by Ray Foxworth, D.C., FICC, MCS-P

President & Founder, ChiroHealthUSA

We have known for years that having a presence on social media was important. Little did we all know that in the wake of a pandemic, it would become essential. It is no longer enough to have an account and post occasionally. Having a clear strategy and regular posts are a necessity.

Social media marketing is a lot like running a never-ending marathon. You can keep up with the pace for miles, but if you let up even for a little bit, you will lose ground and your chances of a win will suffer major damage. Our days of quarantine and closed businesses have surely had that effect on some who might have let their guards down amid the chaos and uncertainty. But that doesn’t mean you can’t catch up.

As a society, we’ve turned to digital platforms like Zoom, Instagram, and Facebook, to stay connected with family and friends and maintain a sense of community. And if you lost a little ground on social media in the early days of COVID-19, it’s time to make it a priority and connect with your community.

The Incredible Reach of Social Media

If you have any doubts about the importance of social media to your practice, here are a few facts that might sway you:

  • More than half the world’s population (3.8 billion people) is active on social media.
  • One study found that 57% of patients use online research, including a practice’s social media presence, to help them choose a doctor.
  • Doctors are seeing the benefits – 60% of them say social media leads helps them improve the care they give their patients.
  • In March, Instagram increased to124,200,000 active users from 119,800,000 in the US, a 3.7 percent growth. Facebook saw a 2.5 percent growth in March to 233,500,000 active users in the US, compared to 227,800,000 in February. Not only did Instagram and Facebook’s active users rise, but the platforms have even created guides on how to maintain connections during these times.

Three Tips for Making Social Media Work for You

So, how do you take advantage of this amazing tool? Here are some ideas.

  1. Use social media to build trust and combat misinformation – Trust is perhaps the most crucial element of a strong practice. When someone is in pain, they look for answers from those they trust most. Social media can help you build that trust. How? By using it to enhance your credibility.According to Pew Research Center, more people now get their news from social media than from newspapers. This can give rise to misinformation that seems credible but can-do real harm. Just be sure to cite credible sources to amplify your expertise and bolster your case. Your community will be better informed and healthier, and you will be seen as the trusted advisor who is looking out for them.
  2. Connect and communicate with patients – Pain can cause many people to throw all patience out the window, so good, reliable communication is essential. And more and more, people are using social media to communicate with businesses when they need help.Yet, there is a persistent gap between how often customers use social media for support, and how often businesses monitor social media for questions. Don’t think of social media as an afterthought in customer communication, something to check at the end of the day. The opportunity to communicate in real-time with a patient or prospective patient is there if you’re ready to take advantage of it.
  3. Encourage employee advocacy – Fortune 500 companies are realizing the power of employee advocacy, which is essentially encouraging their employees to advocate for their brand. Cisco found that employees’ social posts generated eight times more engagement than a company’s posts. And people trust recommendations from someone they know far more than anything coming directly from a business.For your practice, this makes great sense, since your employees are often the ones face to face with your patients. Encourage them to share blog posts, pictures, videos, or other content from your office. (Just be sure to follow HIPAA guidelines before sharing anything about a patient without permission.)

I hope you found some inspiration in the ideas above that can help you keep pace, and even take the lead, in the ever-evolving, but also consistently rewarding, world of social media. If you need a little help getting started on social media, check out our COVID-19 resource page for marketing resources that you can download and use to educate your community on the benefits of chiropractic to manage overall health and wellness.