With more than 40 percent of consumers stating that information found on social media influences their healthcare decisions, it’s never been more important for your practice to establish and maintain a strong social media presence.

The challenge for most practices is both understanding and navigating the complex social media environment in the healthcare industry. Social media within healthcare is unique because of the high amount of regulation and rules. This, in turn, affects both the content being produced and the conversation that takes place.

In this blog post, we’ll explore three different types of Facebook posts that resulted in a higher than average engagement rate and then we’ll dive into the factors that made them successful.

Case Study #1: Awards

One post we did for a client was promoting an old press release in which the doctors were recognized as New Jersey’s Top Doctors. Although the press release was over a year old, their Facebook fans and the general public responded very positively.

The level of activity was very surprising given how “light” it was in content. Overall, the post generated 105 likes, 20 shares and 15 comments. The majority of the comments were either showering the doctors with recognition or voluntarily sharing personal outcomes.

The takeaway here is that people like to associate themselves with “the best”. They also like to recognize and acknowledge the accomplishments of a person or an organization. Can you think of any rewards your practice or your doctors have received? Post achievements on Facebook, congratulating efforts and watch what happens.

Case Study #2: News

In addition to announcing a type of award or recognition, we’ve also seen news posts perform very well. To give an example, we published a post announcing the grand opening of a new location for one of our clients. In the text of the post, we encouraged fans and users to “help us spread the word”. To our surprise, they did!

With nothing more than a short blurb announcing the new location and encouraging Facebook users to share, it generated a total of 86 likes, 35 shares and 4 comments. Overall, the amount of time and energy invested into this post was minimal compared to its social impact.

The lesson? Your fanbase on social media is not only willing but enthusiastic about helping your practice, granted you have a solid reputation and provide exceptional care. From a business perspective, this fanbase is an asset to be carefully leveraged to its fullest potential. You can do this by brainstorming different types of news for your practice. For example, have you or can you get involved in local events? If you aren’t opening a new location, are you renovating your existing one or providing new services there? Whenever you can generate news about your practice, post it for your fans and encourage them to help spread the word.

Case Study #3: Patient Testimonials

This final case study is something all practices are familiar with but maybe don’t give it the proper attention it deserves. I’m referring to patient testimonials. Patient testimonials are one of the best types of content to post on social media because people connect with real people and their stories, especially when they find themselves in the same situation. When prospective patients see a current patient having a successful outcome, they are more likely to imagine themselves with a similar outcome and positively associating it with your practice.

One patient testimonial we posted on a client’s Facebook page was a recovery story from knee surgery. The testimonial mentioned the surgery was outstanding with a quick recovery. Although the testimonial was short and to the point, it resonated with Facebook fans and generated 58 likes and 5 comments without paid promotion.

In short, your patient success stories are more powerful than any marketing message or brand slogan you can come up with. Not only that but other patients love to share their personal outcomes in the comments when you post patient testimonials. You can leverage patient testimonials in your social media efforts to reach new people. You can also gather success stories from existing patients by encouraging people to share their stories in the comments, creating a multiplying factor.

What Doesn’t Work on Social Media in Healthcare

Now that we’ve explored what works, let’s briefly touch upon what does not work. First on the list is generic articles or blog posts covering finite topics. These types of posts generally do not create a lot of social media buzz. Unless your blog challenges a previously held assumption or stirs up an emotion, it’s better to not share it on social media. In other words, posting something just to post something should be avoided.

Another best practice to follow is to avoid posting services/department type pages. The nature of the content does not invite any conversation, which will lead to zero likes, comments or shares. It’s better to create interesting and helpful content that links to the appropriate services on your blog instead.

Using Social Media to Attract New Patients

Executed with the proper strategy, social media can be an effective way to reach new patients as well as strengthen a connection with your current patients. Just remember, what generates a response isn’t always what you assume. At the end of the day, to be successful on social media in healthcare, you must test your assumptions with new ideas, measure your results, and then repeat what works. Don’t be surprised when something you thought would do well fails, while something you never expected to gain traction dramatically outperforms your best ideas.

If you don’t have a social media strategy in place or you don’t want to do social media on your own, you need to hire a team of experts. At Points Group, we specialize in healthcare social media that is HIPAA compliant and generates a buzz around your brand. Contact us today for to learn how we can help you start your social media presence of expand your existing one.

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