It’s a lockdown period for all! On the positive side, this is the time to get our minds running on strategies!
Amid the novel coronavirus spread, it’s time to advance business continuity plans and enhance engagement with customers. A relatively young and inexpensive tool, social media certainly has a role to play. It can help the doctors, medical practices and clinics continue to grow, change and evolve.
Research reveals that social media has changed the way information is communicated and sought. For a dermatologist, it can be your to-go tool to set yourself apart and enhance your sphere of influence.
In this 21-days lockdown period, undoubtedly social media is set to witness an unprecedented surge. And amid these users in millions and billions are your patients and prospective patients.
Healthcare Success, on its portal, offers nearly two dozen timely social media tips to grow online audience, community and influence. Here’s listing 21 from among them that can be focused upon to further enhance your services in times to come.
1) Carefully define your ideal patient and target audience. You can’t be everything to everybody. Know your patient base by demographics and psychographics and then focus again. Remember, your best source of information is to talk with patients.
2) Create accounts for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are dozens of social networks. Begin with the largest players first. Create your account profile with descriptive words that your patients would use.
3) Focus on your patients’ network(s) of choice. Build your primary social media presence around the social choices of your target audience. For example, plan enough resources to support more than one social media opportunity.
4)Quality content counts the most. Publish regularly. Information needs to be accurate and authoritative. The content must be interesting, understandable and compelling.
5)Commit to being present regularly. Social media takes time to develop, and that requires a regular presence and consistent participation. Devote the time, talent and resources to making daily updates and postings. Don’t begin until you are ready to sustain the effort over time.
6)Useful information becomes shared information. Publish content that readers (and prospective patients) can use. Over time, useful/quality content engenders trust, shows expertise and reflects thought leadership.
7)Cross-promote your social self. Provide visitors with a lineup of your social media icons. Give everyone the ability to switch, for example, from website to Facebook, or from Twitter to your YouTube channel.
8)Images add impact and interest. Virtually every social platform provides for easily using pictures, videos, GIFs or other image enhancements.
9)Include keywords in social profiles and content. Refine the list of words and terms your patients and prospective patients are likely to use in online searches.
10)Keep post updates short and sweet. Strive to present a single idea in a clear but compact message.
11)Share your updates and entries multiple times. The social media stream moves rapidly, and single entries are easily missed. Vary your info and post as a different message at different times of day.
12)Listen to the voice of the customer. Social media provides online ‘listening posts’ for providers to hear and understand discussions, trends and issues that are important to patients or prospective patients. This is fodder for timely engagement.
13)“Tell. Don’t sell.” Social interaction is fueled by informative discussions and authoritative presentations. Content that teaches, informs or updates is valuable. Heavy-handed “selling” is a social audience turnoff.
14)Selectively join groups and discussions. Find and participate in conversation opportunities such as Twitter Chats, LinkedIn Groups and similar social platform sub-sections. Look for what you can add to the conversation as well as what you can learn about current topics.
15)Create your own mini-visual quotes. There are several simple-to-use online tools that create useful and attractive quotes for social postings. Check out Recite.com, Pinwords.com and others.
16)Jump into existing conversations. Navigate the Twitter stream by searching for pertinent hashtags or keywords of interest. As appropriate, get into the discussions with patients and professionals about timely topics, trends and news items.
17)Ask questions. Be provocative. Inspire discussions. Online social media inspires dialogue (not just monologue.) Consider ways to encourage online interaction with others.
18)Respond quickly to questions, comments and reviews. Immediate responses are often best, although not always practical. Strive for same day reply and response if possible.
19)A consistent NAP is vital. The fundamental information of name, address, phone (NAP) is important to social media and to search optimisation. The key is to be listed consistently in every use, online listing and directories.
20)Always follow other doctors via social media. In addition to building your social media marketing efforts, invest time in connecting with other healthcare professionals. It is one means to keep tabs on the competition. It also provides a resource for ideas, tapping into trends, inspiring discussion topics and for finding and sharing professional ideas and information.
21)Track your social media activities. Quantify the successes and failures of social media campaigns and efforts. There are analytic tools available (many are free). Convert tracking data into actionable steps for improvement.