Patient engagement is greater now than ever before. It has become critical for healthcare practitioners to engage with their patients on social media because patients these days expect a one-on-one conversation with their doctors. These discussions will impact not only the patient’s journey and the overall experience but also your revenue. Using social media to interact with patients in a personal and engaging manner can transform your practice. The experiences shared by patients on social media will work as testimonials and referrals for your practice and help attract new patients and increase revenue.
Social media is a powerful tool for communicating with your existing patients, drawing potential patients and creating a brand image for your healthcare practice. While establishing your brand on social media demands time and ideas, it is relatively cheaper than traditional marketing activities. Social platforms provide healthcare practitioners innovative ways to reach out to their patients. According to a recent study, over 90 percent of patients trust health-related information found on social media.
To boost patient engagement and attract more patients, you must know how to make the most of social media. Here are ten ways of using social media for engaging your patients:
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- Share informational health content: More than 70 percent of patients search for health information online, but they often find unreliable resources. It’s a difficult to find content that is meaningful and relevant. Therefore, your content should give patients the information they need to support a healthy lifestyle while establishing your practice as their trusted source of information online.
- Keep your messages consistent: Whatever messages you are trying to convey through your content, always stick with specific themes and topics. Social media is capable of bringing behavior change but only when you are regular in posting and your message is consistent across all social media platforms.
- Make it easy for patients to follow you: Make it easy for an existing or a new patient to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your practice by ensuring that your social profile icons are clearly visible on your practice website. Think of it as an invitation to connect with your practice on social media.
- Encourage participation: Give your social media followers several ways to connect with you and be heard. You can ask your patients to ‘like’ your blog or Facebook page if they want you to discuss a particular topic. Encourage your patients to share the post with their family and friends. To promote participation from readers, you must end your social media posts with the friendly suggestion to comment. You can also allow your patients to share their stories regarding their experience with your practice or just a general experience with an individual health problem. By allowing patients to share their experience on your social media pages, you’ll most likely attract positive reviews to your page.
- Respond to feedback: Two-way communication between doctors and patients is crucial to the success of your practice’s social media strategy. According to a report, practices that engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their patients. You must search for your practice mentions on platforms like Twitter and Facebook and respond to comments, whether they are good or bad. It will make patients feel like they’re heard and their opinion counts. Once you’ve done what’s necessary regarding the feedback, let patients know of the improvements and thank them for offering feedback.
- Initiate conversations: One of the best ways to get your patients to engage on social media is by making it worth their time and effort. For instance, you can ask relevant questions or post thoughtful remarks that encourage participation. It’s best to keep your questions open-ended, active and relevant to your practice.
- Make your patients trust you: Once you are active on social media, your followers are going to ask you questions and seek your advice. Be sure to answer their concerns in a professional and timely way to earn their trust, and they will look forward to your input. Even if you can’t answer all the questions, just the fact that you are acknowledging their issues will show you’re paying attention.
- Create a blog: Create a blog dedicated to patient experiences at your practice and publish real stories. You can post a real-life story every week and share a link to these articles on your social media accounts. These real-life stories will give peace of mind to patients as they get familiar with your practice. According to research, practices that have active blogs receive 97 percent more traffic on their practice website as blogs impact organic search results.
- Promote your staff: Besides including an office tour and a dedicated page for your team on your practice website, you can take it a step further by developing stories and photos of your staff on your social media accounts. For instance, you can share pictures of your team on birthdays, introduce new equipment, etc. By doing this, you’ll be able to create a personality for your practice and audiences will be able to form more meaningful connections.
- Offer visuals: Visuals will catch a patient’s immediate attention. Visual data is processed 60,000 times faster by the brain than text, and articles with images may get 95 percent more views than those without pictures. Therefore, use visuals as a way to convey your message to your audiences. You can publish before-and-after shots of patients and ask them to share their positive experiences.
Patient engagement is one of the best potential benefits of social media. By addressing patient feedback, you’ll demonstrate that patient satisfaction is your priority. This kind of patient engagement is a guiding principle of today’s healthcare, and doctors should go beyond traditional social media in the quest for patient engagement.