Social Media: Should You Hire An Expert?
July 9, 2019 | Featured Articles
Why Outsource Social Media
Social media is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to stay connected with patients and promote your practice. In today’s connected world, prospective patients look to social media to learn more about medical practices and read up on doctors’ reviews before choosing a provider. Social media makes updating patients on office news such as closings, schedule changes, new insurance providers, vaccine information, and new services fast and easy.
When compared to radio and print, advertising on social media allows you to target your campaigns specifically to your audience (potential patients at a lower cost). Investing in social media is investing in your practice and should be an essential part of your overall marketing budget and plan.
As beneficial as social media is for your practice, finding the time to do it and to do it well is not easy when you’re busy running your practice and taking care of patients. Your office manager or receptionist could manage the clinic’s social pages, but it’s likely they too are busy performing office duties.
Looking to existing team members may seem like the right solution, but they may not be skilled in social media marketing, or they simply may not like it. Unless you have a tech-savvy staffer who is already a social media wiz, your best option is outsourcing social media responsibilities to experts.
A social media manager typically has a background in marketing and communications, writing and creative skills, knowledge of all the different platforms, and how best to put them to use. Experts in social media management also keep up to date on the latest trends and changes, and they have a strategic mindset and an understanding of how to represent brands online. The best social media managers are passionate storytellers with a talent for connecting with the community.
A social media manager can help determine which platforms your practice should be active on and which ones may not be the best fit. They will advise you on which networks have the best tools for reaching your audience and ensure consistent messaging to prospective and existing patients.
Outsourcing your social media takes a lot of the guesswork out of it, which saves you time and money. A social media manager will work with you on establishing goals and develop social strategies and targeted campaigns to achieve those goals.
In addition to keeping your social media pages updated regularly, an outsourced expert can devote the time needed to research articles and information from reliable sources to share, craft copy, and publish engaging content. Sharing these updates will also help establish your practice and providers as experts in the field and keep your followers interested in your posts instead of scrolling past them.
Social media managers also know the best and worst times to post based on analytics and trends. Once a post is live, a social media specialist can help keep track of comments and messages and take appropriate and timely action. If there’s a message that requires your attention, the social media manager will contact you directly to let you know.
It’s a good idea to have a plan on how to respond to any negative, aggressive, or inappropriate comments from followers. A speedy reply telling them that someone from the practice will be in touch with them in a pre-determined timeframe will go a long way to defusing any unpleasant social media interactions.
In addition to monitoring comments on posts and private messages, a social media manager will also track reviews left by patients. Online reputation is now a vital component of a practice’s potential success. If a negative review is posted, it should be noted and addressed as soon as possible. A social media manager will not only monitor reviews on your behalf, but they will also advise you on best practices for damage control so that your practice maintains a positive online presence.
Moreover, if your office is going through some changes such as a provider leaving, they can create a proactive plan for making announcements in a way that will cause the least amount of negative feedback and still highlight the things that are positive for your practice.
When it comes to getting the most out of your social media, knowing how to track social metrics and take advantage of analytics is key to success and often best managed by an expert. They’ll see what types of posts receive the most traction and use that data to inform future posts. Paying attention to social analytics is very valuable for enhancing marketing strategies, and your social media manager can advise you on the type of content that is worth producing.
Aside from strategy development, content publication, and audience engagement, there are many types of ad campaigns offered on social platforms that could be suitable investments for your practice. Paid campaigns can be useful for:
- driving people to your practice website
- promoting the services offered at your practice
- introducing new providers and staff
- increasing views on a post or video
- getting responses to an event that you’re hosting
- or growing followers, and ideally, patients
Social media managers are skilled and knowledgeable in effective advertising and they often have other creative skills such as photo and video editing, website and graphic design, public relations and SEO. They will determine which types of campaigns are worth doing based on your goals. They can target the ads to specific demographics that represent your patients and within your geographic community. This type of targeted social media advertising often nets a more significant return on investment than traditional advertising mediums such as magazines, newspapers, flyers, and radio and TV ads.
As you work with your social media manager, you’ll build a compelling tool kit of media assets while also being able to monitor the progress and make adjustments if and when needed to get the most out of your advertising budget.
Take photos and videos of your practice and staff that illustrate the friendly and welcoming environment of the clinic and send them in a batch to your social media manager. Highlight any special features in your clinic, celebrate a team member’s birthday, or show off your Halloween costumes! Your social media manager can then create a plan for the best days and times to post them.
If you have competitors in your area, a social media manager can provide another great advantage. You may want to have them perform a competitor analysis as they can evaluate the social pages of your competitors, see how they’re engaging with the community and which posts patients take an interest in, as well as their overall online reputation. This can produce insights that your social media manager can take into consideration for representing your practice online and sharing content.
Social media is continuously and rapidly evolving. For example, Facebook started as a community platform exclusively for Ivy League students that quickly became an influential, global multimedia platform. When Twitter launched, tweets had a 140-character limit including images and other media, whereas they now allow up to 280 characters, excluding media.
A social media expert keeps up to date with these changes and predicts upcoming trends so that they can share new strategies and ideas for getting the most out of each platform. Managing social media takes a good deal of time and energy, and the learning curve is constant. Instead of pulling resources from your existing team, hiring a dedicated social media professional allows you and your team to focus on the core of what you do – treating your patients.