These days, it seems everyone is on Facebook. There are over 500 million users worldwide, and half of those people log on to Facebook on any given day.
Physicians who create a Facebook page for their practice are able to leverage this huge user base as a way to stay connected to their patients and attract new customers.
If your practice doesn’t have a page yet, here are a few reasons to seriously consider creating a Facebook page:
1. Keep patients informed – Tell your patients any time there is news about your practice. Whether you’re going to be closed on a certain day, now offering a new service or opened a new location, you can keep your patients in the loop.
2. Share verified information – The Internet is full of misinformation. When you read an article that would be valuable to your patients, the CDC releases a health warning or a groundbreaking study is released, post it on your page to keep patients armed with the best possible info to stay healthy.
3. Interact with patients – You can stay top of mind with your patients by posting articles, tips and announcements. Patients may only see you for a matter of minutes each year, so keeping a conversation going online will help build a lasting relationship.
4. Network with other physicians – You can discuss best practices, recruit physicians or learn new things in your online community by participating in Facebook discussions.
5. Build an online presence – When potential new patients go online and search for a doctor in your area, you’ll want to show up. Facebook is great at getting you seen when people search, so take advantage of this.
6. Create referral business – When someone searches for a doctor, mechanic or any other service provider, they tend to ask their friends for recommendations. If prospects are seeing your posts on a friend’s Facebook page, then that can start the conversation and lead to a referral for your practice.
7. It’s free and easy! It won’t cost you any money to set up a page and you can do it in minutes. You can make managing it part of a trusted staff member’s job and they will probably be happy to get paid to use Facebook.
There are so many benefits of putting your practice on Facebook, but many physicians are concerned, and rightly so, about patients posting private information. The best thing to do is to create a disclaimer (like this one) about what is appropriate for Facebook and post it prominently on your page.
If a patient does post private information, try to remove it as quickly as possible and send that patient a private message to contact the office directly.
Bonus: Mobile Media Tip
While Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla of social media, there are other ways to reach your audience. The location-based mobile platform Foursquare is also a rapidly growing social media player with 8.5 million users — adding an average of 27,000 new members per day.
Using Foursquare can be a great way to get found when someone searches for a doctor on their smartphone. With 2 million check-ins per day, there’s no reason not to take advantage of all the potential customers found on this free service. Simply create a profile and let new patients find you.
Of course, there are so many other social media paths to take, but these two are a great place to start. Marketing doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming in the social media age. Take advantage of technology and don’t get left behind!
Do you have a social media presence? Why or why not?