The Social Media Playbook for Naturopathic Doctors
Do doctors and medical practices have a place on social media? According to a ZocDoc survey, 53% of physicians in the United States have a professional Facebook page for their medical practice.
There are more than 27 million people over the age of 55 engaged on social networks, and Facebook has more than 1 billion daily active users. Statistics also show that social media can influence patients to seek a second opinion and that patients with a chronic condition are some of the “most engaged audiences” on social media. Whereas only 36% of social media users trust posts from pharmaceutical companies, 60% say that they trust posts from doctors.
You want to show up online in the places where your patients and potential patients hang out, and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest might be just those places.
Like all things in content marketing, social media will only work to grow your medical practice if you have a calculated plan. This article lays out the playbook to create a solid social media strategy that will have your dream patients lining up at your door.
STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR PLATFORMS
Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat, and YouTube. You do not need to show up on all of the social platforms—that will just make you crazy. I recommend you focus on creating an amazing presence on just 1 to 3 platforms. Twitter is best for news updates, and LinkedIn is best for connecting with other professionals, but the 3 platforms I most often recommend to grow your medical practice might surprise you. They are Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Facebook has more users than any other platform, and 1 billion of them are looking at their newsfeeds every day! Facebook is a good place to connect with patients and potential patients of all ages, even those who are older than 55. Be sure to set up a business page (rather than a personal page) for your medical practice. A business page is visible to the public, optimized to show up on search engines, and allows you unlimited followers. You will also need a business page if you ever want to run ads on Facebook.
Not many people really use Google+ as a social network, but it is a veritable social media platform. The reason that I recommend having a business profile on Google+ is because it will help you rank on search. If you mimic all of your Facebook posts on Google+, search engine robots will see it and index your site faster. It is a simple thing to do that just might drive more traffic to your site.
I recommend Pinterest for a similar reason that I recommend Google+. Pinterest is more of a search engine than it is a social network. Pinned posts show up on searches within the platform but also on Google search results. If you are writing blogs that you share on Facebook, go ahead and share them on Pinterest as well. You can include a link from Pinterest to your blog post as a way to drive more traffic to your site.
Instagram is a site to share gorgeous photos, but more and more businesses are using it as a way to reach potential new customers. Unlike Pinterest, you cannot add a link to your site from the images that you share on Instagram. You are, however, allowed a single link from your Instagram profile to your website. You can take full advantage of this option by linking to a landing page that promotes a free offer. This is a great way to grow your email list of people who discover you via Instagram.
STEP 2: OPTIMIZE PROFILES
Each social platform has slightly different features for business profiles. Be sure that all of your profiles are consistent with your brand. Upload your logo, include images from your office, and keep the colors consistent. Always include a clear link to your website for more information. Facebook has a variety of call-to-action boxes you can add to your profile, such as contact us, shop now, or book appointment.
STEP 3: CREATE A SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR
You want to be careful not to email your subscribers too many times a week, but you can post to social media every day if you want! If you want to have a visible social presence, you should ideally post at least 3 times per week. Before you freak out about that, hear me out. Posting 3 times a week does not mean that you need to create fresh and unique content that frequently.
Social media posts fall into several different categories, which you can tweak and define for yourself. Some examples are here:
- Motivational quotes
- Quick health tips
- Questions to engage your audience
- News articles from industry leaders or influential companies
- Blog articles on your own website
- Promotional offers
Make a list of social media post categories that are consistent with your practice. Then plug those into a calendar for the month. You might post an engaging question every Monday (“What health goal do you have for this week?”), a motivational quote every Tuesday, a blog article every other Wednesday, and a promotion every other Thursday.
As you begin to follow your plan, keep a library of social posts. Once you have a solid number of quotes, health tips, engaging questions, and your own blog articles, you can repeat those posts. There are some amazing social scheduling tools that will even do this for you, like SmarterQueue.
If you do not yet have a social media presence for your medical practice, now is the time to start. Getting started is completely free, and only costs you the time to get set up. Much of the work of social sharing can be designated to a staff member.
One thing to consider when going social is creating a blogging strategy at the same time. It is nice to share other people and company’s content on social, but that does not do much to promote your own practice. Social networks are excellent places to share your own blog posts and drive traffic to your website.