People use social media for a variety of reasons, whether it’s interacting with family, friends and colleagues, or keeping up with news and current events. People also use it to keep up with the businesses they follow or to locate new doctors, businesses, services, etc., depending on what they’re looking for.
For your practice, this is an excellent opportunity to keep current patients informed, up to date and engaged with, as well as attract potential patients looking for dermatology services. This is important – when a patient (or potential patient) visits your social media pages, they’re getting a glimpse of the culture of your practice, as well as what others are thinking and saying about you and your team.
Whether you have an ongoing social plan in place or are getting into the social game for the first time, here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to engaging, responding, general tips for creating effective posts and more.
- When writing for social media, avoid too much medical jargon and keep your posts concise when possible – the ideal Facebook post length is 40 characters while on Twitter you have up to 140.
- Tone of voice is also important for your social media marketing. Remember your audience and speak to them. Use an upbeat and fun tone, but still informative and driving action (when applicable).
- Be timely and consistent. social media is all about engaging with the right audience on the right platform, at the right time. Your Facebook post will get 75% of its total potential engagement within the first five hours of posting.
- You’re not limited to just words – the most engaging posts feature photos and videos too.
- Choose landscape images for Facebook posts. Most users read content from mobiles, and horizontal pictures are easier to perceive. Don’t attach several images to your posts. Follow the “one post = one image” rule, and if you are going to share collages – use two pictures maximum. To grab followers, make sure your images aren’t stock and boring. Use natural photos but don’t forget about their quality.
- According to recent studies, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation. Online reviews also help boost your SEO. Online reviews are today’s word-of-mouth, and are essential if you want your practice to be trusted by new patients. To build up your reviews, include a reminder in your posts.
- Never disclose any identifying information about patients online. Remember that HIPPA applies to the internet and social media sites. Keep in mind that information you post online may be shared or made public by someone else.
The best way to establish a trustworthy reputation for your practice on social media is to always bring value to your patients and give them a reason to follow you. Adding value can be as simple as sharing information about skin care tips, reminding patients of essential checkups or updating them on practice news such as opening hours, events or team changes.
Post topics could include:
- Practice announcements and updates
- Service promotion
- Skin care tips and seasonal topics
- Patient stories/testimonials
Seeing a positive comment or message from a patient on your social media is great (and it’s a good word-of-mouth push for your world-class service). On the flip side, seeing a negative patient comment or message can be demoralizing. Hopefully, you encounter nothing but positive feedback, but there’s bound to be some negative feedback from an upset patient every now and then. Both scenarios are important to respond to.
With positive comments, a quick response (even a “thank you” or a like) is a good way to engage. Responding to negative comments on social media isn’t always as simple, but it’s crucial for you to get to the bottom of the problem, so patients won’t have the bad impression of your practice that can be relayed in a single comment on social media. Here are some things to consider:
For positive comments or messages:
- Say “thank you.” This seems obvious but is so often overlooked. After all, a person has just performed an unsolicited nice gesture – telling the world about the great experience he or she had – so it’s important to express some gratitude. Including some personalization, like the customer’s first name or a fun-related GIF will make the experience more memorable.
- Engage with the happy customer. Tell them that you appreciate them as well, ask them questions about their experience, and show some interest in them since they have shown interest in the practice.
- Share or retweet positive comments. Not only is this giving the happy patient giving a public badge of honor, but they’re also sharing objective feedback about the company with others. This is a great opportunity to share or highlight their feedback with others.
- If all else fails, at least take the time to “Like” or “Favorite” positive comments. This small gesture is still appreciated by power users because they know the brand has at least seen the comment.
For negative comments or messages:
- Prioritize timeliness for responses. Timely responding with an appropriate solution is the quickest way to turn a negative into a positive. Speed matters, but letting the customer know you hear them is most important. Nearly 80% of consumers expect a response to their comments and reviews—a number that will only grow as more people turn to their smartphones to vent on social. Completely ignoring, or worse, deleting a comment, can make matters worse. Exceptions are abusive, illicit and offensive posts or completely off-base comments that have nothing to do with your practice.
- Have a response plan in place. The best way to handle all comments on social media platforms is to develop a response plan for not only reviews but all varieties of comments. It’s always a good idea to show patients that you recognize when they have a negative experience. However, that doesn’t mean you have to accept fault for their experience. Even if you’re hesitant to address specific issues, there are ways to phrase the response to convey online that you’re proactively addressing their concerns.
- Be professional and genuine. Showing empathy is crucial to humanizing your practice and will help you better understand – and own the problem, if necessary. Generally, a go-to response is to acknowledge the feedback, apologize publicly for any inconvenience caused by their experience, tell them how you plan to follow up (taking it offline if needed), and thank them for reaching out.
- Don’t be defensive. Never go negative and fight the customer’s anger or discontent by losing your cool.
- Avoid being too generic. Social media users are savvy. They can spot a disingenuous or cookie-cutter response a mile away. Be sure to personalize the reply. Include the user’s name and mention specifics from the post when possible. Responses should be authentic, yet still on-brand to align with your practice’s overall personality and messaging.
- Ensure there is follow-up. While it’s good to take conversations offline, be sure to follow up publicly to show the issue was resolved. This step closes the loop in the public eye and also highlights the effort to quickly resolve any patient discontent and your practice’s resolve to make things right.
Need some extra assistance with your practice social media? We’re always a phone call or click away to support your needs. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today!