Every conference I go to, there’s always a discussion on social media and if it can be used to engage patients. Some say yes, some say no. I remember when doctors started using Facebook and Twitter years ago. Back then, the answer was a definite yes, it works! But now Facebook and Twitter have given way to Snapchat and Instagram. So which do you use? It depends on if you’re the doctor or the patient!
Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Blogs, oh my!
Let’s start with Facebook. The company is huge, the “grandaddy” of all social media networks. It’s not going anywhere. But at the same time, it’s worthless when it comes to engaging or attracting new patients. Now, I didn’t say you shouldn’t have a Facebook account. I believe when it comes to interactions between doctors and patients, you still need a Facebook account just like you need a medical license. A Facebook account gives you credibility. Imagine how anxious you, as a patient, would be if someone suggested a particular plastic surgeon and that surgeon didn’t have a Facebook account. You’d think they were really old and if they’re really old they’re probably not up on the latest techniques and maybe their best days are behind them. None of that is true but the lack of a Facebook page gives that impression.
So what about Twitter…no.
Instagram and Snapchat are the newer, hip kids on the block. I started using Snapchat about two months ago for my practice so my opinions are relatively new and continue to evolve. However, I still think I have some insight. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive review of what Instagram and Snapchat are and how they work. You’ll need to download the apps and see for yourself. There’s a visceral experience with both of them that I can’t explain. What I will discuss here is how they’re different in their interactions with patients and how, I believe, they attract different patients.
First, Instagram is great for posting your before and after photos. But they have to be the best before and after photos. Better than what you may put on your website. On your website, viewers may overlook some photos, whereas with Instagram, they’re posted one at a time for all to see and comment. If they’re not awesome, the Internet can be pretty unforgiving.
Also, someone may “like” your photo but they may not “follow” your Instagram account. Anyone familiar with Instagram knows that a bunch of likes with few followers is kinda lame. Very few followers is like having very few friends. One more thing. When posting only one photo at a time, there’s no context, no explanation. Just, does the consumer think it’s great or do they hate it and therefore ridicule you for it.
Lastly, Instagram followers seem to be perusing the internet and not very far down the purchasing tunnel as seen to the right. They seem to be researching the procedure you may offer but not yet ready to purchase or book a consult.
This is in contrast to Snapchat. Snapchat isn’t about photos. It’s about 10-second video clips that can show your viewers your office, your staff, your surgery and how all of you act behind the scenes. It allows you, the doctor, to connect to the consumer on a more personal level so they feel like they know who you are. For that reason, consumers seem to be further down that purchasing funnel, taking more actionable steps.
Examples of these actionable steps are going to your website and submitting an inquiry. Calling the office. Taking a screenshot of that “snap” that contains your website or phone number. (Again, I understand if you don’t understand the mechanics of Snapchat but only trying it out will clarify this. Further explanation will only muddle things more). Plus, viewers have to follow you on Snapchat to see your videos. They can’t like your video without following you first. In fact, there’s no “liking” at all. They either follow you and watch or nothing.
Another quick example of their engagement. I posted a short 10-second clip promoting my website and how consumers could check pricing once they got there. 5,200 people viewed that clip, 14 of them took a screenshot suggesting they wanted the website URL for future reference. During that 24-hour period when that clip was visible (Snapchat clips within stories are visible for only 24 hours (contrived-sounding, I know)), I had a large number of visitors to my site. I’m not simply talking about a bunch of traffic, but actual leads. The Snapchat followers that came to my website were presented with a Pricing Estimator. To check pricing, they had to first provide their contact info and then they instantly and automatically received pricing information.
Why a lead generator like a Pricing Estimator is critical to your social media success
The fact that so many viewers (28) submitted 43 wishlists along with their contact info suggests to me that these are motivated consumers. I don’t have Instagrammers providing their contact info. Snapchatters don’t seem to mind.
While Snapchat can provide context and explanation in a series of 10-second clips, blog posts are even better. Granted many viewers are less interested in reading when they can watch a video. However, for those motivated viewers, a blog post can really drive home the point and ensure greater understanding as suggested in, well, this blog post!
Again, if you want to experience this distinction, download the apps and give it a try. You can deny that you need to learn how to use another technology all you want, but purchasing only ads won’t continue to work. New methods of social media will.
To see how you too can use a Price Estimator to check pricing or capture leads rather than just clicks, click here.