Social Media Management for Physician Practices

Social media management can be a full-time job – at a minimum 10 or more hours every week.

Most physicians can’t afford to spend 30 minutes per day to spend on social media participation. That’s where we come in. There are tools we use that enable uus to be efficient and effective. These professional tools are not available to individuals, but are available at the agency level. This enables us to complement how you spend what little time you have available for social media engagement.

A recent study by Ipsos found that the average person spends 3.6 hours socializing online. The time declines with advancing age. Those over 50 spend 2.8 hours per day on average. So if you allocate 30 per day you are doing a lot more than most physicians, dentists or therapists.

If you think the role of a social media manager is all about playing on Facebook all day, it isn’t.  Our account representatives (assisted by myself and two others, one a journalist, and one a public relations specialist) tackle 12 basic tasks on our physician marketing accounts each day. These include, among other things:

  1. Curating content from sources outside the direct control of our clients
  2. Crafting content or outlines on behalf of our clients
  3. Posting web blogs and articles on behalf of our clients and testing the formatting for all platforms (Android /iOS), browsers and screen sizes and devices.
  4. Scheduling when content will be shared and where; finding new places to post content
  5. Measuring reach and effectiveness
  6. Analyzing trends, growth, topics that sizzle and ones that fizzle
  7. Responding to comments, posts, feedback, and customer reviews
  8. Listening and studying what competitors are posting
  9. Engaging under our clients’ parameters and guidelines as if they were responding personally
  10. Helping physicians to write their blogs, copy editing, profreading and coding for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  11. Planning the next month’s editorial calendar and executing on the plan
  12. Experimenting with innovative ways to expand market reach.

These activities are divided among several of us, and each client receives a certain allowance of time according to what they have arranged with us to be performed on their behalf.Most clients hire us to do this for them for a total of about 2-3 hours each day, five days per week. One thing we don’t do is ghostwrite the actual content for their blogs.

If all you have is 30 minutes and no other assistance

Try this time allocation outline to get the maximum effectiveness and reach from your time:

  • 5 minutes collecting stories
  • 15 minutes reading
  • 10 minutes composing and scheduling

I started this way and still only spend 30 minutes per day on my own social media, newsletter and other web-based content activities. I do have help, and I use the same tools we use for our clients. We account for this as an internal overhead and what is done on behalf of Mercury Advisory Group is cost accounted to an internal account the same way Costco allocates for a bag of cookies at a sample table.

I started out using Buffer and I highly recommend it to our clients. I have also been testing Pocket which is like a repository that holds things I want to read later or share or use as an idea to write an article of my own, or refer back to citations of statistics, etc., as I did with the Ipsos report above. So it goes like this: you read an online article at the American College of Whatchamacalits. It is too scientific for your patients to read and grasp, and there’s really only a small piece you want them to know about.  You create a blog post about the latest treatment modality, medication, procedure for whatchamcallitosis, you include your own personal thoughts about how patients might be helped with this. You close with an invitation (call to action) to come to the office and discuss their situation if they have whatchamacallitosis, or to comment on your article.

This gets posted to your website by a social media manager and tested (Item 3) and then scheduled for dissemination (item 4) through your social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.) and then analyzed to see what it is you should write more of or share more of. All the other items on the list can be done by hired help. The part you really need to do personally is create rich content (item 2) and sometimes, get involved in responses (item 9).

For physicians who simply assume they can compete with others in the community through managed care participation, good luck with that. Those days are long gone. Customers demand more and they will go where their demands are met. Don’t believe me, ask your patients!  Start with the ones that bring you the stacks of articles written by other physicians that they want to discuss during their visit. Why are they bringing in other doctor’s articles and not yours? Oh, you didn’t write any? Hmm. I see. If that patient goes to the doctor who wrote the articles for just a single consultation, will you still be their personal authority after that consult? Or will it cost you market share?

I’d love to hear what solutions you’ve found, too! And if you think you’d like our help with all the other items on the list, don’t be shy. That’s what we are here for!