So you’ve accepted the premise that social media is an essential element in Inbound Internet Marketing and entered that arena aggressively. Now you face finding the time for healthcare social media in the midst of your busy schedule.
One of the top concerns all medical professionals face is fitting everything into their busy schedule without sacrificing the main thing – the practice of their medical craft. Time, or lack of it, explains most of the false starts, spotty results, and sporadic efforts when it comes to maintaining an active online presence.
Remember the Return on Investment
There is no magic formula, but 30 minutes a day is a good target for the time needed to make your healthcare social media efforts pay off. That comes to about two hours per week engaging your audience directly through Facebook, Twitter, and the other social media channels.
Before you decide your schedule can’t handle those 15-30 minutes a day there is one key matter to remember; social media in all of its forms has the best ROI of anything you do when it comes to marketing your practice. It is a low-cost vehicle that allows you to effectively reach your target audience in one of the most authoritative ways possible - engagement.
Finding the Time
Here are four short cuts that will help you uncover those two hours a week needed for an effective social media campaign.
- Focus on Where Target Audience is Most Active - If Facebook and your blog comment is where you see the majority of engagement then focus on those two. No matter what anyone else tells you, there is no one-size-fits-all winning social media strategy. Put a tickler in your calendar to check the other places when you have a few spare moments but don’t try to be everywhere.
- Reduce or Eliminate Non-performing Marketing Efforts – Place survey questions on patient information forms asking new patients what brought them to your practice. Use good analytics that reveal how people are finding your email opt-ins and landing pages. Ask your patients which of your social media channels they use. Surprisingly, these simple questions are often not asked and yet their answers are critical to determining where to invest your marketing resources.
- Take Advantage of the Tools Available – Free tools like NutshellMail http://nutshellmail.com/ will track the online conversations about your business and package them up in one neat email sent to your inbox as often as you’d like. If you would like a quick and easy to use graphical interface to manage all your social media, consider Social Campaigns from Constant Contact. The minimal cost is well worth the investment. We’ll be looking at that service more in the near future.
- Make your Work Do Double-time by Encouraging your Followers to Spread the Word – You can customize a campaign in Facebook and encourage your fans to “Like” it in exchange for a special offer that’s revealed after they hit the “Like” button. When they see the compelling offer behind curtain number one, they can easily click a button to tell their friends about it via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. That way, you further engage your key audience and enlist free marketing muscle to extend your reach.