SOCIAL MEDIA: A PHYSICIANS SPECIFIC APPROACH

As a physician, it is useful to view social media as an asset and a threat.

Done well, it can very effectively leverage and multiply your presence in your desired market in ways that generate increasing patient flow and cash flow.

If it is done poorly or ignored, it represents a 24 hour threat to your market share and customer base from competitors and emerging technologies or treatment sources. This keeps your business “at risk”.

The Practical Side:

For the physician, social media is one of the few sets of resources that can allow you to communicate with your market and be absolutely certain that your message doesn’t get diluted.

Purpose, Function and Achievement:

The purpose of social media is to use technology to provide access and a digital presence to your customers and your markets.

The function of social media is to provide you with ways to have your patients help you get more customers.

Social media is achieved through the use of platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Vlogs, digital communities, rating and review systems like Yelp, email and texting) through which you establish and sustain an ongoing dialogue and digital relationship with people who matter to you.

The 3 Primary approaches for your Social Media Actions:

Personal (your Humanity)

This is the place to be you as an individual. To present your personal side.

Actions: Establish a Facebook presence that describes you, your individual traits and your general life. Include pictures of you, the family (as you wish) and a description of things you find interesting (nature, sports, music, hobbies, etc.) This is a fixed presence that has some occasional updates – but is primarily static. The more you update it, the more interaction you will create over time.

Profile descriptions can be as simple and powerful as: “Hi, my name is David. In my office I am the physician who is dedicated to health and well-being.

At home, I’m a husband, a dad, they guy who takes out the trash and an occasional hack on the golf course.”

OR

“Hello, I’m Nancy. My husband Todd and I have 2 children who love going to the lake on weekends to play with boats and ride bikes.

When I’m not working in the field of Dermatology, I relax by going on bike rides. I love how my work helps people and my family keeps me recharged to stay focused.”

Professional (your Credibility)

The Professional use of Social Media provides you with a basis to establish and enhance your qualities as a Professional. It allows you to talk about “why a Customer would pick you versus another provider”.

Action: Create a Blog as a part of your website. Plan to update it at least every 20 – 30 days. (This is a long time in the digital world.) A Blog post is 300 – 750 words and is usually themed about something that informs and educates your desired or current Patients in ways that serve them and their connection with your Profession.

Actions: Establish a LinkedIn Profile that talks about you as a Professional. Feature your Education, Specialties, Success Stories.

Use it to inform and educate rather than sell.

“Selling in Social Media is the number one error people make when they try to use it on behalf of their businesses.”

Make this about your passion for your Craft, your interest in your field, how you want to help people with it through your Business.

Make 30-90 second Video vignettes about you and your Business. These are often referenced as Vlogs and have a powerful influence on your Customer relationship.

The Business (Your Stability)

Done well, Social Media can be an excellent resource for you to perform Yield Management. When you have a lull in traffic or profit centers, you can utilize Social Media for Social Marketing or Social Selling.

You can make Introductory Offers or update changes in a real-time fashion.

Actions: Have a robust and elegant website. You want it informative, inviting and effective with information, success stories and attractive offers. Use videos to feature different people in the Business (Office Management, Staff and other Practitioners) as a way of creating a “personality” and approachability for the Business.

You can also use your website to demonstrate your support of Community based initiatives or not-for-profit Causes that you keep you visible and relevant.

Actions: Create a Business Page on FaceBook, so that people can easily find your business. This is a chance to use “Key” words that help you attract the kinds of Customers you want. (Example: if you are a GP and you want to treat more Sports related Patient Needs, then include all the names of the Sports you want to attract [football, basketball, soccer, etc.] so that when people search FaceBook for those sports in your area, they find you.

Actions: Have a “Dashboard” through which you can monitor traffic, site feedback, sources of new Customer flow and Revenue Yields based on Capacity compared to Use measures.

Actions: Unless you are personally interested in spending 20 hours a week “web surfing” and playing in Social Media, DELEGATE the function of establishing and sustaining your presence. Have members of your Staff post or update things as well as collect reports on things that “mention” you or The Business.

Summary: Social Media is a complimentary Marketing tool. It doesn’t eliminate advertising or Marketing. Within 12 months, it can double the efficacy of your Advertising.

Because of changes coming down the pike, Medical Practices will have a substantial increase in the need to Market their offerings. Social Media is a great enabler in this area because it allows you to be proactive in your market and learn very quickly what does and doesn’t appeal to your Markets.

Above all, know what you want to accomplish with each applied use of Social Media and have a way to measure traction, impact and returns.

Professional (your Credibility)

The Professional use of social media provides you with a basis to establish and enhance your qualities as a professional. It allows you to talk about “why a customer would pick you versus another provider”.

Action: Create a Blog as a part of your website. Plan to update it at least every 20 – 30 days. (This is a long time in the digital world.) A Blog post is 300 – 750 words and is usual theme is about something that informs and educates your desired or current patients in ways that serve them and their connection with your profession.

Action: Establish a LinkedIn profile that talks about you as a professional. Feature your education, specialties, success stories.

Use it to inform and educate rather than sell.

Selling in social media is the number one error people make when they try to use it on behalf of their businesses.

Make this about your passion for your craft, your interest in your field, how you want to help people through your business.

Make 30-90 second video vignettes about you and your business. These are often referenced as Vlogs and have a powerful influence on your customer relationship.

The Business (Your Stability)

Done well, social media can be an excellent resource for you to perform yield management. When you have a lull in traffic or profit centers, you can utilize social media for social marketing or social selling.

You can make introductory offers or update changes in a real-time fashion.
Action: Have a robust and elegant website. You want it informative, inviting and effective with information, success stories and attractive offers. Use videos to feature different people within the practice (office management, staff and other practitioners) as a way of creating a “personality” and approachability for the business.

You can also use your website to demonstrate your support of community based initiatives or not-for-profit causes that you keep you visible and relevant.

Action: Create a business page on FaceBook, so that patients can easily find your business. This is a chance to use “key” words that help you attract the kind of patients you want. (Example: if you are a GP and you want to treat more sports related patient needs, then include all the names of the sports you want to attract [football, basketball, soccer, etc.] so that when people search FaceBook for those sports in your area, they find you.

Action: Have a “Dashboard” through which you can monitor traffic, site feedback, and look for sources of new patient flow and revenue yields based on capacity compared to overall use. This can be accomplished using your internal staff resources, or by hiring a resource to construct a dashboard that reflects the business, the market and your overall digital presence.

Action: Unless you are personally interested in spending 20 hours a week “web surfing” and playing in social media, DELEGATE the function of establishing and sustaining your presence. Have members of your staff post or update things as well as collect reports on things that “mention” you or the practice.

Summary: Social media is a complimentary marketing tool. It doesn’t eliminate advertising or marketing. However, within 12 months, it can double the efficacy of your advertising.

Because of changes coming down the pike, medical practices will have a substantial increase in the need to market their offerings. Social media is a great enabler in this area because it allows you to be proactive in your market and learn very quickly what does and doesn’t appeal to your markets.

Above all, know what you want to accomplish with each applied use of social media and have a way to measure traction, impact and returns.

by Bob Smith of MySuccess.com