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Healthcare organizations are finally starting to recognize and appreciate the benefits of social media mistakes – Research conducted by Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group found that over 26 percent of medical clinics and hospitals use social media channels to engage with existing patients and reach potential new patients.
Also, more and more doctors are starting to discover the benefits of social media as well. In fact, the number of doctors who use social media as a marketing channel continues to increase each year.
Why is Social Media Important for Medical Practices?
Do you know one of the best ways to market your medical clinic without having to invest too much financially? If you guessed social media, you’re right! In fact, let me just share a few numbers with you quickly – Facebook has a whopping 1.7 billion monthly active users and Twitter has about 300 million active users. And the best part about social media is that it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE. That means that anyone and everyone can create a profile and get active (that’s a lot of potential patients just waiting to be engaged with).
Now, let’s turn to a specific group of individuals – let’s focus on millennials for a moment. Millennials are very conscious and (arguably) more concerned about their health than the generation before them. You can actually use this to your advantage because millennials are also very active and engaged on social media. Plus, they’re on their cell phones almost 24/7, usually on social media, browsing the Internet, or texting. So just think about the numerous potential opportunities you have to reach millennials. That’s just one example of how you utilize social media and how to avoid social media mistakes.
Statistics on Social Media and Healthcare
These days, social media has transformed from just a peer-to-peer networking hub to a platform that is utilized by organizations of all sizes, including medical clinics, for marketing and advertising purposes. So, here’s why you and your medical practice should care about having a social media presence:
- 32 percent of Americans post on social media about the health experiences of their family and friends.
- 29 percent of patients who view health information using social media also view other patients’ experiences with their disease.
- 74 percent of internet users engage on social media and 80 percent of the 74 percent are specifically looking for health information online.
- 60 percent of customers say that they trust a doctor’s post.
- 27 percent of patients would comment or publish status updates about their health-related experiences.
- 72 percent of people on the Internet are active social media users.
Now that you understand the importance of social media a little better and how it can help your practice, let’s take a look at some of the top social media mistakes that doctors make (plus how to avoid them).
The 5 Most Common Mistakes Doctors Make
#1 Focusing too much on the number of posts
When it comes to social media posts, one big problem is that many businesses think that one way of ensuring the success of their social media campaigns hinges on their number of posts. Doctors are no exception to that thought process. Sometimes, they even sabotage themselves by producing lower quality posts because they focus more on quantity over quality. As a result, patients may begin to feel like they’re being blasted with spam posts which could result in them unfollowing you or your practice. Therefore, don’t fall into the ‘quantity over quality’ trap – make sure that you provide informative and beneficial posts in order to keep your followers interested and not annoyed.
#2 Promoting (yourself or your practice) too much on social media
You need to provide useful and informative information and only do soft promotion. When you promote yourself too much online, your followers will notice that your main goal is just to promote yourself and your practice and that’s it. You can gain, and keep, more patients and followers by being engaging and offering value to them.
#3 Using poor images
The look and feel of your social media presence matters patients. The design of your social media page is like the outer beauty of a person. If people don’t like what they see, unfortunately, they judge you. The same goes for your website and social media pages – if they are poorly designed, they will judge you based on that. Many potential patients probably interact with you for the first time on social media, so make sure that you give them a great first impression. You can do that by ensuring that all your images are properly-sized and look professional. Make your cover photo something professional and appealing to look at. And make sure that you have high-quality images; this is very important.
#4 Violating HIPAA regulations
All doctors know the consequences of a HIPAA violation. Therefore, it’s important for you to always remember that, as a doctor, you are allowed to share educational content on social media, but you cannot diagnose patients or address personal concerns on social media. Sometimes the line can get a little blurry, and it can be a little difficult to tell whether or not an interaction is HIPAA compliant or not. So, it’s best to seek professional help from your lawyer or an experienced medical marketing professional if you are unsure.
#5 Not having a strategy
Just like with any type of marketing, it is very important that you have a clear marketing strategy in place. Don’t just jump right into using social media without some type of plan or strategy. If you do that, you won’t be successful. So, take some time and figure out your goals, KPIs and your budget (if you want to do paid social media advertising) – you’ll thank me later.
Tips on Creating a Great Social Media Marketing Strategy
Nowadays, more physicians use social media to market and advertise their medical practices. However, if you’re not an expert, it’s likely that you may commit a marketing blunder (or two) as you try to attract new patients. So, in addition to the top marketing mistakes to avoid that I mentioned above, our team came up with a few tips on how you can market on social media the right way.
- Provide valuable health information
- Handle patient questions professionally
- Conduct a thorough study on your target audience in order to form the right marketing plan
- Build a positive brand and online reputation
- Create good rapport and patient loyalty with your existing patients in order to retain them
- Actively engage with your followers on social media
By now, you should have a good grasp on how important social media is. Not only will it help you market your medical practice, but it can help you earn more as well. However, with your hectic schedule, you probably don’t have the time to handle all of your social media marketing campaigns. At Website4MD, we can work with you to customize and create a digital marketing strategy that will fit your medical practice.
Let us help you with your social media strategy!