Social media is hands down one of the most valuable marketing tools for healthcare professionals in the 21st century, if not the most valuable. It’s a platform that allows us to engage with patients in ways we never could before, to establish that personal connection and increase brand awareness substantially. It gives our practice a personality, and makes what many people don’t view as a traditionally exciting industry just a little more endearing. That is, if we’re using it correctly.
Like any other asset, social media can be a bit of a double edged sword. When used incorrectly, it can singlehandedly destroy your reputation or push current and future patients away. It’s true for personal social media accounts, and it’s even more true for professional accounts.
If you’re one of the healthcare professionals who’s taken the plunge and dipped your toes into the world of social media, then take a quick second and congratulate yourself for successfully riding the wave into the future of healthcare marketing! We all know it’s not enough just to start riding the wave, though…it’s all about whether you’re able to stay afloat while doing it!
It’s not enough to simply have social media for your practice, you’ve got to make sure that you’re using it right--otherwise it can end up being the anchor that drags you down. Everyone’s practice is different, so it’s impossible to just sit down and say “here’s what you should be doing”. When it comes to social media practices, though, there are some universal things you shouldn’t be doing. So here’s our list of what not to do…healthcare edition, of course! Although many of these tips are centered specifically around Facebook, they’re applicable to other social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn as well.
One of the biggest mistakes that healthcare professionals make when starting out on social media is to view their accounts as a place to sell. Don’t do that. Social media should be used primarily as a platform for patient engagement and information sharing. People don’t want to hear your business pitch, they just want you to care about and engage with them on a personal level. When it comes to self promotion on social media, try to follow Rallyverse’s Golden Ratio. 30% of your posts should be owned/original content, 60% should be shared from somewhere else, and just 10% percent should be promotional.
We’ve all heard the phrase “sharing is caring”. When it comes to social media, though, that’s not always necessarily true. Yes, the key purpose of social media is to share resources and information and experiences with your patients, but we know all too well that oversharing has negative results. Try not to oversaturate the patients who are following you on social media—sharing too much content will result in being hidden from their newsfeed or even un-liked. Stick to one post per day on Facebook, and no more than 5 a day on Twitter. If you notice people aren’t engaging with your posts, try scaling back or experimenting with different times of the day. It’s a science, and it takes a little bit of time to figure out what works for your healthcare practice! On the same note, make sure that the content you’re sharing is relevant to your patients and your business. Otherwise you’ll risk losing legitimacy in their eyes.
When it comes to social media, talking about your patients isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s great to recognize and appreciate them online, as long as they’re comfortable with it! If there’s one thing you should absolutely never do, though, it’s talk trash about your patients. Even if you had the most horrible experience with the nastiest patient in the world, it’s not ok to talk about on Facebook. Don’t joke about it, don’t poke fun at them, don’t complain. Anything you say about your patients on social media should be nothing but positive!
Your company’s professional social media accounts are just that…professional. They’re not a place to argue about hot button social issues, they’re not a place to be vulgar or confrontational. They don’t operate the same way that a personal Facebook account operates—they’re held to a higher standard. Keep this in mind when you’re picking your posts for the week. If something seems a little too racy, don’t post it. If you think your patients might be offended by it, don’t risk it. The same can be said when it comes to responding to reviews via social media. You might have a patient who leaves a ridiculous or incredibly rude review on your Facebook page. Don’t argue with them, even if what they said was ludicrous. Be polite, be professional, apologize for the negative experience, and offer a solution for the future. It will go a long way towards improving your brand.
Social media is a huge beast, and it’s not very easy to manage. There’s a ton that goes into it, and it can be so easy to get overwhelmed and feel lost. The big thing about social media is that you can’t just jump into it without a game plan. There’s a strategy behind how to properly use it, and if you’re lacking that strategy then you’re probably not going to see the results that your company is hoping to see. Think you might need some help getting your social media strategy together, or even just revamping it a little bit? Talk to the experts in healthcare marketing. We love doing it, and we’d be more than happy to help!