Healthcare Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Harnessing Social Media To Build Patient Awareness
Healthcare Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Social media marketing (SMM) is a powerful avenue for medical practices to reach and engage patients. Patients across the USA are already interfacing with brands and people via social media channels for an average of nearly 2.5 hours per day, so failing to build your medical practice’s brand awareness via social media means you’re missing out on reaching patients where they are already spending their time! Some key channels that medical practices must optimize and create regular content on to gain reach include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others. Another platform, Google My Business (GMB), though strictly-speaking not a social media channel, has the ability to regularly post updated content on it; GMB is uniquely critical to optimize because it also boosts SEO traction for your medical practice website. Well-strategized social media marketing can drive amazing results for medical practices and create loyal patients that advocate your practice to others.
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What is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing entails the crafting and sharing of content on social media channels so to successfully bolster your marketing goals. Key activity involving SMM activity includes publishing videos, articles, and well-crafted posts with captions, hashtags, and graphic design that resonates with your target patient audience. As part of your medical practice’s SMM strategy, we will discuss organic methods of social media engagement on this page; paid advertising on social media channels is discussed on our Medical PPC page.
Consider your medical practice’s overall goals prior to launching an SMM strategy. Reflect on the following as you define your SMM goals:
- Who is your target patient audience?
- Where on social media would you find your target patient audience?
- For what purpose would your target patient audience utilize social media?
- What kind of message and overall image do you intend to portray on social media to your target patient audience?
- What intrinsic limitations exist on social media channels for the types of messages you want to display to your target patient audience?
Many social media channels have curtailed the ability of medical practices to present any type of subjective information or graphics. Thus, to prevent your social media pages from being banned, your posting strategy must take into account the rules and restrictions each channel has.
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Social media marketing helps:
- Increase website traffic
- Streamline communication with target patients groups
- Raise brand awareness among target patients
- Create a positive brand identity in the community
- Drive conversions for actual new patients
The larger (quantitative) and more engaged (qualitative) your target audience is across your medical practice’s social media channels, the more likely you are to succeed at gaining tangible marketing results.
- Begin with content planning by executing keyword research, competitive research, and target patient audience research.
- Offer valuable content to your target patient audience that is posted consistently and regularly via such assets as how-to guides, educational information, and infographics.
- Portray a consistent brand image across all social media platforms, and convey language that follows how you wish to portray yourself: a trusted professional cardiac surgeon? An educational infectious diseases pundit? A technologically cutting-edge neurosurgeon? A fun-loving pediatrician? Establishing a brand identity is critical to resonate with the target patients you wish to attract.
- Promote your own original content such as blogs to gain followers.
- Share curated content that is not your own but that you know your target patients would appreciate.
- Track competitors to ascertain what types of posts they are creating and promoting to gain success with your target patients.
- Measure success with analytics by attaching tracking tags to see what drives web traffic using Google Analytics. Also use the social media platform’s own analytics tools to determine what types of posts are getting the most attention and what are less successful. Iterate your strategy based on concrete analytical data.
Facebook and Instragram are popular platforms to your target patient audience. Linkedin and Twitter can be powerful tools for attracting novel business development opportunities, connecting with other businesses, practices, and vendors that can help you bolster patient volume, drive down costs, or streamline operational processes. Google My Business is a critical platform to optimize and post on so to drive SEO value to your website, get found in the “3-pack” search field above organic search results, and establish your location on Google Maps for easy patient accessibility.