Yes, you can develop the marketing strategy for the outpatient wound clinic on a shoestring budget. That said, traditional relationship-based strategies and electronic health record-based tools for marketing should be a standard part of cultivating clinic growth. But in 2017, if you’re not yet also employing online marketing methods, then it’s time to take that leap as well. Various social media platforms can help amplify marketing efforts, and the results might be easier to achieve than perceived. Social media is a platform for telling “your story” on a daily and weekly basis – whatever that story might be at any given time. Think of it as an ongoing conversation between the clinic and its patients (former, current, and prospective), as well as referring physicians and professional healthcare groups. For purposes of this article, we’ll discuss Facebook. None of these tasks require advanced knowledge of social media marketing.
Marketing Your Wound Care Program on a Budget
The Potential Impact of Social Media On The Wound Care Community
Launching A Facebook Page
Still considered the most popular social network in the world, 68% of adults in the United States alone are using Facebook.1 Adults ages 30-65+ (a wound clinic’s target audience) make up 51% of adults using Facebook, and 76% of those adults are using Facebook daily.1 Engaging users with the appropriate content begins with creating a business page. A Facebook page allows anyone who is signed up with a personal profile to create a brand identity for one’s business. It’s a free service that enables direct communication between a business and its target audience. (To begin the process of creating a page for your wound clinic, visit www.facebook.com/pages/create). There are page templates to choose from to optimize the use of one’s identity. The “Service” template is recommended for wound clinics because it’s designed to promote services while allowing potential patients to connect with the clinic at any time. (Note: Prior to establishing a page for the hospital-based outpatient wound clinic specifically, it’s suggested that the hospital’s marketing staff be consulted in order to make sure efforts are synergized and messages are consistent.)
Creating A Unique Online Presence
Once the template for the page has been chosen, be certain to add images (that would not violate HIPAA law) for brand representation. Don’t overthink these images. Using the clinic’s logo as the “profile image” and a photo of the clinic/hospital staff as the “cover photo” will work well. Consider changing the cover photo seasonally for some variety. Additionally, Facebook offers several page settings to manage one’s online presence, with the most important being the “Preferred Page Audience” setting. Published pages are accessible to all Facebook users, but this setting allows page administrators (those who create company pages) to define their preferred audience so that Facebook can optimize the visibility of the page for that audience. For budgets that might be smaller than a shoestring, managing one’s audience with a strategic communication plan for daily and weekly post updates will help users engage more fully with their target audience. To formulate a communication plan, follow these guidelines:
- Create a plan for the type of content being posted to the page and stick to that formula (eg, consider recognizing and thanking referring physicians each time a new patient is referred).
- Look up surrounding referral sources as well as regional and national healthcare organizations on Facebook and “Like” their pages. Encourage collaboration with these pages by sharing posts, then “tag” them in your own posts. Use the “@” symbol with the page or person’s name. This will link your page’s post to their page.
- Feature patient healing outcomes with before/after HIPAA-appropriate photos and a brief overview of the cases. Photos and videos are opportunities for marketing growth. “Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.”2
Now, if the budget is slightly larger than a shoestring, there may be some economical options to promoting page content and the hospital/clinic website. Make use of the “Promote” button found on the bottom right side of the Facebook Page. Facebook offers five ways to promote a page and increase audience engagement. Ongoing promotions help to attract more website visitors.
Catie MacKrell is marketing manager at Intellicure Inc., The Woodlands, TX.