5 Ways to Reach Your Patients Through Social Media

By: Ayesha Tak

Social Media marketing is more than getting likes and retweets – it is about reaching out to customers and developing relationships. Social media can be an effective way to gauge patient's interests, attract new patients, and stay on top of trending topics relevant to your practice.

An active and engaging presence on social media helps to enhance your reputation. A patient is more likely to leave good reviews and referrals for your business once they have already engaged with and formed a connection with you. Without any insight on how to use social media to improve your practice, you can waste time, money, and effort, without getting very far.

Here are five ways you can better reach patients through social media.

  1. Use Groups and Pages to Gather Meaningful Data on Your Target Market
  2. Groups and pages on Facebook bring together individuals who share a common interest. Research what groups and pages your customers are likely to subscribe to4. These groups are where your target audience make interactions. These could be in the form of making posts, asking for advice, or just venting. These interactions can reveal what your customers want from a practice, and it is your job to fulfill that demand.

    Groups such as the "Bunz Mental Health Zone" on Facebook, with 4,573 members and counting, bring together individuals from Canada who talk about mental health issues and share resources 5. This is an excellent place to learn about patient's fears about things like dental anxiety.
    To target your audience, focus your posts and interactions to a specific demographic. Instead of posting everywhere and only getting a fraction of the feedback, it's better to focus on a specific audience and gain an interest of the majority.

    Some effective ways to target are by age, gender, and/or location. For example, if you have a dental office, location is a good way to target your audience.

    Share tips on how to alleviate dental anxiety, and connect with individuals on local community pages to start a conversation or respond to people's concerns. It's a good way to get a word out about your practice, connect with your target audience, and could lead to new customers requesting appointments!

  3. Follow the Right Local Pages Services and Groups
  4. In addition to Facebook, you can target an audience by following the right people on Twitter. Make sure you follow local sources that are also relevant to your practice's interests. Chances are, these entities will be interested in the services you offer and follow you back. Examples include: Your local health centre, business associations (BIAs), community services, schools, and others! It's a good way to impress upon potential patients in your area.
    It's a good idea to follow hashtags that are relevant to your practice, such as #dentaltips, #wellness, and #health. Your Twitter should be active with recent posts - retweet and share relevant posts that are likely to attract dental and healthcare patients. It's important to look beyond hashtags as well. Pay attention to who retweeted, replied, liked, or shared your tweets.

  5. Identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  6. Now that you know who to target, the next step is to figure out your goals. Do you want to build brand awareness or drive revenue? KPIs help you quantify your goals and help in determining what content to publish. If you want to drive revenue as a dental practice, then your goals might be to increase appointment requests, signups, and/or product purchases. If your goal is to build brand awareness, you might want to measure brand mentions, followers, newsletter signups, and of course, audience interaction in terms of likes and retweets.

    Knowing what your goals are, will help you guide how to reach your target audience. After you've identified who you need to target, KPIs tell you what you should expect from such targeting.

  7. Create Relevant Content
  8. Whatever content you post, it should reflect your practice. For example, if you represent a dental or healthcare practice, your content should be related to dentistry and health. Make sure you add a personal touch to all of your comments, blog posts, and other business content. Potential and existing patients want to feel connected to a real person rather than a no-name stranger behind the screen.

    Limit your content to smaller, specific categories within your interest. This may sound contradictory, but specifying content could help you reach a large portion of a target audience, rather than a small portion of a bigger audience. Focusing on your target audience is also more likely to generate interest in your services and increase engagement on your social media.

  9. Customer Experience is Key
  10. Genuine interactions with your followers helps in elevating your business's reputation. You might have existing patients or business partners following you on twitter. Reaching a target audience on social media isn't as easy as pressing the "Follow" button - make sure you connect with them too! Try starting a conversation or following up with them about a concern they had. New customers are likely to flock to you once they see how pleasant your interactions are with your followers.

    As shown in the tweets below, @buffer is excellent at providing customer service while uplifting their customers at the same time. They acknowledge when they are given a shout-out and maintain positive rapport in every tweet exchange.

    Staying in touch with your followers is an effective way to build a more loyal follower base. For example, when a guest posts a recommendation or mentions feedback regarding your practice, make sure you follow up with them. Tell them how you look forward to seeing them again or how you are happy to serve them. Social media is not only a tool of marketing, but also good customer service.

These tips are sure to make your business stand out on social media. Capturing the interest of your target audience is key to retaining customers and developing relationships with new clients. Check out UpOnline's service packages to see how social media marketing can propel your business.