Rarely does a day go by when there is not a recommendation request for a doctor on my local facebook group. Yesterday, for example, someone wanted an orthopedic surgeon for knee surgery. The day before, another person wanted a dermatologist who takes their insurance.
How can you tap into this without devoting all your time to social media or appearing unprofessional?
- Treat your current patients in the best possible way so they truly want to refer you. Referring a friend to anyone is a risk, particularly when it comes to medical issues so they need to feel certain that you will not let them down. It is ok to remind them that “we love referrals” too.
- Be active and engaged in the community – both online and in real life. Host the occasional coffee morning or sponsor a school event. This keeps you on the minds of your patients and shows that you care about your community.
- Have your own social media presence. Use it to educate your patients and to showcase patient progress. Take Ahwatukee Orthodontics for example – by posting photos of their patients they are not pushing their services but are guaranteed to have the post liked and retweeted. Of course, always get permission and never publish sensitive information.
- Thank anyone who refers you. If your name is used in social media, you will be notified. Take the time to send the referrer a private message to thank them for their trust in you.
- Know your patient base. 68% of all American adults use Facebook, 25% use Linkedin, 28% use Instagram and 21% use Twitter. If you have an older patient-base, this skews even more towards Facebook with only 8% of over 65s using Instagram. 50% of online adults with college degrees are on LinkedIn. Teens, of course, are all about Instagram today but it changes fast!
- Watch the results. Test different platforms and different messages and monitor their reach. Make sure that you get (and read) a weekly analytics report.
The data above is from the Pew Research Center who recently published an updated report on social media demographics at http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/ and http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/