Chances are, your practice already has a Facebook page. If not, what are you waiting for? Nearly two-thirds of American adults use social networking sites, according to Pew Research Center. And Facebook is by far the most popular site—72 percent of online adults are Facebook users, amounting to 62 percent of all American adults. Facebook users are also highly addicted engaged: 70 percent say they log on daily, including 43 percent who do so several times a day.
You likely already use your practice Facebook page for the basics: posting your address, hours, and a map to your office, updating patients on weather-related closings, maybe even sharing basic patient education information. But in 2016, that’s just not enough. You don’t want to trade your professional integrity for “likes,” but you do want to attract patients to your Facebook page and keep them coming back. Here’s how.
What to post and where to find it
This post on KevinMD.com looks at “5 types of doctors you will meet on social media,” ranging from the newshound to the jokester. Ideally, your Facebook presence should be a blend of these types. You might post news and journal articles some days, more light-hearted fare like GIFs or memes on other days, and things like job postings, employee profiles, or other content on other days. Here’s an example of a St. Louis eye care practice that’s doing it right: their recent posts are a mix of media appearances, patient education tips, and a gallery of David Bowie’s eyeglasses styles. And this New York ophthalmology practice posts news articles about eye health, healthy recipes, and inspirational quotes, among other content.
So where do you get all that enticing content? Some of it you’ll find by poking around on colleagues’ and friends’ Facebook pages. In fact, sharing content from other Facebook users is a good way to increase your fans and encourage cross-promotion. Again, strive for a mix of newsworthy, such as content from the New England Journal of Medicine or other reputable health care sources; funny and topical, such as the musical medical parody videos of ZDoggMD; poignant or inspirational, like the children’s cancer hospitals that adopted a current pop hit as their theme song; and practical, such as recipes, tips, and resources for patients. Educational videos are an easy way to engage patients and promote your offerings on social media without having to hunt down new content each month.
How to engage but not offend on Facebook
Using hashtags is an effective way to get your content in front of more people. Some relevant ones for health care providers include #ILookLikeaSurgeon, #WellnessWednesday, #FunFactFriday, and #GlaucomaAwarenessMonth. Planning posts around monthly health observances is also smart to stay timely and top of mind on Facebook. Be sure to ask your staff to keep an eye out for potential content, too. Maybe even offer a small reward for the employee whose post or idea gets the most “likes” each month!
If you have wondered when is the best time to post, there is no perfect answer. However, data does show some optimal times to post on Facebook, reports Hubspot. These are: between 12 to 1 p.m. on Saturday; 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday; and 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. As for how often to post, the data suggests up to two times a day, and Facebook-savvy doctors recommend seven to 10 times a week.
One word of caution when it comes to your practice’s Facebook presence: resist the urge to get political. Even a seemingly harmless joke about a presidential candidate could turn off some people (including potential patients). Similarly, think twice before you engage in physician activism on social media. This can be tough to resist when your timeline is peppered with medical inaccuracies, vaccine fears, and sensationalized news reports about the infectious disease du jour. But by engaging, you risk alienating more people than you educate. Stick to what you can control: the content on your own page. When in doubt, a panda playing in the snow is always a good idea.
To find out more about using technology and video to enhance your medical practice’s social media presence, contact us today.