If thousands of women are communicating multiple times/day about everything including healthcare, then it is essential that they recognize that you are a valued resource and that you know the answers to their biggest concerns. The main reason to be active in social media is that you will see your new patient numbers and your reactivated patient numbers, and your referrals increase. If you do this well they can increase dramatically, as in 5 or more new patients/day from this activity. Women will see your posts, be reminded of you, be engaged with your content and when appropriate call to make an appointment or refer you to a friend. Many of my doctors who are using social media to market are contacted by leaders in their communities, media outlets, other doctors and asked to help. The ripples that social media produces in your market amplify across all media and return to you as new patients calling your office to make appointments. As newspapers, the yellow pages, val-paks, and other advertising venues from a former time continue to die, social media continues to grow exponentially in importance to podiatry practices everywhere, even in rural communities with little hi-tech behavior that is obvious. You've got to be in it to win it.
Before we discuss some of the most important social media vehicles that you can use to grow your practice it is essential to warn you. The internet, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, are the new places to sell "snake oil" in the United States and doctors are in the crosshairs for unscrupulous companies that charge exorbitant fees for doing very little or damaging things online supposedly on your behalf. Setting up social media and linking it appropriately is relatively straightforward and not expensive. Writing and linking good content is more time consuming and difficult and should cost more, but not jaw-dropping amounts. It is best to work with someone, a company or individual, who is familiar with podiatry and has some technology skills. Your association or your colleagues can often guide to you a good source.
So you have your social media up and running – what’s next? Stay tuned for next week’s blog – the secret to making everything a lot easier.