Social media is one of the most helpful online tools to attract new patients and grow your practice.
About 2.7 billion people use social media to share their thoughts and life updates and connect with family and friends. Although these sites were created to cultivate personal relationships, Eye-Care professionals can also utilize social media to reach new patients that will help drive their businesses.
Here are a few reasons eye doctors should be using social media
1. Social media increases a practice's online footprintThe more places your eye-care practice appears online, the larger its online footprint. The larger its footprint, the more likely your practice will be found by new patients. By creating social media profiles and sharing information related to your specialty on those profiles you can help increase your ranking on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other search engines. Additionally, social media profiles can help new patients find your practice when they use Facebook or other social sites to search for information relating to their eyes in general and your eye-care specialty in particular.
2. Social media allows doctors to share expertise with their patientsThe doctor-patient relationship can be considerably intimate, and patients like to know that they will be in safe hands. Therefore, many people try to gather as much information as possible about their prospective doctor before coming in for a visit. By showing that you are an authority in your field, patients can feel more confident that you will be able to help them.
3. Social media can help calm reservations about going to a new doctorOn social media, you can offer glimpses inside the walls of your practice, so that new patients can know what to expect before walking through your office doors. Don’t be afraid to show some personality in your posts, as well. This way new patients can begin to feel comfortable with you as a person even before meeting you!
4. Social media helps doctors build celebrityThough I'm sure you didn't become an eye doctor in search of fame, a little celebrity can help attract prospective patients and build thought leadership in your specialty. When you consistently share helpful information regarding your specialty on social media, you can become the go-to source for medical information on these topics. The more you are cited as an expert in online articles, the more you can expect new patients to find you using social media and search engines.
Social media best practices for doctors
Although posting basic educational material on social media doesn’t sound too tricky, doctors must follow a few “best practices” so that they can get the most from their social media presence.
Here are a few pointers to help you get started.
1. Choose specific social media sites that are right for youEvery social media platform is different. Instead of becoming active on all sites, think carefully about what you want to get out of using social media so you can pick the site that will work best for your needs.
Here are a few examples:
2. Consistency is key to social media successMake sure to share relevant, authoritative, and actionable content regularly. Inactive, or even semi-active, social media profiles won’t attract nearly as many new patients. If you decide to commit to using social media for business, you are committing to sharing authoritative and relevant content on a regular basis. How often? It really depends, but daily is certainly ideal.
3. Formulate a social media schedule to keep track of what types of content you shareIn general, about 80-90% of your content should be information new patients will find helpful or interesting and only 10-20% should be promotional. I'm sure you don't enjoy being inundated with ads all day. Your prospective patients are probably the same. Additionally, make sure to share information that is relevant to your eye-care specialty and that comes from trustworthy sources.
4. Be sure to make your content actionableInclude links where new patients can find more information if they so desire, whether it’s on your website or somewhere else on the web. Also, include calls-to-action, such as “Visit our website to learn more,” that clearly informs new patients what to do next.
5. Communicate with new patientsCommunication is key to social media success. This is because social media sites are more likely to surface engaged users than non-engaged users in searches. Simple as that. To promote engagement, you may want to follow relevant pages or users and like or comment on their posts. You can also look into sharing content that’s is more likely to get more views and engagement. For example, posts with dynamic pictures are much more effective than words alone. And if pictures are worth a thousand words, videos are priceless!