Use social media to increase your patient volume, retention and engagement. It’s what every medical practice is aiming for and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But the current reality is- it’s hard and expensive! Although it seems difficult to find new patients, there are little things you can do to increase your patient traffic in a big way. In this post, I’ll provide an actionable plan that you can go ahead and execute right now.
For the past several years, advocates of social media have emphasized that online presence is key to increased patient volume, and I don’t deny it. In today’s digital world, patients are searching for providers and their credentials online before making a decision to visit the practice. In fact, a study shows that 1 in every 5 Americans is using social media for healthcare related information. Patient engagement using social media is mentioned in almost all discussions about winning patients via extended customer service. What still remains a big unknown is- how do I as a doctor get new patients using social media?
Social Media is important, but what is the fuss all about?
51% of all Twitter users are from USA. Twitter has 288 Million users, which means 147 Million Americans are on Twitter.
152 Million Facebook users are Americans.
Looking at the audiences of the world’s two largest social networks, it’s clear that social media cannot be ignored. The bigger problem is- social media is huge and a lot of it is noise. How can you find your patients among so much noise?
This is where social listening comes to the rescue. Social listening is about seeing what people are saying on social media. For medical practices, it is about listening in a medical context.
Here are few real examples I picked from Twitter-
How To Find Your Patients?
As I mentioned earlier, social media is immense and noisy, so it is important to narrow your search and make it relevant to you. Of course you don’t want someone in your practice sitting on social media all day, manually searching through the thousands of social feeds. You need a solution that captures the feeds most relevant to you and allows you to engage with the patient on your own time. Keep in mind, the context of conversation is most important. For example, if you are a dermatologist in New York, you’ll want to engage with potential patients in New York, looking for a dermatologist, not a person looking for a pediatrician in Chicago.
Easier said than done, right? Well, I was able to find several social listening tools. The one I found most helpful is SocialCentiv. This tool will help you listen on Twitter. The great thing about this tool is that it allows you to listen on Twitter based on location. This means you can go ultra-local and search for people who are in your area that are looking for a medical treatment.
Now let’s assume you used a social listening tool and found a conversation relevant to you. What do you do next? You can’t just reply to the patient- hey, we are a dermatology practice near downtown New York City, come see us!
Most of practices often drop the ball at this exact point. You have received a golden opportunity to interact with your potential patient, you engage, but you have yet to win any trust or give legitimate incentive for the patient to visit your practice over others. Simply telling your potential patient to visit your practice is not enough, you have to show credibility and build confidence first.
Try to providing a link to your practice’s website, it conveys the credibility. The same link should give patients the ability to submit a request to book an appointment or receiving a callback from your practice. Try to motivate the potential patient to schedule an office visit by offering a 20% discount on their first visit. You will have patients lining up for your practice in no time.
The best part is, once you’ve set up this type of system, you only need to spend 30-40 minutes a day in order to bring in new patients. It really is that simple!
Disclaimer: I’m not an affiliate or business partner for any of the tools or services mentioned in this post.
This post is part of the medical marketing series #AskKlara, in case you need any help in implementing any marketing program or strategy do write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org