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5 Best Practices for Marketing Your Hearing Practice with Social Media

Few hearing healthcare practices are without a website, but many have yet to create an effective presence on social media. Being active on outlets like Facebook or Twitter might seem overwhelming for an already-busy practice owner, but avoiding social media for your business means losing out on a valuable, low-cost opportunity.
The truth is, social media use is on the rise and showing no sign of slowing down. A recent Pew report found that 74% of Internet users engage with social media, and that 80% of those engagers are specifically looking for health-related information and health professionals who could help them.
There’s no better time to be online, engaging directly with prospective patients through social media. Whether you’re just starting out or are an established practice looking to expand your patient base, social media is an excellent addition to your overall marketing strategy. A small amount of time put aside to nurture your online presence on websites like Facebook and LinkedIn can quickly prove worthwhile as new patients discover you there and inquire more about your services.
So where do you begin? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Youtube, Pinterest… the list can definitely seem endless. With the ever-widening array of social media sites online, it’s no wonder that creating a social media presence for your practice can feel rather intimidating at first.
The key is to identify the ideal patients for your services, and then pick two to three social media outlets that tend to attract those types of patients. You likely have the first part figured out already and know your ideal patient demographics in detail. Finding out where they spend time online can take some digging, but beginning with a basic overview of the populations that frequent each social media outlet is a wise move. It would be hard to deny that Facebook is an essential website for your practice to have a presence on, and depending on your services or specialties, you might find that your ideal patients are frequenting other social sites as well.
Once you’ve defined a short list of social media outlets you’d like to build a presence on, it’s time to create an overall social media strategy. This doesn’t need to be extensive or time-consuming, but should outline the overall purpose of your profile and the type of content you intend to post and share. The biggest mistake we see businesses make with their social media accounts is to miss having a clear direction with their profile activity. Do you want to attract more patients? Perhaps you intend to simply spread awareness about the effectiveness of modern treatments for hearing loss. Any goal will do, but defining it at the outset is important.
Now let’s take a look at the five best practices for optimizing your practice’s social media presence:
Craft Your Profile with Care
The most popular social media sites enable you to describe your business and add contact information to your profile. This is your opportunity to highlight the focus of your practice and mention the most attractive aspects of your services.
When creating your profile, be sure to incorporate as many relevant keywords as possible into your business description, without sacrificing a natural tone. Social media profiles are just as searchable as other web pages that Google and other search engines list when people search for matching keywords. For this reason, be sure to include the name of local vicinities your practice serves. Unsure about the best keywords for your practice? We go into more detail about researching keywords here.
Content is King
We say it all the time, and the fact remains that content is indeed still king. Increasing numbers of people are visiting various social media outlets for the interaction—and especially the content—they provide. Defining the overall purpose of your social media presence is the first step, and creating the actual content for your regular posts is the implementation of that vision.
The best content offers your audience value, humor, or practical information (i.e. “We’re closed early today due to the storm,” etc.). There is no single formula for winning content, but after you begin posting a variety of information, you’ll begin to see what posts get the most engagement (i.e. likes, clicks, and comments) from your audience. Experiment within the bounds of professionalism and your overall goal, and don’t be shy about sharing content from other businesses or people on social media that have quality content you think your audience would appreciate.
It’s worth noting that if your practice’s website has a blog of its own (which it should), that it’s entirely appropriate to share your past blog posts along with current ones on a rotating cycle. In other words, you don’t want to create just one post about a helpful blog you wrote and have it get buried in your news feed after a couple of months. Any new followers you gain would likely never see it. There’s a balance, of course, between overly-redundant promotion of the same content and ensuring that it doesn’t get lost in a sea of daily posts. Depending on how quickly your audience is growing, you should cycle in previous blog post promotions every 8-16 weeks on your feed.
Stay Engaged
Social media is supposed to be just that: social. While posting attractive content is a main priority, as a business owner looking to gain an audience online, you also want to be sure to interact with any followers who comment or ask questions on your posts, profile page, or via direct messages.
Not only does this kind of personal interaction offer insight into the type of provider you are, but it also invites more participation from your audience. People appreciate when businesses take the time to acknowledge and respond to them, and are more apt to stay engaged with your posts when you’re doing the same. Back and forth activity on your feed is also attractive to those passing by who might otherwise not choose to actually “follow” your page, and it also tends to keep your business’s posts actively showing in your followers’ news feeds.
Promote Your Offerings
In the midst of your quality content posts, don’t skip the opportunity to keep your audience informed about everything your practice offers and what makes you stand out. Receive a professional award or additional certification? Post it. Begin carrying the latest model of rechargeable hearing aids? Post it. Get an amazing testimonial from a satisfied patient? Definitely post it.
You get the idea. The goal is to balance out your self-promotional posts with valuable content that your audience is drawn to. Many of the people following your business may not be local at all to your practice, but follow you due to the informative nature of your posts, so it’s important to keep that in mind as you promote your own services (aimed at local followers who could potentially need your services). A common recommendation is the 80/20 rule: give helpful and valuable content away (via your posts) 80% of the time, and sprinkle in some subtle self-promotion 20% of the time. After all, you are a business.
Focus on Service
As a hearing healthcare professional, this one will come easy for you. You’re in service to your patients every day, and the truth is, going on social media should be no different. Regardless of whether the goal of your social media presence is to gain more patients or share important information, by focusing on giving through the majority of what you post, you’ll see a loyal online audience grow quickly.
With nearly 30 million Americans living with untreated hearing loss, there’s currently a real need for helpful information about conditions, treatment options, and accessibility in hearing healthcare. Many of these people are online and using social media, so why not use your posts as an effective way to reach and teach them? Much of the persistent stigma around hearing loss and treatment stems simply from a lack of knowledge. This is where you—and your practice—can really stand out and help.

Tending to your social media presence doesn’t need to be a part-time job. With a small amount of time dedicated to it consistently, healthcare professionals across many fields have discovered social media to be an investment offering significant rewards. Consider making the time to cultivate your own social media presence and watch it bolster your entire digital marketing strategy,
Don’t have a digital marketing strategy? Learn why it’s imperative that you do, and feel free to contact us to learn how we can help.

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