Savvy practice owners know the benefit of using social media to connect with their patients. It’s a way to engage with customers on their playing field, and if done correctly, adds a personal touch to your marketing efforts. Twitter is one of the networks that doctors use to reach out to patients, as it’s easy to set up and get started, and users enjoy the instant and fluid communication. If you’re not on Twitter, you definitely should be. Here are some ideas on the type of information you can tweet on a regular basis.
Staff Additions/New Hires
Let your patients know when they will encounter a new person at the front desk, or if there is a new nurse in the office. It makes them feel part of the practice when they’re in the loop on new hires, and adds to the personal touch that you want to present overall. In the same manner, inform patients if a long-time staff member will be leaving the practice. Regular communication like this helps patients know what to expect during their next visit.
Updated/Extended Office Hours
Patients should be immediately alerted if your office hours change. This is normally not a recurring event, so tweeting about this should be minimal. Some common reasons office hours may change include vacation time and office renovations. If the reason doesn’t involve anything personal, let your patients know why the hours are changing. Also in your tweets, be sure to include the duration of the change so that everyone can be informed to check their schedules.
Breakthrough Medical Treatments
Informed patient about Breakthrough Medical Treatments as you learn about them. This is especially beneficial information for people being treated for chronic pain or other life-altering conditions. You may not be using these treatments at the time, but sharing the information shows your patients that you’re dedicated to keeping abreast on industry updates. This also positions you more as a leader in your industry, and bills upon your credibility with customers and colleagues.
Staff and Patient Birthdays
Tweet a happy birthday message to patients and staff members. You would of course need to get permission to share this online, and the best way to ask is during registration. Most people won’t mind and would see this as something fun and harmless for the practice. On your end, it helps to show patients that you appreciate them by recognizing them on their special day. Staff members will feel more appreciated too. This type of communication adds to the family atmosphere of the office and helps build loyalty with patients and employees.
Health Insurance Changes
Unless you only serve self-pay patients, then 9 times out of 10, your customers use their health insurance to cover services rendered. This means that they should be kept up to date if there are any changes that directly affect their treatments. Yes, the insurance company will send out updates via snail mail or email, but patients don’t always read these. Why not use this as an opportunity to be the first to inform them of this information? It’s a way to keep you in front of the customers and shows that you’re involved in the healthcare industry as a whole.
Changes or Updates to Common Forms
Alert patients when common forms will be updated or changed. This is important because they may be required to provide additional information, or have certain documents readily available during their next visit. Alerting your patients in advance shows that you’re considerate of their time, and gives them the opportunity to ask questions if needed. This form of social media based customer service is great advertisement for your practice, and attracts patients who are more likely to share their positive experience with others online.
Adding New Locations
Adding a new location is like hiring a new staff member. It’s an event to be celebrated and shared with the people who make your business possible. Information moves fast on Twitter, so you would need to tweet this several times until you’re satisfied that everyone is well informed. Plan on having several messages crafted and pushed through over the course of a month or two. The goal is to make sure the new locations are well promoted.
Traffic Around Your Practice
It’s an inconvenience to encounter unexpected traffic jams and construction areas when you’re on the way to a doctor’s appointment, so why not alert patients ahead of time about these occurrences? If there’s a major lane, street, or freeway closure in the area, you should alert your clients so that they can plan another route, or leave earlier. This is especially beneficial if there’s a construction project in the area that’s expected to last for a few months. Tweets about traffic and construction can be shared daily.
If you’re not comfortable with connecting with patients on Twitter, think about what you would normally talk about in the office. Health insurance, traffic, new staff members and locations, forms, breakthrough treatments and birthdays are all things that spark up everyday conversation. That’s what you want your tweets to be; small bits of everyday conversation.
Don’t Forget the Images
Your posts should be both insightful and entertaining. You want followers to look forward to your tweets, and to share them because they’re helpful. Adding images to your posts also goes a long way in getting them noticed by your clients. If you happen to drive by the construction in the area of your practice, snap a picture and add it to your post. Take a selfie with the birthday patient, or upload that new document to Twitter.
The more you use Twitter, the easier it gets and the more ideas you’ll have of things to share with your patients. The main thing is to just get started and these ideas are perfect to get you going. Your patients will expect consistency, so plan long term communication strategies, but implement them slowly according to your schedule and time restraints.