With its wide reach across demographics and little to no cost for self-promotion, social media has gained a reputation as a marketing paradise. But are businesses really finding success with it?
The answer is: yes. Considering that nearly 80% of Internet users in the U.S. are on Facebook alone — with Baby Boomers being the fastest growing segment on the platform — it’s not too hard to imagine how this could be.
Be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or the many other social media networks that are grabbing attention from users online, ignoring these online spaces and the marketing opportunities that exist on them is akin to declining a free billboard on one of the busiest streets in your city. The fact is — people in your area are on these networks right now, and if you don’t try to stand out to them on social platforms, your competitors will instead.
But where do you begin? With so many networks to choose from and the many ways to engage with each, it’s worth knowing some fast tips on how to best reach your target market and use your time wisely. Without some guidance, social media can turn into a big black hole, swallowing your time without yielding you results.
Consider the best practices below to maximize your efforts and make your time on your chosen platforms well-spent and fruitful.
Begin by accepting that despite how it might sound “on paper” (or in an article), it’s wise for you to focus your efforts on no more than 1 to 2 social media networks. Ideally, they’d be the ones your patients frequent the most. Most likely, one of them will be Facebook, as it’s the most popular social network — especially for Internet users over age 50. You might also want to include Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, but keep in mind that to be successful on any of these networks, you need to post on them often (usually daily). Being on one platform daily is better than being on two or more platforms inconsistently. In short: don’t spread yourself too thin.
Social media platforms are fueled by interesting content. The more captivating the article or video, the more times it gets shared. No social media strategy will take off without great content under its wings. And luckily, as a hearing professional, you have plenty of content at your fingertips. Your daily interaction with patients gives you a front row seat to the most common questions, concerns, and needs of the people you serve. These are the same kind of people you want to aim your content at, so start with what you know and let your expertise shine. Readers will surely follow — and when done right — they’ll eventually call.
Plan & Pre-schedule
It doesn’t take much online searching to find the fancy algorithms and detailed graphs for social media marketing. People have been analyzing the data of minute details related to marketing on these platforms for years, and the results can be overwhelming. Instead of getting too deep into the precise title formulas and exact times for posting, we recommend you commit to one golden rule: post often.
A tried a true way to gain followers organically is to simply post great content on a regular basis. This is bolstered by engaging with your following (which we’ll dive into next). Posting every day is ideal, but can be hard to pull off without the help of some scheduling software. Several programs exist to help you pre-schedule posts, and many of them are free (consider this list here). By planning your content and posts in advance, you’ll avoid the intermittent posting that occurs when life takes over. As a business owner, you’re too busy to expect that you can jump on social media each day and get your post up, so make use of the available tools and do it right.
The name says it all: social media is meant to be social. Sure, posting excellent content will attract viewers to your profile. But engaging with your visitors is the best way to turn them into followers, and especially, new patients. This doesn’t have to be complicated — simply set aside 20-30 minutes a few times a week to jump on your social network of choice and reply to any comments on your posts and comment on the posts of people you want to connect with for your business. Consider who influencers are in your industry. These are the people and brands on your social network who have many followers (the same kind of followers you’d like to have). Spend some of your time engaging with these influencers. Like their posts, leave comments, and slowly build an online relationship with them. If these influencers shared even one of your posts to their large following, it could have immeasurable effects on your own profile.
Despite how tempting it might be to jump on your social network and begin creating posts about everything you offer, or any special deals you’ve got going on, it’s best to hold back. People immediately ignore overly salesy posts on these networks because they’re most often there to engage, connect, and learn interesting things. This doesn’t mean you can’t promote your services directly at all, though. Marketers have deciphered a “1-in-7 rule” that seems to work well on social media: promote your services no more than once every seven posts and you shouldn’t notice any ill effect on your following. That said, make sure your promotion posts are aimed at providing value for viewers. Promote with the intention of sharing helpful announcements about your services to those who need them most.
Videos are all the rage, as we discussed at length in this post. If you want the highest engagement on the content you’re creating, incorporate some recorded material into your mix. This doesn’t need to be fancy — in fact, it will do better if it isn’t. Even just jumping on Facebook Live or Instagram Stories will be enough to offer the kind of click-bait that marketers are seeing. It’s simple: people are more inclined to click on a video than they will a photo or article. But video or not, your content should always have a visual element for the sake of better engagement on social media.
Reply to Negative Reviews
Depending on the social network you focus on, you may or may not have a specific area for previous customers to leave reviews. Facebook has a specific reviews area and it’s definitely gaining attention. Other platforms like Twitter and Instagram don’t have a designated reviews section, but people can always comment on your services on any of your posts.
Replying to reviews or feedback in general is a good idea. It showcases your professionalism, encourages positive reviews by reinforcing them with a “thanks,” and helps repair reputation damage when you can promptly reply to any critical feedback. That last point is the most important. Negative reviews on your social media profile should be dealt with quickly and thoroughly. We’ve gone over this in more detail previously (check out this post), but suffice it to say that you want to reply in a way that helps others see your efforts to provide satisfactory service and, hopefully, that persuades your unsatisfied customer to give you another shot to set things right.
Ultimately, your goal on social media is not to just increase the number of followers you have — it’s to gain the right followers. For social media to be a worthwhile investment of your time and energy, your followers should be potential patients. People who are interested in hearing health because of their own struggles with it, or because they’re nearing an age where your services (and related posts) are more relevant to their situation. By posting helpful content and engaging with them on these platforms, it can be an effective tool for expanding your reach and reputation in your local area.
As a digital marketing firm with over 20 years of experience in the hearing industry, we’ve learned a lot about how your target market uses the Internet. From social media to online searches, we use expert analysis of online behavior to maximize opportunities for marketing our clients’ services. Is your practice getting the attention it deserves from the Internet? Click here to get more patients online today.