With the right approach, almost any medical practice can benefit from social media in some way. However, sports medicine practices in particular can gain a lot from an active social media presence.
Social media and sports complement each other very well–both rely heavily on visuals. Sports medicine practices can use social media to their advantage to reach out to athletes and create brand awareness.
How can your sports medicine practice benefit from social media? Try these strategies.
Find your target audience on social media.
As a sports medicine practice, you probably have quite a few patients who are high school and college athletes, as well as adults who participate in athletic activities like marathons and triathlons. These same patients tend to be younger and more likely to be on social media than older patients. According to Pew Research Center, 87% of adults aged 18-29 are on Facebook, 37% are on Twitter, and 53% are on Instagram. Facebook is also popular with adults in the 30-49 age group, with 73% using the social network.
If your practice isn’t on popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you could be missing out on a prime opportunity to get your name out there.
Use your content to inspire and motivate athletes.
Social media gives you a unique opportunity to connect with athletes in a way that you otherwise wouldn’t. This includes being able to share motivational content. You can share images, infographics, and quotes that would be inspiring to athletes. Instagram may not work as well for orthopaedic practices who focus mainly on joint replacements and arthritis treatment, but it can work well for sports medicine practices if you share this type of content. Infographics (like the CDC image above) and inspirational quote images (like the below image from Fitbit) are also easily shareable on Facebook; a good image could be shared several times over, putting your message in front of new people who may not have been aware of your practice.
Give your tips on how to stay injury-free.
This not only helps you build trust with your followers, but also helps you stay top-of-mind for people who may not need your services right now. If you regularly share your own tips and tips from reputable sources, it conveys to patients that you are knowledgeable in your field and can help if they have a sports injury. Try to post a mix of your own content and tips along with content from other reputable sources. If you only post your own content, it just looks like you are trying to advertise your practice, rather than actually seeking to help athletes perform their best.
Just be careful about how you share content from other sources. It’s okay to share a link to an article that you like, but it’s not okay to download an image or infographic from another site and share it on your social media pages, unless the content owner specifically expresses that it is okay to do so. For example, the CDC’s Heads Up program offers several downloadable infographics to share on social media, on the condition that users include the hashtag #CDCHeadsUp. In this case, it would be okay to download and use the images, but in general, it is best not to download images or copy content directly from someone else’s site. Give credit where credit is due by linking to the content instead.
Share images from local sports events.
If you work as the team physician for one or more of the local sports teams, you may have a great opportunity to share photos from your time on the sidelines. If a patient knows that you work with his or her favorite sports team, he or she will probably be more likely to visit your practice in the event of a sports injury. It’s extra validation to those patients that you are good at what you do, because you are able to help those athletes get back in the game.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure that you have permission from the team and any individual athletes included in your photos before posting. Even if a sports team is publicly known, your patients are still afforded a right to privacy under HIPAA regulations.
Share images of your own athletic activities.
Sharing images of your favorite activities can help you create more of a connection with your patients and social media followers. It can also serve as extra validation for the information and tips that you share on social media. For example, if you are an avid runner, sharing your experiences may help you connect with patients who are also runners. It shows them that you not only have an understanding of their specific injury from a medical standpoint, but also from a runner’s point of view. Those patients may feel that you will have better insights on how to approach treatment and prevent future injuries than doctors who are not runners.
Social media can take some time and effort, but it’s a cost-effective way to get your name out there and connect with patients. As a sports medicine practice, you have lots of opportunities to share content. Give it a try, and you should find that your efforts pay off.
To see real-life examples of how sports medicine practices can use social media, please read our profile on Dr. Seth Rosenzweig’s social media efforts.