How to Use Social Media for PT Practices

Social media is one of the top online sources for search, content, and news. Think about going out to eat at a local restaurant…before social media, you would typically choose a restaurant based on a friend’s recommendation or by searching online and reviewing the restaurant’s website and menu. With social media, the process of choosing a restaurant has evolved…now, you might see that a friend commented on Facebook about a great new place or you might search use an online review platform (such as Yelp, OpenTable, or Urbanspoon) to see what other people are saying about the restaurant.

The exponential growth of digital and social media has opened opportunities for both businesses and consumers to engage in real-time, interactive communications online. With these opportunities also come potential risks and repercussions—disgruntled patients can leave negative reviews or competitors can create false accounts to “attack” other local businesses. How can you be proactive and smart in using social media for your business?

Getting started with social media for PTs

Create or update accounts

Your PT practice should have a page or profile on all major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). Make sure to include all practice information:

  • Business name (and clinic location if applicable)
  • Logo / profile picture and appropriate cover/banner photos
  • Address, phone number, and website
  • Operating hours: these can be general or specific. If you have multiple locations, start with listing the widest operational hour range, knowing that patients could be seen at another location if they need early or late appointments

Customize your URL

When you set up your business pages, there is an option to customize the page URL (the words after the Setting the page URL to include your practice name will add credibility to your brand on mailings and marketing promotions. See how: Facebook URLs

Post regularly

Posting 2-3 times per week is a good rule of thumb and will help to generate traffic to your social media without being too spamming or aggressive in your marketing.

Post types: use a mix of text only, text and images, video, and links to see what works best for your followers

Content: make sure to include 1-2 educational elements on how PT can help your patients feel free. Other content options include:

Execution: with your busy schedule, it may be hard to post regularly and at ideal hours (during the day, weeknights etc.) Consider delegating this task to your VP of Marketing/PR or to a reliable admin. You can also look into free platforms that allow you to schedule posts in advance. They also may have settings to send posts to multiple platforms and profiles and at specific times of the day.

Download our free guide for online and social media marketing best practices to attract more patients

Social Media Best Practices

Social media is about generating engagement and online dialogues. However, not everyone uses proper etiquette or a positive tone when commenting online. It is important that you take both proactive and reactive measures to mitigate online risks, especially those on social media.

  • Make sure to create or claim your business on review-based social media, such as Google, Yelp, and HealthGrades. Update your contact info to ensure accuracy.
  • Monitor these sites bi-weekly or monthly. Make sure that the reviews posted (both positive and negative) are factual. Look out for scammers or people posing as former patients, but who have never been treated at your office.
  • If you want to build your online reviews, ask satisfied patients to post one. You could even offer a random drawing or giveaway for those who do.

How to address patient reviews on social media sites

Report any offensive or fake reviews to the website. Be sure to note if foul language or HIPPA related patient details are included in the messages. The website should take action and remove the review for you.

Respond to your reviews. Positive reviews may not always need a response, but you can thank the patient for their review. Negative reviews should also be researched and responded to. See what information you can find about the reviewer and then check his/her file. Look for complaints, poor results, or personal conflicts with staff, admin, or billing.

  • If the patient did have a bad experience, such as long wait times or billing issues, thank them for the review and let them know that you would be happy to discuss the matter offline, either over the phone or in person. Clearly state that you are aware of the problems and are addressing them internally.
  • If the patient does not appear to have a bad experience or the details look exaggerated, still thank them for the review. You need to be the “good guy” in this situation. Say that you would like to speak privately about the matter and to update their file with the missing information.

Overall, social media can be a great (free) digital marketing tool. You can use social media to brand your practice, engage with patients, and educate the community. You can also proactive protect your practice’s digital identity and can mitigate risk by addressing negative customer reviews.

Want more tips on using social media for physical therapy?

Check out our Facebook marketing tips for PT practices.

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