We’ve gone through our archives to recommend an article thread for practices who want to join Facebook. At the end of this article, you’ll find a link to the next article in our Facebook series.
Healthcare practices like yours are using Facebook to build trust with patients–and you can, too! Facebook is the top social media site among physicians who engage on social media.
You’re probably thinking, “Why the push for Facebook? Surely other social media networks, like Twitter and LinkedIn, are just as effective.” While we aren’t saying that other social networks are ineffective, there are a few reasons why we recommend starting with Facebook.
1. More people are on Facebook.
It makes the most sense to go with the network with the most users–that means there is more of a chance to reach out to your target audience. Facebook has 1.3 billion active monthly users worldwide–more than 4 times the amount of monthly active users on Twitter. Even though those are worldwide statistics, there is a good chance that people in your community will be on Facebook.
2. Facebook is best for driving traffic.
Facebook is more effective than other social networks at driving traffic to websites. If your practice is like most healthcare practices, your website is the hub of your marketing activity. The more traffic you get, the better chance you have to attract new patients. Facebook can help you do that–it drives 20 times more traffic to websites than Twitter does. Be sure to link to your website on your Facebook page, and link to any blog posts or relevant content on your site to increase your chances of driving traffic to your site.
3. Your target audience is already on Facebook.
Facebook is the most popular social network among two prime age groups: 18-34 and 35-54. Unless you are in pediatrics, a good portion of your patients are probably in the 35-54 category. This is especially true if you are in orthopedics. We tend to have more health and joint problems as we get older, so this age group may be more likely to need your services sooner. Even if they don’t, they may have an older parent who needs your services. Pew Research reports that half of online health inquiries are on behalf of someone else. If you can become a trusted and helpful source of information on Facebook, you may be able to capture this group’s attention.
Depending on the type of procedures and services your practice offers, the 18-34 age group may not be the prime age group you are trying to attract to your practice. However, that doesn’t mean you should count them out. They may also be searching for a doctor for a parent who isn’t internet-savvy, and your Facebook posts can help to reinforce the fact that you are knowledgeable and can help.
4. People are already talking about health issues on Facebook.
One-third of patients use social media to discuss health-related issues, research their symptoms, and share opinions about medical care. Additionally, over 40% of patients said that social media affects how they manage their health, and 41% said that social media affects their choice of doctor. Since patients say that they are most likely to trust social media posts by doctors over any other group, you can step in to provide useful, trustworthy information. You can make sure that patients are getting good advice on their health and getting the right medical attention. This doesn’t mean that you should use every health-related discussion to “sell” patients on your practice; simply providing good information can go a long way and will demonstrate your knowledge.
5. You have more opportunities to get a discussion going.
Facebook gives you a chance to connect with both current and potential patients outside of the office setting. While you could connect with patients on any social network, Facebook’s setup really encourages discussion. You could certainly pose a question to your Twitter followers and get a discussion going, but how much of a meaningful discussion can you really have when posts are limited to 140 characters? Facebook’s interface makes it easy for your followers to directly comment on a post and see what others are saying. Try posing a health-related question to your Facebook followers; you might be surprised at the information you can learn that way. (Get real-life examples on how to connect with your audience in our profile on Dr. Seth Rosenzweig’s social media efforts.)
In short, if your practice only has time to devote to one social media network, Facebook may be the best option. If you’re going to devote time in your already busy day to social media, why not use the network that offers the greatest possibility of reaching the patients you want?
Once you have your Facebook page set up, you need to take steps to keep it secure. Continue on to our next article, How to Protect Your Practice’s Facebook Page, for our tips.