Clinicians know they must market their physical therapy business through social media, but far too many individuals leap into marketing too quickly only to discover their efforts aren’t having any impact on retaining existing patients, improving referral rates, or acquiring new patients. They don’t have a physical therapy marketing plan.
Social media marketing requires regular posts, messages and emails to connect with users. The practice should develop a relationship long before they decide to schedule an appointment or purchase the clinic’s products. Social media is one of the most effective tools available for acquiring patients when used properly.
Jayson DeMers explains SEO and on line marketing for business owners and in an article for Forbes, he stated that social media now drives 31 percent of referral traffic. It’s an increase of 9 percent over the previous year, with no signs of abatement. No matter what platform clinicians select for their marketing efforts, social media is a critical component of a marketing campaign.
Choose an Audience
The first step in marketing a physical therapy business is discerning which segment of the population will be targeted. Clinicians must narrow the field of potential patients and there’s plenty of criteria from which to choose. Physical therapy marketing efforts can be directed toward those with sports injuries and back pain to expectant mothers and people with arthritis.
The more specific and realistic practitioners are when selecting their target market, the more effective their marketing endeavors will be. Clinicians need to use the platforms that provide the greatest opportunities for connecting with the target market. Social media marketing can be time consuming and it’s best to begin with one platform.
The biggest social media platforms will have the largest saturation of the type of new patients clinicians are seeking. In terms of the most unique visitors each month, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google + tend to provide the most social referrals, followed by Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest Reddit and StumbleUpon, respectively.
In a blog for Shareaholic, social media marketing expert, Danny Wong, noted that YouTube wins hands down for engaged traffic, while Facebook and Twitter are tied for effectiveness. Further, Pinterest isn’t the powerhouse that many believe, Reddit users are the most fickle, and StumbleUpon drives the least amount of engaged users.
The most important thing clinicians need to remember when marketing physical therapy is that Internet users want to be entertained and amused. It’s no longer enough to provide pertinent information. YouTube provides a wealth of opportunities, but clinicians will need to learn how to present an educational or informational message in an entertaining way.
Each social media site has its own rules and guidelines for posting and clinicians can learn much by simply studying the behaviors of its users, the most common types of posts, and how often they’re made. Examine the grammar, spelling and use of colloquial terms to get a feel for how users interact.
The individuals connected on a social network tend to think, believe and act is a similar way. It’s known as the hive mind or herd effect. In an article for Popular Mechanics William Herkewitz cited a study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that demonstrated the role that group mentality plays in on line communities. Research found that even a single positive comment could be the impetus for a snowball effect to direct traffic.
Why should Users Connect?
Part of physical therapy marketing is demonstrating to social media users why they should connect with a particular practitioner or clinic. Ways to accomplish that are through the “about” section, the number of connections, and the posts made. Fans and followers choose to connect when they know the poster or they appear popular on social media.
That’s where the “about” section is valuable. It’s a short bio that tells others a little bit about the individual, things they’re interested in, and their most impressive accomplishment. It helps clinicians position themselves in a positive way against competitors.
Clinic owners must demonstrate how they’re different from other posting practitioners and one way to accomplish that is to vary the format in which posts are delivered. Short, inspiring quotes, humorous stories, images and videos can all be utilized. People are naturally curious and any exclusive or behind-the-scenes information is always in demand.
Growth and Conversions
Success on a social media platform will depend on the clinician’s strategy for consistent growth. It will be difficult at first. It’s similar to being the new kid in the neighborhood. It requires some time for people to become familiar with the clinician and one of the ways they do that is by reading the posts made and seeing how popular they are with others.
Another growth strategy is reciprocity. Users are more likely to follow the individuals who follow them. One technique to increase followers is by following users within the clinician’s target market. Practitioners should remember that multiple techniques can be used in conjunction with one another for the best results.
Approximately 10 percent of users will return the favor and follow the practitioner back and they simply unfollow anyone who didn’t return the favor. Statistics show that the most common reason for not following someone on social media is because they’re not interested, no longer active on the platform, or they don’t want to be associated with people connected with the clinic.
Followers can be “bought” in the form of social network pay-per-click advertising. The technique represents the fastest way to obtain a follower base and with an optimized campaign, it’s relatively inexpensive. Social media platforms also have groups that can be joined and they can be utilized to locate those within the target market.
Employment of aggressive strategies for physical therapy marketing will succeed in obtaining connections. Once clinicians have achieved a few thousand followers, they typically notice that more connections are being made organically, but practitioners still have to get their message in front of those followers.
The easiest way is to send users to a sales page, but the repercussions aren’t pleasant or productive. Followers either won’t click through or they’ll stop following the poster. A much better option is to send users to a landing page full of interesting, useful and entertaining content, a feat that requires a change in tactics.
Since people are more likely to visit a sales page as the result of an email, it’s the clinician’s job to transition users from social media to an email list with by using a lead magnet. If the offer is sufficiently appealing, it can result in up to a 50 percent conversion rate. The easiest method is for practitioners to send social media followers to their blog and present them with an opt-in opportunity.
According to HubSpot principal marketing manager, Pamela Vaughan, individuals should simply place an email opt-in form on their Facebook page. An occasional request to opt-in is effective with Twitter accounts and leveraging groups is more productive for LinkedIn members.
Conducting a social media campaign for a practice is much easier, effective and less time consuming for clinicians with the appropriate software. The In Touch EMR™ provides the means to coordinate, track and monitor multiple campaigns, deliver newsletters via email, and connect with social media users.
Building a social media campaign from the ground up for physical therapy marketing won’t happen overnight. It begins with identifying the target audience, giving them a reason to connect, and a conversion strategy designed for long-term results. A physical therapy business requires persistence and quality services. Those same attributes are the essence of a successful social media campaign.
For more information about In Touch EMR™ or to schedule a free demo, call (800)-421-8442.