How often do you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn?
If you’re like most Canadians, the answer is daily.
In fact, according to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), 67% of all Canadians use social media daily. These social media networks provide digital communities for people to connect and share information, ideas and entertainment.
Social media is a digital technology that facilitates the creation and sharing of information, ideas, and other forms of content via digital communities and networks.
We are social beings that have a fundamental human need to connect with each other. The more we feel a deep sense of connection with others, the more we feel a sense of belonging to a community, creating happiness and meaning in our lives.
If you want to connect with people and be part of their community, you need to go where the community is. You need to be connecting before you are actually needed.
Ed Bennett, University of Maryland Medical Centre, 2012
In addition to connecting people to people, social media also connects people to businesses. Social media marketing is one of the most effective strategies for growing your health and wellness practice with new patients.
We wrote this article to help you learn:
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is about creating and sharing digital content on social networks, providing information and ideas, and creating digital communities.
What are the benefits of social media marketing?
- Improved brand recognition and loyalty
- Increased website visits
- Better search engine rankings
- More new patients and clients
- Better customer experience and insights
How does social media marketing work?
- Set goals
- Know your audience
- Know your competitors
- Setup new or revise existing accounts
- Create content
- Analyze and optimize
How to create business accounts for:
Let’s get started!
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing helps you achieve your business goals by creating and sharing content on social media networks.
Effective social media marketing creates an emotional connection with your patients, shares information and ideas that they find valuable, and creates a digital community for your clients to interact.
The democratization of information through social media is shaping the clinical encounters and the patient/provider relationship.
Sylvia Chou, National Cancer Institute, 2012
Most businesses use social media platforms to promote their products and services because there’s already a large network of people using it daily. These businesses first create content, then they share or promote this content to achieve their business goals.
Content includes various forms of digital media, such as:
- Text and blog articles
- eBooks and guides
- Photos and infographics
- Videos and animations
- Interactive games
Once this content is created, businesses share and promote this content using various platforms, such as:
This content is often promoted using “organic” efforts, which means any and all activities related to sharing this content that doesn’t include buying an advertisement or spending money to have it promoted or sponsored.
Many businesses also pay money to promote this content using paid or sponsored social media advertising.
The purpose of sharing content is to achieve your business goals. For many health and wellness practices, their business goals include educating your audience to promote your products and services, attracting a traffic of potential patients to your website, and encouraging them to book an appointment with you and your practitioners.
What are the benefits of social media marketing?
The primary benefit of using social media marketing is to help you grow your health and wellness practice with new clients.
There are many other benefits for you, your practitioners and your patients, which include:
- Improved brand recognition and loyalty: creating and sharing content through your social media channels makes your practice’s brand more visible to new and existing clients, which makes your business more accessible for new clients to connect. Nurturing relationships with your audience further strengthens your customer loyalty. In a recent study, up to 66% of people who follow companies on social media are more loyal to that company.
- Increased website visits: every social media profile that you create is another path leading back to your website. Every social media post that you share and promote is another opportunity to capture your audience’s attention and invite them to learn more about you, your team and your practice by visiting your website. Once on your website, you can encourage them to book an appointment.
- Better search engine rankings: your website is ranked in Google’s search results based on search engine optimization (SEO). One of their ranking factors to determine where your website will be displayed are called “social signals,” which means any form of interaction or engagement that your audience has with your social media profiles. The more engagement you have on social media, the higher your website will be displayed in Google’s search engine rankings.
- More new patients and clients: social media provides businesses with an ability to humanize their brand, which is helpful since people trust people more than they trust companies. As a result, you can use social media to effectively present your business as a trustworthy source of information through valuable content, then encourage your audience to visit your website to book an appointment. A 2012 study conducted by HubSpot found that social media marketing results in twice as many sales than traditional advertising leads, such as trade-shows and direct mail.
- Better customer experience and insights: since social media is a public network, it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your passion for helping your clients. Every client interaction, positive or negative, is a chance to publicly display your customer service expertise and nurture your relationships. Furthermore, most social media platforms provide extensive data analytics to learn about your audience demographics, interests, and buying behaviour.
As more people go online to interact with their banks and make purchases, they want to do this with their doctors, health plans, and condition and disease management as well.
Laura Clapper, MD, OneRecovery, 2012
How does social media marketing work?
There are hundreds or thousands of ways to use social media for growing your business. Every business is unique, so what works for one business may not work for another.
Here we’ll review our recommended 6-step process for effective social media marketing:
Step 1: Set goals
Before creating any specific business goals to accomplish using social media, it’s important to step back and look at your big picture strategy. In other words, reflect on your business vision and how you want that vision communicated through social media.
Some questions that you can consider asking include:
- What do you hope to achieve through social media marketing?
- Who is your audience of ideal clients and patients?
- Where does your audience spend time online and offline?
- How does your audience use social media?
- What message do you want to communicate to your audience?
These questions help you visualize how your business goals can be achieved through social media marketing. Next, it’s important to set specific and measurable business goals.
An effective framework for goalsetting is creating S.M.A.R.T. goals, which helps you quantify your results so that you can measure your marketing return on investment (ROI).
S.M.A.R.T. goals are:
- Specific – well-defined and focused
- Measureable – made of tangible numbers to track your progress
- Attainable – realistic and achievable for your business
- Relevant – based on your business environment
- Time-bound – clear deadline for goal completion
For example, a S.M.A.R.T. goal that you can set for your practice may be:
“By the end of our fiscal year, we will use Facebook advertising to increase traffic to our business website by 25%.”
Most social media platforms also track various performance metrics that you can use to help you set goals. Here’s a summary of the most common metrics that are tracked:
- Reach: the total number of unique users or accounts that saw your post.
- Impressions: the total number of times that your posts have been seen.
- Engagement: the number of times that your post was liked, shared, and commented.
- Clicks: the number of times that a user has clicked on your post, link or logo.
- Visits: the number of times that a user viewed your profile or website.
Step 2: Know your audience
The next step in effective social media marketing is to imagine your ideal client. Imagine this ideal client as one person with a name, age, gender, profession, etc. This is often called a “customer persona” or “client avatar”.
This exercise helps you imagine who your clients are, what challenges they have in their lives and how your health products and services can help them resolve their challenges.
This exercise also helps you learn how to position your practice on social media to communicate your brand promise in a language that resonates with your ideal clients.
The key is to learn who your existing clients truly are and how you can find more clients like them. By learning about your clients, their challenges, and how they use social media, you can position your practice to deliver the right message, to the right audience, in a way that resonates with them.
A patient survey is an effective method of learning about your patients, their challenges and which social media platforms they like to use. Instead of spending your advertising budget promoting your practice on a platform that your patients don’t use, focus your time and resources on the right platforms.
Also, if you already have a large following on one or more social media platforms, you can use their internal analytics tools to learn about your audience of followers, including their demographics, their interests and buying behaviour.
Unfortunately, these tools only provide information about your existing audience of followers, which may or may not be existing patients. One of the best ways to learn about your existing patients at your clinic is through a survey.
In addition to conducting primary research through a patient survey, and secondary research through your social media analytics tools, you can also review Canadian social media user demographic information, found here:
Step 3: Know your competitors
In addition to knowing about your clients, you also want to know about your competitors. This helps you measure the success of your social media marketing campaigns relative to your industry peers.
By comparing your performance metrics against industry averages, you can benchmark your results and determine how to improve your performance.
Researching your competitors gives you a perspective into industry standards, and lets you see how your competitors’ posts are being received by their audience. That being said, many business owners assume that their competitors know something that they don’t. Often times, they will imitate their competitors’ strategies, believing that it will help their goals.
Many social media management tools also have their own competitor analysis reports that helps you benchmark your own performance metrics against those of your competitors.
You can view how often your competitors are creating posts, the kinds of posts they’re creating, as well as how well those posts are being received.
You can begin searching for your competitors in Google’s search, as well as within your own social media’s search. Use your industry’s keywords, such as “dentist” or “optometrist” or “physiotherapist”. Refine your search to local results, ideally in a close proximity to your clinic.
Step 4: Setup new or revise existing accounts
If you already have social media accounts setup and you’re engaging in marketing, you can conduct a practice checkup or marketing audit of your performance.
You can begin by asking yourself these questions:
- What’s working and what’s not?
- Who is connecting with you on social media?
- Which social media networks does your ideal client use most?
- How does your social media presence compare to that of your competitors?
Review your accounts to ensure that you have a clear vision of the purpose of each account. Next, ensure that your images, biography, and links are all consistent with your brand.
Many small businesses have different names and images on different social media profiles. This creates confusion for your clients trying to find you.
Using your social media analytics tools, you can evaluate the performance of your posts. This helps you determine which types of posts are well received and have the best metrics.
If you don’t have a social media account setup, here’s a summary of how to get started:
In order to create a Facebook Business Page, it needs to be linked to a personal account on Facebook. The two accounts are kept separate and no one will be able to see your personal account when viewing your business page.
Sign up for your Facebook Business Page
- Go to www.facebook.com/business
- Select “create a page” in the top right-hand corner.
- Select your type of page, likely “Business or Brand”.
- Complete the fields that ask for your Page Name, Category, etc.
Add images to your page
- Upload your company logo for your profile picture using 180 x 180 pixels.
- Upload a cover photo that captures your practice’s personality. This is a great place to display a team photo. Use image dimensions of 820 x 312 pixels.
Edit account details
- Click “Add a Short Description” to write a few sentences that summarize your health and wellness practice in 155 characters or less.
- Click “Create a Username for your Page,” which determines your Business Page URL (i.e. website address), so try to use your business name or similar.
- Click “About” on the left-hand side to complete any relevant fields and your business “Story,” which is a longer description of your practice and why your prospective patients should visit your clinic.
In order to create an Instagram Business Account, you have to first download the app on your phone to setup a personal account. Then, you convert it to a business account.
Sign up for Instagram
- Go to your phone’s App Store or Galaxy Store to download the Instagram app.
- Open the app and press “Sign Up”.
- Enter your email address.
- Fill out your username, password, and profile information.
Create Instagram Business Account
- Tap on your profile icon (usually in the bottom right corner).
- Tap the three lines button at the top-right corner and press “Settings”.
- Tap “Switch to Business Profile”.
- Add your email address, phone number, and address of your clinic.
Edit account details
- In a few sentences, summarize your health and wellness practice using 150 characters or less.
- Upload your business logo for your profile using dimensions of 110 x 110 pixels.
- Select your business category that appears under your profile name.
- Select “Edit Profile,” then “Contact Options,” and tap “Add an Action Button” to create buttons that allow Instagram users to call your clinic, send you an email, look up directions, etc.
Twitter for Business
Regardless if your Twitter account is for personal or business reasons, you only need one type of account.
Sign up for Twitter for Business
- Go to www.twitter.com
- Click on the “Sign Up” button.
- Enter your business name and phone number to register.
- Complete Twitter’s sign up instructions.
Edit account details
- Go to your profile page and click on the “Edit profile” button on the right.
- Upload your business logo for your profile using dimensions of 400 x 400 pixels.
- Upload a header image for your profile that captures your practice’s personality, using dimensions of 1500 x 500 pixels.
- Add the founding date of your business, your location, and business website.
- Write a business biography that summarizes your health and wellness practice in 160 characters or less.
- Update your page’s theme using your brand colours to match your branding.
In order to create a separate LinkedIn Company Page, you need a personal profile as well. Many health professionals use LinkedIn to network using their personal profiles, so it’s essential to have both.
Sign up for Linked Business
- Go to LinkedIn Pages.
- Click on the “Create your Page” button in the middle of the screen.
- Select your business size, likely “Small business”.
- Complete your business name, LinkedIn public URL, and your website address.
- Complete your company details, including your industry, company size and company type.
- Complete your profile details by uploading your company logo using image dimensions of 300 x 300 pixels. Write a short tagline for your business.
Edit account details
- Go to your Company Page and upload a cover image using image dimensions of 1536 x 768 pixels.
- Write a company description that summarizes your health and wellness practice and why your prospective patients should visit your clinic, in 2000 characters or less.
- Underneath your company description, add 20 company specialties. Use keywords for specialties, as it will help people find your business on LinkedIn.
- Click the Publish button to make your page live.
Step 5: Create content
After forming an effective strategy and setting up your accounts, you’re ready to start creating content. Many small businesses often struggle to know what kind of content to create or leave it until the last minute.
One of the most effective ways to stay organized is to create a plan using a social media content calendar. This is a monthly calendar that summarizes what content you’ll create for each social media network, and the dates and times that your post will be published.
Many research studies suggest posting on social media on a daily basis, but generally not more than about once per day. Some businesses see great results by posting more frequently on some platforms, such as Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
But, what kind of posts should you create?
There are many strategies and opinions, but according to Hootsuite, you can consider creating content based on the rule of thirds:
- 1/3 of content is educational and shares valuable information
- 1/3 of content is personal and reflects your clinic’s personality
- 1/3 of content is promotional about your products and services
Many businesses make the mistake of creating posts that are overly promotional, often trying to sell more of their products and services. According to Sprout Social, 46% of people will unfollow a company if their social media posts are overly promotional.
Instead of being overly-promotional, focus on ways that you can add value for your audience through educational insights and valuable content. According to research conducted by BuzzSumo, The New York Times, and Marketo, people will share your content if it’s valuable, informative or entertaining for others.
42 of consumers have used social media to access health-related consumer reviews, 30% have supported a health cause, 25% have posted about their health experience, and 20% have joined a health forum or community.
PWC, Health Research Institute, 2012
Step 6: Analyze and optimize
After creating content and promoting it on your social media networks, it’s important to analyze and evaluate the performance of your content to see how well it’s achieving your business goals.
Most of the social media networks provide robust analytics to measure and track your performance metrics. You can analyze which posts had the most views, likes, comments and shares.
The more that your audience engages with your posts, the more they like the quality of the content. Each time they engage with your post, it will also be seen by their network of followers, which increases the visibility of your health practice.
After analyzing your top performing posts, you can optimize your strategy by creating more posts like them. Over time, you can fine-tune your social media marketing strategy to help you grow your practice with new patients more effectively.
Social media networks are popular and used daily by millions of Canadians. As a result, it’s one of the best online sources to attract new patients to your business website and clinic.
Social media marketing is a great way for most small businesses to get started, as it’s free to setup accounts and create your own content. Doing so improves your patient relationships, increases website visits, improves your search engine rankings, grows your practice with new patients, and provides a better patient experience online.
You can create a business account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn to promote your health and wellness practice. Leverage the power of social media as an effective strategy for growing your business with new patients.
How we can help
We’re Alberta’s only business and marketing consulting agency that specializes in supporting the health and wellness industry.
Our unique business and marketing services have been custom tailored to help you grow your health and wellness practice using social media marketing.
To learn more about our social media marketing services: