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It’s time to take a serious look at what Facebook can do to spread the word about your medical practice and provide value to your patients.
If you value your time, you’ve tried to calculate how much an hour of that time is worth. Is it worth spending that time, that money, on Facebook?
The answer is a resounding "maybe."
It depends on how you view Facebook and whether you know how to use it productively for promoting your practice.
In this article, I’ll give you some strategies that will help you spend quality time on Facebook that will pay off in practice growth.
Recently the mother of a patient of mine called my wife to ask her how to find me on Facebook. She had a question about her son. She didn’t want the office number or even my cell phone number.
That mom sees Facebook as more than entertainment, more than a place to share family pictures. She views it as a communication resource for finding valuable information.
The days of seeing Facebook as a community of goof-off kids and bored housewives are over. This is the foundation of using Facebook to build your business and connect with patients.
Remember that in this context, I’m talking about using Facebook as your business - in your practice’s name, not your personal account.
There are two main categories of useful activity for doctors on Facebook: finding things to share and doing marketing research.
Here are three categories of items you should be sharing as a medical practice on Facebook:
Videos are the most likely shared item on Facebook to spread far and wide and get comments. The more interaction people have with a piece of content, the more people see it.
Media outlets and other businesses on Facebook are well aware of this, so you’ll find plenty of videos on Facebook all the time.
Additionally, YouTube is closely integrated with Facebook. Within your YouTube account you can easily share great video content with your Facebook Fans with the click of a button.
2. Asking a question
Don’t be shy about asking the opinion of your Fans (those people who “Like” your practice’s page). If a controversial and relevant news story comes out, share a link to that story and try to include a short question in your comments.
For instance, I saw a recent post about bounce house injuries. The posting doctor asked, "Would you let your child play in one, now that you know about the high rate of injury in these things?"
It’s a way to engage the reader in a non-threatening, useful way that shows you’re interested in what they have to say.
3. Sharing interesting news
The firehose of information and news online cannot be stopped or slowed down, even if we wanted it to be. All that information needs to be sifted and sorted.
Your patients don’t have time to read or watch it all. You can distill relevant news for your readers and give them insightful comments on Facebook.
Think like a local news station. Find human interest stories that will resonate with your patients.
For instance, a pediatrician might want to post a recent story about a child who did something heroic in his community.
It’s not a scientific post about the latest asthma drug, right? Just an interesting news item readers will want to read, watch, and share with other Facebook users.
Think like a patient on Facebook
Do your patients really want to hear the latest updates from the conference you attended on evidence-based clinical research? Probably not.
The key to finding and sharing great content on Facebook is to think like your patients. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine what’s important to them.
In my next article, I’ll cover the second primary function Facebook serves for physicians: market research. I’ll show you how to find almost unlimited sources and ideas for your own posts and articles.