Jumping into the world of social media marketing can be exhilarating – there’s so much to learn, and so much to do. The thrill of seeing your social accounts grow and interactions pick up can quickly wear off, however, if you don’t see the results you really need. How do you determine what social can do for your practice, and how can you make those results a reality?
Social Media isn’t Magic
The first step is understanding what social media can and can’t do. It’s definitely not a magic wand you can wave to watch all of your marketing issues disappear in a puff of fairy dust. No matter how much time and money you throw at Facebook or Twitter, they aren’t going to replace your entire marketing plan. However, they can definitely be an asset. Let’s take a look at what social media will do for you, given the right amount of attention and care.
The Will List
- Social media will provide a monitorable, manageable location for people to talk about your practice. Make no mistake, people will talk, with or without you – so making sure you have the opportunity to join in and direct the conversation is crucial.
- Social media will create more visibility for your practice online. If your properly build, maintain, and monitor your social profiles, they can become additional positive results on internet searches – the initial impression people get of your practice when they “Google” you should always be your website followed by your social profiles. .
- Social media will allow current patients to rave about your practice. Facebook’s review system provides an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand format for patients to comment on your practice and for you to review feedback.
- Social media will let you find out about potential issues and deal with them in a timely fashion. Unhappy people use Twitter and Facebook as sounding boards when they are displeased, so monitoring social platforms for hints of dissatisfaction gives you the opportunity to reach out and make things right.
Don’t be scared of that last item. It’s actually a GOOD thing. No-one and nothing pleases every single person all the time. People will judge your practice based not only on how many good things patients say about you, but on how you handle the rare occasion when someone says something less than flattering!
Now, let’s look at the things that social media simply can’t do for your practice, no matter how many hours or dollars you spend. Understanding these limitations up front can prevent you from getting frustrated when miracles do not occur!
The Won’t List
- Social media won’t immediately start generating a dozen new patients per week. Social media is a “slow and steady” kind of race winner, and the likelihood of gaining new patients directly from a visit to your Facebook Page is unlikely. However, many practices are hearing more and more patients confide that they did look the practice up on Facebook before calling for that appointment, so it can be a tipping point in your favor!
- Social media won’t be glaringly obvious when it comes to ROI, especially at first. It can take several months to a year to grow into an understanding of how social media is benefitting your practice, since its effects can be subtle and more supporting than directly visible.
- Social media won’t replace SEO or suddenly get your practice ranked online for generic keywords – while this was a hoped for result in the early days of social, it never came to pass, and your social profiles are more likely to stand on their own than to provide a boost to your website. Depend on them to provide further confirmation of your practice’s stability and add to its good name, instead.
Managing your expectations and knowing what to expect from social media helps keep the shiny from wearing off after a few weeks. Commit to the long haul when it comes to social, understand what it will and won’t do for your practice, and focus on maximizing its benefits for your practice. It’s worth it!