Using social media as a marketing tool has always been a struggle for many business owners.
Everything that you read online about how to market your practice and the services that you offer, continually praises how effective social media is at attracting new clients and patients. Yet, for most physicians (and business owners) it still remains a vague unproven path of never-ending work and additional expenses.
Add to the apparent vagueness of social media, the fact that there are many “social media marketing experts” who are providing low cost superficial marketing services that do not provide any real return for the business, and you have an even bigger problem.
Many doctors understand that their patients are using social media every day, but they are not seeing any results from everything that they have tried and everyone that they have hired.
Nothing seems to work, yet the truth is that no one has actually done any real marketing work. While the doctor “thinks” they are sending their message to thousands and thousands of potential patients every day, the hard truth is that no one is seeing anything at all. The business owner “thinks” that they are wisely marketing the business, while in fact, none of these services have any real value to the business.
As a marketing professional, I can tell you simply, that the large majority of the time, this is the situation. The business owner believes he is paying for services that will directly bring new business, yet the people or agencies he has hired are inexperienced and have no idea if anything that they are doing actually helps the business. In this situation both the business owner and the marketing “expert” are relying on misinformation that they have accepted as truth, instead of real practical, first hand experience.
The Real Problem with “Experts”
An experienced marketer takes “x” amount of dollars and delivers “x” amount of new business. As simple as this sounds, this is not what the majority of businesses owners experience when hiring marketing “experts”. I hear stories all the time about the “vanishing” marketing expert that got paid for three or four months promising, promising, promising and then is never heard from again. Many business owners have repeated this cycle for years and will never see any results from their marketing unless they decide to make changes.
For many business owners, a good start begins by asking, “What do I want to achieve? and “How will I know if the services I am paying for are effective?”
The answers need to be real and concrete otherwise, your marketing dollars are actually charitable donations.
Why Social Media Is Not Getting You New Patients
For the majority of practices, there is very little likelihood that social media will ever do anything to grow the practice.
The reasons why this happens are very clear, yet this is a much larger discussion than one blog post. Let’s just say for now that there is one main reason why most medical practices are wasting their time with social media.
Most doctors have never stopped to consider who they are trying to reach with social media and what they want to accomplish. This seems obvious and very basic, yet this is very true for most businesses trying to marketing their services with social media. Most practice owners have taken the approach that if they just start using tools like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube that new patients will just appear and start making appointments.
I know that is stated simplistically, yet this is true for most practitioners that I talk to. It is very common to hear them say that although they are using Facebook, for example, it has never really done anything for their practice. They have tried Twitter too, for a while and have never really been sure if any of these types of marketing even work. There are just no results.
The truth is that for any form of marketing to work, someone first must carefully define who your ideal patient is. Get this right and everything that you do will work. Get it wrong, or worse, don’t define it all, and you will likely be saying the same thing about Facebook and Google and everything else that follows.
Why Most Marketing Fails
It is hard to hear so many business owners tell me all that they have tried to do that did not help their business grow. I see their emails, Facebook posts, tweets, videos and everything else that seems to prove that nothing works, and clearly these efforts are simply superficial attempts made by (well-meaning sometimes) inexperienced and substantially underpaid people who just needed work for a few months.
Before anyone can help you grow your business, they must be ready to tell you the truth, stand behind it, and of course you, the business owner must be ready to hear the truth and make the decisions you need to based on what is actually happening in your business. This cannot happen unless you are involved and engaged in the business.
(Did you read those last two sentences and consider what is being said here, or did you just skip over this? You need to find and hire people who know the truth and who will actually tell you the truth about how to grow your practice. Most people you have hired have no idea what will actually help you get more new patients. Do you understand this?)
There is a clear path to success to marketing your practice and it starts right here: