When medical office managers have to oversee the day-to-day processes within the practice and manage the practice’s social media, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything. That’s where a social media plan comes in handy.
Whether you take care of all of your practice’s social media posts yourself, or several people are involved, a plan can help to keep everything consistent so that everyone is on the same page. When there is no clear plan in place, things can get messy, and your overall message will not come across as clearly as it should. A clearly-defined plan can help you better fit marketing into your busy schedule.
Sit down with all of the doctors, managing partners, and any other staff that will be involved in the practice’s social media efforts. Take the time to draw up a plan so that you can establish protocols, and make sure everyone involved can access the plan so that there will be no confusion moving forward. There is a lot more involved with social media than you might think.
An effective social media plan should answer the following questions:
1. How often should you post?
If social media is going to be part of your practice’s marketing plan, you need to be consistent with it, or it will end up being a wasted effort. You can’t post several times one month and then completely stop posting the next. That doesn’t mean you always have to have the same amount of posts every month, or that you always have to post on certain days and times. You could try setting a minimum amount of posts for the week or the month and go from there.
You may have to try out different posting schedules to find what works best for your practice. Things like your timezone and your location factor in to posting times; what works for a practice across the country may not work for your practice.
2. Whose “voice” should your social media accounts use?
Your posts should have a consistent “voice;” when your posts sound like they are coming from different people, it can be confusing to your followers. For example, if you manage a doctor’s individual practice, you may want all of the posts to sound as though they are coming from the doctor (ex. “I recommend this exercise…”). On the other hand, if you manage a group practice, you may want to use plural pronouns in your posts (ex. “We recommend this diet…” or “Our practice now offers ___ procedure”). If you want to feature one doctor in particular, you could mention the doctor by name (ex. “Dr. Smith has a seminar coming up soon!”).
3. Who is allowed to post?
It’s ok to have more than one person in charge of posting, but allowing too many employees to post could create problems. Narrow it down to just a few people who can access the accounts and post.
If multiple people in your office do have access to the practice’s social media accounts, you might want to consider using an application like Hootsuite or Buffer. Everyone logs into the same account to post, and you can see posts that are scheduled to go out in the future. This way, you can manage what is being posted and at what times and avoid any confusion.
4. How will you respond to comments/posts from others?
As you build up a following on social media, you’ll eventually start getting comments and posts from other people. You need to establish a protocol for responding to comments, questions, and posts on social media. What if someone posts a negative review on your Facebook page? You don’t want to ignore something like that. Coming up with a well-thought-out response will show patients that your practice cares about their concerns and will work to address them. Some of your followers may also ask questions about medical treatment. You’ll want to make sure you establish a protocol for answering those questions.
5. What sorts of content will you share?
You may come up with new types of content to share over time, but it may be helpful to establish some general guidelines for acceptable content. This is especially important if multiple people have access to post. If your practice is new to social media, it may take some time to figure out what types of posts work for you, so the plan may evolve over time. However, you and the rest of the team probably have some thoughts on which content is not acceptable. Inappropriate content should be pretty obvious, but it’s always better to protect yourself and include that information in your practice’s social media guidelines.
There are other things you might want to include in your practice’s social media plan, but these are some of the top things to consider. Focus on consistency within your plan, and you’ll be on the right track.