While you’re no doubt familiar with social media platforms like using Facebook and Instagram to stay connected with friends and family, you may not have realized the opportunities social media marketing can bring to your physical therapy practice. More and more it’s these social media platforms that are becoming ingrained into the customer journey; replacing word-of-mouth referrals even. People are asking for recommendations on Facebook and Nextdoor and they’re looking to Instagram and TikTok to see what kind of brand your PT practice has…and if you can be trusted. Read on for our top social media tips for physical therapists if you’re looking to build a stronger brand identity, get more visibility online, and connect with new patients.
Hubspot defines social media marketing as: “the process of creating content for social media platforms to promote your products and/or services, build community with your target audience, and drive traffic to your business.”
That’s a pretty straightforward definition and it also includes some of the advantages of social media marketing.
With the right presence on the platforms where your target audience hangs out, you can establish your expertise, build trust, build a community, boost your brand, and attract targeted, high-quality leads that turn into patients for your practice.
With literally billions of people on social media, that makes for a lot of people in your local area who may see your content on social media and remember your practice when they need it. These days, people tend to expect their brands and businesses to be active and interact with them on social media. They want to see you replying to comments, direct messages, and mentions, and interacting with your audience. This makes you look like an active, engaged, and welcoming practice that is appealing to potential clients. Many people also use social media to ask for help and for customer service requests too, and it’s important to be there for them and to promptly answer their questions.
The fact is that if you’re not on social media, chances are your competitors are and you want to be the one getting all that interaction and engagement from potential patients.
What Does a Successful Social Media Strategy Look Like?
There are several aspects of social media marketing that must be in place if you’re going to be successful and we’ll talk about those here. However, it’s relatively easy to look at other people’s social media efforts and see if they’re successful. You can tell when you visit someone’s page if they have a large audience that constantly interacts with them, including with comments, likes, shares, and mentions.
A good social media page has a consistent stream of content that’s highly relevant to their target audience and people don’t just read or watch their content, they actively comment, ask questions, ask for more content, talk about what they want to see on the page, and interact enthusiastically.
But that doesn’t mean all is lost if your page doesn’t look like that. Yet. Because it can, with some help from us and a few tips on how to make the most of your social media marketing.
So, where do you start?
Define Your Audience
You’ve got to know who you want to reach before you can post relevant content on any platform. You know your practice best and you know the type of patients you want to treat, so think about who your people are, what sort of content they’d want to see, and how they’d like that content delivered.
If you work with sports associations, sports teams, hospitals, and larger organizations, you’ll post different content than you would if you were treating the general public. This will also change if you’re targeting a particular age group. For example, if you’re treating young athletes, they’re not generally going to be interested in how physical therapy can help them recover from a knee replacement. Where, of course, if you’re targeting seniors, that’s exactly the sort of content they’d want to see.
It all comes back to knowing your audience and giving them what they want.
Another really important aspect of social media marketing is to set goals for what you want to achieve.
Social media posting done right can increase brand awareness, bring in new patients, aid with community outreach, build your reputation, add new people to your email list, and so much more. But you can’t aim for everything at once. So, decide on your main goals for this month and this year and tailor what you post to achieve those aims.
Having said that, it is perfectly okay for your goals to change as your business grows and develops, so don’t feel stuck with what you’ve got. Keep an eye on your business and your social media marketing and regularly review so you can be sure what you’re doing is still benefitting where you are in your business right now.
Pick Your Platforms
If you tried to keep up with every social platform, you’d never treat any patients. There are simply too many to manage and you’ll only end up spreading yourself too thin, especially if you’re a solopreneur and you’re not yet at the point of being able to hire someone to help you.
You should definitely claim your practice on all the main social media platforms, however, as you don’t want someone else to take your name on any platform so your brand isn’t diluted.
Choose one primary platform and at most two secondary platforms to be active on, based on where your ideal patients are most active. Of course, that goes back to knowing your audience again. You need to know where you’re most likely to find your ideal clients.
Usually, for a physical therapy practice, we’d recommend Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
When you’ve chosen your social platforms, fill in all of your details on each platform, but keep them consistent everywhere. Try to get the same username on each platform, use the same branding, and have the same tone of voice, so users don’t have to guess if it’s you.
Tailor Your Messaging
When it comes to messaging, it’s about how you talk about yourself and your company and what values you want your company to represent. It’s about how you communicate, your tone of voice, and the feelings and emotions you evoke with your content.
It’s really important to get this right as it shapes the style of your content and how your brand is perceived, both online and offline. Though, as with most things marketing, you can tweak and adjust this over time, especially if your business changes as you grow.
Think about the words you’d like people to associate with your company and how you want to be seen by your ideal patients. For a physical therapy practice, those words might include ethical, honest, caring, expert, and professional, but you might also want to include other words in your branding, such as fun, warm, approachable, zany, and friendly.
Take the time to make a list and decide on the impression you want your brand to create.
Create Compelling Content
What you post on social media is shaped by your audience, but it’s also shaped by your goals and your messaging, so get those in place first and you can begin to decide on your content.
We’ll go into more detail on content in our next section, with ideas on what to post and where to get ideas.
Seek to Drive Engagement
Does how you’re posting and the style and tone of your content engage people or is it ignored? If it’s crickets and tumbleweed over on your page, then you have some work to do.
While you do want to post your own content and say what you want to say, you’re also trying to build a relationship and a sense of connection with potential patients, so this should be a two-way street.
Don’t just post your content and run. If people take the time to comment, then reply to them and say thank you for their comment. Continue the conversation if you can and make them feel welcome. They’re more likely to come back and to talk about how welcoming you were if you do that. Even small things like taking the time to say ‘thank you’ when someone shares your content can make a difference over time.
And that’s the thing with social media marketing and engagement. It does take time. You’ll have heard the phrase before that you shouldn’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter twenty, and it’s true. Most brands and companies don’t start off on day one with thousands of followers and more interaction than they can cope with. It’s a slow build, done with consistency of posting and responding to get people to engage and keep coming back.
Tips on how to create effective, quality social media content
Content is king, as they say, and your content is what’s going to engage your ideal patients and keep them interested in your page. Your content can make your practice stand out above every other physical therapy practice out there, if done the right way, so here are some social media tips for physical therapists to help you with how to get ideas and what to post:
What to post
Potential patients won’t just pick your practice out of the phone book. Chances are they’ve done some research first. They’ll look at your website, check your page out on social media, look at your reviews, and may even sign up for your newsletter to see how they feel about your practice.
On the subject of reviews, you can’t please everyone and you may get the odd less than stellar review. While you can’t control what people post about you on review sites, you can control how you react to it. And you should react to it as people do like to see businesses respond to both positive and negative reviews. If you do get a bad review, be polite, apologize that they’ve not had a good experience with you, and offer to take it offline and do what you can to resolve it. Don’t get into a fight in public online. You won’t come off well, even if it’s justified, and you could put potential patients off.
That’s not strictly about social media, but it is part of your content and worth mentioning for that.
So, what can you post?
You’re the expert, so general educational and informative content is a good start. You can talk about aspects of physical fitness, demonstrate exercises for specific problems on video, talk about how to prevent injuries, discuss nutrition, and so much more.
You could do Q&A sessions live online, perhaps by going Live on Facebook, or by posting and answering questions. You could do polls on what people want to see, and ask questions about what they like about your page and would they like X or Y content?
You could also provide brand updates, such as talking about new staff, new equipment, moving premises, redecorating, rebranding, and other similar subjects.
As long as it’s highly targeted to what your audience wants, delivered in a format your ideal patients enjoy, and fits in with your content goals for your business, it’s worth doing.
Where to get content ideas
Take a look at your competitors! Seriously. Chances are, they’re aiming for the same audience you are and they’re posting content that your audience might enjoy too. Don’t steal their ideas, but do use what they post for inspiration to create your own.
You can also look at sites such as Reddit, Quora, and Answer the Public to see what sorts of questions people are asking about physical therapy.
Finally, check your website’s statistics. You should be able to see how people found you and what search terms they’re using. Those search times not only give you what keywords and phrases to use, but they can also be a goldmine of content ideas.
Take Your Content Strategy to the Next Level
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