I often get asked if online social marketing and networking really work to bring in new patients. My answer is usually “it depends on what you mean by social marketing and networking.”
Before I explain, let’s first define what these words mean.
Social marketing: marketing and advertising that reaches potential consumers via social networking website, such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.
Social networking: a social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others.
As you can see, these two terms are closely related. And often times they are used interchangeably within internet marketing circles.
Let’s look at the major components of a good social networking plan that can bring in new patients…
Press releases can be submitted online (for free) to many of the press release sites. This will get picked up and listed on the major search engines news, like Google News and Yahoo News.
Most people have high speed internet and love to watch videos on Youtube. By submitting short 2-5 minute videos educating prospective patients on your services, you’re going to increase your web traffic and potential new patients.
A blog is what you are reading now. It’s basically a website that makes it easy for regular updates to be posted. Search engines love blogs, and will rank them higher than static pages on the same topic because blogs are new content. And Google especially likes fresh content.
Submitting articles to free article directories are a great way to generate traffic to your site. Other blogs and websites will pick up your article and spread it around on their sites, increasing the number of links you get back from it, creating a “viral” effect.
This is where you save and categorize a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. By bookmarking your own blog posts and adding friends, others will see what you like and click the links back to your site. Example sites are Stumbleupon, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, etc.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is when your website or blog has been optimized for certain keywords, thereby increasing your ranking on Google and other search engines. (Having a blog alone will automatically increase your SEO.)
Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook are the major sites here. The average person on these websites are females around age 35-40 — the perfect chiropractic patient! You can also interact with people who are talking about their health problems.
So, back to my original question, do these sites actually work to bring in new patients?
Yes, when used together, they definitely work. But, you have to do them often enough and with a purpose. Here’s what I mean…
If you think you can just post a couple of things about you had for dinner last night, like everyone else does on Facebook or Twitter, and expect to get new patients, it’s never going to work.
You must use specific marketing phrases and techniques on these sites to bring more traffic to your website. The more people who come to your site, the more new patients that will call and schedule.
Two chiropractors, Dr. Len Schwartz and Dr. Matt Loop, just released a social networking and marketing video at their Automated Social Networking 3.0 site that shows you the exact layout of what you need to do
Their free video is simple, easy to understand, and provides you with a proven and tested Social Media Marketing formula for achieving online or offline success!
Check it out here:
I found that they explained the complex issues of social marketing very well, especially on the second page. There you’ll see a 30 minute video where they draw everything out on a whiteboard.