If you had asked a patient 50 years ago where they get their medical information, they would have answered with ‘the doctor’. Nowadays, you’re more likely to hear ‘the internet’ as an answer. Some might even specify ‘social media’ or ‘Facebook’.
Social media has become a convenient and accessible tool for patients to find out about their symptoms and conditions and find the best medical practitioner near them.
This is even more accelerated for younger generations who frequent social media apps daily and search for pressing medical information.
In this case, it’s not only beneficial but necessary for doctors and healthcare providers to follow suit and implement strategic social media campaigns that target potential patients.
Social media allows you, a medical practitioner, to actively engage with potential patients and share unique information in a user-friendly way that your audience finds relatable. Here’s how:
1. Identify Patient Needs
Listening to your patients is one of the best ways to get your practice ahead. As a service provider, it’s essential to understand what medical questions your patients have and how to answer them in a way they will understand.
First, know your market and what your ideal patient is like. Once you have that sorted, you can browse social media sites and search for the top medical hashtags. Also, take note of important health awareness days and seasons where common health conditions worsen, such as flu season.
This will help you plan a strategic content plan to reach potential patients.
2. Educate Your Followers
Social media platforms allow you to create informative and relatable medical content that is both educational and boosts your practice. Multimedia content is especially trendy at the moment, with short video content being favoured the most.
Depending on your target audience, you can dedicate different content and media to set platforms, such as long-form posts on LinkedIn and short clips on TikTok. Again, knowing your audience is critical.
This stage of your social media strategy will align with listening to your patients’ needs and providing them with the content they seek. For example, answer common health questions, explain procedures and offer advice for home care.
3. Engage With Influencers
Mutual collaboration is a great way to increase brand awareness and reach a new audience. Consider partnering with a local influencer who can craft quality content about your brand and services, offering them a small service in return.
Developing trusting relationships with other well-known medical relationships is also key to increasing your online brand reputation and allowing for more legitimacy.
4. Boost Your Practice
Research shows that more than half of patients are making bookings online, so having a dedicated website and GMB (Google My Business) with accurate and helpful contact information – or better yet, a booking function – is essential.
Social media is valuable for driving engagement and encouraging patients to take that step and enquire. Similarly, your website can drive patients to view your social media and help them get a feel for your brand and values.
Utilise these functions by showing off your office space and team, taking viewers through your processes and letting them know what to expect when they come for an appointment.
5. Utilise Online Reviews
Share reviews and client testimonials on your social media pages to alert your followers about your incredible service. You can do this by resharing Facebook reviews or creating review posts from Google Reviews or feedback you have received.
At the same time, encourage your patients to leave reviews after their appointment with a friendly follow-up email or SMS. This, in turn, boosts your enquiries and helps patients find the care they’re looking for.
What social media platform is best?
When it comes to social media platforms, all have their pros and cons and can be used in different ways to achieve the same results. So let’s have a look at the top platforms and how you can use each to your advantage:
Facebook is an essential platform to have if you plan to run social media campaigns and ads. Plus, its ownership of Instagram allows you to seamlessly post, schedule and track content across the two platforms.
Best for: Educational content, practice updates
Instagram has become much more than a picture-sharing app. You can create daily stories, upload reels and run ads across the platform to reach a broad audience. However, it can take time to grow your brand with the constantly-changing algorithm and suppressing business accounts.
Best for: Promotional content, showcasing your practice, transformations.
Although it’s the youngest platform, TikTok’s significance has grown substantially over the past few years. It has also gained momentum as a platform for the younger generation seeking medical advice. The fundamental trick with TikTok is to keep a constant eye out for trending sounds or memes – by hopping on the bandwagon at just the right time, you can get your content noticed and seen by thousands of people (and maybe even go viral).
Best for: Quick bits of educational content, patient experiences, trends.
More than just looking for work opportunities, LinkedIn has become a platform for engaging in more professional discussions on your speciality. Here, you can showcase your credentials and experience, as well as connect with like-minded practitioners, host events and provide your input on the healthcare industry.
Best for: Engaging with other practitioners, sharing updates on new trials and healthcare policies, advertising your qualifications.
Similarly to LinkedIn, Twitter is a place for discussion and interaction. While multimedia is used on the site, the emphasis is on sharing information, opinions and updates. As a medical professional, you can utilise the platform by engaging with followers and potential patients, answering questions and creating threads on treatments/procedures.
Best for: Creating informative threads, engaging with followers, sharing updates.