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6 Ways to Engage Your Patients on Facebook

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o you have a Facebook page for your medical practice? Are you looking for fresh ideas to quickly ramp up engagement and participation from your fans?

There are tens of millions of business pages on Facebook. There’re also those notorious, complex algorithms that mysteriously determine what fans can see or not see on their news feed.

Both these factors make it incredibly difficult for page owners like you, to maintain engagement on Facebook. But as a doctor and a business owner you know that Facebook is extremely valuable to your practice.

Here are 6 ways to improve engagement on your page.

1.  Post News articles, stories and current events

As of December 2013, Facebook updated their Newsfeed algorithm with a requirement of ‘high quality content.’ What this means is that Facebook will start to give more visibility to interesting news articles, story links and current events than ever before.

Your response should be to start posting attention-grabbing health articles from news publishers, or compelling stories from your own blog. The goal of course is to create conversation among your fans and clients.

If you can achieve that, your Facebook posts will be bumped higher up on your fans’ news feed and engagement will increase significantly.

2.  Host Video Events

A fun way to increase engagement with fans is by bringing live video events to your Facebook page. You can do this easily by installing a free app such as Livestream, (go to https://apps.facebook.com/livestream/).

The chat feature on Livestream makes it more interactive with your audience. So let’s say you want to introduce a new skin care system. Using the app, you can host an event on your Facebook page to show fans how the program works. They can see you, ask questions, and interact with you right there on your Facebook page!

3.  Offer Contests and Giveaways

Promotions of any kind are fantastic way to increase engagement on Facebook. That’s because everyone loves the opportunity of winning something special.

Use a photo contest app like Strutta that allows fans to upload images. Then encourage them to tell their friends about the contest and open the voting up to everyone who has submitted a photo.

A few things to watch out for when it comes to Facebook contests – follow the rules; keep the contest requirements simple; and offer a special prize that’s relevant to your practice.

4. Games

If you want to improve engagement on your page without spending a ton of money, then social games are one way to go. Social games on Facebook can spur comments, likes and shares and also help to build a community around your page.

The important thing is to choose a game that is consistent with your brand and that your fans will enjoy. For example the “Tell a Story” game is a good one for dermatology pages.

The game is similar to those books you read that let you choose what happens next. It is also appropriate since you can co-create a story with your Facebook fans thus making them the ‘stars of the show’ .” Here’s one version of the game.

Simply create a graphic that shares the first sentence of a story like this: “Once upon a time a young lady called Celia woke up on her wedding day to find a huge zit on her face!”

Then right below the story opener, write down the instructions for participating in the game as follows:

  • What happens next?
  • To participate, simply write the next sentence in a comment below.
  • Make sure you read the comments above yours so you know where the story is leading.
  • Share the story thread with your friends to keep things moving
  • Let’s see where this goes!

5.  Recognize your fans

Your Facebook fans like to know that you appreciate them. Every so often get into the habit of recognizing them for various reasons e.g. birthdays, ‘fan of the week,’ and so on.

If you want to be a little creative you might even consider posting a fan’s picture on your page (with permission of course!) and featuring them for a week. During that time, you can highlight something new about them, or let them give tips and advice about skin care!

 6.  Be Personal

Last but not least, people like to know that they’re interacting with a person, not a business. So when you post an update on Facebook, sign off with your first name so your fans and clients know whom they’re talking to. That way, the next time they stop by your office they’ll know exactly how to carry on the conversation with that person. In the same way, address them individually as “you” and “your” rather than using a plural salutation.

Creating engagement on your Facebook page doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. With some imagination you can use any one of these ideas (or come up with your own) to encourage participation from your fans so they’ll see more of your posts on their news feed.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these ideas on your page? What other ideas have worked for you?

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healthcare marketing

The Ultimate Guide to Using Twitter For Your Dermatology Practice

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Are you interested in learning how to promote your dermatology practice on Twitter?

Compared to other social networks, Twitter is one of the simplest and most straightforward platforms you could ever use. The interface is simple and there are no privacy settings or new changes to deal with every few months.

In fact Twitter is perceived by physicians to be a more relevant platform for medical conversations than say, Facebook. Even with a limitation of 140 characters per tweet, Twitter is a great place for dermatologists to amplify your voice, accrue more influence, and extend your reach simply by leveraging this platform a few minutes each day. Here’s how to get started on Twitter.

Planning Phase

  1. Define your Goals – Decide what you are trying to achieve with Twitter. Your objectives should be specific, timely and measurable e.g. to grow your email list by 10% each month.
  2. Define your target audience – Apart from mere demographics you should have an in-depth understanding of your prospective patients’ health needs, challenges, frustrations, life-style goals and even their content preferences. This knowledge (gained through research) will help you to develop interesting content that draws them to you as a trusted source of relevant content.
  3. Understand how Hashtags work – A hashtag is a word or phrase prefixed by the pound symbol (#) e.g. #melanoma or #acne. It is a form of metadata tag used to group Twitter conversations into specific categories. Hashtags are becoming increasingly popular on Twitter as evidenced by the creation of the Healthcare Hashtag Project.

Create Your Account

  1. Create a Twitter account using the name of your business domain e.g. if your domain is skindoctor.com, your Twitter profile should be @skindoctor.
  2. Write up a short bio or description of your profile using keywords that are both ‘Google-friendly’ and consistent with your practice e.g. skin care, etc.
  3. Include your location
  4. Add a link to your website
  5. Upload a logo or photo that is consistent with the branding of your practice
  6. Include an appealing Twitter background that complements your branding

Develop Your Tactics

  1. Follow selectively – focus on people and brands that add value to your business. Use tools such as Twellow or Tweepi to help you find relevant followers on Twitter.
  2. Use Twitter lists – A twitter list is a curated group of Twitter users that is based on specific characteristics. You may create your own list or subscribe to lists created by others. Here’s a step-by-step guide for using Twitter lists.
  3. Use time saving tools – Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer are complementary to Twitter because they help you manage your account and save time.
  4. Budget your time – allocate about 30 minutes each day to Twitter marketing. Within that time use your favorite tool (see #3) to schedule tweets, monitor conversations and ‘listen’ to what others are saying about you.
  5. Stay on-topic – It’s easy to get distracted on Twitter if you’re not focused. Stay on topic and ignore any conversations that are irrelevant to your practice. Lists and hashtags are effective in helping you stay on topic.
  6. Engage in conversations with others by asking or answering questions, recognizing and thanking people who share your content and so on.
  7. Add  “Follow me on Twitter” buttons in the top-right corner of your website, newsletter, email signature lines and all other digital marketing properties.
  8. Create great content that engages your target audience. And don’t forget to share other people’s content too, particularly when it is consistent with your own brand’s messaging.

Monitor your Progress

  1. Regularly check your mentions (@mentions) to see what people are saying about you
  2. Use Google analytics to see how much traffic is coming to your website from Twitter.
  3. Learn, Adjust, Repeat – be prepared to experiment with new tactics to learn what works for your practice and what doesn’t. If something isn’t working, be prepared to let it go, modify your strategy and keep testing for new opportunities.

What do you think? Twitter has become quite an impressive platform for promoting healthcare and medical brands. As a dermatologist what has been your experience so far?

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healthcare marketing

5 Twitter Tips for Medical Professionals

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Twitter. It’s a great tool for social media marketing if you know how to use it. But medical professionals and doctors may be resistant to using Twitter for a variety of reasons.

One is that they really don’t have the time to sit behind a computer desk and ‘tweet’ when they have real patients to take care of. Another reason doctors might resist Twitter is that it appears to be too disorganized, unstructured, and difficult to monitor.

But doctors who are expert Twitter-users will tell you that Twitter is worth taking the time to figure out especially because of its potent ability to amplify your voice above and beyond your current audience.

Here are 5 tips to help you start tweeting successfully:

#1. Be the expert that you are

As a medical professional, you have to be careful about the content that you share. Never, ever post any kind of patient information. Remember that Twitter is a public site and everything you share will leave a permanent trace on Google. Offer your expert knowledge and information that interests your target audience. Also be sure to provide relevant links to posts and articles that are pertinent to your work. Educate!

#2. Know your audience

Are you a pediatrician? Understand that your audience is comprised mostly of parents with young children and also other doctors or students with related interests. Once you understand who your audience is, then share with them information that helps and educates them.

#3. Keep it simple

Speak to the everyday person. Don’t use medical jargon and big words on Twitter. A new mom may not know the jargon that you know and might quickly tune out or lose interest in your message. By using vocabulary that most people understand you can reach a larger audience.

#4. Be relevant

Make sure your posts provide interesting and valuable information to your followers. They will appreciate your efforts and retweet your posts. This is an important step in building your community. By providing significant information to your target audience your followers will suggest your Twitter feed to other people with similar interests.

#5. Reach out to other professionals

Follow other healthcare professionals with similar audiences. Share information and possibly work together on creating educational articles. Retweet their information, and they will retweet yours. But be aware that Twitter can be a time-waster if you don’t know what you’re doing. So be sure to follow only those who add value to your work and feel free to ignore all others.

Key Takeaway

Twitter may seem to be an overwhelming and unstructured environment when you first start out. With time and patience you will discover that it is one of the best ecosystems on the Internet to discover and interact with interesting people in your field, as well as to amplify your own voice and reach a much bigger audience than you would have otherwise. For doctors, it is a great place to educate and share important information with your community.

Over to you: What kind of content do you usually share on Twitter?

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content

3 Steps to Building Patient Personas for Content Marketing

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In content marketing and social media you want to make sure you’re engaging with the right people.

So for example an OB-GYN practice using Facebook, Twitter, and a blog to bring in more patients should make sure they’re engaging with women of child-bearing age within their geographical area. They shouldn’t bother having conversations with young men, or people living across the country.

If you’re marketing this particular practice you’ll need to consider the different types of patients to target: pregnant and non-pregnant women; married and single mothers; middle aged women and teen-aged girls and so on.

The point is you want to have a crystal-clear understanding of your community in order to have relevant conversations with them, inform, educate and seek their trust.

That level of understanding comes from building patient personas.

What is a patient persona?

A patient persona represents a cluster of patients within a particular service line, who have the same health needs, exhibit the same behavioral patterns, attitudes, lifestyle choices, motivations and even use of technology.

So for example a quick analysis of Type 2 diabetic patients at an inner-city hospital in Baltimore may show that they are typically over 45, obese or over-weight, do not exercise, have high-blood pressure, are members of certain racial or ethnic groups, and spend a lot of time on their smart phones.

How do you get such detailed information about patients?

Keep reading…

How patient personas are built (step-by-step)

#1. Conduct interviews

Conduct one-on-one interviews using a ‘large enough’ sample (based on your resources) of the targeted audience. Ideally the interview would be a frank and friendly conversation, lasting about 30 minutes, and aimed at gathering the following information:

  • Demographics (age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, education, and so on.)
  • Service line e.g. gynecology or obstetrics
  • Stage in patient life-cycle
  • Challenges or frustrations
  • Health needs and interests
  • Digital use frequency (i.e. how often a person uses search or social media)
  • Healthcare digital use frequency (i.e. how often a person uses search or social media to access healthcare content)
  • Preferred healthcare content delivery format (i.e. digital, print, audio, video etc.)
  • General narrative about the patient’s life circumstances
  • And more.

#2. Organize the data

Once you’ve gathered all this data, divide into 2 or 3  groups that display similar characteristics. For the OB-GYN practice one group might be for married, pregnant women planning for a C-section. Another group might be for young, single women who are sexually active, but do not want to get pregnant. Each of these groups is a persona.

Keep in mind though that the number of personas you build depends on the number of service lines. A cancer center may have more than eight personas to fit the different types of cancer patients (breast, lung, skin, colon etc.) and their care givers.

#3. Summarize personas

Summarize each persona in a worksheet. Give your persona a label such as ‘Teenaged Tina’ or ‘Expectant Elizabeth’ and stick a fictitious picture at the top of the worksheet. Labels and pictures are useful for characterization and clarity when communicating with your content marketing team. Remember that you cannot use real names or photos as this violates patient privacy according to HIPAA regulations.

So the next time you sit down to write an article about teenage pregnancy, ask yourself “What would Teenaged Tina want to know about this subject? Review ‘her’ persona and then write an article that addresses specific needs or frustrations without dispensing specific medical advice.

Over to you: Need help building patient personas for your content marketing program? Let’s talk. Shoot me an email at patricia@wordviewediting.com

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