Social media marketing is the process of creating accounts on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
The accounts on these sites are always free. The objective is to build a following of past, current, and potential clients so you can engage your audience.
That makes it easy for you to establish a loyal following of repeat clients, which is important to the success of any private practice. Whether you're in a small town or a big city, you always need a consistent base of clients to support your business and help your practice grow.
To get started with social media marketing, you only need to make an account on a social network.
We'll take a look at five social networks and how you can use them to promote your business.
Network #1. Facebook
Facebook is the largest social network in the world, which means you're almost guaranteed to find potential clients.
To start, create a Facebook business page and add all of the information that Facebook allows. This is important because you could get away with adding minimal content to your page, but a full page looks better than a minimalist page.
You can also add images of your practice, members of your team, logos, behind-the-scenes photos, and more. When you have lots of content on your Facebook page, you show Facebook users that you're an active presence online and they have a lot of reasons to learn about your company.
Once all of that is set up, you can plan a few posts that you'll make on your Facebook account.
These posts can be about anything from content on your website to updates about your practice's working hours during inclement weather.
Then, once those posts are planned, you can create your first one and start marketing it.
Have your employees "Like" your business page to get some early traction. Their friends will see that they liked your page, and then you can gradually get more followers and potential clients.
You can also advertise your Facebook page on your website, which allows regular visitors to get information from you on a different website.
Essentially, you're reaching out to potential clients through a different medium. That gives you more opportunities to convert new and returning clients whenever you create new content and promote it on Facebook.
But even with all of this, there's one great part of Facebook marketing that makes it a great tool for medical practices.
It lets you speak directly with your followers.
Whenever you create a post, your followers can comment on it. Then, you can reply to their comment and open a dialogue with them.
They may want to know more about content you posted, inquire about making an appointment, or just say hello. Regardless, you now have an excellent opportunity to show someone that you're a trustworthy, respectful, and reliable medical practice.
But Facebook isn't the only social network that you can utilize to appeal to customers.
Network #2. Instagram
Instagram is a photo- and video-only social network that is actually owned by Facebook.
Still, it has an entirely different user demographic that consists of people in their teens and 20s. And they all want the same thing — engaging photo and video content from the brands they follow.
To create an Instagram account, someone on your team just needs to download the app on their mobile phone. Then, they can set up an account with all of the relevant information about your business.
Instagram is one of the more complicated social networks to use for a medical practice since you can't photograph your patients. Instead, your Instagram account could be a great way to show the human side of your business with behind-the-scenes photos and short clips of your team enjoying themselves.
That way, your followers can come to appreciate your private practice as a relatable and understandable organization instead of a business.
Network #3. Twitter
Twitter is a social network that lets its users type short, 140-character messages to one another. You can write more than that, but it'll always be truncated, and very few people will actually see your whole message.
Twitter is the main social network where you'll find shortened URLs. Companies like Bitly, Buffer, and even Twitter itself offer URL shortening services that let you save space in your tweets for your message.
While not every tweet requires a URL in it, tweets with URLs are proven to be more engaging than text-only tweets.
And speaking of engagement, Twitter has its own set of best practices that you can follow to stand out against other Twitter users in your industry.
Images, videos, and other visuals are essential for drawing attention, and they all "cost" characters in your tweets.
So if you want to make the most of your Twitter account, it's important to use shortened URLs, concise messages, and engaging visuals.
But it's also important to consider what you tweet. Twitter's great for posting links to content that you create, but if that's all you do, you won't earn a lot of engaged followers.
Instead, only a few of your tweets should consist of content promotion. Most of them should be you talking with your followers, participating in Twitter-wide conversations via hashtags, posting advice on how to stay healthy, and inspirational quotes are all great ways to create a diverse Twitter profile that attracts new followers.
Network #4. Pinterest
Pinterest is one of the most effective and influential social networks in the world.
Because of its layout, Pinterest is perfect for showcasing new visual content that you produce, especially infographics.
Pinterest basically acts like a bulletin board where you can "pin" the content you produce on your site. Then, people who follow you will see what you pin, and they can click to your site.
The idea is that you're providing multiple places where people can find content that you produce. That makes it easier for users to find what you create and direct people to your site.
When you're on Pinterest, you can build a following by posting content that's important to the kind of clients that you want to attract. For example, an infographic on staying healthy in winter would be a great way to attract a new audience via Pinterest.
The people who see and enjoy that content are probably people who are interested in your services. That makes them qualified traffic for your site, which means you can easily turn them into new clients.
Network #5. Reddit
Reddit is a social network that operates like a community. It's based on user submissions, and the community as a whole is very sensitive to marketing strategies.
That makes marketing on Reddit sound like a difficult task.
But it's actually not so bad. So long as you provide helpful, easy-to-consume content, Reddit is a great way to generate traffic and awareness for your site.
With that in mind, it's important to know that Reddit is a poor source of qualified traffic. Most of its sub-communities (called "subreddits") are only based on one specific interest, which makes it difficult to target qualified leads.
For example, you could post your infographic about the flu in the subreddits r/infographics, r/askdoctors, or r/askdocs, but the likelihood is small that those readers will become clients.
That's because they could come to your site from anywhere in the world — including other continents.
You could also post your infographic in a subreddit that's dedicated to your city. Most towns have an active subreddit dedicated to information about the town itself, and you can post your infographic there to generate some local awareness.
But that doesn't necessarily get you excellent leads either. Even if someone lives close to you, they may not want medical advice or need medical attention.
So in a nutshell, Reddit is a great way to get lots of people to your site and generate brand awareness. But the direct benefits to your bottom line are significantly lower than other social networks, especially Pinterest.