Why are you using social media? There are many benefits for healthcare providers to having a presence on social media:
Increased awareness of your practice.
To educate your patients and others.
Opportunities for engagement with your audience.
To make reviews and referrals easier.
But here is another: To increase traffic to your website.
(Check out more about why 50 percent of healthcare providers say Facebook is their most effective social media platform here: 6 Ways Facebook Benefits Healthcare Providers.)
While social media can be a great way of building a relationship with current and prospective patients through educational and engaging content, bringing visitors to your website is another way of enhancing that relationship, and potentially building a contact list for further outreach through email and other channels.
So how do you bring your social media audience to your website? By giving them reasons to click through, rather than simply scrolling by.
1. Share your blog posts (if you have a blog)
Many healthcare providers have added blogs to their websites, providing educational information ranging from orthodontists explaining how certain devices work to optometrists who detail the ways eyes change as we age or pediatricians who provide articles about age-appropriate development in our kids or how to know when a fever warrants a visit.
Sharing these posts with a link and a few words of text on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can be a great way of bringing more people to your website to learn more from you.
Considering starting a blog? Download Introduction to Business Blogging for general information, or browse the many blogging posts on the Inbound Accelerator here for a wide range of stats, tips, and advice.
2. Share links to website forms (such as surveys or to download information or content)
You can also use social media posts to encourage followers to complete surveys or other forms such as appointment requests on your website. Perhaps a survey to determine the need for early morning or evening hours, or a quick landing page form they could fill out to download information about a specific topic, such as vaccination schedules for children or an ebook of recipes for patients with diabetes.
3. Share links to contests or user-generated content hosted on your website
If you conduct a contest asking patients to submit photos of them at your practice (such as an optometrist’s patients showing off their new glasses, or before and after photos from an orthodontist), post the photos on your website and encourage social media followers to click through to see all of them.
4. Announce events with links to registration options on your website
While most of your social media posts should be educational, inspirational or entertaining, it is OK and expected to include some promotional posts, as well. Most experts recommend following an 80/20 rule—80 percent education and entertainment, 20 percent promotion. (We offer similar guidance when planning blog content: Find The Blogging Balance That Is Just Right.)
On Facebook, you can create specific “events” that are posted to your page, complete with all of the essential information, the potential for discussions, and links to your webpage for those with registration requirements. These might be new parent classes, educational seminars for patients living with chronic disease, or even open house events intended to draw a crowd to your location to welcome a new provider or celebrate a milestone.
If you have a page on your website dedicated to the event as well, share that link on Twitter, with an invitation to sign up.
5. Add specific CTA buttons with offers such as “learn more” or “contact us”
Facebook also provides the ability for business pages to include a call-to-action (CTA) button right at the top of the page which would link directly your business website. (Find instructions for creating a CTA on Facebook here.) While there are limited options, here are a few to consider:
Book now. Link this CTA to an online appointment app.
Call now. Clicking this button from a mobile device would automatically dial your office.
Learn more. Link this to your blog or informational pages on your website, such as your “About Us” page or a “Services” page.
Visit group. Facebook groups can be a way for healthcare providers to share educational information with specific groups of people, such as those living with chronic illness like heart disease. Clicking this CTA would give patients the opportunity to engage in a conversation with both your practice and others battling the same challenges.
1. Use a schedule to share key information more than once.
As you plan your social media posts, remember that in most cases, the life of a social media post is fleeting, especially on Twitter, the fastest moving platform. That means you need to consider when you will publish each post, and also, how often to possibly repeat the same material.
You don’t want to spam followers with tons of posts, but between the rapid movement of social media and algorithms that may show your business page post to only a portion of followers on any given day, it can be useful to share key information more than once.
For example, you may want to share a new blog post on the day you publish it to your site, and then again 2 days, 1 week and 1 month later — chances are, new people will see it each time. But don’t just publish the exact same tweet or Facebook update with the link. Use new text to entice engagement, such as asking a question in one post, sharing a surprising stat or quote from the article in another, or teasing it with an intriguing headline.
In case you are wondering just what the lifespan of your social media posts is, here are some facts from Queezly:
A Facebook post gets 75 percent of its total impressions (views) within 2.5 hours.
The average half-life of a tweet is a mere 24 minutes (or less).
Instagram posts receive 50 percent of comments in the first 6 hours.
Pinterest pins, however, can go from 50 repins in a week to 2,400 in a year.
2. Revisit posts that generated high traffic and reshare at a later date.
Review the insights offered by each social media platform that detail which posts generated the most engagement and the most clicks through to your website. These metrics are a good sign of what works. Consider sharing those posts again, if they are still relevant, keeping in mind the lifespan mentioned above.
If those particular posts are out-of-date, consider whether you can share a similar post or another link about a similar topic, since you know it was of interest to your audience.
3. Encourage sharing of your content to reach more people
While we’d love to think that our social media followers will automatically share the great content and advice posted, sometimes they need an extra nudge. Occasionally, ask directly in a post: Please share this!
Be sure when you do, however, that the post you are asking them to share is something that will benefit your follower’s followers. They are more likely to share if they feel that they are helping someone else.
4. Be sure your website is easily viewable in the account’s About section.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that are easily overlooked. If you set up your Facebook or Twitter account before you were completely comfortable with social media, there may have details that you missed, such as ensuring your website URL is is easy to find in the About section of your page.
Social media is an essential part of business today, for everyone, even dentists, orthodontists, family practice and internal medicine doctors, optometrists, chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Your practice needs to be visible where prospective patients can see it and interact with you. See more of why you need to be actively using social media by downloading 6 Ways Facebook Benefits Healthcare Providers.