Planning and commitment are the keys to a successful social media marketing strategy that will enable you to build traction, a community of followers and fan engagement. If you think your online presence needs improvement (and really, who doesn’t?), follow these five tips:

1. Focus on the best networks.

You shouldn’t be on all the networks, just the best ones for our industry and for you to target patients. Begin with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and online business directories such as Google My Business and Yelp. The key to building credibility and trust across social channels is consistency. Keep your name and other critical and searchable information identical when setting up your pages and listings.

2. Create (don’t just curate) great content.

A business should post content that is 70% relevant and brand-building, 20% shared from other sources and only 10% promotional. Your social media channels are neither a soapbox nor a place to only share others’ content. Your fans like to see you, so let your personality shine with posts that highlight your practice and staff.

3. Don’t forget to be social.

It is not good enough to simply have social media accounts set up. Actively posting to your pages not only alerts Google algorithms of your presence online, but it also encourages reactions and interactions from social media users. Additionally, fans want to know you care and are listening. Reply and respond to any comments or queries in a timely manner.

4. Measure, measure, measure.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there? Measuring your success on social media is necessary to understand and modify your strategy moving forward. Most social media platforms have their own analytics tools you can use to track fan engagement. Monitor and create reports monthly or quarterly.

5. Restructure as necessary.

Always begin with a social media marketing strategy, but keep this strategy as more of a guideline than a rule. It is always a good idea to take a step back and analyze what is working and what is not. Over the course of a few months, you may need to modify your strategy to accommodate something you may have forgotten to initially factor in. Other times, it may help to experiment with and make changes to your strategy.

The potential for you to reach new patients through social media has never been greater. It is crucial to have a presence and a voice online so that current and prospective patients can build trust with you and your practice. Fostering a presence on your selected platforms and modifying your strategy are the first steps to building a positive reputation and creating a lasting impression with your fans.

Samantha Toth is the resident marketing rockstar 
for Innereactive Media, a full-service marketing company 
 specializing in the optical industry, in Grand Rapids, MI.


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