Tools Are Tools

Running a social media marketing agency and consulting with clients leads to a lot of questions about the latest social media and internet marketing tools. It makes sense because my clients want to stay on the cutting edge of technology. If there’s a new social network that’s emerging they need to be on it! Well, not exactly…

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of companies out there hoping to be the next Facebook. It seems like every year or so a new social network emerges: Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Pinterest, etc. There’s always something new for early adapters to latch onto, like the newest iPhone that no one has. But as a business owner these websites are simply tools, and tools are useless unless you use them correctly. Furthermore, it’s not even about using all the tools “correctly,” it’s about using the right tools to  implement a successful marketing strategy that works for YOUR practice.

A lot of medical practices are concerned about not being on ALL the social networks. They spend so much time in search of the next big thing that they overlook the strategy that has made (or has started to make) them successful.

Strategy is not tools. Strategy is how to best utilize certain tools, and a successful strategy will to maximize the visibility and credibility of a practice (using these tools), and differentiate themselves from competitors. Marketing 101.

Tools can teach us how to best utilize it once they generate buzz and users, but don’t be confused, tools are not strategy. Like a contractor who has all the tools he needs to build a home, without a blueprint the tools are useless. As a medical practice you need to develop your marketing blueprint.

Your marketing blueprint must specific, like blogging twice a month, video testimonials once a quarter, an email blast once a month, schedule Facebook/Twitter messages every two weeks, the secretary/doctor asking EVERY patient before they leave to write a review on Yelp. This is strategy.

The problem is, most medical practices don’t have a strategy, and this often makes every new tool even more fascinating. Stop thinking about tools and start thinking about your strategy to bring in new patients. You need to be visible online and offline, you need to be credible, and you need to generate repeat business, whenever possible.

I won’t sit here and tell any practice to avoid Google+ or LinkedIn entirely, but rather, get familiar with it and see if it fits into the overall strategy. If that’s where your target market is then tweak your strategy accordingly, but don’t let the search of the next hot tool confuse you with a successful strategy.

If you have any questions about the latest social media tools or about developing your marketing strategy leave TRBO a message, or you can call us directly at 877-673-7096 x2.

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