Social media is information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. That’s from Wikipedia – and pretty boring (!) – a better definition would be: any online published content with a social component that allows for sharing and connecting with others.
It’s best to think of social media as a cocktail party without the constraints of time and space. You meet people and you start conversations. You answer questions and you try to be helpful. You ask questions and you trust others’ advice and for lack of a better term you act cool. You try to be informal, friendly, and not pushy.
Just like the people at a business cocktail party, those who may be the most aggressive and the pushiest may turn others off. So that too can happen in social media and can be a disaster for your practice’s marketing strategy.
Types of Social Media
There are three types of social media: publishing, networking, and sharing. Essentially, most social media falls in a kind of Venn diagram of the three of those, as most have the aspect of publishing, networking, and of sharing. Twitter is a good example of a medium in which you’re constantly publishing, you’re sharing that to others, and in order for others to see, you’ll need to have a network: followers or friends or whatever the social media platform calls them.
There are other forms of social media, too, many of which can be helpful for promoting your practice. There are blogs. There are videos. There are photos. But mostly what comes to mind when we think of social media in 2019 tends to be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, to some extent Reddit, and YouTube. Of course, there’s LinkedIn and a ton of photo social media sites like Flickr as well.
There are different categories of social media, too, including sites that are geared towards specific markets, like plastic surgery, which is ruled, socially by realself.
Why Social Media Matters
So, why are social media activities important for your marketing plan? For one, it’s a form of inbound marketing. It’s putting yourself on social networks where prospective patients might be looking for you. In the case of something like Facebook, that often comes from knowing your demographic and making sure that you’ve tailored your target audience to your message and to your organization.
Social media is important because it’s interconnected and that is very helpful for potential patients gathering as much information as possible. You’re able to spread your message quickly to the demographic you’ve researched. It can even be a form of low-level link building. Most social media gets no follow links, but you are able to get traffic from those and those can send good signals of the importance of a page, especially if a certain page has been shared or liked multiple times.
In addition, it’s complimentary with other social media, so you get kind of a snowball effect. There’s a way of being able to share, for example, a YouTube via Twitter, or Instagram via Facebook and so on and so forth, so you can be efficient with your message and how you send these posts out.
Some of the benefits of publishing sites: they allow you to add more content, so people can find your business via SEO. I think things like Yelp, which is a form of social media, and YouTube again is another one of these primarily publishing sites. It allows for reviews and customer feedback and it allows for multimedia publishing.
Something like SlideShare may allow you to put forth a slide presentation that you may have created and you can re-contextualize that online. Again, you can share that, you back embed it, there are a lot of ways of using that social media.
Social Media Sharing Sites
There are sharing sites that are primarily for sharing. I think of Reddit as being probably the most popular of these, where you can actually find subreddits, which are very niche specific and you’re able to spread your message to people who may be interested in what you have to say. And furthermore, you can be kind of an expert in those subreddits, allowing people to share your information that you put forth.
Businesses can utilize sharing sites for market research, you can monitor what has been said online and you can also use it for self-promotion. Since all sites have sharing components, you can cross-promote videos, blog posts, I’ve kind of mentioned this above.
Networking Sites and Social Media
As for networking sites, there are more than just Facebook. There’s also LinkedIn, there’s Meetup, and there are a whole host of niche networking sites. That might be a good place to kind of get out events that you may be having.
LinkedIn is also something that can help you find staff if that’s something you’re looking for or people who may get referred to you for your ability. That’s something that LinkedIn often gives – a level of trust between professionals. And so, that can be a useful method. I have seen people use LinkedIn for very strong purposes.
Twitter is one of the most well known and also most maligned social media platforms. Because it is equal parts publishing, sharing, and networking, Twitter is no longer just the site but literally a new form of communication. You can tweet from all different types of locations. Tweets are embedded in other social media, and even in major news outlets.
The real trick for Twitter is to create a real following and to interact with people. And the more that you’re able to do that, not unlike Instagram, which I think is something that I’ll get to in a second, Twitter allows you to speak, it allows you to share photos, it allows you to share video. And it does have a really large following online.
Instagram is probably the most popular and most effective social medium that currently exists. Instagram is primarily for sharing photos and video and this can be used to great effect by a plastic surgeon, who can share their before and after photos, can share procedural videos, can share their Q&A videos or FAQ videos. It’s a great way of getting your message out.
Add to this Snapchat. There are plastic surgeons in particular who have done very well marketing themselves on Snapchat and becoming minor internet celebrities, which is an enviable way to establish one’s brand.
Snapchat is definitely a different demographic and different audience. It tends to be younger. So, it’s a similar vehicle that you can use in order to spread your message and spread your work so that people are familiar with you.
Again, the following you get really depends on your personality. It’s about your own personal brand, something that’s very difficult to outsource.
You need to come up with a strategy, you need to come up with a plan. You need to have somebody that can execute this on your behalf and you need somebody who understand the landscape. Particularly if you’re interested in paid social media.
Paid Social Media
Paid social media is basically buying ad space in a social medium such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Where you can basically promote your message to a larger audience based on demographic data without having them actually follow you.
This can be a good technique to promote a new technique or service. It may be a good way of just getting a follower base so that you can then share your message later on. And it can just be a good way of getting more leads. Particularly if you have honed in on your demographic.
Get Your Social Media Campaign Started for Your Plastic Surgery Practice!
Social media is a powerful online tool that can help you expand your brand awareness and share your content with others to get a larger following and generate more prospective patient leads.
We can help you create a robust social media presence that incorporates interesting posts targeted at your potential patients. We’d love to help you with the social media marketing needs of your medical practice.