Social Media Is King When It Comes to Marketing a Medical Practice to Patients and Engaging Them

There continues to be a great deal of talk about the need to marketing a medical practice to patients as a way to engage patients and build a loyal patient following.

However, the strategies that practice leaders can take to engage those they serve seems somewhat elusive.

With Meaningful use reform continuing to bear down and patient engagement ever more important because if it, I decided to ask a few readers of Electronic Health Reporter what tactics they would take to encourage practices to market their practices and, ultimately, engage their patients.

Here are a couple of the responses I received:

Susan M. Tellem, RN, BSN

Physicians need to market their practices using free and easily accessible practices. For example:

Vicki Radner, MD

Likewise, Radner says. “Get social! Social media can and should be part of each physicians’ marketing plan. Create a blog post, Facebook entry and a tweet that describes your practice and its technology in a client-centered way. For example, ‘Want more control over your medical story? Sign up for the patient portal.’”

Clearly, social is king. I’m not surprised. Each of the responses I received were similar in nature. I would recommend the same approaches to anyone who asked because they are effective and because they are free.

In the current market, we go where those we want to serve are and we capture their attention by informing them, educating them and engaging them. Social media does just that and with a little premeditated thought, a marketing campaign can be quickly and easily implemented.

Like all things done for the first time, there may be some excitement and some fear. This is perfectly normal. Practice and repetition will help, ad in the beginning, while you are building your campaign you’ll be able to practice.

Something else to consider when creating a marketing campaign for a practice is to find people who are conducting successful campaigns and start to follow their example. There are real leaders already doing great things as far as educating and engaging patients. Do a little research and find people you can relate to then use their strategies to build your own program.

I’d love to hear more strategies for marketing a practice to patients. If you feel like sharing yours, feel free to leave a comment below.

4 comments on “Social Media Is King When It Comes to Marketing a Medical Practice to Patients and Engaging Them”

Great overview! In addition to the sites listed above, many physicians and hospitals turn to YouTube, posting useful patient education and health literacy information as a way to introduce themselves to patients.. The primary benefit of YouTube is that, since it is owned by Google, the videos pop up in Google search returns, increasing your reach online. So, if you are a children’s hospital in Portland, Maine or a cardiologist in Birmingham, Alabama, you can include keywords in the titles and descriptions of your videos to reach patients in your geographical area.

Another benefit of posting educational videos on YouTube is that patients typically find them during their search for treating physicians or hospitals. This provides opportunities to build relationships during the decision-making phase by answering their questions, allaying fears, offering encouragement, etc.

We’re noticing this trend as well, with physicians across the US and world calling us for educational content that they can post on Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and even their YouTube channels. The trend seems to be moving toward using health literacy videos and images on YouTube and Facebook since it’s a proven method for engaging AND educating patients where they use the web most often.

These are some very practical and realistic ideas. Additionally, it is important to remember that what you put out on the internet in social media or otherwise, is a representation of your brand, your practice, and providers.
Though ‘jumping in and getting started” is important, it’s essential to devise a plan and have the key people in place. These strategies can be cost-efficient but time is not “free”, nor is good help. Jumping in without a plan and competent help can result in poor writing that patients may deem irrelevant or unprofessional – thus reflecting poorly on practice and de-marketing the brand. I would also recommend setting a consistent time frame of when recipients will hear from you – will you post daily, weekly or monthly? Will enewsletters come weekly, monthly or quarterly. Consistency builds trust and gives a professional, organized image.

Offering an award such as a percentage off or a free product will encourage people to pass them on. Everybody now is well connected due to the existence of the internet and the users have been increasing enormously on a day to day basis. Create an identity: The rise of social media has allowed companies to connect with their customers on a deeper level.

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