Not just a fun and instant communication app, Twitter has evolved to become an ideal marketing tool for finding new patients.
When it comes to social media, ECPs have many options. But if you’re looking to share up-to-the-minute information and letting patients (and potential patients) know what is happening in your practice right now, there is no better social media platform than Twitter.
Step one is straightforward: set up a Twitter profile for your practice. This should be separate from your personal account. Populate your feed with relevant photos, graphics and information. It will also help if you get to know the jargon associated with Twitter, including words such as retweet, handle, hashtag, and mention. Having a grasp of the lingo will enable you to maximize your engagement with followers and will also help you gain new followers. The Twitter Business/Basics page offers guidelines for getting started (business.twitter.com/basics/learn-twitter). Once you understand the basics, try applying the following suggestions-and keep in mind that a trial-and-error approach is a great way to learn what will work for you.
Five Tips to Grow Your Practice
1. Understand Keywords Develop a list of at least 10 keywords that describe your practice, such as eye exams and eyeglasses. Keywords should be the backbone of your posts. Use these keywords as much as you can as you compose the 140-character posts. Add hashtags to some keywords to expand
2. Practice Content Marketing, Don’t Spam Twitter marketing and spam are not the same thing. Definitions of spamming vary, but in general spamming is sending people unwanted information and generally too much of it. If you begin spamming your followers, they will start jumping ship. Here are a few common examples of spamming:
• Constantly posting (three, four or more times a day)
• Only posting information about the practice
• Posting only about your products
• Frivolous tweets (such as “have a nice weekend”)
People will follow your practice
on Twitter to get eye health information and educational material on frames and lenses. Use the 80/20 rule, wherein 80% of your content is relevant eye health/eyecare information and 20% is about the practice.
3. Use Twitter as a Bridge Be sure to use links that connect to content on your website or blog. Twitter is an excellent vehicle to generate new patients as well as keeping your brand in front of existing ones. Tweets should be aimed at catching readers’ attention about a specific topic; to provide quality content, use links that direct them to expanded material on your website or blog.
4. Connect and Engage For Twitter to be effective, don’t just tweet at followers-tweet with them. Engage with your followers’ conversations, and add comments to their posts from time to time. Follow anyone who follows your practice, thank them for their compliments or comments and help them with their concerns. Also, follow anyone who talks about the optical industry (such as vendors and trade magazines) and retweet their relevant content.
5. Build Your Tribe Here are a few suggestions for attracting followers:
• Let your patients know how to find you on Twitter by including links in email signatures and including your Twitter handle on business cards, receipts and other materials.
• Follow and engage popular local businesses on Twitter. Their followers might see your comments and check out your Twitter page.
• Put a sign in your waiting room that says, “Time to tweet! Let your followers know you’re at the office of #DrSmith for an eye exam and new glasses.” You might be surprised at how many people will take action.
Twitter, like any social media platform, takes an investment of time and effort, but the return can be very powerful.
Bob Main is the head coach and founder of ECPWebCoach.com, an education company that teaches ECPs how to use the Internet and social media to grow their practices.