Should your practice be on Pinterest? What about LinkedIn? Does Instagram really matter? The answer is different for every practice. Many practices don’t want to spend time considering questions like, “What are your goals?” or “What are your resources?”, which will lead them to answers about where their practice should focus.
Some marketing agencies will tell you that you need to be everywhere online in order to be visible. I agree, to a certain extent. In fact I wrote an article about the importance of multiple pieces of online real estate. However the key is to be in many places, have multiple pieces of online real estate, in quality ways. That means if you only have resources to manage Facebook, then master and fully leverage that platform and when you’re ready, add another platform.
It may have benefited you to have a Twitter account with automated Facebook posts linked to your Twitter in the past. Today Twitter, like many other established social media communities, is crowded. Active Twitter users typically have no interest in following automated robot accounts. What worked a few years ago, and in some cases last year or six months ago, may not work today. Social media, like all online marketing is often a moving target. That is the bad news.
The good news is that you can still take advantage of social media if you know where the bulls-eye is. Below are three social media principles to guide your efforts to predictable success. These 3 social media principles have worked since day one and will continue to work in the future. Veer from these bulls-eye areas and your social media is likely off target:
If your goal is to make genuine connections with patients, keep in touch, and grow relationships, you must be authentic. Patients need to hear your voice and get to know you. Paid subscription content models that post generic content are outdated. People on Facebook don’t want to see generic content, they want to see, talk and get to know you.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” − Chinese proverb.
If you are fishing for yourself already − posting your own original, authentic content − Congratulations! Authenticity rules.
2. Online reputation
The biggest and best ROI you can get from a Facebook or Google Plus presence is in the form of reviews. These are lasting impressions that can be the tipping point in patients considering you as their caregiver. In addition, transparent (not anonymous) reviews are an awesome form of protection from potential grumpy patient reviews. Just one review per month equals a dozen at the end of the year. What are you waiting for?
3. Word of mouth
When people talk about you on social media, your practice benefits from amplified word of mouth. Encourage your patients to comment and interact with you on social media. The BEST, fastest and least expensive way to do this is through in-office communication. Talk with your patients. No fancy gimmicks required, just genuine conversation.
You can also invest a small amount, as little at $35 to $50 per month, and significantly increase your visibility and word of mouth with Facebook advertising. Another moving target is the concept of “selling” on Facebook. Today, there are many options to showcase your practice with paid post options and reach hundreds or thousands of new people in your neighborhood.
A final thing to consider is your interests. If you love LinkedIn, you will probably naturally gravitate there and this could be a winning platform for you. On the other hand, if you find Instagram totally fascinating, this could be a better tool for you than Twitter. Every practice is different. Don’t fall for the need to be everywhere or do everything if you can’t adhere to the above principles. As my friend Dr. Brett Kessler often quotes in his dental leadership presentations, “Fall for everything and you stand for nothing.”