It is hard to be a part of the service industry and be oblivious to the necessity and prevalence of social mediamarketing. Search engine land defines social media marketing as, ‘the process of gaining traffic or attention through the use of different social media sites.’ Explained simply, social media marketing means the use of extensively popular social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to draw attention towards your brand and promote your services among the respective audiences of these media.
Sound simple enough, doesn’t it? After all, most of us are quite conversant in the 280 character language of Twitter and meme form communication of Facebook. So, using these platforms for promoting one’s businesses should not come across as a major hurdle, right? Not really. This is because as usual, the devil lies in the details. The language of promotion and the target audience that needs to be reached with the use of these channels is extremely nuanced and requires the use of an intelligent and precise strategy to generate viable leads for your business.
This is a common reason why many healthcare institutions do not opt for social media marketing. The gradations of finding the right audience and the strict advertising standards applicable to medical professionals usually deter physiotherapy clinics from taking advantage of this nifty medium of revenue generation. However, consultation with a reliable and smart social media marketing team maintaining compliance with these norms can be made relatively simple, and promoting your services to the right audience and the right time is actually possible.
Let’s dive into the importance of social media marketing for physiotherapists and how these clinics can use different communication platforms to drive traffic:
Is social media marketing a viable plan for my physiotherapy clinic?
Yes, it is. Why? To understand the reason behind the value of social media marketing for your physiotherapy clinic, you need to recognize how internet marketing works. This omnipresent network known as the internet that perpetuates every facet of our life has already started influencing how businesses are run.
The diagram above is an insightful representation of how internet marketing actually works and the ways in which social media marketing affects your digital presence and sales. Internet marketing essentially means creating an identity for your business online and making its presence known among the wide surfeit of businesses present on the World Wide Web.
This primarily involves creating a portal in the form of a website that customers can use as a window to peek into the world of services and products that you offer. Then, different methods such as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and Search Engine Optimization are used to bring your website’s presence on the top of frequently searched lists among customers. Social media marketing is one such tool that creates your business’s presence online with the help of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. However, unlike SEM or PPC ads, social media marketing is also about interaction and engagement with your target audience. These portals help in building an innate online presence for your business and create virality for your services on the basis of how closely your content rings a bell with what customers actually need.
Hence, right social media marketing not only helps in promoting your business digitally but also creates a following of faithful customers who trust your services and share it involuntarily with future leads. This directly aligns with the kind of customers that any business especially a physiotherapy clinic needs.
Physiotherapy is a healthcare service most frequently necessitated in the case of injuries and accidents. Hence, to reach out to more patients, your clinic not only needs to be accessible online but must also have credibility in terms of the services that it offers. Social media is a direct and convenient way to do both.
For example: Consider Tom. Tom lives in the southeast area of Edmonton and has recently dislocated his elbow due to a slip and fall accident. After fixing the joint, the doctor has recommended him regular physiotherapy for three months to regain complete mobility in his arm. Tom doesn’t have much knowledge regarding the physiotherapy clinics in his area. So, he posts a question about the same on his Facebook profile. His friend Suzie recommends him a great physiotherapy clinic located in close vicinity to his home and tags the clinic’s Facebook page in the comments.
Tom instantly checks out this page and finds lots of relevant information and tips about injuries and elbow dislocation.
He also finds the clinic’s contact information easily and can directly book a session by clicking on their Call to Action Button. He decides to give them a call, and the rest is history.
What are the benefits of social media marketing for physiotherapists?
Let’s talk numbers. According to Statistics Canada, by the year 2051, 1 out of 4 Canadians will be 65 years of age or older. Physiotherapy is a branch of medicine used for providing primary health care and restorative treatment for injuries and chronic ailments that usually occur due to old age such as arthritis, muscular sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Hence, the need for physiotherapists is bound to increase as the time passes. Good social media marketing could deliver significant Return on Investment (ROI) for physiotherapy clinics because:
Healthcare professionals like physiotherapists risk losing their credibility over exaggerated claims of treatment and their healing capabilities. However, this lack of exposure or open communication can also obscure your practice. This is because, irrespective of your experience or education, it is challenging for new patients to know and recognize your clinic among the large number of clinics available online. Social media is an organic resource for you to share your testimonials and experiences and draw new patients towards your services.
Testimonials and treatment experience
Crisis communication and consultative engagement can be made a lot easy with the use of social media, increasing your practice’s credibility and relevance among the audiences.
An example of consultative communication
To sum it up, internet marketing is essential to attract new customers to your website. Services such as physiotherapy can not overlook the social media arm of internet marketing if they want to build a credible brand among their target customers. So, how do we create that perfect digital identity on social media? Read on.
How do I ensure my clinic’s presence on social media?
As mentioned previously, the right social media marketing strategy can help your business gain viable leads as well as improve your brand identity. However, the vast array of social media platforms available, the varied content needs for each of these platforms and the time required to regularly update these social profiles and actively communicate with the audiences usually deters businesses from opting for social media marketing. This is where an experienced digital marketing agency steps in. A marketing expert can understand the unique requirements for your business and create pathways that lead to direct sales or clients. To get you started, here are the first key steps that physiotherapy clinics should take to create a potent social media presence online:
Identify your audience
This is applicable to any successful marketing strategy. To ensure that you are able to attract the right individuals to your social media profiles and turn maximum visitors into viable clients, you need to define your audience. Sorry, but no, the answer cannot be everyone.
Though the final goal of your marketing strategy can be to attract people from all age groups towards your website, it is more important to gain visibility among individuals that can be later turned into clients. Hence, take some time out to sketch your ideal customer’s persona. Now, add more details to this rough sketch by asking the following questions:
Let’s start with their basic demographic information. Where do these customers live? What do they do?
Why would these customers need your services?
What are the problems that they are facing with their current service provider?
What would motivate them to switch?
A good way to start can be by filling out this table:
Preferred Social Media Platform:
Problems they face:
Interests and Likes:
You can then add on more layers of information to build a detailed customer’s persona.
Select the right platform
The number of social media platforms is increasing with each passing year and it can be difficult for businesses to decide which ones are ideally suited to their needs. But, every platform has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. The kind of content that works for one platform may not be suitable for another.
Here’s a brief summary of pros and cons of three primary digital marketing platforms:
● As per June 2017, Facebook has a base of over 2 Billion active users, making it the most widely used digital platform in the world. Hence, a well managed Facebook page can offer unparalleled visibility to your business.
● Micro-targeting – Facebook’s inbuilt analytics allow you to target the exact customers that you are looking for.
● Economical – Facebook ads have the lowest cost per impression rate among all other digital mediums
● Without the use of paid ads, it is quite difficult to build an organic visibility for your content.
● As visual content works 95% better than textual, it is necessary to update graphics and videos to your profile regularly.
● With a user base of 330 million, Twitter is another viable platform for businesses to promote their services.
● The use of hashtags increases your business’s visibility and allows you to take part in conversations of value and interest.
● Provides access to high-quality shareable content directly.
● It is easier to reach out to industry experts on Twitter and initiate a conversation directly.
● Character limit of 280
● Immoderate use of content is prevalent on Twitter which could easily lead to controversies and negative publicity.
● With an accessible call to action button, Instagram makes it easy for potential clients to contact businesses.
● Instagram offers regular and easy to access insights.
● Offers economical paid advertisements.
● Being a primarily visual medium, it is necessary to share content in the form of graphics or videos.
● Interface access limited to cellular phones
Several other digital platforms such as Quora, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ can help businesses optimize their visibility and obtain viable leads. Depending on the scope of your business, the type of services that you offer and your marketing budget, a resourceful digital marketing expert can help you select the right social media platforms and devise strategies that are needed to drive customers to your business profile.
Develop social media usage policies
It is crucial for healthcare businesses to carefully monitor the kind of content which is used for their social media profiles. Keeping a few guidelines in mind, physiotherapists can ensure their marketing collaterals comply with the standards set across by the advertising industry of Canada. A few basic standards that physiotherapists should keep in mind include:
It is vital for physiotherapists to keep all the information pertaining to their patients, including the patient’s name, contact information, diagnosis and the treatment information confidential and avoid using it without explicit permissions from the client.
It is advisable to not provide professional advice or focused remedial tips directly to patients through your social media profile. Medical professionals should also avoid befriending patients through their private profile as it may be considered as a breach of professional boundaries.
Soliciting positive reviews from your patients, offering free services to attract clients, making bold claims regarding treatment results, spreading hoax medical anecdotes to advance one’s business are considered unethical practices that harm your clinic’s reputation and should be avoided on social media.
Creating a strong brand message that resonates with your services and using it as a core thought for developing all your social media marketing collaterals can help your business distinguish itself services among its competitors. An effective digital marketing strategy helps you build a loyal audience online and also enhance your credibility among potential customers. If you have any questions or suggestions to use social media marketing and how it can be implemented for a physiotherapy clinic, drop in your comments in the section below.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.