While more health care providers are utilizing technology for professional purposes, there is still a stigma surrounding social media for many doctors.
“Social media has yielded much more value and content per unit of time spent than the same time spent rifling through a journal, or surfing the Internet, cozying up to a textbook”. Social media offers the potential benefit that many doctors haven’t considered: the opportunity to reshape the narrative about health care and humanize them in the process.
It’s no wonder that social media is an incredibly effective way to grow your practice’s reach. With that being said, there is still plenty of misinformation we hear regularly, so let’s use this opportunity to dispel some of these ‘social media myths’ that are regularly heard from doctors:
1- “I don’t even have a personal social media account so I don’t see the point”
This may sound obvious, but just because you may not use social media does not mean your patients won’t. In the early 2000s, there were plenty of doctors who got by without a website because that was the standard then, but that’s no longer the case. We are seeing the same trend with social media that we did with websites; Doctors who were the earliest adopters are seeing explosive growth and others are slow to adopt. The sample sizes are large and the numbers are staggering; social media works.
The results are in, and there is no doubt that your practice will benefit significantly from a social media account, so don’t wait to get it started.
2- “I’m not looking for new patients so I don’t need to worry about social media.”
As you are probably already aware, Coca-Cola is the market share leader for carbonated beverages. What you might not know, is that each year Coca Cola continues to spend an average of 4 billion dollars a year on advertising! The moral of the story is simple; you do not just market your business for today, you have to think about the future. While you may have a full calendar and limited availability for new patients today, that does not mean you are set for life. The average practice loses between 10%-30% of its patients each year from attrition; whether it is patients moving, switching providers, getting new insurance, or passing away. To summarize, marketing is always a worthwhile investment, especially channels like social media which are relatively low cost and long-lasting.
3- “You need to be exceptionally creative on social media to gain attention.”
There is a common misconception that social media is exclusively for the “creative artist” types. While having a creative and unique online experience will certainly help draw attention and build your following, you don’t need to have a degree in performing arts to be successful online. At the end of the day, you are a healthcare professional with a wealth of knowledge about subjects most people know next to nothing about. Simply use your social media channel as yet another way to educate your audience about what you do, and introduce them to your practice as a whole. This does not require a lot of production value, or even a lot of content, just be your authentic self and you are inherently cultivating a relationship with your audience, which is exactly what your social media account is intended to do.
4- “Social Media Marketing takes too long!”
Growing a social media audience takes time, there’s no denying that, but there are steps you can take today to help get you headed in the right direction tomorrow. For starters, make sure all your profiles are claimed, your bios are added, and your contact information is up-to-date. Once that is settled, establish a posting cadence that you are comfortable committing to on a week-to-week basis, but don’t overthink it. If you only think you can post once or twice a week, post once or twice a week. If you are comfortable posting more than that, go for it. Just make sure you are consistent with whatever you decide so you can make it a habit while giving your account time to build a following. If you are in a rut and need ideas for content to post, don’t forget that you can repurpose content from your websites such as blogs and videos. While creating your content is certainly the most authentic (and preferred) way to create your audience, it does not have to be done all on your own.
5- “I’ll just buy followers to grow my account quicker.”
This myth has been busted time and time again. As enticing as it may be to get a ‘head start by purchasing followers for your social accounts, please know that it completely disrupts your reporting, wreaks havoc on your engagement, and ultimately does the complete opposite of what your social media account is supposed to do in the first place; build trust. Purchased followers contain mostly bots, which are easily recognizable and jeopardize your credibility. Therefore, ditching the ‘quick growth’ method and building a social media platform with consistency and strategy is still the most effective method of growth.
6- “Social media marketing is too expensive.”
We hear this one a lot but it warrants a little more discussion to better understand what is going on at play. The first thing worth noting is that social media marketing, in most cases, can be 100% free. Posting images or videos online does not cost anything, so it can be done with little to no cost at all. When doctors assume that social media is expensive, they are often thinking of the social media agencies that charge an arm and a leg, or the social media advertising that can end up costing quite a bit when not done strategically. If you want to leverage your social media channel to acquire new patients today, your best bet is to ‘pay to play via social ads. If you are hoping to build up your online presence to help patients connect with your practice while simultaneously building engaging content that can help your site rank for relevant keywords, organic social is the way to go. But it does help to think of your social media as a long-term investment, with each new post paying dividends down the road.
In Conclusion :
Social media is no more optional , it is definitely one of the most effective way of communicating with your target audience. I hope this blog helps address some common misconceptions regarding social media, and I was able to encourage you to give the attention it deserves.