Posting to social media takes a lot of time. And while you should expect benefits in terms of positioning and branding, you should also expect a cold hard return on the investment of time, and possibly money, you and your staff spend managing your social media accounts.
Getting that return on investment is a matter of defining what success looks like, implementing your social media accounts in a way that gets you there, tracking activity on your accounts so that you can know whether your efforts have been successful, and shifting your strategy if necessary.
Here are some strategies you should consider to extract more value out of social media.
1. Monitor direct messages
We frequently discuss the importance of responding to inquiries quickly. One of the features of the web that makes this a bit tricky is that there are so many potential places for outreach to cluster.
Great potential patients might be lingering in distributed inboxes across the web, specifically Instagram direct messages, Twitter DMs and Facebook messages. Being active on these social networks increases the likelihood that consumers will try to reach out to you there. Don’t squander this opportunity to get in touch with potential patients, especially since your commitment to posting on social media is part of what promotes inquiry activity in these disparate places. Some options:
- Make it a habit. Assign yourself or a staff member to check direct messages daily. It only takes a few seconds, so add monitoring to your daily workflow.
- Corral your messages. Use a dashboard tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to manage your social media. With these tools, you can see all direct messages with a single login.
- Automate it. You can also use online tools to send direct messages to one or more locations, like an email inbox. Taking time to set up this type of automation can spare you a login and collect your messages in a location where you’re already used to processing inquiries. Apps like If This Then That and Zapier can manage these types of connections.
2. Link smart.
Extracting the most value from your social media efforts hinges on making it easy for social media users to take a next action that will make them more likely to book a consultation. Smart linking can also give you insights into what’s working and what isn’t: is the link being clicked on at all, when, and from which platforms?
- Use a shortener. Link shorteners like Bitly offer more than pithiness. They’re also a way to quickly get insights into how effective your links are. When adding a link to social media, you can use one of these shorteners to redirect to the ultimate online location, like your website or RealSelf profile. Logging into the shortener’s interface will then offer you information on that link, including when the link was clicked and from what websites. This information can help you pivot your strategy, like where you invest your time and when you post content?
- For Instagram, use Linktree. One of the challenges of getting ROI from Instagram is the fact that the social network doesn’t make links in posts clickable for most users. Typically, the only clickable link is available in your bio. If there are multiple potential destinations where you might want to send visitors, like specific treatment pages based on the content of your post, this can present a serious challenge. With Linktree, you can easily send users to a destination that hosts a collection of pages, giving you more control over users’ experience from your profile to any follow-on actions.
3. Be thoughtful about hashtags
Imagine two scenarios.
You or your staff create the perfect Instagram post, and five relevant Instagram users see it.
You or your staff create the perfect Instagram post, and 50 relevant Instagram users see it.
It’s self-evident that getting your content in front of more relevant consumers presents a greater ROI opportunity. The wider the initial distribution, the more opportunities for awareness-building, engagement, and even inquiries and consultations. One way to increase your impressions is with a thoughtful hashtag strategy. Consider:
- Going broad. Certain hashtags may be worth almost always adding to your posts. Consider #plasticsurgery, #cosmeticsurgery, and #plasticsurgeon.
- Verticalizing. Adding procedure-related hashtags will net less volume, but more relevance. Think #botox, #rhinoplasty, #facelift.
- Follow hashtags. You should follow the hashtags you use on Instagram. Keep an eye out for other hashtags commonly used in related repost—this might help you break into a conversation with a hashtag that isn’t intuitive.
- Use event hashtags. If you’re attending a conference or event, be sure to use the event hashtag when you post related content. This might not win you lot of consumer attention, but it can help to send traffic your way from peers.
- Consider jumping on relevant trends. If you spot a trending moment and it’s relevant to your practice, consider jumping on it. You may get visibility from people who are not in-market for a procedure, but the potential volume can still present an opportunity to intercept potential aesthetics consumers.
- And don’t overdo it. Refrain from larding up your posts with too many hashtags. According to social media management platform SproutSocial, you should use no more than 10 hashtags in a post. Beyond that, you’ll see a decline in engagement.
4. Inquiry lists
One great way to extend your social media efforts is to load your contact lists. If you have inquiries who have not converted into consultations, this can be a cost-effective way to reengage them. Each social network will attempt to match the email addresses you have on hand with the email addresses of their user base. (Keep in mind that not all of your inquiry contacts will be present on social networks, and that still more may not have signed up for the social network with the same email they used to reach out to you—both categories of users will be unreachable.) It’s a more advanced tactic than the previous ones, but still easier than it sounds. For Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the basic steps are:
- Connect a customer list. Submit a list of email addresses or connect with your email marketing software. At a minimum, you should create separate lists for non-consultation inquiries so that you can send specific messages to those users who have not become consultations or patients.
- Create your post. Follow the steps in-platform to create a paid post on the social network.
- Select the list. Choose the appropriate list. Each social network will tell you how many users you’re likely to hit.
- Select a budget and start running. The beauty of social media advertising is that there is a lower barrier to entry budget-wise. And the beauty of targeting your own inquiry lists is that you are very likely to get significantly higher engagement with these users, who have already opted into being contacted from you.