Having worked with many different types of medical practices I have seen some great uses of social media. Unfortunately, I have also seen some very poor uses as well, and I’d like to focus on the mistakes that medical practices make using (or not using) social media. Keep in mind that each practice is unique so not every tip listed here is totally applicable for every practice, but I tried to keep my advice as general possible.

1) Neglecting your reviews: This is probably the biggest error medical practices make with their social media strategy. It’s not so much a misuse as it is just not being active. One would think that if you’re an ethical practice that does great work you don’t need to worry about reviews. This may be the case for some well-established practices, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You see, many people who leave reviews are inclined to because they had bad expiernce. Sure some people just love to write reviews, and they may rave about you, but you need to focus on the patients who are happy with your practice but need direction to express this happiness to the world.

The key: make it as easy as possible for them to leave a review. This means:

  1. Asking the patient at the end of your final consultation or follow up for a review directly. If you don’t ask then how can you expect reviews?
  2. Sending each patient an email after their visit with a link of where to review you. Make the directions as clear as possible.
  3. Advertise your Facebook, Yelp, Google Places and other review sites

Also, be aware of how to handle negative reviews online. I wrote about how to handle negative reviews that I recommend you read.

2) Not doing your research before using Groupon or Living Social: This is a very crucial mistake that has resulted in many medi spas and other practices going out of business, so do not take this lightly. First of all, you need to talk to your attorney and inquire about your state’s laws. I wrote an article about a month or so ago about splitting laws, and I recommend you read it to learn more about the legality of “fee splitting” among medical practices and 3rd party referrers.

Secondly, the offer itself needs to be lucrative. This goes without saying, but offering something like Botox, which has certain fixed costs and is highly competitive is typically not a good idea.

Finally, not preparing your staff for handling the influx of calls can be extremely detrimental. You need to be prepared to not overbook your schedule so patients don’t have long waits at the office. More importantly though, you need to prep your staff on customer service, regardless of how well they typically perform, since this crowd needs to be wowed. I wrote an article about whether or not Groupon is profitable for medical practices that I recommend you check out.

3) Neglecting YouTube, Facebook & Twitter: I listed the order of importance here: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. I believe YouTube is the most important because it provides your practice with a platform for easily putting information out about your practice. More importantly, you can use video testimonials, if optimized properly, to show up in search engines for various key terms. The video of patients also add credibility for your practice that written testimonials on your website cannot.

Facebook and Twitter are also important, but for much different reasons. These social networks give your practice an additional way to educate and inform patients about treatments & procedures, as well as deals & discounts. The key is how you promote these networks and encourage patients to “like” the practice on Facebook and “follow” the practice on Twitter. In a recent blog article I touched on how exactly you can market Facebook and Twitter within your practice.

4) Not blogging or blogging correctly: I will preface this section by saying if you’re not blogging you need to be. If you’re a doctor and worried about your time and what to write about I recommend you read an article I wrote about tips for blogging. If you’re still worried about your time, which is totally understandable, then you need to outsource this responsibility, and I don’t mean outsource it to your overworked secretary who will take on this task haphazardly. You need an experienced copywriter from the medical field who can help you with this, and you need to know how to optimize your articles so they can be found. Talk to Turbo if you’re interested in this service.

Now, if you are blogging, you need to be aware that there is a right and wrong way to be blogging, and doing it the wrong way can be a complete waste of time. Here are some things to avoid and consider:

  1. Do not double post your article- this is duplicate content and does you no good.
  2. Do not use a hosted blog such as wordpress.com or blogger.com. You need to self host your blog using a software such as wordpress.org.
  3. Make sure your blog has all the plugins necessary to not only optimize each article, but also syndicate to your social networks
  4. Do not write articles that are simply copied and pasted from another article with a line or two of your commentary. This is a waste of your time. You want to produce quality, unique content.

Social media is a powerful tool that can help grow your practice, but just “using” social media without strategy or direction can be at the very least time consuming, and at the most, detrimental to the practice’s growth. Of course, neglecting social media altogether has it’s own drawbacks.

If you have any questions about the mistakes or tips mentioned in this article please feel free to contact Turbo Social Media, or call us directly at 877-673-7096 x2.