One of the questions so many private practice owners ask is “what about social media? What do I do? Where do I get started? How do I use it to get new patients in the door?”
Social media marketing itself can be daunting for the non-marketing minded business person. But, with more than 75% of US internet users researching products and services online and more than 10.3 billion Google searches every month, if social media isn’t a part of your marketing strategy yet, it needs to be.
Have you ever asked for a recommendation online? Maybe you were looking for some place to eat for a date night, or a location for your child’s birthday party. Your patients are doing that too. And they’re doing that to find YOU. Your current patients are your best weapon for referrals – 70% of consumers say they’d rather learn about a company from articles or reviews, making patient testimonials, success stories vital to your online marketing strategy.
While owners do not necessarily need to be involved in the day to day of social media marketing, work with whoever in your clinic (maybe the FDC, PCR, or Marketing Coordinator?) who manages social media to let them know about expectations and priorities when it comes to producing quality content online, and promoting your practice. Your practice should be seeking online reviews, and posting regularly a combination of curated, educational, and personalized content that shows off the culture and personalities within the walls of your practice.
But creating the content isn’t the hard part. Managing it is. So here are five tools, pulled together by our social media manager, Heidi Schmidt, that are helpful for even the most novice of users.
BEST SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS FOR PRIVATE THERAPY PRACTICES
Buffer is a scheduling tool that you can link your accounts to. You can schedule facebook, twitter, instagram, and linkedin. For free you can schedule up to 100 messages at a time, and link up to five accounts. It’s easy to use and if you want to upgrade to get more out of it, you can for less than $50 per month.
Another social media management tool that is free/inexpensive depending on the features you’re looking for (Number of accounts, analytics, etc..). Hootsuite also allows you track hashtags, keywords and see how people are reacting to your posts – which is incredibly helpful as your marketing team can interact and manage the people engaged in your online community.
Banyan allows you to use your patients’ testimonials and photos with their approval in compliance with HIPAA. If you want to use patient success stories or photos in any of your marketing, Banyan allows you to do that. It also has social media and patient communication tools. Brand your images before you put them on social media in one easy to use marketing platform specific for healthcare businesses.
Facebook is the largest social media site on the internet with more than 2 billion users each month. In addition, there are more than 65 million businesses on Facebook and over 6 million advertisers actively promoting their business. If you use no other social media platforms, Facebook is one that you don’t want to skip.
Facebook for business is a backend page and ad manager. It provides an insane amount of analytics regarding the demographics of who likes your page and who your audience is if you’re using Facebook ads.
Speaking of Facebook ads, Facebook Business is great tool to manage your ads. From allowing you to capture leads, to promoting your page to a segment of your community, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity if you’re not utilizing facebook for your PT private practice.
Google My Business
Google has a suite of tools that are amazing for even the novice marketer. From Google My Business – which helps your business show up in local searches to Google Advertising, their suite is easy to use, and gives a wealth of information that is beyond helpful to you and your marketing team. Google also allows people to leave reviews of your practice, so it’s imperative to have a presence on Google to help build your reputation in your community.
These tools not only make it easy to promote your business online (scheduling in advance is beyond helpful!) but also give you access to analytics that tell you about your audience, and help personalize the experience that your patients have with your practice before they even walk in the door. If you’re looking for more information on how to attract new patients and build your practice, download our Guide to Private Practice Management.
Brian Gallagher, PT is the founder and CEO of MEG Business Management, LLC. He has more than 27 years of experience in the field of rehabilitation and 19 years in business and specializes in Physical Therapy practice management and executive coaching nationwide. As a licensed business management consultant, Brian has helped hundreds of business owners nationwide improve their business operations through proper restructuring to achieve improved systems of efficiency and productivity as well as marketing and sales with effective public relations which have proven results for double-digit growth year-over-year with businesses around the country.