Over the past few years medical marketing has evolved significantly. The increased usage of the Internet has simplified the way people search for things. Businesses across the globe are utilizing the Internet to sell their wares. Due to the decrease in efficacy of traditional outbound marketing such as direct mail, newspaper, TV and radio, business owners and leaders are switching to non-traditional inbound or internet marketing. The average cost per lead is approximately 60% less with inbound marketing than with outbound marketing! This means a greater return on your investment!
Did you know that there are 500 million active Facebook users and that there are 126 million blogs on the Internet? The growth of social media has dramatically impacted the way companies communicate with consumers. By utilizing social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, company blogs and YouTube, medical practices can build online relationships with both patients and prospective patients. In this article, we will talk about five steps that can be implemented to help successfully launch your social media campaign.
1. Identify Your Market – Determine who your target market is and what demographic your practice best serves. Research where these people are converging online and then join in the conversation. By engaging with the online community you can share ideas and answer questions that are posted. This helps to position your practice as leaders in your specialty.
2. Start a Company Blog – A company blog allows the medical practice to share information with their readers on industry trends, technology changes, promotions and fun stories about the practice. This information helps the reader further connect and engage with the practice. A pitfall that is unfortunately all too common is that once a blog is implemented, it is not consistently updated. A good practice is for bloggers to write new posts weekly to keep their audience engaged and to help resonate their brand across the Internet. Solicit help from your staff to write blog posts. Rotate responsibility and repurpose articles previously written. Blogging takes commitment, however, it’s a fun way to help increase search engine ranking and position the practice as experts in their industry.
3. Add a Facebook and Twitter Account – Facebook and Twitter accounts have become the mainstream. These accounts are a place where like-minded individuals can converge to learn more about subjects that interest them. It also provides a platform for people to discuss experiences about different brands. This is a common place to gain feedback on potential purchases. Once you launch your accounts, be sure to monitor your pages daily so you can address questions, testimonials and any other communication posted.
4. Interact With Your Online Community – One of the biggest questions we get when implementing social media into a medical practice is what should be done if and when a negative comment is posted about the practice. The answer is simple – address any comments, negative or otherwise. It looks much better to the community if you address a concern someone has than ignore it. It shows others that you care to improve upon any negative experiences a patient may have had when conducting business with your practice. Encourage your community to share their experiences with others on your wall. The posting of testimonials helps legitimize the practice and provides prospective patients a place to ask questions of existing patients.
5. Monitor Your Online Presence – There are a several social media monitoring tools available such as google alerts and socialmention that allow you to search for keywords online. It is important to monitor your online reputation and social media mentions so you can address comments posted about your practice. If simplicity is what you are looking for, we are pleased to offer a program that utilizes both social media management and reputation management all in one. Additionally, regular monitoring will allow you to measure the effectiveness of your work.
Once you have launched your social media accounts, be sure to promote your pages to all of your contacts. Add hyperlinks to your social accounts to all staff members emails. Add all social media accounts to any promotional materials and marketing campaigns. By being proactive and becoming an expert at utilizing the tools available, you can successfully promote your practice and increase patients over time.
As a final note, it is important to be realistic about how quickly your efforts will pay off. Social media marketing takes time and love. By dedicating yourself to your social media marketing campaign, you will achieve success by way of increased leads directed to your website, which in turn, leads to increased patients!