- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On March 6, 2014
Social media is a lot of work. Should your medical practice bother with it?
The answer to this question in the end is a personal one but since we’re social media believers, we’d like to lay out a couple of reasons that make it worth doing.
1. Shows you are a true expert in your field
Showing is better than claiming.
A lot of doctors have their academic certificates hanging on their office walls. These certificates show patients you’re credible. They help us know that you’ve been trained at some of the best institutions and are an expert in your specialty.
Social media, especially blogging, let’s you take this concept even further. It let’s you share your knowledge on your specialty. It’s not just claiming that you’re the expert it’s showing you’re the expert.
Of course, you’ll need to write in a way that patients can understand but you’ll need to be able to communicate this way when you see patients anyway so this is a skill you’ll need to perfect.
Another great way to show you’re the expert in your field is have your patients tell prospective patients about their experiences with you. You can write patient stories on your blog that describe a patient’s situation before they came to see you, what you did for them, and how they are now.
Even better are patient testimonial videos. Videos tend to make a more powerful connection with prospective patients than a written piece.
We shot the video below for a fertility center. We saw a high engagement with this video after posting it on Facebook. Once we noted the positive engagement for this video we “added some fuel” to it by making it into a promoted post. The result was the post on Facebook received 13,680 views. Our client’s spend for this exposure was less than $100.
2. Boosts traffic
According to Hubspot’s 2012 Marketing Benchmarks report, companies that blog 15 times/month (3-4 times per week) get 5 times the traffic of companies that don’t blog.
If you look at the analytics data for most websites, you’ll probably find a lot of the traffic is coming from search engines (here’s our primer on Google Analytics if you’re not sure how to do this). In our case we’re currently seeing something like 45% of our site traffic from search engines.
Search engines, Google included, are looking for the best content to serve up at the top of their results. Google et al. know that searchers are looking for answers to their questions. And as you most likely know, searching for health information is one of the top things people do online. Here’s what Pew Research says:
Eight in ten internet users look online for health information, making it the third most popular online pursuit among all those tracked by the Pew Internet Project, following email and using a search engine. Since one-quarter of adults do not go online, the percentage of health information seekers is 59% among the total U.S. adult population.
Not only do huge numbers of people search for answers to their health questions, according to research by PWC they also trust doctors more than anyone else to answer these questions with 61% of consumers saying they are likely to trust online information from doctors.
Blogging gives you one of the best platforms possible to help people with their health questions. In fact, from what we’ve seen and the data above, patients and prospective patients are incredibly receptive to this kind of help from doctors, who they trust above all other sources.
Once you start helping patients with their health questions, search engines will notice. Google is getting smarter every day. The bottom line is if people like what you are writing on the Internet search engines will too.
When search engines like what you write, you will rank higher. When you rank higher, you will get more traffic to your website and blog.