For clinicians who don’t have a Facebook page, the advice of Peter Roesler, president of Web Marketing Pros, is don’t underestimate the value of social media. Far from an online popularity contest, Facebook increases brand awareness, legitimizes brands, improves sales and customer service, and offers a beneficial platform for delivering content.
Approximately 99 percent of all businesses maintain an online presence and it’s just as important for marketing physical therapy. Facebook is the largest social media network and it continues to grow, providing multiple engagement opportunities and an audience receptive to reading what a practitioner posts.
Individuals commonly conduct a search for the services they need and that search can be related back to a clinic’s case histories, content, and social media presence. Each time a Facebook user likes the clinic’s Facebook page or shares content, that information becomes visible to everyone within that user’s social network.
What about my needs
Social media pages are focused on the user and how it can benefit them, but the content and information posted is directed toward others. That means liberal usage of “you” and “your” when making posts. It gives readers the sense that the practitioner is talking to them specifically, no matter how many fans, friends and followers the site may have.
Call to action
Every practitioner knows they have to include a call to action in their material and social media pages provide multiple opportunities for that, but clinicians have to make it clear to the audience what they want. Clinicians know they want readers to share content and opt-in, but it’s not always clear to the reader. Tell them what you want them to do.
Award-winning social media scientist and author, Dan Zarrella, found that content was shared by users twice as often when the owner of the Facebook page simply asked politely. A call to action that included the word “share” received more shares, comments and likes. A side benefit was that the word “share” resulted in almost double the number of likes that a post received.
However, the technique loses its impact if it’s used too frequently. Asking readers to share should be reserved for content that’s particularly important to the clinic as part of its physical therapy business plan and goals.
Clinicians can view their Facebook page any time of the day or night and find a list of trending topics as part of their newsfeed. Everyone wants to be “in the know” and those trending topics offer an opportunity for practitioners to demonstrate to their audience that they’re cognizant of what’s important to them.
It requires little effort to get ahead of trending topics to keep the audience in the know. Simply post a link to an article with the main keyword and mention it in the title of the post. The best strategy is to post about trending topics when they relate to physical therapy, but humorous material is always welcome and boosts readers’ positive perception.
There’s no way to eliminate competition, but clinicians can minimize it by prioritizing the networks on which they’re active. Don’t try to draw traffic from too many social media platforms – start with Facebook and perhaps one other.
When readers share content on other social platforms, they trend to do so based on the “share” buttons available. By limiting the share buttons, practitioners control where their content is shared. It’s better for physical therapy marketing to receive 40 or 50 shares on one platform than 5 shares on 10 platforms.
Keep sharing as simple as possible. Too many options tend to confuse readers. Instead of sharing on platforms of the clinician’s choice, the audience may view it as too much effort and choose not to share it at all.
Facebook’s algorithm that decides what a user should be able to see is called EdgeRank and it’s critical that clinicians on Facebook understand how it works. A higher EdgeRank means more people will see a page’s content and the opposite is true. EdgeRank is based on three primary factors:
- Affinity – the relationship between the content provider and the user. People with a lot of likes, shares and comments are determined by the algorithm to have greater engagement levels and receive a larger reach.
- Weight – is a figure based on the type of posts that have been created.
- Decay – is how recently the page owner has posted.
Knowing how EdgeRank works enables practitioners to tailor their posts and content to attain the greatest number of likes, comments and shares. Inspirational quotes and messages are one way in which to inflate the page’s EdgeRank.
Make a stand
People post content to show others how they feel about something. It’s a subtle message and effort to persuade others to feel the same. Taking a firm stand on a topic or subject will be viewed in one of two ways. Readers will think the clinician is knowledgeable or doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
Those that agree with the practitioner’s stance will share, while those who disagree will be eager to register their own opinion. Either situation is a win for the clinician since it engages the audience. Marketing expert Steve Rayson noted that content that gets the most shares has an emotional element.
Review the data
Results aren’t attained in a day and it may take six months before an acceptable sampling is obtained to determine which tactics get the best results. The quicker that information can be acquired, the sooner clinicians can begin disseminating high-performing content. To do that, analytics must be employed.
A wealth of online data programs are available, but for best results practitioners need software that can handle multiple types of data, numerous campaigns, and as many categories as the clinician desires. One such program is In Touch EMR™, integrated software that contains powerful physical therapy marketing software.
Obligate the audience
Community involvement is important to Facebook users and clinicians can utilize a variety of events, causes and charities to improve shares, likes and comments for EdgeRank analytics. Practitioners can share content about their sponsorship or participation in an event. Fundraisers for children and animal shelters are also effective.
Like-minded readers who see these types of content will be happy to share with others within their social networks. The content creates a substantial amount of engagement among audiences of all types, even those who wouldn’t ordinarily view a particular page.
Update your status
Michael Thomason, marketing analyst as Simply Measured, reported the results of a study conducted by the company. The study examined the use of status updates, links, photos and videos. Status updates get more interaction than any other type of post and works to engage readers in conversation. Video has a higher share rate and is seen as an endorsement of the clinic, practitioner or services.
Clinicians need to use Meta tags with content to help people find their posts and Facebook knows where to access titles, videos and other information from the page. Buttons can be embedded in images for sharing and the technique is applicable for email broadcasts.
A wealth of tactics can be employed to increase the number of shares, comments and likes on Facebook, but practitioners shouldn’t try using them all at once. Become familiar with one or two at a time, use them, and examine the results to learn which works best.
For more information about In Touch EMR™ or to schedule a free demo, call (800)-421-8442.