So, you’ve covered all of the social media bases for your practice, setting up profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn…now what?
Now comes the fun part: engage with your audience. Simply existing on these social networks won’t do you a bit of good if you aren’t active. Each network offers different ways to interact with your audience, and certain types of posts work better for some networks than others.
Before we get into what to post, you should know when to post. Each network has its own peak time, and you want to post when your audience will be most likely to see it. These are just guidelines, however. Try them out and see what works best for you. For Facebook, the sweet spot is between 1pm and 4pm. Similarly, post to Twitter between 1pm and 3pm. People are likely checking Facebook and Twitter on their lunch breaks, so you can catch their attention then. LinkedIn posts work best either just before or just after work hours, from 7am-9am, or 5pm-6pm. For Google+, try posting between 9am and 11am.
Now that you know when to post, let’s get into what to post.
People get on Facebook to engage with friends. Here, your posts can take on a more friendly, personal tone. Posts with eye-catching images (but not surgical images) tend to get more attention here than posts without images. Videos are also a great way to bring attention to your posts, but make sure to embed the video into the post so that people don’t have to leave the page to watch the video.
For the actual content, try something that will create a dialogue. Posts that ask viewers to vote—“like vs. share”—can work well in this setting. Ask open-ended questions, rather than “yes or no” questions, as this increases the chance of engagement. If you are trying to run a particular campaign, create campaign-specific hashtags and post them alongside any related post. You can also try a more informative approach with a “Tip of the Day” or something similar.
Like Facebook, Twitter users also respond well to images. When tweeting about your articles or blog posts, titles containing numbered lists (“5 Stretches to Help Back Pain”) or extremes (“Always,” “Never,” “Best,” or “Worst”) tend to get more attention. Try to engage other users—retweet other people, ask questions, and respond to others’ questions if you can. You can also try quotes or facts and figures relevant to your subject matter.
The most important thing about your tweets is to make them eye-catching. You have a limited amount of characters to catch your followers’ attention, and you have to make it count. Value is the most important thing for Twitter users—“What’s in it for me?” You need to use those 140 characters to demonstrate why your followers should click through and read the article. If the article title itself isn’t eye-catching enough, try adding your own comments on the content.
Google+ offers unique ways to engage with others that other social networks don’t offer. If you want to start a longer commentary on a particular subject, Google+ is the place to do it. Google+ makes it easier to connect with influencers in your community or area of expertise. You can add an influencer to a circle, comment on a post or photo, or mention in a post to start a conversation. Because Google+ allows you to really connect with people who have similar interests, you can really get a good dialogue going here.
Google+ is also a great place to share your company culture through photos and videos, with candid shots of the office staff or photos and videos of company events. Google+ also allows you to integrate your profile with a YouTube page, making it easier for you to share videos. You can also use Google+ communities to find out what sets you apart from others in your community, and create your content based on that.
LinkedIn is another great way to connect with others in your industry. LinkedIn is a great place to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Here, you can add detailed descriptions of your products and services, share your relevant content, and respond to others’ questions in your area of expertise. To get a dialogue going, you can also pose your own questions about relevant topics, or share other members’ posts. You should post to LinkedIn at least once every business day, but make your updates short and to the point.
You can use images, links, and videos in your posts to help grab attention. For example, if you are focusing on a particular subject, a video interview with the experts in your company would work particularly well here. LinkedIn is also a great place to share numbered lists, like Twitter, or company culture, like Google+.
As you can see, there is a bit of overlap in the types of posts that work best for these social networks. It may take a bit of trial and error to see what works best for you, but this should help to get you started.
The social media world awaits you. Now, get to posting!
What are other medical professionals posting on social media? See real-life examples in our profile on Dr. Seth Rosenzweig’s social media efforts.