Before I answer this question it’s important to define what social media is. According to Wikipedia, social media “are computer-mediated technologies that allow the creating and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.” In other words, social media involves nearly anything in the digital world where there’s an interaction with user-generated content. This encompasses blogs, press releases, review sites, and of course, social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
If we factor in everything that encompasses social media then of course it’s worth it to invest time in these mediums. However, often times people equate social media with social networks, and whether or not to invest in Facebook, or social networks as a whole, is a question I receive frequently.
The first thing to understand about social networks is that it’s an internal marketing tactic. This means we’re marketing to people who already know your practice and have chosen to follow you on your social networks (or join your email list). Internal marketing, including both social networking and email marketing, is absolutely essential for patient retention. Therefore, if you run a medical spa, dermatology practice, or you’re a plastic surgeon who offers non-surgical treatments you need to be utilizing these mediums to get patients raving about you and back in the door.
The problem is that just because you have 1,000 Facebook “likes” doesn’t mean your posts reach 1,000 people’s news feed. Quite the contrary. Several years ago Facebook started limiting the reach of businesses Fan page posts so that only 5% (or less) of those who “like” the page would actually see the post in their news feed. This was interpreted as an attempt by Facebook to force users to advertise.
If you’re advertising with Facebook, for example, you’re paying for your reach, so that’s different. With a 5% reach and 1,000 “likes,” for example, only about 50 people can see each of your posts. While that’s a small number, it still has value, especially if you’re posting quality content. More on that below.
Like email marketing, your first goal with your social networks should be to continuously grow your following. This will allow you to reach more people with your updates, so make sure you give patients incentives to “like” you or join your email list.
While you work on growing your social networks your messages should focus on your second goal: engagement. Keep in mind that social networking is NOT a lead generation tactic. It can be, if you advertise, but it’s more about generating likes, comments, shares, and overall engagement.
So Facebook not only limits my practice’s reach, it’s also not a lead gen tool? So it’s a waste of time, right? No. Unless you’re a plastic surgeon who offers no non-surgical procedures, I’d make sure to be active on social media. Even these aforementioned plastic surgeons should have a presence on social networks because by keeping in touch with patients you’re more likely to get that patient back in the door for additional procedures, even if it’s 3, 5, or even 10 years down the road. You’re also more likely to get a referral from them.
How does my practice generate likes, comments, shares, and overall engagement? By posting quality content! This means:
- limiting self-promotion
- keep the followers updated on latest trends and news
- post videos about the practice, procedures, staff
- work in a little humor
- run contests
- give shout-outs to patients (with their approval)
- post photos of the staff
- highlight the doctor(s) and what they like to do outside of the office
Keep in mind that ANY marketing medium can be a waste of time if you don’t have the proper tactics in place. Just like poorly written blogs, landing pages that lack calls to action, or ads that aren’t targeted well, simply posting on social networks without a plan can very well be a waste of time.
If you would like to learn more about how social media, and social networking in particular, can help your aesthetic practice then leave TRBO a note here or give us a call at 877-673-7096 x2.