Developing an effective social media marketing campaign can expand your practice to bring you more of the type of patient you want to treat. Although ObGyns are often not trained in marketing, we can bring our practices to the attention of women who need our services with a few simple processes.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”1 Social media is described as various forms of online and mobile electronic communication with user-generated content.2 Social media marketing is the application of traditional marketing strategies to a social media platform. Delivering an effective social media marketing campaign requires focused targeting of a particular community to match the needs of those patients with the value of services and products your practice provides.
By communicating and connecting with the spoken and unspoken needs and desires of potential patients, you will generate greater enthusiasm for your medical services. Social media marketing benefits include: accessibility, low cost, the ability to build brand recognition and social capital, and the availability of analytics that provide large amounts of data to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.3
Though social media is pervasive, the medical community has not rapidly embraced it for marketing.4,5 Creating a social media strategy, rather than randomly or impulsively posting on social media, allows for more effective marketing. The discussion here focuses on Facebook, which has 2 billion monthly users,6 but these strategies and tactics can be applied to any social media platform, including YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.7
Use Facebook to create a business page
Your medical practice needs to have a Facebook account and a Facebook page, separate from your personal account. A business-related Facebook page is similar to a personal Facebook profile except that pages are designed for organizations, brands, businesses, and public figures to share photos, stories, and events with the public.
If you do not have a Facebook account, you can create a new account and profile at http://www.facebook.com. After creating a profile, click on the “create a Facebook page” link. Follow the instructions and select the page category you would like to create; most physicians would select the “Company,” “Organization,” or “Institution” category. Next, follow the instructions to complete the registration.8 Once your Facebook page is created, build an audience asking others to “like” your page. Start posting content and use hashtags in your posts to make them discoverable to others (ie, #fibroids #noscar #singlesitesurgery).9
One benefit to having a practice-based Facebook page is the automated visible analytics that come with the page, which are not available for personal profiles. When you write a post or upload a photo or video, Facebook provides the demographics of those engaged with your posts plus analytics on that post, including the number of people who viewed the post, clicked on a photo, and viewed the video for more than 3 seconds.