Why No One Clicks on Your Social Media Content—6 Tips for Improving Engagement

Why No One Clicks on Your Social Media Content—6 Tips for Improving Engagement

For a small medical practice, gaining steam on social media is undeniably an uphill battle. You have to contend with algorithms that make it nearly impossible to get discovered until you achieve a certain level of visibility. This situation puts you in a catch-22: you can’t get anyone to view your content until you get engagement, which requires views!

Nevermind the fact that social media overwhelmingly prefers silly or opinionated content—two things that really don’t gel with the average healthcare and medical practice’s branding. Sure, you can gain thousands of shares by posting ridiculous cat videos, but there’s a slim chance all that attention will aid your business goals.

Despite all these challenges, putting your practice out there on social media isn’t just worth it; it’s necessary. According to research from Stone Temple, 63 percent of all web traffic in 2017 came from mobile devices. In the U.S., 87 percent of mobile internet time is spent in apps. What are the most common apps? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, to name a few.

Following this logic, people on the internet spend the majority of their time looking at social media apps on their phone. While Google Search is another top app—meaning SEO is also critical for medical practices—social media is by far the most common way people discover content. Consider that two thirds of U.S. adults say they get their news from social media.

Put simply: if you aren’t on social media, you will have an incredibly hard time gaining brand recognition for your office. You will also have a tough time getting attention for your laboriously curated or crafted content.

So how can you climb uphill to earn engagement and, eventually, legions of new patients? Start by following the six tips below.

1. Talk About Your Audience, Not Your Business

No one logs into social media to talk about you! Okay, that may be an unfair exaggeration, but our point is that most people enjoy social media because it’s all about me, me, me.

You should use that tendency. Instead of talking about your medical practice, talk about the healthcare industry in a way that people can relate. Suddenly, you’re not just promoting. You’re conversing. Or, you’re informing. Sometimes, you might even be commiserating.

Here’s an example: consider a post written by a local Chiropractic office that says, “Regular adjustments loosen up tight muscles! Come in today and mention this post for $5 off.”

While the offer may be tempting and the service may be useful, people may tune them out. Instead, the office can say, “Has sitting at a desk all day made you achy and cranky? Come see us! With a quick chiropractic adjustment, we’ll have you feeling like a new person when you walk out the door. Get $5 off your service when you mention this post! ”The difference is all about perspective. When you write content, don’t just subtly hint at relevance to your audience. Instead, write things for them that subtly steer them towards your services. Flipping your thinking around can be a quick path to more consistent conversions.

2. Cover Interesting Healthcare Topics Rather Than Just Your Brand Alone

Another way to branch away from overpromotion is to be a provider of news and information from the healthcare industry. A healthcare provider can offer self-care tips and the latest studies on which health practices are most effective. You may even want to share stretches and exercises people can do at home to start feeling better.

When done right, this content earns your audience’s interest without your practice appearing like it wants something in return. You also round out your subject matter pool to include topics that are universally interesting and helpful to potential patients.

3. Participate in Discussions in Groups and Trending Hashtags

What if your brand were a really helpful person? That’s the approach many of the most successful social media marketers take when they’re trying to build an audience. They get proactive, reaching out to target audiences in the social niches they occupy.

For example, the same hypothetical Chiropractic office mentioned above could join yoga, martial arts, or natural living groups. As long as they are not overtly promoting or stealing focus from other discussions, the business can become a valuable contributor to the group. After all, who better to offer expertise than the experts?

When building your initial audience pool, try to be very active in Facebook groups and public discussions. Avoid coming across too opinionated, but don’t be shy about setting facts straight. With enough effort, you can gain some initial followers—and even new patients!

4. Aim for Emotional Content That Tells a Story About Your Customers

Going back to one of the main drawbacks of social media marketing for medical practices: only certain types of content seem to excel on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These popular content categories include humorous content, content that impresses/amazes, content that sums up people’s feelings succinctly, content that isn’t afraid to state a strong opinion and content that stirs emotions.

Of all these options, emotional content is probably the easiest to pin down. While getting an emotion out of your audience may seem like a tall order, it’s actually fairly hard to fail completely at it. An attempt to make a joke or be “cool” might go over like a lead balloon. Being controversial is never a good idea since it, well, stirs controversy. But no one can 100 percent fail at communicating emotion as long as they’re sincere.

Think from your heart and start by telling stories either about your patients or related to their lives. Get to the emotional core of what your service offers. If you’re relieving pain, you’re offering the ability to make more memories and have good times again. If you’re offering weight loss, you’re providing confidence and empowerment. If you’re offering hormone therapy, you offer customers an emotion: a feeling of control over their lives and the ability for them to feel like themselves.

When using a storytelling approach, start small. Highlight a patient whose day you made. Or, mention the emotional benefits of whatever information your content offers, such as information to help make people’s day less stressful.

From there, you can learn more about how to combine images and text in a way that stirs people’s souls.

5. Engage Your Social Media Marketing Audience Directly by Asking Them Questions

There is probably no more powerful social media marketing phrase than “What do you think?”

Arguably, all of social media is just one big pile of people telling others what they think. When they share art or humorous content, they’re really saying, “This is the type of thing I like!”

“People like to think things through,” explains Barry Feldman on Hubspot. “They like to hear from other thinkers. Certainly, they want other people to know what they think.”

Soliciting opinions is a surefire way to get your audience talking. Try to avoid controversial topics, and moderate comments that include vulgar, hostile, harassing or otherwise off-brand statements. Having someone mad at your medical practice for deleting their comment is a whole lot better than being the practice that let someone attack others in their comment section.

The beauty of asking others for their opinion is that it can be done with just about every post. You can ask people how many times they broke a bone before graduating from high school. Or, if you’re writing about weight loss, throw in a question on your post asking your audience what their favorite healthy snack is.

Soliciting opinions is easy, and it can reliably earn engagement. Just be wary of doing it too often, especially if no one’s taking the bait. You don’t want to be the brand that gets mocked for throwing a poll that absolutely no one clicks on.

6. Research Your Audience’s Interests and Influencers

All of the above methods work well on their own, but you turbocharge their effectiveness by doing a little digging and documentation on your audiences. Try to identify the types of content topics they seem to be most interested in. Look at influencers they frequently interact with and try to write content you think that influencer would share.

Above all else, write down your strategy, measure your results, and experiment to find better performance over time. The nice thing about social media marketing is that your engagement numbers are easy to track! Keep an eye on your graphs and let your “likes” point the way to a bigger, more interactive audience and more new patients walking into your office.

8 Secrets of Social Media Marketing That Everyone Misses

8 Secrets of Social Media Marketing That Everyone Misses

Social media marketing sounds simple enough to many newbie business owners, but they need to recognize the difference between personal social media use and professional use.

Think about it like this: if you make a good pot of coffee to serve your family, then that’s something you can manage on your own. But if you plan on serving 1,000 cups of coffee to peers over the course of a three-day business conference, then that’s an entirely more complex matter!

Everything gets more complicated when you move from personal to professional, and the results matter more, too.

Suddenly, you aren’t just posting on your Facebook when you feel like it. Nor can you just feel good about the occasional reply and like. Instead, you’re actively trying to drive business goals and represent your brand in a likeable way.

The dramatic difference between the two approaches catches many business owners off-guard. To help them out, here are a eight secrets the pros use when it comes to social media marketing — and that many small businesses overlook.

Write Down a Policy and Style Guide

Ask them to tell you what the business’s social media policy is, and you’re just as likely to get dozens of different answers. In fact, most employees may look you back blankly in the face.

A social media policy guides the brand voice as well as the decisions a business makes when posting. So, if you were trying to pick between two image types, the social media policy could help you decide on the one that aligns better with your social goals.

Set policies for employee social media use, too. Make sure they know they represent the company! Let them know what sorts of offenses could get them in hot water, including posting extreme political opinions or offensive takes.

Creating a social media style guide can similarly help make posting easier, especially if more than one employee handles the duties. Align everything in your policy and style guide so that your social media accounts can support both your brand and your marketing goals.

Target Your Content and Conversations Towards Personas

Some small businesses get HUGE social media followings …of people who would rarely buy anything from them.

There is a big gap between mass engagement and targeted engagement.

You want your posts to speak to a highly targeted audience based on the traits of your best customers. For instance, if you pitch your services to existing IT departments, don’t be shy about using jargon. Stay current on any discussion, too, so that your ideas don’t seem dated.

But if you want to offer managed IT services to regular businesses, they may not know a CAT cable from a cat collar. Feel free to post basic how-tos, and try to keep terminology approachable.

Decide upon the segments you want to speak to in order to raise your chances of success. Imagine traits of a single person in this segment, including their typical job role, the things they value most, and broad aspects of their personality. This is your “persona” for an idealized version of a target audience group.

You can even name them! That way, before you decide on a post to share or an image to use, you can ask something like: “Would Sarah the retired optometrist care about this post?”

Strategize, Set Goals, And Ditch Vanity Metrics

Always set goals for your social media usage. It should serve a concrete purpose that ultimately benefits your business.

Common social media marketing goals include:

● Raising website visits
● Generating leads through job quotes
● Helping introduce new products to people
● Getting more participants for events, contests, and things like webinars
● Upselling existing customers
● Reminding prior customers to return again
● Promoting a specific brand value, especially through philanthropy

No matter what your goals are, ensure they actually help your business get more money or improve its brand.

For instance, having a certain number of “likes” or shares from a post promoting your content should not be a goal. These are vanity metrics. Instead, you should monitor the amount of actual visits to the content on your website. Ideally, you will also have targets for the percentage of people converted from social to content to signing up for your related offer.

Carry on Actual Conversations and Engage

Don’t just post into the void or post things you, personally, want to read.

Everything you post should be targeted towards the personas you have created and tied towards business goals.

With this in mind, you want your audiences to feel like your brand is carrying on a conversation rather than just talking at them.

Respond to certain positive comments or interesting ideas. Try to see if you can get the full perspective from people who have something negative to say. Make each response feel personal, not canned.

Give your audience opportunities to take center stage. Post a question for them, like “what are your favorite ways to save money?” Ask them if they would like to see more of certain content types, or less of certain post types.

Also, make your social media use broader than just posting on your own page. Use social listening tools to monitor brand mentions and jump in on messages when you think it’s worthy of a conversation. Find other business pages, and engage with them like you would want others to engage with you.

As Andrew Kucheriavy of web development company Intechnic writes, “make [sure] your interactions are meaningful! Networking is about adding value to a relationship.” https://www.intechnic.com/blog/10-common-social-media-marketing-mistakes-to-avoid/

Make Time for Off-Schedule Posting

Many business owners go ahead and queue up an entire month’s worth of content in advance.

This is great! Having a schedule makes the social experience more consistent and professional for your audience.

But you shouldn’t be shackled to this schedule.

New articles and ideas will pop up on your radar all the time. Maybe something interesting happened in your industry this week. Maybe you just snapped a great photo of your team at the office.

Promote Content Posts to Put Them in Front of Targeted Audiences

Promoting content on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be highly affordable. More importantly, it can grow your audience beyond people who already follow and interact with your pages.

Start experimenting with promoting certain posts and using custom audience building features. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook even offer the ability to target specific companies or hyper-local areas.

If you put just a small budget behind a few key posts a month, then you can quickly multiply the number of people who see your messages. You also generate valuable data based on who does and doesn’t interact when they see certain posts.

Give yourself the chance to actually share content during opportunities like these rather than hoarding it all until next month. If you set aside, say, an hour each week to make time for unscheduled postings, then you can flesh out your existing content and make your page feel more organic.

Just remember to stick to your policy, goals, and persona guides. Also, proofread twice!

Don’t Assume Social Media Marketing Is Easy to Do Yourself

There’s a reason “social media manager” is a full-time job at most big companies. Even for small businesses, managing it all and doing it right can be tough.

On top of that, you may not have the time to dig into your data or revisit your strategies and guiding documents.

So seek out help. Share the burden with others who are qualified and whose judgement you trust.

As Social Media Week observes: “Long gone are the days when you could rely on an intern to manage your business’s social media accounts. Either hire an in-house expert, or outsource to a social media management firm.”

Crawl Before You Walk, Walk Before You Run

As with anything in business, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Stick to one or two social networks at first. Otherwise your pages could feel like soulless cookie-cutter copies or, worse, ghost towns with nary an update in months.

But if you stay focused on your goals and your principles, then you can start out small to find gradual success. Only once you get the hang of it should you start to scale out and do more.