Many healthcare professionals have understood the importance of a strong digital identity and a constant presence on social media . Most, however, are still excluded from the Net or do not fully understand the advantages that healthcare marketing tools can give.
As in every sector, in the face of progress there are those who take avant- garde positions and those who prefer a more conservative approach . Healthcare is a traditionally reluctant sector to change , but fortunately many are embracing the new scenarios proposed by digital innovation and cultural development.
The first mistake made by doctors is to think that social media , and online in general, does not concern them. The main objection raised is that there is no point in having a social profile for a doctor, because treatment takes place offline .
This is very true, but in the age we are living now there is an ever greater mix between inside and outside the Net, so any reality cannot be released from its digital alter ego. The same goes for healthcare professionals.
Physicians need to understand that the trend for health users today is to search for symptoms and information on the Internet, often making self-diagnoses before going to the specialist. This behavior cannot be avoided, but it can be directed towards the right information. Therefore, doing health social media marketing becomes a duty towards health web surfers . Doctors must ally with “Doctor Google” in the fight against fake news and prevention.
Also, even if as a doctor you are not interested in social media, you need to know that social media is already talking about you . Modern patients love to leave reviews and let others know about their experience, especially if it has been negative . If, unfortunately, a patient of yours did not feel comfortable in your doctor’s office and reported it on social media, you would not have the opportunity to reply. You may get a bad return of image, without being able to investigate the reasons for the dissatisfaction and without being able to explain what and why it did not work.
In essence, the figure of the doctor is changing and the only wise thing to do is to go towards change, trying to exploit all the possible advantages.
Good health communication on social media can work wonders in several ways:
If you are convinced that you also want to be present on social media , you must not make the second fundamental mistake , which is to believe that only Facebook is enough .
Of course, with a good health care social media marketing strategy , you can get a lot of results on Facebook, but you should neither take it for granted , expecting it to do everything by itself, nor neglect other social platforms.
Posts need careful and accurate programming, for which an editorial plan is essential. Above all, you should invest in creating quality images and videos, since now the Facebook algorithm rewards the most visual and “shareable” content.
Be involved and always answer questions and comments, especially negative ones. As we’ve seen, negative reviews are the most feared obstacle on social media , but they can turn into an opportunity if you make the most of it. For example, you can ask questions to understand the reasons for the dissatisfaction, showing interest in solving the problem situation . Keep a calm and polite tone of voice in your responses and remember that even if the negative comment cannot be eliminated, it can instead change the perception that the user has of you.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Instagram is a social network only for young people . It is true, it has internal rules that make it by its very nature much more “elusive” and suitable for an audience of young and very young people, but do not think that this is why you cannot be there .
Meanwhile, consider that the average age of Instagram users is gradually rising and, secondly, young people also need to be informed and educated, especially if you think they are the first to use the Internet to search for information on their health and rely on reviews when choosing a doctor.
On Instagram you can fully exploit the potential of images and videos, together with those of hashtags to categorize your services and the topics you deal with.
Linkedin is the professional social network par excellence and for a doctor’s office it can be really useful both for communicating with your followers, and for creating a network of professionals in your own sector with whom to dialogue and share news and updates. It is the ideal social network to train and train.
Some medical centers also lend themselves perfectly to the use of Youtube , a video viewing and sharing platform. We have seen how multimedia contents are the most appreciated by users , so you could upload informative videos or columns of the services you offer to YouTube. If you are the owner of a gynecological clinic, for example, an idea could be to share good practices for proper intimate hygiene or answer the questions that patients are afraid to ask because they are embarrassed about certain issues.
We have convinced you, you have opened profiles on the different platforms based on the type of services that your healthcare facility offers and… you have abandoned them. Don’t make the mistake of opening social media profiles and pages and not curating them .
Having a social page whose last post dates back to 2011 causes damage to the image much more serious than not having it at all. If you have opened a profile, but you do not publish updates, you do not have the pages optimized for the different devices and you do not have a structure that is user friendly , it is better to close everything and start over.
The excuse of lack of time does not apply , especially since you should rely on competent people and not do everything yourself (more on that in a moment). And if you are still not completely convinced, think about the feelings you feel yourself. You may not be a social media manager, but you are certainly a social media user : when you land on a well-kept page, with frequent updates and easy to navigate, with all the information immediately traceable and contacts at your fingertips, what do you think? You think it is a sign of competenceand professionalism, you are satisfied with your browsing experience and are pushed to rely on that reality. On the contrary, what sensation does a page that dates back to the Paleolithic give you?
If you think that advertising and medicine cannot be in the same sentence, I will reveal to you a secret: it is since 2006, precisely from the entry into force of the Bersani decree, that it is possible to carry out health advertising activities .
Even on social media you can do paid ads and there is nothing ethically wrong with that.
With organic promotion, your posts will be seen by your current followers and their social network. With ads, you can determine in detail which audience will see your content , exponentially increasing your visibility and letting those looking for you and your services track you.
Consider, in addition, that the Facebook algorithm gives less visibility to organic posts , just to push pages to do sponsorships, so what is the point of creating valid content if no one can see them? On the Net the competition is high, there are billions of information and the real battle lies in making yourself visible.
So, in addition to investing in creating authentic content (which remains the most important thing), you also need to budget for sponsorships, otherwise all your work will only be worth half.
It is in the last place , but in reality it is the biggest mistake : not to turn to the professionals of the sector .
It is understandable that some small businesses may not have the necessary resources to invest in healthcare marketing . However, as with any professional sector, it is necessary to rely on the right skills to obtain satisfactory results .
In most cases, healthcare facilities use people who are already employees for other roles , who are asked to manage social media channels as well . Often, therefore, even if some realities are present on social media, there is no strategy and structured planning upstream, because there is no team of qualified people to carry out these tasks.
In the most fortunate cases, these activities are part of corporate communication and are placed side by side with the press office activities , which is however incorrect , because they are two totally different types of communication.
Only a professional will really know which actions are suitable for you and for the doctor’s office. There are no universally valid solutions, but each reality must be studied on its own, based on the context in which it operates, the services it offers and the target audience.
Don’t improvise , consider the benefits you and your patients can reap from professional social media management and embrace change. We assure you that it will be worth it from every point of view.