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Effective social media marketing requires more than an occasional Facebook post

Article-Effective social media marketing requires more than an occasional Facebook post

“Facebook” is commonly used as a generic term to collectively describe all social media medical practice activities, much like “Google” has become a verb to describe the physical act of utilizing the internet for search. For example, “Does your practice leverage social media to increase your connectivity with existing and future patients?” Answer: “Yes, we have had a Facebook page for few years now.”  

While this is understandable, given the magnitude of active Facebook users (1.28 billion), the social media landscape and its impact on the modern medical practice extends far beyond the pages of Facebook.

As of July 2014, the site driving the most online engagement is actually the Google-owned YouTube. In addition to leading engagement, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world next only to Google. One hundred million people perform a social activity on YouTube every week. This includes likes, shares and comments—certainly not a medium to be ignored.

Consider these compelling statistics on average sessions (time) and page views for the most popular social media sites:

  • YouTube 3:47, 2.99 page views
  • Facebook 2:07, 2.03 page views
  • Twitter 2:03, 2.15 page views
  • Google+ 3:08, 2.45 page views
  • Pinterest 1:04, 1.71 page views

Obviously each of these statistics has significant implications on your strategy to increase connectivity with this population. Each of these sites has different demographics in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, geography and relevance to your practice. Effective social media marketing for your practice should include a blended strategy across several social media channels.

NEXT: Word of mouth referrals


Our practice is based on word of mouth referrals, so why should I care about any of this?

GREAT QUESTION. Ninety-six percent of adults have introduced a new business to a friend by word of mouth. How they introduce the business varies depending on the communication preference of the person being referred, i.e., name, email, website, etc. The bigger point, and the one that REALLY matters to your practice, is what happens after the person receives this coveted form of referral.

In other words, what factors influence the referred person’s final decision to utilize the referral?

In the modern medical world it looks like this:

  1. The referrer matters most
  2. The website of the practice
  3. Reviews
  4. LinkedIn profile
  5. Facebook page
  6. Twitter profile
  7. Other social media

While the reputation of the referrer (in addition to the reputation of the physician) is the primary influencer, reputation alone may not be enough to convert this person into a paying patient.

There are a series of steps that each referral will follow before making a final decision. Lack of a well-established digital and social presence could make the difference between obtaining a new patient or their decision to consult with a competing physician.

NEXT: It's never about on thing


It’s never about one thing

In addition to sharing the right content at the right time, there are other factors that contribute to successful social media marketing. Keep in mind that ultimately it is all about conversion. Activity = New patients or Activity = Additional procedures performed for existing patients (per patient revenue). Before any social media activities are performed, your practice must have systems in place to track the results. Accurate analytics are the key to your ability to manage and measure your success. It is often said you can’t manage what you can’t measure. The good news is most social media sites offer fairly simple tools to monitor your pages.

If everything goes the way it should, ultimately, social patients will end up on your website. In addition, there is a 60 percent chance they will be using a mobile device. So, first and foremost, you must have a mobile responsive web platform. Next, you have to make it simple for the user to contact you either via email or phone. Prominent contact forms with appropriate calls to action can make a big difference in conversion rate. Professional video elements, testimonials and an updated blog will also go a long way to boost conversion.

NEXT: A few fun facts


A few fun facts

Did you know…?

  • Highest traffic for Facebook occurs from 1pm to 3 pm in the middle of the week
  • Engagement on Facebook is 18 percent higher on Thursday and Friday
  • Forty-two percent of marketers say Facebook is either critical or very important to their business

With that in mind, success via social media requires so much more than an occasional, random Facebook post. An inconsistent, non-strategic approach will ultimately lead you to the inevitable conclusion the “juice is not worth the squeeze.”

Bottom line

The next time someone asks you if your practice leverages social media to find, serve and keep more patients profitably, give some serious thought before you answer. It all starts with belief. Do you really believe that random posts here and there are going to make an impact on the growth and sustainability of your practice?

What would you think if you asked me if I understand how to perform the physical act of advanced plastic surgery and I said, “Yes, I have a knife, but I only use it once in a while”?

I think we could agree that there is a lot more to successful plastic surgery than owning a knife. The same principle applies to effective social media marketing. Education, research, practice and consistency will lead to increased engagement, an increase in patient satisfaction and ultimately an increase in practice revenue.


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