There is an important distinction between having social media and using social media. Although 70% of health providers have accounts on social media platforms, many are not using the space as effectively as they should. Over 50% of patients want to see a strong social media presence from their health providers, and that presence can influence where patients choose to get care.
Here are some tips on how to enhance the content you’re publishing on social media.
Curate Interesting Content
Regardless of the platform your clinic uses, curating ideas for content that catch your readers’ attention is the most critical — and challenging — endeavor. Content can range from fun to informative, with a purpose to update or engage patients and increase patient education.
- Inform: An informative way to share news, these topics can include: breakthroughs in medical research and industry trends, a condensed version of the week’s healthcare news, modernization of old posts, or announcing new products or services.
- Entertain: Get patients more involved in your page by sharing fun facts or trivia about your health niche, answering frequently asked questions about medical conditions, sharing photos, creating a reader’s poll, sharing patients’ or doctors’ personal stories, or creating a healthcare ‘hack’ posts.
- Educate: 80% of patients use the internet for healthcare information. Create content for educational purposes to help patients learn from legitimate sources. If you don’t have time to curate original content, sharing relevant articles to your field can also be an easy way to educate your patients. Other topics could include interviewing fellow healthcare professionals, creating healthcare infographics, or writing about trending industry topics.
Know Your Platforms
Once you have unique and interesting content to publish, the next step is dividing it up among different social media platforms, and discerning what type of content goes where. For example, posting lengthy blog content wouldn’t be ideal in a Facebook post, but sharing the link to that blog post would be.
Photo and video content also generally perform well, so don’t forget about those. Although, constraints through HIPAA might make posting visual content more challenging, there’s no need to ignore it completely. Compliant photos could include shots from inside your clinic that give patients an idea of the atmosphere and overall appearance; educational seminars or community-based events hosted or attended by your staff; employee profiles, which help humanize your clinic; and happy patients (who have given their consent).
Go To Your Audience
Your content won’t matter if no one is reading it, so post where your patients are. Last year, a Pew Research Center survey found that daily internet users were 76% active on Facebook, 51% were on Instagram, 42% were on Twitter, and 25% were on LinkedIn. Understand your patient demographic and build a strong presence on their most active channels.
How Much Is Enough?
With the expected number of social media users to reach 2.95 billion by 2020, it’s important for health providers to work in tandem with social media. It doesn’t have to be hard. Most information can be cross-promoted between sites so that you always have a consistent influx of content. Research has shown that common posting etiquette while still creating a buzz is two posts per day on Facebook, one to five tweets a day on twitter, five posts a week for LinkedIn, and a consistent upload of photos on Instagram. Pick a manageable frequency and plan ahead so that you can hit your numbers regularly.