How To Use Social Media for Doctors & Dentists
Why is Social Media valuable for a clinic?
Social media is a fantastic tool to reach the right kind of people and showcase exactly what your medical or dental clinic has to offer, cheaply. Social media for doctors, dentists, and other healthcare professionals is vastly underutilised, so we’ve compiled some top tips to get you started, and some questions you may have about social media and healthcare.
With an explosion of growth of the digital arena comes a corresponding increase in patient research. Patients are more informed and discerning than ever before when it comes to decisions about who they want to manage their care – but the vast amount of information available online can make it very hard to decipher what is true.
Social media can be, when used correctly, a brilliant asset to building a clinic’s name, enhancing its reputation and giving it a personality online. Personifying your clinic’s brand can work wonders for making a clinic feel more inviting and welcoming to a patient and ultimately drive patients to your website over another’s.
While social media might seem omni-present, it’s a common misconception that its management is a simple task to add to a formidable to-do list. Valuable, organic growth in your profile comes from consistency, careful planning and hard work. It takes an expert eye to assess an organisation’s potential, and to craft the perfect tone for online engagement.
Which Social Media platforms are appropriate for Doctors & Dentists?
With so many platforms to choose from – where do you even start? Each platform has a different audience and purpose, therefore part of your strategy should include deciphering which social media platforms are right for your clinic, and then how you use them to your advantage.
Here we expand on each platform which might be relevant to your practice:
Statista states that Facebook has over 2.27 billion active users. It is one of the most widely used social platforms with an incredibly diverse demographic. It is generally regarded as the most broad user-base, meaning most people are on Facebook now. The most active users are aged between 18 and 44, although the user base ranges from teenagers to those over 65. It is very popular for both business and personal use – although be warned, navigating the Facebook ads manager almost requires a degree in Facebook!
The ability to use Facebook Ads to target users who fall into your set demographic, location, and more importantly, those who would be interested in what you have to share based on their social and activity info is a powerful tool.
But it is important to note that once you have a captive audience you can lose them in a flash if you do not share interesting, relevant and useful content. The main aim is to create engagement and produce ‘the snowball effect’. The more likes, comments and shares you get the more timelines and users you are going to reach – hence why creating good content is key!
Twitter currently has approximately 330 million active users across the world. Twitter posts are limited to 280 characters so posts must be short, catchy and causal. This gives you the opportunity to engage with users at a fast pace, in a conversational tone.
It is a great forum to reply to questions, hit hot topics in the media (especially healthcare related!), share quick thoughts and drive traffic to your website. Twitter is an invaluable tool should you want to branch into PR work for your clinic to raise its profile. Twitter is popular with journalists and other well-regarded specialists, and is a popular tool to reach people in those circles.
Hashtags have descended from Twitter across most other social platform and are a fabulous tool to search for something specific and ultimately drive individuals to your profile or website.
Hubspot labelled Instagram as the fastest growing social media platform and it’s not a surprise with reports of 5% quarter on quarter growth. This is evident in looking at the stats – 90 million users in 2013, 1 billion in 2020! Instagram is a photo & video sharing platform which provides ways to tell your story and really get your name (and face) out there! Instagram is most popular with people generally under 40 years of age, and have a discerning eye for quality posts.
Users are drawn to pages with interesting and eye-catching photos, videos and stories. But you need to stand out amongst the masses! Instagram is by far the most popular for a younger demographic. Any type of healthcare work that looks good from a visual standpoint does well on Instagram.
With 467 million members LinkedIn is up there with the big names in social media. It is specifically designed for businesses and working professionals. With a more niche demographic, LinkedIn is different to the rest of the social platforms as user profiles will reflect their job experience and achievements rather than personal. It is a prime platform for Business to Business marketing work.
The benefit here is that you can be more direct, more informative and upfront about the work stuff when compared to other platforms on which users expect you to be chattier and more light-hearted. LinkedIn has a brilliant group structure which allows you to start conversations, ask questions and share information, especially to grow your B2B/professional network. By sharing expertise with other professionals in your field you gain trust and respect of your peers.
What does paid vs organic mean?
‘Organic’ refers to social media posts that gain engagement, accounts that gain following/likes and an increase in online profile through zero paid advertising. This can take time and it might just be a case of the right person seeing the right post at the right time to spring board growth and engagement. But it is definitely true that the strategy, content, use of hashtags and quality of the posts plays a huge part.
‘Paid’ refers to posts which have been ‘boosted’ or paid for. This can happen on any of the platforms and some are easier to do than others. Facebook has a complex ads manager which can be challenging to navigate and use successfully. However, when done properly this can be hugely effective in increasing reach. Instagram has a user-friendly method for ‘boosting’ posts, but this is relatively ineffective at gaining more followers. Things can get more complicated when it comes to defining audiences to target.
How do I get started with social media for my dental or medical clinic?
Top tips on kick-starting your social media journey:
- Have a think about who is the most important audience and pick your channel
- Set up your channel
- Brand it
- Good biography
- Links to your website
- Start setting up some connections/follow relevant accounts in your field
- Create your content – don’t just post something then forget about it, plan out a month or so and keep going!
- Each platform has types of posts that perform better than others. Instagram is great for short videos, and LinkedIn is best for longer text+photo posts.
- Post regularly and make them relevant – currently that might be about Covid-19 precautions.
- Always think about why you are posting! Who is this message for? What is it’s purpose? To simply inform and engage your audience with a new clinic update is perfectly justifiable.
- Engage with your audience with their comments on your posts
For ideas from 2xN on how to specifically do posting for Social Media, read below: