Does your dermatology practice have a well-known brand? How do your patients refer to your practice? If you can’t easily answer these two questions, consider starting by identifying your mission and vision statements to help you grow your dermatology practice.
Once you have an easily identifiable brand—and if you’re not sure if you do, simply ask a few patients what your practice is known for—you can readily use social media to market your practice. Even if you already use social media, there might be opportunities to use it more effectively. Let’s look at some ways to increase your market share and brand awareness using social media.
What is social media—and how can you use social media to grow your dermatology practice?
Social media refers to electronic communication that is used to help online communities connect and share information or content. Examples of commonly used social media include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram—all of which you can use with your dermatology practice, both to develop your brand awareness and increase your market share. Social media networking can also give you more opportunities to promote your brand to prospective patients; reaching those prospective patients across multiple channels, in turn, gives you more opportunities to build connections and increase the patients you serve.
We’ll look at more specific strategies for each of those major social media channels shortly, but let’s start by looking at some general strategies for how you can use social media to improve your dermatology practice’s reach:
- Be authentic. Your audience wants to know you. Be yourself and your audience will want to converse with you. Don’t be afraid to show your personality.
- Be engaged. When patients (or prospective patients) have questions, they are increasingly more likely to reach out via social media than via a call or email. Answering their questions in a timely, respectful and caring way via social media can help build brand trust, and in turn, patient loyalty.
- Build relationships. Social media allows you to get to know your patients and what they need—and can, in turn, help you create a sense of community around your practice.
- Build value. Social media gives you an opportunity to develop yourself as an expert and as an educator. You can utilize social media to educate, and in doing so, demonstrate your expertise.
- Find the right balance. Regardless of the platform, there’s a fine line in how much content your followers want; too much or too little content can lead them to ignore or unfollow you. For some businesses, averaging a post or two per day is the right balance; for other businesses, a couple of posts per week is a better balance, so track engagement to see what works best for you (and what works for you may vary depending on the platform, too).
- Use hashtags—but be careful not to overdo it. On some platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, judicious use of the right hashtags can vastly amplify your reach. Again, though, you have to be authentic to your business brand and voice, and overdoing it with the hashtags can feel spammy. Find the balance that works for you.
Social media is consequently often one of the most cost-effective ways to advertise your dermatology practice, and as a result, can be one of the best ways to generate referrals and new patients. Social media marketing can also influence your search algorithm results; the more followers and blog posts you have, for instance, the higher you will likely show up in search algorithm rankings—which in turn helps more prospective patients find you and your practice.
Let’s look at each of the major social media platforms more specifically, as well.
How can you use Facebook to grow your dermatology practice?
Facebook is one of the largest and most influential websites in existence, and with more than 1.7 billion users (and 200+ million users in the United States), having an effective Facebook page is one of the biggest and best ways to get a leg up on your competitors. Facebook also now offers business tools such as Facebook Deals (allowing you to offer specials, for instance), video, and more. Facebook also allows visitors to your business page to ask questions (and for common questions, you can create bot responses), see your hours of operation, schedule an appointment, and see others’ reviews of your practice. Once you have your business page set up, you can help it grow organically with quality content. Good content might include encouraging reviews, dropping educational content, sharing patient testimonials, patient before/after pictures (of course, make sure you have consent first) and creating value (such as through content or sales) for page visitors.
How can you use Twitter to grow your dermatology practice?
Even if Twitter may not have quite the reach of Facebook, 330 million users worldwide (and 60 million users in the United States) is still a significant resource. As with Facebook, the goal of a business Twitter account is to create value. Twitter requires even more interaction than Facebook, however, as your Twitter reach is reliant both on your number of followers and how willing those followers are to engage with your content. Twitter can also be a great way to share both educational content and sales, as well as an opportunity to build a community.
How can you use YouTube to grow your dermatology practice?
For effective YouTube marketing, you’ll need to be willing to create your own original video content which you can both share in your YouTube channel and—perhaps more importantly—embed in other forms of social media. Educational videos and patient testimonials are a good place to start, but depending on your practice, commentary on different types of procedures or video footage of actual procedures themselves (provided you’ve received the appropriate releases from anyone involved) can also be highly effective ways of demonstrating your value as a service provider.
How can you use Instagram to promote your dermatology practice?
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is entirely driven by visual content. If you have engaging visual content, however, it can be easier to stand out on Instagram than either Facebook or Twitter, simply because fewer businesses use the space. Consider such content as side-by-side photo comparisons that show the skill of your work or informational videos (again, provided you’ve received the appropriate releases from anyone involved). Instagram has also made specific business tools available in the last few years which allow platform users to call, text, or email your practice directly from Instagram, which can help make you more accessible to prospective patients.
How can you use LinkedIn to grow your dermatology practice?
LinkedIn differs from other major social media platforms in that it is better suited for networking connections with other businesses and service providers than it is for connecting with patients. Be careful not to underestimate the potential value of those business connections, however, as staying connected with colleagues and relevant business suppliers can help ensure you stay on top of changes in the industry, for instance. Think of LinkedIn more as a developmental tool for yourself and your practice, rather than a recruitment tool for potential patients; additionally, using LinkedIn to demonstrate your expertise can lead to speaking engagement invites and more, which can, in turn, help you present yourself as an expert in other social media settings, so it can still be incredibly helpful in building your brand.
How can you measure your social media results for your dermatology practice?
Social media engagement tracking can easily become a full-time job in and of itself, so one of the keys to not getting overwhelmed may be deciding what your metrics for success will be—and then consistently using those analytics to influence future campaigns. Let’s briefly look at seven key tips for measuring your social media results for your dermatology practice:
- Use proven analytics such as Google Analytics to track traffic to your site; if you know which campaigns are driving traffic, you can use those insights to continually improve future campaigns.
- Analyze both conversions and engagements for all social media posts. Not every visitor will engage, and not every visitor who engages will become a conversion, but noting those percentages can again help you continually improve future campaigns as you learn what works for your practice and what doesn’t.
- Leverage the insights above into actual business. What that will look like will vary from practice to practice, of course, but tracking and utilizing analytic data will help you determine what works best.
- Don’t get stuck in a one-size-fits-all mindset. What works for someone else may not be what will work for you.
- Don’t prioritize short-term gains at the risk of losing long-term connections. Building a long-term engaged community is most likely your best bet, and—when done well—can result in a tremendously loyal customer base.
- Make social media integration seamless. Add links at the bottom of your email blasts, for instance, and consider cross-posting in ways that reference your other social media channels.
- Be authentic. Stick to your brand, as identified by your mission and vision statements, and don’t try to be something you’re not.