Growing Your Practice on Facebook, Part 1: Why Facebook Matters
June 14th, 2017 by
It’s no secret that Facebook isn’t going away anytime soon. Even with predictions a couple of years ago that the social media giant would lose a significant portion of its users to other contenders like Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, they’ve managed to see steady growth. Since that prediction in 2015, they’ve gone from 1.2 billion monthly users to nearly 2 billion.
So, let’s address the elephant in the digital room here. Is your practice on Facebook?
In this series, we’ll break down the ins and outs of the best ways to reach your patients through Facebook, going over everything from advertising and shareable content to privacy rights and how to find the right images.
Before we get into details of using Facebook to bring in more patients, let’s break down a broader question: Why is Facebook so important for your practice?
Social Media Humanizes Medical Practices
When’s the last time you talked with your patients outside of the office? In a report from the Health Research Institute, Ed Bennett, who oversees social media efforts at the University of Maryland Medical Center, notes, “If you want to connect with people and be part of their community, you need to go where the community is.”
By using Facebook to interact with patients, physicians can create a dialogue that builds trust. Some patients may feel uncomfortable scheduling an appointment when all they wanted was to ask a personal medical question. Sometimes questions are just easier to ask through a direct message or comment rather than over the phone or in person.
By commenting on, responding to, and answering questions directly through Facebook, unforeseen walls begin to break down. The best part? That starts to become what your practice is known for. Your medical office gets a reputation for being the place to go where people won’t feel afraid to ask about a diagnosis or procedure, how it affects them, or what their options are. It becomes the ideal venue for open communication. You’re no longer just a resource for patients when they come to your practice; you’re there for them at any time.
Think about it this way. The average user checks their Facebook account daily. Will your practice be there to start a conversation when they log on?
Expertise, Industry Experience, Specializations—Go Ahead and Tout It
To go along the philosophical questioning of whether the falling tree in the forest makes any sound, are a physician’s best certifications and qualifications of value to patients if nobody knows about them?
According to Search Engine Watch, nearly 90% of respondents aged 18–24 said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks. This is also coming from a demographic that is more likely to share this information. Facebook gives physicians the tools to share their specific knowledge and expertise. Got a recent press release or blog post about a new technique offered exclusively at your practice? Put it on Facebook. It will demonstrate your expertise in your field while providing a great avenue for your patients to engage with and share this information.
Also, in a time where anyone can share information and claim it as fact or scientifically true, physicians have the capability and responsibility to make sure accurate, helpful information is reaching their current and potential patients.
It’s All About Relevance
Just as you shouldn’t make updating your Myspace page or LiveJournal your top priority anymore, you should be posting and staying up-to-date on Facebook to make your medical practice more relevant to what’s going on in your patients’ lives. It shows you’re a part of the online community, and ideally, it garners more traffic to your website and office.
Ultimately, Facebook is more than just a place to share family pictures, an exciting recipe, or an awkward political conversation with an uncle. It’s a powerful resource for medical practices to reach their patients on a more personal level. Your patients are already there. We can show you how to utilize social media to find them and make them advocates for your practice. Reach out to us to learn how to implement a social media plan for your practice.
For more information, stay tuned for our next blog post, which will teach you how to create and share content that moves your audience.