You have just completed your last session for the day, checked your voice mail and emailed a new patient about their appointment, but something it gnawing at you, something you just can't quite put your finger it on.
As the last patient is leaving the office, she turns back and says, "hey, the post last week on your page was hysterical," and as you smile and thank her you realize what it is you forgot to do: create new content for your page!
Today, it is all about keeping your patients and potential patients entertained and engaged. Relationship building is what it's all about on social media and the best way to identify with your patient is to share helpful, relevant information in a timely basis. However, have you ever noticed the shelf life of information on social media has a quick expiration date? Sometimes, you feel like you just populated your page and you blink and it is time to do it all over again.
Or maybe you are one of the "drive by" updaters- they have an hour before the next patient shows up so they quickly tweet or post five to six updates right in a row to try to cover the next three hours of back-to-back patients. That is a difficult way to build a lasting, trustworthy relationship with your fans. Consistency is one of the keys to building that relationship. If we took a poll right now of your patients to ask which is their favorite social media site, we might get a varied response like Etsey, Snap Chat, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn or YouTube. For the majority of people, Facebook is still a solid bet to build plenty of engagement with patients and potential patients. So, for the sake of time and limited space in this article, I'm going to focus on steps for Facebook. So, how do you keep the engagement going while you are trying to run your practice? Here are eight ways to help manage your content and engagement so you can maximize your effectiveness.
Schedule Your Posts
This is a huge time saver! It also will help you be more consistent. Facebook has provided a free tool to use. When you are updating your post and before you hit the update button, look for the small clock in the left corner below the text or photo of your post. This enables you to select your day, hour and minute when you want your post.
When you have a few minutes to populate your page, just schedule one post every two to four hours. This keeps your page updated, your content looking fresh and increases the possible connection times with your fans when they log on.
Evaluate Your Content
If you find that your content is not getting any likes, shares or comments, consider re-vamping it. Perhaps re-evaluate how you are trying to connect to your fans. What kind of content are you sharing and, more importantly, how are you sharing it? In the New York Times bestseller, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuck provides some great questions to ask yourself when creating Facebook content:
Is the text too long?
Is it provocative, entertaining, or surprising?
Is the photo striking and high quality?
Is the logo visible?
Have we chosen the right format for the post?
Is this interesting in any way to anyone? Is it for real?
Are we asking too much of the person consuming the content?
To help keep engagement as consistent as possible, having the right content that is relevant, timely and entertaining is going to be a vital part of building a lasting relationship.
Keep The Engagement Going
When others like your post, make a point to go back and post a comment or question to try to help boost the engagement even more. Sometimes, if you have a post with a lot of likes, you can ask an additional question in the comments or share your personal response to a question, as this will encourage some of the "likes" to participate.
Try to post daily and keep a manageable number of posts on the page. You are trying to build a relationship, so if you can't commit to posting three times a day consistently, then just post once a day, seven days a week. That is much better than posting three to four times a day, then not posting for two to three days. When there is a gap in content, you run the risk of losing fans. This is why that free scheduling tool I talked about earlier comes in handy, because when you have 20 to 30 minutes of free time, then schedule out four to five days of posts.
Check Your Insights Regularly
This is to see what kind of posts are getting the most engagement and to try to keep a balance or variety of different types of posts. These types of post can range from: photos, article links, videos, blog posts, infographics and more. Facebook really stepped it up and improved the insights tools to give us a lot of information about our posts and engagement, so make a point to review this weekly.
Share From Industry Experts
Share pages or groups to build your credibility. Select a non-competitive page(s) or group(s) popular with your target market. If you are trying to reach females between the ages of 30 to 50 looking for pain relief, where are they hanging out on Facebook? What local community pages or groups have fans that are your target audience? Once you narrow this focus, then start to share content (if appropriate) from their page to yours. Also, make comments on that page or group and be sure you are contributing to the dialogue and not spamming it. This process should take you less than three minutes and is easy to do.
Instead of using them, they, everyone, he or she when asking a question or posting content, make it personal by using the first person like you, I, we or us. There is a lot of noise on social media and when you try to talk to the masses people will not pay attention because they don't feel like you are trying to talk directly to them. Instead, treat it as if you are having a conversation with one person. That way all your fans will actually feel like you are talking directly to them and your chances of them responding, liking and sharing increase significantly.
Always post photos with some type of description, tagging the person or persons in the photo, filling in the section "where the photo was taken" with your page name and, if at all possible, add a relevant website link or call to action when appropriate. I have done this myself, uploaded new photos and started filling out descriptions on the first few and then get interrupted and before I know it, have people commenting on the blank photos, whoops! It happens, but people love to "like" photos and when you optimize them with your page name it helps drive up your engagement. Also, tagging people in the photos not only alerts that fan, but all those fan's friends are notified that so and so was tagged in your photo and the stats are high they will want to see what their friends are up to and in the process find themselves on your page.
I realize this may feel like a lot to remember or try to implement. Take your time and develop this as a habit, following these steps. Beofre you know it, it will feel like second nature.
Stephanie Beck, Owner of SRB Solutions, is an online marketing expert working with health and wellness practitioners for 15 years. Stephanie has served as a published columnist since 2003 for several magazines and is the Amazon best selling author of Social Trigger Points: Massage Therapist Guide to Marketing Online. Connect with Stephanie at www.socialtriggerpoints.com/profiles today.
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