Marketing yourself and your services online isn’t just about setting up the right website and an occasional blog post. The internet is huge, and you have to know how to utilize it to get the most effective results for your physical therapy private practice.
Currently, a very effective way to stay in touch with current and past patients to is by taking part in social media. Social media is everywhere. People from all ages and backgrounds use it, including the majority of your patients.
There are a number of social medial platforms that you could be part of, but here are the big 3 that you need to know about for physical therapy social media marketing. These three essential social media platforms are:
LinkedIn is one of the best social networking groups to become involved in if you own a small private physical therapy practice. LinkedIn is like having your little black book of business associates, and their little black book of business associates, all rolled into one neat little package.
LinkedIn allows you to not only tell the world about yourself and your practice but also learn how other PTs like yourself are solving the challenges of the current health care system. It’s quite different than the other less formal social media platforms.
Think of it as a type of résumé that anyone can follow. You give details about yourself in reference to jobs you’ve had, your current endeavors and a short bio and business portfolio for others to see. Then you ‘link’ your peers and partners to your bio.
You can then see your associates’ ‘linked’ business associates and create a
larger business-based social network based on these assets.
You might be wondering what this does for you and your practice? After all, why would you need to have your business résumé online for the world to see?
Let’s look at this from a different standpoint. If you are trying to get your name out there as a successful business person, you will want to have as many people on your side as possible, because the business world is all about the networking.
The larger your portfolio of people, the more networking options you have available to you. Let’s say, for example, you want to expand your business into a cash-based service. For the sake of the scenario, we’re going to suggest you want to expand into sports performance.
In order to make this expansion, you can reach out to other successful PTPP owners that have not only had success but often times, they will share the secret sauce too. More often you will find like-minded PTs that also want to start cash-based practice, some that have failed, some that are struggling and have found solutions too. LinkedIn in is a fantastic way for professional people to come together.
[warning_box]NOTE: buyer beware. Many of the groups out there are simply setting up groups to capture your contact info and sell their services to you. Hang around in enough groups and these people quickly reveal themselves.[/warning_box]
Facebook is more familiar and less formal than LinkedIn.
We tend to think of Facebook as a way of hanging out with your friends, without actually meeting any of them.
As a practice owner, it’s important to know that Facebook is also a very easy and effective way to market your practice culture and stay in touch with select patients that enjoy this social channel. Using this method of social media in a similar way to how you would use a blog is the key to getting yourself out there.
The key to creating a good Facebook page for marketing is not only to make sure your page is up-to-date and accurate, but to keep posting engaging content on your Facebook page. Engaging means content that will motivate the fans of your page to Comment, Like and Share. Take a look at several Facebook pages created by PTs. Without question, photos of your practice culture and involvement in the community get the most engagement.
What’s the point of all this if you already have a blog on your website? Facebook is different than a blog because some people check their Facebook pages constantly throughout the day.
Have you ever watched a teenager play with their phone? These kids are constantly social networking. Not only do they look for cool memes to show off to their friends, but they’re telling their friends what they are doing, what they like, what they don’t like and who they are with. To this point, one often overlooked opportunity is to have your patients review your practice on your Facebook business page. The fact is that Facebook is now the number 2 online review website, passing Yelp a couple months ago.
What exactly does this mean for you as the owner of a private practice? This means that you have to communicate through channels that your patients use. The quickest way to market yourself is to make sure you have a Facebook business page.
There are two things you need for your page. The first is an actual Facebook page for your practice and the second is a profile page for yourself.
Your Facebook profile is the place people are going to start when they’re looking for you, because almost everyone uses Facebook. Not to worry though if you don’t want to personally participate on Facebook. Your Facebook “profile” is simply the account through which you manage your Facebook business “page”.
In addition to Facebook, Twitter is another social media platform you need to take advantage of in order to tell the world about your practice.
Twitter is different from Facebook in two main ways:
• Your message is limited to only 140 characters
• Hashtags are essential
The first way that Twitter differs from Facebook is that there are a limited number of characters you can use to create a Tweet. In other words, this is the perfect place to speak when you don’t have much to say or you can get your message across in a short, pithy way.
Twitter allows you to send people little messages about what’s going on in your life or at your practice. You can’t get into a long description, so it’s an ideal place to drop quick, informative messages to patients and other followers.
Facebook users have higher expectations than a two or three sentence post. Twitter users know you won’t go into those kinds of details. They will expect to see very basic information.
How does that help you and your practice? For one thing, it’s easy to Tweet. Instead of having to come up with long, informative and interesting posts or blogs, all you have to do is write a sentence or two.
While you won’t generate a bunch of new patients on Twitter, like LinkedIn, it’s a great place to find physical therapy thought leaders…and those thought leaders often share great bite-sized pieces of information; moreover, they share links to valuable information that can better help you manage your practice.
Another reason Tweeting is good for you is, much like Facebook, people can follow you on Twitter. Twitter allows you to follow an unlimited amount of people, read quickly what everyone is up to, respond when you want to, and then move on to other things. It’s all done very quickly, too.
One thing that really stands out from the Facebook social network is that Twitter users use ‘hashtags’ in order to find things that they are interested in.
Hashtags are a way of grouping conversations into more organized methods of communication. Let’s say, for example, someone posted a great tweet with a link to an article about physical therapy business and you need to keep the ball rolling, so to speak, and make sure your Twitter followers are aware of the link to this article. Putting a hashtag (#) in front of the tweet (e.g. #bizpt) will keep the Twitter conversation about this article organized.
Twitter hashtags are also a great way of keeping up to date on the latest Twitter trends. Hashtags are a means of tracking what’s popular. For some businesses trying to market their goods or services, hastags can be very important to know what people are looking for, and a very easy method of tracking those markets.
While at first the concept of hashtags may be confusing to some people, it does get easier. In fact, most television programs now use hashtags frequently, so fans of the show can follow the conversations about the program in real time while they are watching it.
The one thing to remember when creating a hashtag is to make sure your it’s relevant to your conversation or to ensure that people understand the hashtag you’re trying to create, and don’t confuse your followers by using too many hashtags in one post.
If you hashtag your practice, do so in a sentence. Simply put the # symbols before your company name or a keyword that represents the theme of your tweet and a hashtag is automatically generated for you.
The fact is that so few Tweet about their physical therapy problems that in most cases, there’s no way to consistently drive new patient business from Twitter at this time. Nevertheless, Twitter is an excellent place to share ideas and learn from the collective intelligence of this social network.
[info_box]Take home message: while social media marketing can be a time sink, there is value in building your PT private practice’s social presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.[/info_box]
Help is at hand to show you how to run a successful social media campaign
We can show you how to optimize your social media channels for maximum practice exposure. We can show you how to plan your time and, crucially, how to monitor and measure the results of your campaign, or we can even run the whole campaign for you.
We will help you select the right tools, walk you through the rules and etiquette of social media to ensure maximum visibility, set targets, decide what metrics to measure and help you calculate your Return on Investment (ROI).
We can advise and guide you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ or YouTube campaigns.
Give us a call at E-Rehab and let’s talk about how we can help you. We look forward to hearing from you.