We have previously written about this topic: How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Business. This was more centred around small businesses in general, so I’m back again with some specific social media marketing tips and tricks for private practice owners.

Let’s dive right in.

 

THE Question: Should your private practice even be on social media?

The answer is yes. A thousand times yes.

It’s not even about whether it’s OK for you to be on social media anymore. That might have been the concern in 2015, but not now. Since social media has become a big part of most businesses’ marketing strategy, now the questions are more like:

  • Which social media should you be on?
  • What kind of things should you post? and
  • How often should you post?

We’ll get to these, but first, let’s consider why it’s so obvious that you should be on social media.

 

Social media is an integral part of any business’ marketing strategy, with so much of the world’s population being on one or more platforms:

  • 3.196 billion monthly social media users in the world (We Are Social, 2018)
  • 11 new social media users every second (We Are Social, 2018)
  • 1.45 billion daily active Facebook users on average for March 2018 (Facebook Newsroom)
  • 2.20 billion monthly active Facebook users as of March 2018 (Facebook Newsroom)
  • 80 million small business pages on Facebook as of May 2018 (Facebook Newsroom)
  • 800 million monthly active Instagram users (Instagram, 2017)
  • 25 million+ business profiles on Instagram worldwide (Instagram)
  • In Australia: 15 million monthly active Facebook users as of February 2019 (Social Media News)
  • In Australia: 15 million unique YouTube visitors per month as of February 2019 (Social Media News)
  • In Australia: 9 million monthly active Instagram users as of February 2019 (Social Media News)

So, it makes sense for you to be on social media, if you want to reach potential clients and referrers.

As per the inbound marketing strategy, putting yourself where your target market is, is crucial. You could have the most amazing service and content but if you’re not discovered by your potential clients, it won’t have as much positive impact on your business.

Before we move on, let’s clarify one thing.

 

Should your practice be on social media or you?

Generally speaking, your personal account should not be used to promote your private practice.

 

What does this mean?

Most social media platforms allow you to create a business account. When thinking about your social media strategy, it’s important to distinguish from the start which account you’ll promote your business from.

As a private practice professional, it’s recommended that you create a separate business profile. This means that you’ll have two accounts: one for your personal network (e.g., family and friends), and one for your business (e.g., followers, clients and referrers).

This helps to separate the content you publish based on your audience, and removes the possibility of your clients being able to see your private life. (Of course, don’t forget to set your personal accounts to private!)

 

Which social media platforms should you use to promote your private practice?

This mostly depends on one thing: The platforms that your (potential) clients use. If your clients are on Twitter, then you should create a Twitter account. If a lot of your clients are on Instagram, then your practice should have a business Instagram account, too.

 

How do you know what your clients are using?

You can find it out by asking them and importantly, writing it down so that you can observe any patterns. You can also make an educated guess based on your clients’ general demographic information. For example, if most of your clients tend to be female and in their 20s, you could find out by doing some research and arrive at the conclusion that a lot of them would be on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

The social media platforms your clients use is one of the 10 critical things you should know about your client base. Alistair and I talk about this in our video here. You can also take the quiz to find out just how well you really know your clients here.

 

Get on Facebook and Instagram

While it’s important to properly research what social media platforms your private practice clients are on, a safe bet is that most of your clients are on the two of the top 5 most popular platforms in the country – Facebook and Instagram.

With 69% of the Australian population being active social media users (as of January 2018), and Facebook being the most visited platform, it’s reasonable to assume that most of your clients are on Facebook, too.

The 2nd most active social media platform is actually YouTube at 68% (compared to Facebook at 70%). However, creating highly engaging and high quality video content can be challenging for many private practice owners without a big budget. But if creating video content is something you’d like to tackle, I definitely suggest posting your videos on YouTube.

However, if you’re just getting started with social media or don’t have a whole lot of time to commit to creating and editing videos, then I suggest using the 3rd most active (at 34%) social media platform in Australia, Instagram. (Source: We Are Social)

australian social media statistics

 

What kind of content should you post on your private practice social media account?

I don’t want to be the “that depends” person too much, but I can’t help it – It really depends. Client/patient demographics and interests vary depending on the private practice, which means what your potential clients want to see from you varies as well. However, one thing is for sure:

Post relevant and valuable content.

If you have a psychology practice, mostly post psychology-related things. If you’re a physiotherapist, mostly post physio-related things. Easy enough.

 

So, what kind of content is relevant and valuable?

Just saying “XYZ-related” things might not be enough information for you. So, we’ve put together a list of 50 social media content ideas you can start posting today. Download the PDF here (it’s free)!

With that said, remember these points when posting on your private practice social media account:

  • Post with your ideal client in mind. (Download a free Ideal Client Marketing Strategy Workbook if you don’t know who your ideal clients are.)
  • Make sure your tone is B2C, NOT B2B.
  • Give actionable advice.
  • Mix it up with visual content, including images, infographics and videos. (Click here to learn how to create stunning visuals for free.)
  • Be human – Show your face and your team’s.
  • Most importantly, be consistent!

Help, I’m running out of things to post!

If you find yourself running out of fresh content to share regularly, get on Twitter or Paper.li to get some inspiration.

Twitter is a fast-paced, user-generated content website, which means you can see fresh content being shared by anyone at any time. Just search for relevant hashtags (e.g., #Psychology, #Health, etc) and follow some relevant accounts! You can also keep an eye on the trending topics to keep up to date with what the general public is talking about.

Paper.li is a website that allows you to collect content to share in a newsletter format. Once signed up, you can select some keywords in order to receive a list of automatically curated content about the topic(s) you choose. While it’s designed to be on-shared with your audience, I recommend using it as a source of fresh content to (manually) share on social media instead.

Below is an example of a Paper.li newsletter with the topic “Psychology”.

paper li example psychology

 

How often should you post on your private practice social media account?

The posting frequency depends on a number of things like the social media platform, your post content and the audience demographic. However, there are some general frequency rules you can follow when posting on various types of social media (source: Social Report). And as a bonus, I’ve included the times of the day that are highest in engagement (source: CoSchedule):

  • Facebook: 1-2 posts per day | Best times: 9-10AM, 12-1PM, 4-5PM
  • Twitter: 3-5 tweets per day | Best times: 8-10AM, 12PM, 7-9PM
  • Instagram: 1-2 posts per day | Best times: 8AM, 1PM, 9PM
  • LinkedIn (for B2B): 1 post per day | Best times: 8AM, 10AM-12PM, 6PM
  • Pinterest: 3 pins per day | 8-11PM, 2-4AM, 2-4PM

Again, the key is consistency here. Just because you don’t have a lot of followers right now, that doesn’t mean you’ll never have any engagement. Be consistent and regular and you may start to see some love from your followers!

 

But I’m too busy to post 1-3 times a day everyday!

Private practice professionals are often in sessions during the peak posting times. As such, it can be challenging or actually impossible to be active on social media while providing great service to your clients.

No problem! That’s why there are tools like Hootsuite and Buffer. These websites help you to pre-schedule your future social media posts, so that they get posted automatically while you’re busy doing your work and seeing clients.

Both Hootsuite and Buffer offer free accounts that can do a whole bunch of things. Generally speaking, a small private practice won’t need a paid account, as the free account lets you schedule up to 30 posts. Tip: You can sign up for both if you want to schedule more than 30 posts at a time!

I recommend setting aside half a day each fortnight to forward-schedule all of your social media posts. (Remember to create your own original and eye-grabbing visual graphics!)

 

How can you get more engagement?

Social media “fame” doesn’t come easy to everyone. It takes a lot of consistent work and can be extremely time-consuming. The great news is that you’re most likely not looking to go “viral”. Private practices need to spend their energy locally – meaning, it’s great if you can get engagement from people from all over the world, but the engagement that matters the most for you is from the locals.

 

Use #hashtags

I touched on hashtags a bit earlier. Anything can become a hashtag if you just put the symbol # before the word. However, some hashtags are popular and some aren’t. Use sites like this to research which hashtags are most frequently used in your allied health discipline.

In order to attract local interest, make sure to use relevant hashtags like the name of your city or town.

 

Visual Content

I can’t stress enough how important visual content is when it comes to digital engagement. Put in effort to create (or find) attention-grabbing and relevant visuals to increase engagement. Using videos is another great way to grab your audience’s interest as well. Try sharing an interesting (and relevant) video from someone else, or make a 1-minute video offering your advice and expertise on a topic!

graphic design with canva private practice

 

Start a conversation

Another way to increase engagement on social media is to start a conversation. Ask a question or share a survey to get feedback from your followers and clients. Make sure that these questions are quick and easy, to increase the likelihood of people wanting to participate!

 

Summary

To summarise, private practice businesses should be on social media. You can do some research on your current clients to find out which social media platforms would be the most beneficial for your practice. However, it’s a safe bet to start with Facebook and Instagram.

Post relevant and valuable content while showing off your human side by being more personable. Be consistent with your posting times and mix up the visual content to increase engagement.