• Social media marketing

    Social media marketing requires significant consideration about whether the return on investment for your practice will make it effective - plus also your capacity to develop content, adopt an appropriate tone and use social media marketing in a way that adheres to the guidelines.

    To engage in social media marketing requires a time investment - to create the content and post it online. You may also elect to invest financially, by spending money on Google and Facebook to promote your website or Facebook content. By spending advertising money on Google, you can promote your listing to be at the top or right hand side of the page. By spending advertising money on Facebook, you can promote your post so that it is seen by more people.

    It is possible to purchase 'likes' on Facebook and followers on Twitter; these techniques are not recommended.

    Social media: Facebook

    Facebook logo

    If Facebook were a country it would be the world's third largest nation - such is its reach. Some benefits to having a Facebook account include additional inbound links (this has SEO benefits) and options to promote your page and content. Difficulties include generating interesting content, adhering to Medical Board of Australia advertising guidelines and monitoring and responding to comments or criticisms. Obtaining wide reach via Facebook either requires creating exceptional content, or promoting your posts by paying Facebook. Extreme care should be taken:

    1. if considering offering special deals with time limits (this contravenes Medical Board of Australia guidelines)
    2. if offering a prize for Likes or Shares (this contravenes Facebook competition rules)
    3. if responding to complaints and criticism in this publicly visible medium. It is best to handle complaints offline both for your own safety and also to respect the privacy of the individual complainant. This approach can be detailed within your practice complaints policy, allowing you to refer to this when advising a patient that you will contact them directly about their concerns, or asking the individual to contact your practice. Your complaints policy can also state that both positive and negative comments about the practice will be removed from the Facebook page in accordance with the medical board's requirement that testimonials not be permitted to remain on the page.

    Social media: Twitter

    Twitter logo

    Twitter is another social media option for you to use to create an account with inbound links to your website, share content from your website and interact with other users. Some practitioners find novel uses for Twitter, such as broadcasting whether their consulting sessions are running on time or if patients can expect a delay.

    Social media: Google Plus

    Google Plus logo

    Google has its own social media options for users - Google Plus and Google Pages are options for individuals and practices to promote themselves and their businesses. A Google page can also assist in marketing by displaying a map along with your business name in the search results when an appropriate keyword search is performed on the Google search engine.

    Social media: YouTube

    YouTube logo

    YouTube offers the opportunity to post videos online. A video introduction to your practice or videos of you can be a valuable content addition to a website or social media account - providing you do it well. Consider if you will allow comments on your videos and how you will respond to queries or complaints.

    Social media: feeds on your website

    A Facebook or Twitter account can be used to create a content module displaying the social feed from your social media account on your website. This provides the opportunity to direct people from your website to your social media account and also a way to demonstrate that you have an active (not static) web presence.