More and more of the private practices we work with are starting to realize how important social media is for their business and recognize the need to have a presence on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Some physical therapy practices who are too busy running the day-to-day affairs at their physical location, though, might tend to find social media marketing and the technology surrounding it a bit intimidating.
Social media can seem daunting at first but because many small businesses realize social media is not a fad and it’s here to stay, they generally have some questions that they would like answered before they decide to get involved.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. Hopefully a question that you might have asked is included in this list:
1. What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing involves interacting with your customers and other users on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
You do this by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. This process allows you to build online communities or networks, encouraging patients to participate and engage with your practice, which will promote their loyalty to you and your brand name.
2. Why Does My practice Need to Get involved with Social Media?
The way that your customers communicate and use the Internet has changed dramatically. Most people now access the Internet via their smart phones and tablets, where the information is literally there at their fingertips. There are billions of people of all ages now using social media, and they expect your business to be there too.[note_box]By embracing social media your practice will:
• Increase your online presence
• Raise awareness of your services and treatments offered
• Build loyalty with existing patients
• Build trust with prospective patients
• Increase website traffic through social sharing
Not only that, but you could also see an increase in your search engine rankings. Likes, shares, tweets and social authority are all taken into consideration in the search engines’ algorithms.
3. HELP! I Don’t Know Where to Start
Marketing on social media sites is not really much different from other marketing campaigns that you may have run. It is a good idea to start with a plan. Write down your goals and objectives you want to achieve with your social media campaign.
With a well-structured plan, you will be able stay focused and not get distracted, which is so easy to do with social media.
4. How Much Time Should I Spend on Social Media Each Day?
It does not have to be particularly time-consuming, especially if you set off with a clear objective about what you want to achieve.
The only time it gets time-consuming is if you allow yourself to get sidetracked by all of the ‘noise’ and activity happening on the site. You can easily have a profitable marketing campaign by spending just 10-20 minutes in the morning and 10-20 minutes in the evening.
5. When Should I Post on Social Media?
The best time is when your target audience is likely to read your posts. In order to determine the best time to post, consider the lifestyle of your target audience. For example, if you want to target people who work, post in the morning when they are most likely be on their way to work and check their messages on the journey. You could then post at lunchtime and again when they are travelling home again after 5pm.
If want to target an audience that is retired or does not work, post mid-morning, mid-afternoon and mid-evening.
With practice and experience, you will soon be able to decide when the best time to post comments for your patients. The secret is to test and to measure the responses and comments that your posts generate (or the lack of them). Over time, you will discover what works best for your practice, industry and patients.
6. Which Social Media Platform Should I Use?
There are a number of popular platforms you could choose from. Facebook is the most obvious choice with well over 1 billion users and more new ones daily.
Facebook is a good choice for businesses as you can target audiences with a variety of advertising options. Not only that, but Facebook is now part of people’s daily routine, and they check their accounts many times a day.
Twitter is another platform that’s part of people’s lives. It’s fast-paced and gives users access to information and news much quicker than traditional news channels.
As tweets are limited to just 140 characters, you need to learn how to get your message across using as few words as possible. It is a reminder of how people’s attention span on social media and the Internet in general is extremely short because there is just so much information out there. People tend to scan information online rather than read huge amounts of it at once.
Three relatively new social media platforms are also becoming incredibly popular.
The first one is Pinterest. Pinterest is a visual platform used to upload and share photos of literally any subject you can think of. It has a huge female following, but is starting to level out as more men are discovering and using it.
Google+ (Google Plus) is starting to flex its muscles now, too. Online giant Google owns it, so naturally it has huge financial backing. Google+ is widely tipped to be the social media channel to challenge Facebook as the king of social networks.
LinkedIn is a business-to-business social media platform, and is a lot more formal and corporate than the other social platforms. It’s an excellent way to connect with peers and network professionally within a specific industry such as physical therapy.
There are many more platforms out there, but these are the ones that are more widely used by businesses.
7. How Much Does Social Media Cost?
If you are a private practice with little or no marketing budget, then the only cost is the time you need to buy out of your busy working day.
If you have a modest budget and would like to increase your practice’s exposure, then you could consider Facebook advertising, which can be affordable and very effective.
We Can Help Get You Started with a Social Media Marketing Strategy
As we said earlier, social media is not a fad and it is here to stay. Your patients are using it on a daily basis. Also, it’s worth mentioning that social media is not just for big brands, either.
You don’t have to be a global conglomerate to get involved with social media. In fact social media platforms give all businesses, no matter what their size, a level playing field. Small private practices like yours can reap terrific benefits from the range of opportunities that social media has to offer too.
The list above is merely meant to present some of the most commonly asked questions, but is not a list of all the possible answers provided.[colored_box bgColor=”#788794 ” textColor=”#ffffff “]If your question has not been answered, then please don’t hesitate to contact us at E-Rehab, and we will be happy to share our experience and expertise with you.
We hope that this article has provided you with enough information to see how important social media marketing is and how it can reap great benefits and boost business for your practice.[/colored_box]