Social media has become a way of life for Americans. Studies show that 78 percent of people in the U.S. have a social media profile, and nearly 20% of all our time spent online is on social media platforms.
The bottom line? Our customers and patients are on social media.
What to Expect From Social Media for Plastic Surgery Practices
In the medical industry and particularly in the plastic surgery field, interaction on social media can be difficult. People tend to be more private about these subjects, and only a few will ever publicly reach out to make contact with you and associate themselves with a plastic surgeon’s practice.
Therefore, social media should not be considered a lead generating service. This is not to say that you’ll never receive leads through social media — you still may, but that is not its primary purpose. Similarly, you should not set your hopes on generating thousands of followers and ‘going viral.’ Unless you’re a celebrity or you’ve created the newest iPhone or hotly demanded product, the term ‘viral’ tends to be reserved for mass appeal.
Why use social media, then? One word: Perception. Social media allows you to create the image you want your potential customers and patients to see.
Consider it this way: If your social media profiles stay inactive for 6 months, what message does that send? People may begin to wonder, are you in business anymore? Do you care about your practice? Do you treat your patients with the same lack of attention as your social media profiles? These are all questions a visitor will ask when they visit your social media.
Now consider the alternative: An active and exciting social media profile. Imagine how you would be perceived if you posted daily with pictures, testimonials, and informative posts. Instead of questioning, visitors will see your thriving profile as a sign that your office is successful, useful, and beneficial to their potential needs.
We as consumers love to have our purchase decisions validated by the actions of others. This is why reviews are a focal point for companies like Amazon and why restaurants love when their patrons ‘check in’ to let others know, “Hey, this place tastes good!”
Even if no one is talking about you, you can create and control perception of your practice through an active social media profile.
Social Media Is NOT About Being Different
Contrary to what may seem intuitive, you do NOT want to stand out by yourself in social media. Rather than doing your ‘own thing,’ you will benefit more from joining a common trending subject and participating in the “social” aspects of social media. Trying to generate trending news on your own can be expensive, time-consuming, and far less productive and efficient.
Which Social Media Profiles Are the Most Important?
Facebook has over one billion active monthly users and is the number one social media platform. It offers a much more personal experience than any other platform and allows its users to share things with their friends. One of the most important features in Facebook is the ability to ‘Like’ something. When a visitor to your page ‘Likes’ one of your posts, that single ‘Like’ can make your post visible to hundreds or even thousands of their closest Facebook ‘friends.’
Twitter users actively engage with the platform in order to consume rapid micro-posts of information. This social media platform features more interaction between customers and businesses than any other platform. The most important feature in Twitter is the hashtag (#), which can be used to ‘tag’ your content so that it appears in the Twitter feeds of thousands of users.
All the Rest…
Other platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram can be excellent for the practice that is interested in getting creative. These platforms (especially Instagram) require an almost exclusively personal touch. Instagram is driven by the ‘selfie’ mentality and is used like a photo journal to share images you take on the fly. Pinterest, which is also a visual medium, can be a good way to share products and how-to’s. As we enter 2017, Google+ is on its way out as Google has continued to phase it out and places absolutely zero importance on its content.
Getting Your Profiles Set Up
As an important touchpoint with your patients, your social media profiles should be kept completely up-to-date with your exact business name, address, and phone number.
There are a few additional basics elements you should have on every social media profile:
- Your practice logo and imagery
- A bio or description of your practice
- All other relevant contact details
- Your Website address
Be sure every field on your profile is completely filled out, as completed profiles will rank better in search engines than those left empty or incomplete.
What to Post on Social Media
There are a variety of subjects you can post about on your social media to create the perception of activity and success.
Events at the Office
Having a company Halloween party? Celebrating an employee birthday or anniversary? These types of events are the perfect opportunity to post photos of happy, fun, and excited employees.
Patients like to see an office with personality. When patients see posts of friendly, hard-working staff members that look like they enjoy where they work, they feel like they will be treated well by your staff.
Many of our clients actively participate in community events such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities, marathons, charitable giving, etc. These are perfect fodder for social media posts. Write about your experiences, share what you’ve done, and include photos.
Some of the more successful social media posts are special deals and discounts. Social media users and consumers in general enjoy getting a discount, and they are more likely to share your post with their friends. These shares lead to more engagement and exposure for you and your practice.
Blogs and Articles
If you write or publish articles to your website’s blog, share those articles on social media. Any opportunity you have to drive visitors back to your website and establish your authority will benefit your practice.
Share Others’ Articles and Information
As mentioned earlier in this article, you should actively participate in what others are talking about. Current events, popular fads, and general trending topics help you hashtag your post and appear in the feeds.
Posting Strategies for Social Media
- Add Your Email List to Your Social Media Profile: Most platforms allow you to add an email list so that you can connect with your patients.
- Post Content Regularly: Update frequently and stick to a schedule!
- Respond to Your Followers: If someone messages you, message them back. This lets them know you are a real person and not an automated posting service.
- Monitor Your Posts: Pay attention to which posts generate more likes, impressions, and shares. These metrics will help you determine successful topics for the future.
- Use Hashtags: You will reach more people.
- Acknowledge Negative Feedback: Respond quickly and professionally to negative reviews or feedback, and offer a solution.
- Ask for Positive Feedback: Ask your happy patients to leave you positive reviews or comments on your social media.
If you are overwhelmed by all that is involved with creating a positive perception of your practice in the social media world, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help in any way we can.