Businesses across the board are changing their marketing strategies to focus on utilizing technology and social media platforms. The apparent benefit is that they can read the minds of their customers and study the specifics of consumer behavior, this leads them to provide high-class products and customer services. In essence, with the help of advanced social media tools, it has become easier to access data and make better, smarter decisions. Business optimizations can be made more quickly and accurately.
Traditional marketing concepts have been completely outshined by these more advanced and effective channels of marketing. The business card is dying, as are other print materials used for self promotion. If someone wants to know who you are or locate your phone number or your address, they will Google you. In addition, direct mail is being used less and less. The associated cost is higher, the return on investment is lower, and it is difficult to track the results accurately.
From Facebook to Twitter, social media platforms have truly transformed the landscape of marketing. Innovations in technology are driving powerful changes in the way individuals engage in health care delivery.1 These marketing mediums, combined with industry innovations, provide the Chiropractor with the ultimate power of engaging patients, which deliberately involves them in their health recovery process and builds a stronger, long-lasting relationship with the Doctor.
Social media has placed the patient at the center of the Chiropractor’s business objectives. This has enabled Chiropractors to cater to the needs of their patients rather than trying to mold patients to fit the practice.
A patient-centered care environment inspires causal motivation that results in patients that WANT to comply with treatment programs and be the best they can be. People will work their hardest for something or someone they believe in. Patients who are causally motivated tend to be advocates for their Chiropractor and are great referral sources.
According to Constant Contact, attracting new customers, engaging existing customers, and getting referrals are the top concerns for small businesses surveyed. Respondents were asked to identify which strategies they find most effective. Here’s a quick recap:
Email marketing – 83%
Website (content and SEO) – 71%
In-person interactions – 68%
Social media – 49%
Outbound calling – 33%
PR – 22%
Direct mail – 21%
Traditional advertising (TV, radio, print, etc.) – 17%
Pay-per-click – 17%
Of those using social media, Facebook is far and away the most effective.2 Given this information, it is extremely important for the Chiropractor wanting to keep pace in this new healthcare environment to embrace this change and embark on this new marketing strategy.
Not all social media channels are created equal. They all have their primary focus and functionality. While YouTube and a Blog are great at delivering patient information, Facebook is the premiere choice to provide patient reminders, support for wellness and recovery and responding to patient questions. With limited time and budget, it’s important to spend resources on activities that will yield the greatest return – it’s important to select the ideal social media channels for the job.3
One of the positive outcomes of an economic slowdown is the innovation that can come out of it. Many of our industry leaders are responding to this social media marketing trend by creating products and services that mainstream Chiropractic into our high-tech, smart phone, connectivity-dependent society.
These products and services are geared toward Chiropractors and patients alike. John Cox, CEO of Visible Health, notes that “somewhere around the order of 80 percent of all information communicated between a physician and a patient is lost when a patient walks out of the room.” Social media venues allow the Chiropractor a more effective means to manage the doctor-patient relationship by providing a strategy for communicating pertinent and appropriate information, consistently.
Patients benefit greatly from this communication technology, whether focused on general patient education, sEMG findings, specific condition information or health and wellness topics. These tools reinforce the “why” of seeking Chiropractic care and put this information in the hands of your advocates so they can easily share the information with others. Mobile devices present a tremendous opportunity to provide patients with even greater access to these powerful tools that support the current dynamic in healthcare delivery.1
To dominate your digital space invest the time and resources to implement the following:
- Get your profile set up on the main 4 sites: Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- Create a personal App for your office and link it to all your social media sites. Make sure your website is searchable and frequently updated with pertinent and compelling information.
- Marry your Email and Social Media outlets. Ask for emails in your social properties and talk about your social properties in your email. For example, send people to your email sign-up form in Facebook and send an email to your list telling them about the value of following you on Twitter.
- Use Video in Email. You could grab your favorite video off YouTube or you could use your own device to take video of people at work or even your employees saying hello. Email messages with embedded video can increase readership and spark new conversations.
- Find Social Media advocates, not fans. A fan “likes” you on Facebook or “follows” you on Twitter, but an advocate TALKS about you and avidly refers other patients to you.
- At exam and re-exam, email a summary of findings to the patient getting them not only directly involved in their care, but as a reminder of the conclusions reached at the report of findings. Reinforcement should be done in a timely manner, so an email as soon after the exam is most effective.
The good news it that you don’t need a big bank account to go viral or create an outstanding promotion. You just need a unique and different idea. Tell a simple, bold, forward thinking creative story that is brief and memorable. People respond well to freshness and new ideas. A solid social media strategy should not be driven by social media itself, but rather your Chiropractic business objectives – social media is a tool to help you achieve your goals.
1. O’rourke, K., Heckman, J., Elwood, D. Development and Exploration of a Multifaceted Social Platform to Improve Patient Education, Communication, and Activity, Medicine 2.0 ‘12:Boston, USA, September, 2012.
2. Dornaus, Erika The Health and Wellness of Small Business, Constant Contact White Paper, May 2012.
3. Berg, Dean. Healthcare Social Media: How to Choose the Best Tools for the Job. Annica Media, September 2012.