Seven Types Of Social Media And How To Use Them
1. Your Website
The definition of social media is any broad based publishing platform where groups of people share information. Your modern practice website should have this functionality. You and your key staff should be able to easily update and keep your website fresh. News, your newest cases, events and other time sensitive info should be posted on your website. Your website is the command and control center of your whole web strategy. If your website doesnt have this functionality dont bother doing other types of social media until it does. Unlike other social media channels you OWN your website and work you do on it has a lot of value. Your website is clearly the starting point for any discussion of social media.
Bottom Line: You need a content managed website that connects easily to social media channels
If you want to come up well under searches for your name a Facebook page is very helpful. A Facebook page for your practice can also have a big impact on your search engine positions. We highly recommend you set yourself up a Facebook page. It should be your real persona and you can be as private as you wish. After thats in place, make a page for your practice and start building a list of people that you can market to. There is a huge amount of traffic on this site and its only growing... ignore it at your own peril. Theres a lot of social proof when people like your page. Facebook pages often get as much traffic as the actual practice website.
Bottom Line: Facebook has tons of traffic and search engine clout. Get yourself and your practice on it.
Is Twitter going to be a huge player in our space? Probably not. Its a newsfeed - a great way to follow Kanye West. If you need to know where Kanye West is going to be, following him on Twitter is really helpful. Can a Twitter page have a search engine benefit for your practice site? Definitely. Setting up a page on Twitter that has your practice name, address and phone number and a link to your web page has a known benefit on the search engines. Its a trusted resource and it will occupy another spot on a search for you.
Bottom Line: Secure your name on Twitter, connect it to your website and Facebook page then leave it alone.
LinkedIn is a professional network. Its basically your resume and CV online for networking with other professionals. Google catalogues LinkedIn at a very high level. Typically a search for your name will feature a LinkedIn profile prominently - often the first spot. So, right or wrong, if Im trying to control my online space, LinkedIn has huge search engine value under searches for your name. Its a trusted network and carries a lot of weight with the search engines.
Bottom Line: Dump your bio and CV into it then reach out to your professional network using your email contacts. Its really going to help your search positions and create more positive information about you online.
5. Review Sites
Everything is going to be reviewed someday. Its starting to happen now - restaurants, doctors, plumbers, everything is getting reviewed online. People want to know what other people have experienced - its an obvious evolution of the social web.
How do you get good reviews? Leverage your patient base. A quick email to your patient base and integrating a request for reviews into your systems will help you get there. Every time someone leaves your practice and then had a good outcome, you should probably be asking them for (1) for referrals and (2) go to review your practice.
Bottom Line: Use your patient base to create positive content online.
6. Local calendars, forums, clubs, and organizations
Your business is local and these local networks are important to find if you want to grow your business. If a group is targeted like you Chamber of Commerce or a local womens group it can be a great way to reach out to the community. Reach out to the thought leaders. A link to your site from an active local group can really help your positioning online.
Bottom Line: Identify and reach out to the large groups in your market - get your practice listed in local sites and youll come up better in local searches.
If you have to learn how to dance, would it be easier to read a book about dancing or watch a video about dancing? There is a revolution going on in how people learn and its being driven by online video. Videos get tons of traffic and have massive clout on the search engines.
Bottom Line: A video about you, your practice and your services can radically improve your visibility online.