An iPhone displays icons for social media which should be selected based on how they fit with your brand identity and strategy.

Planning a Social Media Strategy for Your Medical Practice

It’s very important to plan a social media marketing strategy which can be highly advantageous to your medical practice so that you can have one powerful component in your overall marketing strategy. While your social media marketing strategy may be one of the most effective ways of bringing your practice to a large number of people, it’s certainly not the only marketing channel available to you.

While this particular discussion will center on your social media strategy, it’s well to keep in mind that this should not comprise your entire approach to reaching the masses with your message. That being said, here are some things to keep in mind when you begin planning exactly what you want to accomplish with your social strategy.

Understand the Differences Between Social Media Platforms

There are a number of differences between the social media platforms, both in how text and graphical images are presented, especially when you take into account that the majority of the time it will be presented on mobile devices. Before you post things to any of the social media, you should test out how images appear and how text appears, and then create a template for ideal posts for the future. Some of the social media platforms will even provide documentation for you about the ideal image representation sizes so that you don’t lose anything in the translation.

Another fundamental difference that you should understand between the social media platforms is which type of people are actually the primary users of each platform. If you’re trying to reach a certain segment of the population, for instance, elderly people, you would want to focus your social media marketing on those platforms which are known to cater to an older audience.

Plan Your Strategy to Align with Your Brand

All your marketing efforts should have a consistent branding theme across all platforms and channels, and this is just as true in the social media as anywhere else. If your medical practice specializes in pediatrics for instance, and that’s what your branding is all about, your marketing efforts in the social media should be tightly aligned with that branding and your other marketing initiatives.

If you have more than a single person in your company who is working on your social media marketing, or if you are switching to a new social media marketing company, make sure you have some standard style guides in mind, which can serve as a basis for any content that gets posted.

Consider HIPAA

All posts which you make to the social media should be reviewed for the possibility of violating HIPAA regulations because this is a pitfall you simply don’t want to encounter. Make sure that all photos are reviewed so that they don’t include patients who have not explicitly given their permission, and make sure that no direct comments are made about patients, their infirmities, or their treatments. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, the rule of thumb should be to not post it, even if you think that you have adequately disguised actual information or photos.

A doctor makes a post for his social media strategy and checks to assure that it doesn't violate any HIPPA regulations.

When planning your social media strategy you need to consider weather your posts violate HIPPA regulations.

Keep Your Content Fresh

It’s definitely best for you to avoid using the social media as straight advertising platforms because this is very likely to simply turn off all viewers and readers, and cause them to instantly skip to the next piece of content. By providing your readers and followers with fresh information and fresh content on every single post, you can maintain interest, and possibly even gain a number of followers who come to see you as an authority.

One of the traditional ways of accomplishing this is through a regular blog, and in terms of medical information, this can be even more effective, because huge numbers of people are always searching for information on medical conditions and medical treatments. If you can provide information which actually helps a number of followers, they will keep that in mind when the time comes to make an appointment with a doctor whom they trust.

It’s also a good idea to make posts about your office and your staff, because that has the effect of humanizing your practice, and it helps readers relate to you. Establishing such connections is one of the most beneficial components of having a social media strategy in the first place.

Consider Using Paid Social Media

While posting organically on social will bring in a certain number of new patients and attract new business, it will probably not be as significant as using paid social media in your strategy. Since the search engines like Google prohibit healthcare practices from re-targeting people with paid search ads, your best option for accomplishing this is using social media, because no such prohibitions exist there.

Instagram and Facebook, for instance, can re-target patients or people who have previously visited your website, and help to keep your practice before them when they’re making a decision on medical services.

Using paid social media also will allow you to narrow your target audience by a range of ages, career specialty, gender, and even hobbies or interests. This provides a built-in connection with a number of potential patients, and if you include this as part of your social media strategy, it will be well worth the small fees imposed for paid advertising on the social media.