content marketing and social media for doctors, then you can’t expect the modern day man to come knocking at your door for medical assistance.