If you think your orthopedic practice doesn’t need to be on social media, think again. Nearly 90 percent of adults in the US use social media to search for health information. If not yet included, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should be part of your overall orthopedics marketing strategy.<
Understanding Your Social Media Platforms
Before diving into how healthcare providers should engage in social media on the internet, it is important to learn more about the different platforms:
- Facebook – With 91 billion active monthly users, Facebook is a social media platform that cannot be overlooked. It also includes many helpful features for business pages, including geotargeting, when activating paid social where you build your ideal patient target audience based on highly specific attributes.
- Twitter – Extremely popular with a younger demographic (18-29), Twitter reaches 217 billion active users monthly. Users must be mindful that, unlike Facebook, posts cannot be edited after they have been made.
- Instagram – If a picture speaks a thousand words, then Instagram will tell your brand story in a heartbeat. Instagram has a smaller active user base (13 million), but with the right images, you can make a lasting impression in seconds.
- TikTok – One of the newer platforms, TikTok is quickly becoming one of the most popular with one billion active monthly users. Since we know social media viewers love videos, TikTok is another avenue to interact with patients, especially the younger set. Medical professionals have been successful at building a following on the TikTok platform.
An orthopedic surgeon or practice can use these platforms to accomplish different communication goals, such as:
- Educating patients about different procedures
- Building brand recognition for your practice
- Promoting specific services and procedures
- Establishing trust and building relationships with patients
- Nurturing relationships with existing patients
- Capturing positive patient sentiment to attract new patients
Understanding these different platforms, their reach, and user demographics will help you plan content and assemble a balanced blend of social media engagement.
4 Social Media Patient Engagement Techniques
Social media platforms are meant to engage your target audience. Creating compelling content boosts interactions organically (for free audience reach) and helps build relationships between you and your patients. The more your audience engages with your posts, the greater your social media presence becomes.
Keep in mind that engagement is a two-way street. Social media is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. You need to engage with your audience as they engage with your posts. Regularly monitor your social media interaction on each platform and respond to comments and questions in a timely manner. Also, check your email inbox for questions or comments from your followers.
A social media channel with sparse or outdated content is like an empty storefront – not appealing to consumers of any kind and makes it look like no one is “home.” That’s why it is important to have a regular content posting cadence with timely, relevant content. Polls and surveys are also good tools for engagement.
Another best practice for orthopedic social media is to humanize surgeons and staff members. It is much easier to connect with a face rather than just a page, so include staff photos and videos that show friendly interactions with patients. Surgeons should explain why they chose orthopedics and discuss their specialties. Sharing your passion for orthopedics with patients will solidify their trust and confidence in your abilities.
Share Patient Stories
Testimonials will likely have the most powerful impact on your audience. Positive reviews of you and your practice can be the tipping point between choosing you over another orthopedic surgeon. Don’t be shy about asking your patients to post reviews or follow your accounts on social media.
As previously mentioned, social media users love video. Consider the number of daily video views on these platforms:
- Facebook: 8 billion
- Twitter: 2 billion
- Snapchat: 10 billion
Patient videos that document post-procedure success stories are an effective way to offer hope and reassurance to patients who may be hesitant about surgery. Showing is usually more compelling than telling, so creating a video series for different procedures is a wise marketing tactic, especially for orthopedic social media.
Feature post-operative patients getting back to doing the things they loved before surgery, such as playing golf, riding a bike, or gardening. Ask them about their recovery experience and how surgery changed their lives for the better. These kinds of videos can inspire people who are suffering from common orthopedic problems, such as hip, knee or shoulder pain, to take the next step and schedule an appointment.
Educate the Public
One major reason for physicians engaging on social media is to give patients credible and trustworthy information. This counteracts misinformation and other medical confusion online. A survey shows that 60% of social media users trust their doctor’s posts over other sources.
The most common reason that people avoid any kind of surgery is fear of the unknown, and orthopedics is no different. Social media can educate a very large audience about the mechanics of orthopedic surgeries and dispel a lot of misconceptions. Some common myths about orthopedic surgery include:
- I am too old or too young for surgery
- I will be in unbearable pain after the procedure
- I am better off if I put off having surgery for as long as possible
- I will not be able to function for a long time after surgery and will require daily assistance
While it is important to always include potential risks for any procedure, it is equally important to educate patients about the potential benefits. This allows patients to weigh pros and cons and make informed decisions. Be sure to include FAQs, fact sheets, and other educational materials in your social media content.
Market Your Services or New Technologies
Social media is an excellent platform to promote new and existing services as well as introduce new staff members and services. If you have new robotic equipment or other technology for less invasive procedures, include that in your orthopedic social media and let your audience know. Be sure to ask followers to share your posts with others who may be interested.
Announcements should include brief quotes, photos, and video whenever possible. Also, always link announcements to a landing page on orthopedic websites so that it is easy for patients to click to learn more. If you don’t have practice news to share, you can engage your audience in social media with other kinds of news, such as community events that your practice participates in or charities you support.
Paid Social Media Advertising for Orthopedic Surgeons
If you don’t have time or resources to invest in building an orthopedic social media presence “organically” want to quickly boost revenue or need to build awareness for a brand-new practice, then paid social may be your best route to get in front of your target audience.
What’s great about Facebook ads is how you can customize your ads from various templates, schedule it for when your prospects are most likely to be scrolling, and fine tune the audience you want to reach. You will also have the benefit of performance insights to know how many have seen the ad and engaged with it. You can rework ads that aren’t doing as well as expected.
Summary: The Power of Orthopedic Social Media Engagement
With over two billion users, social media is one of the fastest growing and most effective marketing and communication strategies for your orthopedic practice. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you build relationships and increase patient visits.
You can leverage the power of video to tell patients what to expect with common procedures and share patient testimonials to ease common concerns.
Building an orthopedic social media presence takes time, but if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded with an engaged audience that is likely to choose you over competitors for orthopedic services.
iHealthSpot Can Help
For many orthopedic surgeons and practices, the time to manage social media activity just isn’t there. Our team of social media experts has a proven track record of helping healthcare professionals build and grow their digital presence. Our Facebook services include:
- Branding and social media account set up for Facebook
- Posting unique Facebook content on a regular basis
- Creating Facebook campaigns to increase engagement
- Providing analytic performance reporting and one-on-one guidance
Contact us today to learn about how we can help your orthopedic practice grow using social media.