With over 65 million business Facebook accounts (and more being added every day), making an impact with social media takes creativity, personality and consistency. Local medical clinics have an advantage over large conglomerates because they can move more quickly and create content specific to their patients and communities. How does your clinic move beyond generic content to actually making an impact in your community?
Recognize the major health concerns of your community. One of the major advantages your local clinic has over large systems is being able to tailor your content to what’s happening in your community now. Is the flu starting early this year? Is there a break out of measles? Have you seen an increase of a particular STD? Create a social media campaign to educate the community on how to avoid becoming ill in the first place, how to recognize the symptoms and when to seek medical care. Building a following will take time, but your community will begin to see your social page and your clinic as a source of specific health information for your area.
Talk about the common and seasonal illnesses your patients present. A break out of flesh eating bacteria from a local lake will hopefully be a rare occurance for your community. You and your patients are more likely to encounter more common issues like cold, allergies, flu, strep throat and the dreaded stomach virus along with chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Your social media page is a great place to educate people on the symptoms of these illnesses, how to prevent them and when they should see their provider.
Create graphics with your logo. Facebook prioritizes images over plain text status updates, so the more images you can provide, the better. Make sure graphics are part of your social media marketing strategy. We love to use canva.com to create images using stock photos, custom photos and graphics. Upload your logo and customize the graphics to fit your clinic. We suggest creating a few templates where you can easily change out the image and share with your followers. Graphics also make your status updates more sharable.
Link to reputable medical resources. Have you read an interesting article or medical blog from a source you’ve found to be reputable? Share the content with your followers. We don’t recommend you bombard your followers with these links. One or two a week will suffice. By sharing content that doesn’t come from you but comes from sources you trust, you’re pointing your audience to the sources you’d like to them trust as well. And you’re educating your patients without having to write a lot of custom content yourself.
Write your own content and link back to your website. While sharing content from other sources is a great way to educate your patients, we also suggest keeping a blog of relevant content on your own site. Link back to these articles as a way to drive traffic to your website. Again these can be articles on unique situations to your community or more major health initiatives you want your patients to understand.
Profile patients (after getting a HIPAA release signed). Nothing says “that’s the clinic for me” more than seeing friends and family trust the providers. Create a short list of questions for patients you might want to profile and write a short paragraph about how your clinic helped them manage a chronic or acute illness. Including a picture of them (either provided by them or taken by you) increases the shareability of the post. These posts typically see high engagement and share rates. Be aware, you will need to have a HIPAA release signed specifically stating that the patient allows you to share their information on social media. We aren’t attorneys, so we suggest you talk to your clinic’s attorney about preparing a simple form you can use.
Use Facebook ads to increase followers. If your first major problem is number of followers rather than engagement, use Facebook ads to increase your follower numbers. For a few hundred dollars you can increase the number of followers in specific demographics, which should then increase your reach and engagement. When looking for the right audience, keep in mind most people in urban settings will drive an average of just under 9 miles to see a primary care provider. In rural areas, that drive distance increases to just under 11 miles. Keeping your ad demographic to within about 20 miles of your clinic’s location will allow you to advertise to people who are more likely to visit your clinic.
Create a referral program. Facebook like and share promos are pretty common place. While you can increase followers with a program like this, you can also increase your credibility by entering patients who refer new patients into a drawing for a gift. Promote the giveaway on your social media channels as well as through your office and patient emails. It’s a great way to remind your patients to refer friends and family to you and to increase your patient numbers.
A huge part of any small business social media strategy must be consistency. We strongly recommend creating at least one week of social media posts at a time. In our office, we create a month’s worth of posts at one time and schedule those to publish throughout the month. A good mix of content including fun posts, informative posts, images, links and videos allows your followers to interact with you in various ways. Certainly remind people to make appointments, but don’t make that the mainstay of your social media strategy. If you use at three of these tactics, you’ll see an increase in engagement and reach.