A new year, a fresh start and a prime opportunity to take a critical look at your social media marketing strategy and resolve to make it better. Simply put, the volume of online content is exploding, consumers are savvier than ever and doctors who want to get heard will only be able to do so if they can differentiate themselves from the competition. Keep the following strategies top of mind and aesthetic consumers will keep you there as well:
Claim your social profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, RealSelf — if you do nothing else, claim your profile on each of the major social networks. It’s free, it’s easy to do and it expands your digital presence, boosting your SERPs even as it diminishes the power of sites that you don’t control.
Contribute to the conversation: If you’re not answering questions online, producing blog posts or otherwise sharing your expertise with online consumers, you’re already at a disadvantage compared to competitors who do. Make an effort to contribute timely, relevant content whenever and wherever possible and you’ll reap the rewards of attracting more patients with realistic expectations and a predisposition toward higher satisfaction.
Emphasize authenticity: Part and parcel of the above, good content is about helping people resolve their concerns, not hitting them over the head with sales pitches. And while advertising is almost always a turn-off, expressions of empathy and personality reveal the real human being behind the credentials. Be authentic and you build the trust that builds new business.
Embrace your analytics: The old saying is true — you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Knowing where visitors to your practice website come from, what content they find valuable and what prompts them to email or call your office is paramount in terms of allocating marketing resources. To the uninitiated the data can seem indecipherable but your webmaster or agency should be able to walk you through it.
Respond faster: Between Wi-Fi, ever-faster cellular networks and their always-on lifestyles, online consumers believe an immediate response to their inquiries is almost a birthright. And since most aesthetic consumers reach out to multiple doctors at a time, those who respond first clearly have an advantage. Resolve to respond to patient inquiries faster by setting reasonable expectations, then exceeding them.
Get smart about smartphones: This year, Internet traffic via mobile devices doubled over last year and it’s expected to exceed that of wired devices, like desktop computers, by 2016. Work with your tech team now to ensure your practice website renders well on all devices; if it doesn’t, that traffic will very quickly go elsewhere.
Listen more, talk less and learn to let go: Contributing to the conversation (Point 2 above) is good; taking it over is not. At its essence, patient-centered marketing is about letting aesthetic consumers dictate where, when and how they engage with providers. It’s not about you, as they say, it’s about them, and if you can keep that top of mind, 2014 could be a banner year for all concerned.