Dermatology clinics face a highly competitive marketplace. Many offices are adding full-service medical salon treatments to attract more patients, and patient expectations are extremely high and continue to grow. On top of that, these patients have immediate access to the information about your office and the treatments offered by your competition. How are you going to stay ahead of the competition when there is so much out there?
Social media has changed the way we connect with patients. It has changed the way dermatologists reach new people and how they build a reputation. We’ve already discussed how your website is often the first impression that potential patients will have of you, but a solid social presence can also speak to the legitimacy and relevancy of your practice.
That doesn’t mean that social media is particularly easy to use effectively. If it were, everyone would be doing it on a consistent basis rather than occasionally updating Facebook with a semi-relevant post. It can be hard to keep up with trends and developments in this arena, and your patients aren’t going to be impressed if you look like you’re constantly behind the times. (Which can include everything from using a platform that losing popularity to jumping on a brand new platform and inundating your potential clients with unwelcome marketing messages.)
How Important Is Social Media in the Dermatology Industry?
The potential to reach new patients through social media is growing every day. While new sites and new communities pop up all the time, let’s just take a look at some of the stats behind the largest social platforms to get an idea of the scope of potential.
Facebook – 1.13 billion daily active users, 1.03 billion mobile daily active users on average
Twitter – 313 million monthly active users, 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets a day
LinkedIn – 450 million registered members, with a focus on professionals
YouTube – More than a billion users, billions of views and hundreds of millions of hours watched every day
YouTube also reaches more 18- to 34-year-olds and 18- to 49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
Obviously, as a dermatologist or practice manager, you’re probably not going to be interested in reaching those millions (or billions) of people. You just need to make yourself more available to the people in your local community.
Most of these social networks have tools that are specifically meant to help you target a very specific audience with your marketing message. Some of these methods are paid solutions, but even then it is a surprisingly affordable way to make sure your message is getting to the people who can potentially become one of your new patients.
It’s More Than What You Say, It’s What They’re Saying, Too
Using social media isn’t like standing behind a podium and shouting your message to anyone who will listen. Unfortunately, too many companies treat it that way. They set up a round of social media posts that highlight services, treatments, and special deals, and publish them without much more thought.
While publishing your marketing messages and promotions is certainly a good use of social media, it’s not the only use.
You have to remember that while you’re talking about your clinic, your patients are talking about it, too. They’re online, writing reviews, providing recommendations, and generally contributing (negatively or positively) to your reputation.
Facebook and Twitter have become important recommendation channels, to the point that they are generally considered at least as valuable as a face-to-face personal recommendation.
In fact, 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more (up from 58% in 2012). Of course, younger consumers tend to trust these reviews more than older consumers, but even that is a trend that is likely to change as social media gets even more ingrained in our daily lives.
What One Factor Will Improve Your Dermatology Clinic’s Social Media Marketing?
Whether you’re posting about the latest happenings in your clinic or responding to questions or reviews online, there is one thing that will help you build a better social presence.
Internet users tend to be suspicious of the things we’re told online. Trust is hard to earn, and if your potential patients have any reason to doubt what you’re saying, they will.
Most of your patients won’t blindly trust reviews, and they’ll do a little more research to determine if you’re being genuine. This means that the overriding rule for interacting with potential patients on social media is to be clear, be concise, and be yourself.