Why Social Media Is Essential For Your Practice
- Volume 26 - Issue 6 - June 2013
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How Social Media Can Boost New Patient Numbers And Referrals
If thousands of women are communicating multiple times a day about everything including healthcare, it is essential that they recognize that you are a valued resource and that you know the answers to their biggest concerns. The main reason to be active in social media is that you will see increases in your new patient numbers, reactivated patient numbers and referrals. If you do this well, they can increase dramatically as in five or more new patients a day from this activity.
Women will see your posts, be reminded of you, be engaged with your content and when appropriate, call to make an appointment or refer you to a friend. Many of my doctors who are using social media for marketing are contacted by leaders in their communities, media outlets and other doctors, and asked to help. The ripples that social media produce in your market amplify across all media and return to you as new patients calling your office to make appointments.
As newspapers, the Yellow Pages, Valpak and other advertising venues from a former time continue to die, social media continues to grow exponentially in importance to podiatry practices everywhere, even in rural communities with little high-tech behavior that is obvious. You have to be in it to win it.
Be Wary Of The Potential Risks
Before we discuss some of the most important social media vehicles that you can use to grow your practice, it is essential to warn you. The Internet, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media are the new tools to sell “snake oil” in the United States and doctors are in the crosshairs for unscrupulous companies that charge exorbitant fees for doing very little or damaging things online supposedly on your behalf.
Setting up social media and linking it appropriately is relatively straightforward and not expensive. Writing and linking good content is more time consuming and difficult and should cost more, but not jaw-dropping amounts. It is best to work with a company or individual who is familiar with podiatry and has some technology skills. Your association or your colleagues can often guide to you a good source.
A Quick Overview Of The Various Social Media Platforms
There is a secret to making all of this a lot easier. What is the secret? Write the content once and reuse it many different ways.
To be clear, copying content (even your own) will not work. Search engines like Google will see that it is duplicated content and not index it. Accordingly, Google could put you on the “bad” list and not index any of your content. You never want to get on the bad list. Never.
There is a wonderful tool in Hootsuite (www.HootSuite.com ), a very inexpensive program ($9.99/month) that connects all of your social media and repurposes it across all your social media appropriately and easily. This enables you to post one blog post, for instance, and have it instantly posted to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Google +, and many other social media platforms.
One of the biggest hurdles and frustrations of social media is the number of programs that people are using. There are hundreds and everyone has a favorite. It is best to focus on the top tools and let the rest alone. Here is my list for podiatry practices.