Having a social media presence for your private practice is very important to establish trust and generate referrals.
Once your private practice has Facebook “likes,” Twitter “followers” and LinkedIn “connections,” how do you keep them engaged… and generating referrals?
#1: Update at Ideal Times
Think about your audience and when they are most likely to be online. If you treat adults with day jobs, you’ll get the most engagement in the evening. If you treat children of parents who don’t work, posting updates during the day might work best. In general, most social media engagement is highest at night and on the weekends.
Twitter: When Are My Twitter Followers Online?
Facebook: When Are My Facebook Fans Online?
#2: Give a Call to Action
Unless people are told what to do, often times they do nothing. If you want someone to “like” the post, tell them to! If you want them to share or retweet the content, ask them to!
For example, “Like this post if you agree!” or “Share this post with other special needs parents!”
#3: Publish Frequently (but not too frequently)
The general wisdom these days is for small businesses to post 1-2 a day. Post too much and people will get irritated and “un-like” you. Post too infrequently and you’ll fall off their radar.
Posting 1-2 times a day or no less than 4 times a week at a minimum is ideal.
#4: Share Useful/Valuable Info
This is basic, but sharing current, interesting and valuable information will generate the most engagement. If you’ve come across some new, interesting or shocking information, share it!
#5: Ask a Question / Fill in the Blank
Status updates that ask a question, particularly fill-in-the blanks, have much higher engagement. For example, “What do you think about the new guidelines for toddlers and TV?”
Faceebook really took off when it began encouraging users to upload photos. As humans, we are naturally drawn to photographs – especially of people. If you’re including a link, make sure it has a photo. If you’re using a quite, why not attach a photo? Using photos will help your update stick out among the text only statuses in a newsfeed.
#7: If you’re Offering Something, Use $OFF vs. %Off
Sadly, most people hate doing math. If you’re offering a deal, advertising it as $15 off vs. 15% off increases engagement.
#8: Keep it short and sweet
People are really looking for quick tips, facts or things to consider when online. Social media is still “social” and not intended for deep lengthy discussions. Quick, easy to digest information is best!
#9: Learn from others
Chances are you follow companies, businesses and causes (in addition to your friends) on Facebook and Twitter. If you notice a business with a cool status update, modify it and try it out with your audience.
#10: Be patient
Building a following does not happen over night. It will take you a while to find your “social media groove.” Use trial and error. Adapt to what your audience wants and needs. Never forget that you’re posting for them.
Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and private practice consultant. She started her own speech therapy private practice in 2006. She is the founder of The Independent Clinician and author of The Guide to Private Patients and The Guide to Creating a Web Presence for Your Private Practice. Since 2008, she has helped thousands of clinicians get the flexibility, income and freedom they desire from starting their own private speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy practices.