8 Tips To Help You Publish Better Post To Your Medical Practice’s Facebook Page

Are you looking to improve your practice’ Facebook Page? Want to give it a little boost? Perhaps engage parents more, get more fans or add value to your community?

Well, you are in luck if you answered yes to any of those questions.

Below are eight suggestions you can implement today to leverage your practice’s Facebook page.

Salud Pediatrics Facebook Page Screen Shot1. Keep it short.

First things first. People like to scan on Facebook. Keep your writing short for better responses.

2. Use Images. Preferably big and beautiful images

According to Facebook, posts with eye-catching photos and videos stand out in the News Feed, which makes it more likely that people that follow your practice’s Facebook page, like, comment and share.

But don’t get too hung up with the quality of the pictures. Your images do not have to be shot by a professional photographer or a fancy camera.

Dr. Betancourt with Dr. AUsing your phone or a point shoot camera is usually good enough to create a compelling picture.

Examples of photos you can take to go along with your post are pictures of your staff working. O perhaps pictures of one of your docs doing something goofy (shouldn’t be hard to catch a pediatrician doing something goofy). You can also consider featuring a services your practice offers (i.e. mother support groups, parenting classes, etc).

Something as simple as a snail chart with a brief description of why vision screens are an essential part of the preventive wellness visit can not only draw engagement, but also serve as a less formal educational post.

3. Share exclusive content and info with Facebook Ads

The intent of Facebook ads is to offer special deals to customers to keep them interested and drive sales. I know…

Medical practices are not in the business of offering 2for1 deals. However, you can use Facebook Ads to promote the practice’s Facebook page or drive Facebook users to the practice’s website.

The idea is to expose your medical office to a larger audience. And Facebook ads is a great way to go beyond your group of fans.

4. Respond to customers in a timely manner

There is nothing worse than sending an email to a customer service email address and never hearing back from the company. Simply put, people like when you listen to them.

Facebook offers a unique opportunity in that one can engage with patients outside our practice’s four walls.

When you reply to posts and comments quickly, you will notice customers are more responsive, too.

5. Keep a calendar

When special events and holidays are on everyone’s mind, mention them in your posts. Planning and scheduling posts around important dates—like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Halloween, Back-to-School season and more—means you will be more likely to get people talking.

6. Post for the right audience

Posts are more effective when the people who care see them.

If you have customers who live in different areas or speak different languages, you can create posts just for them.

Facebook Demographic ChartWrite a post and choose the locations and languages you want. When you publish your post, it will show up in just the locations or languages you picked.

7. Link them directly to your website

When you add a link to your post, it automatically creates an image from the website and a large clickable area that makes it easy for people to go to your site.

You can also customize the headline and description to give your customers more reasons to click.

8. Post more of what customers want

When you learn how and when your parents respond, you will be able to post more of what they love.

Keep in mind that posting on your Facebook Page is about quality—not quantity.

From there, you can post more of what they like, and avoid posting what they do not.

Lastly, to learn more about  “your audience,” make sure to check out your Facebook Practice Page Insights page. To Learn more about Page Insights, click on this link.


This post was adapted from a Facebook For Business article titled, Make Post More Effective


 

How Well Do Parents Know What You Do As a Pediatrician?

It’s hard to appreciate the value that pediatricians provide when one is not aware of exactly what it is that pediatricians do.

During the summer months, I posted on our practice’s Facebook page, a note encouraging parents, to schedule their children’s wellness visits.

Although the message was for our entire Facebook community, I wanted to catch the eye of parents with teenagers. Don’t know how well you manage teens in your office, but in our office, we have decent wellness visit numbers with younger patients. The teen population?

Not so much. Once the teen years kick in, we mostly see them when they are sick.Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 11.48.51 AM

I wanted to encourage parents to make their wellness visits but also throw in a subtle nudge to parents with teens.To get their attention, I opened with this line: Did you know pediatricians are trained to treat children from birth to adolescence? Then I went on to talk about the importance of wellness visits etc.

Something interesting happened. The post outperformed other Facebook post. It received more likes that than the ordinary. But that the surprise me. What surprised me the most, were the comments from parents.

One mom said, “it’s good to know the pediatrician can see my teen.”

Another said, ” Timothy is going to be so happy when I tell him Dr. B can still see him.”

WHAT WAS THE LESSON?

It’s an age-old lesson. It’s a lesson on assumptions and what happens when we make them.

That simple, otherwise ordinary status update, got me thinking about how well (or not) we communicate what it is that we do as pediatricians. If so many people weren’t aware that pediatricians can treat teens and beyond (0-21), what else don’t they know? The irony is that our website is tagged with the line “Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.”

OPPORTUNITY

We clearly have a communication problem. And I would argue that our lack of proper communication about what it is we do as pediatricians (more than runny noses and giving shots) is why many parents don’t see the distinction between a retail clinic and a pediatrician.


 

It’s hard to appreciate the value that pediatricians provide when one is not aware of exactly what it is that pediatricians do.

 


 

The good news is that there is a significant opportunity for pediatricians to cover a lot of ground. How so? By using social media channels to educate our community about all the great services we are trained to provide.

I also believe that leveraging this opportunity could aid your practice in differentiating itself from the competition.

WHAT IS YOUR COMMUNICATION STRATEGY?

Since I realized there was a chasm between our assumptions and the reality, I’ve been intentional about informing our community about the training, knowledge and expertise our pediatricians can address.

Some of it may seem too obvious for those of us that do this every day. Like explaining the importance of wellness visits.

But the truth is, some parents don’t know about yearly wellness visits. They assume that because the child no longer needs shots, they don’t need to go to the doctor.

Beyond promoting wellness visits, I use many of the things included in the Bright Futures guidelines as a way to highlight that a visit to the pediatricians is highly comprehensive.

And by educating our population, I’m also marketing our practice in a unique way. Instead of mentioning in a promotional piece that we accept most insurance plans, I may mention that how we can provide family support, safety and injury prevention, or mental health.

MARKETING STRATEGY

Not only is promoting and sharing this information relevant and valuable to parents, but I also think it is an excellent way to differentiate ourselves from the MinuteClinics or other medical services that overlap with pediatrics (i.e. Urgent Centers, Family Practice, Telemedicine).

YOUR CHALLENGE

Think about your medical practice’s communication strategy, or lack thereof. What is your practices unique selling proposition? What problems do you solve that others don’t? Then think about how best to communicate your message. Also, consider the channels you’ll be delivering your message. By channels I mean, traditional advertising, email campaigns, social media, etc.

Remember, each channel is unique, thus requires you to craft the message differently.

I’ll leave you with this… times are changing. That is certain. And we have two options, two paths to choose from. Disagree with how things are changing, or find ways to agree with the shifts in a way that benefits you and your practice.

Practice Mgt Webinar: Have a Social Media Presence While Managing a Thriving Pediatric Practice

MBAOne of the questions I almost always get when I do a presentation on social media goes something like this…

Where do I find the time to see all my patients in a day, manage my practice, be a mom, be a wife and on top of that, manage social media?

This time, I wanted to do something different. So instead of listening how I would address this question, I’ve asked  Kristen Stuppy MD, FAAP to come on a webinar I’m doing for the AAP and be my co-presenter so that she can answer this, and other questions, regarding managing one’s social media presence.

Dr. Stuppy works at Pediatric Partners in Overland Park, KS.  She also heads up the practice’s social media efforts on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest where she keeps patient/parents and the community up to date on all kinds of stuff.

Dr. Stuppy also manages her blog at Quest for Health where she share personal reflections on different topics related to pediatrics.

And if that wasn’t enough, she is one of the sources behind all the great links posted on the We Are Pedidiatricians Facebook page.

In other words, she is perfect for the task.

This webinar is a first in the series of monthly practice management ‘fireside’ webinars sponsored by the Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM) and the Pediatric Practice Managers Alliance (PPMA).

Below are the details:

Date: Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time: 7:30 PM – 8:15 PM EDT

Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/693973542

#14 Dr. Natasha Burgert Joins Us To Talk About Social Media [Pediatric Practice Management Awesome-Cast]

Wow, we scored big this week and somehow convinced Natasha Burgert – queen of pediatric social media – to speak to us. Her real-life stories are great.

Don’t believe us? Watch/listen and see her Twitter effort or check out her blog.

A special shout out to an awesome vaccine-related charity that Dr. Burgert supports: Shot @ Life!

As always, you can get the AwesomeCast in different formats:

iTunes

Google+ PPMM Community Page

Pediatric Practice Management MediaCast

Three Tips For The Care and Feeding of New Parents

Our guest blogger today is Deb Deaulieu. If you read practice management trade publications, you may recognize her name. Deb is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor who covers physician practice management topics for the Massachusetts Medical Society and FiercePracticeManagement.

I love to give Deb guest post spots for several reasons.  For starters, she has been writing about practice management issue for about 10 years. So she knows the reality of our circumstances.  And the other reason I like love to give her the microphone, so to speak, is because she is a mom of two young children (I believe they are 18-months apart). 

Deb fits right smack in the middle of our core demographic. Thus her perspective is invaluable. Not only does she know our business from a practice management perspective, but she is also parent of young children. 

Now, many of us are parents of young children too. But our perspective is different because we are on the inside. 

In this post, she gives us some really interesting tips that we can do in our practices to help new families have a better experience. Enjoy!

Like a lot of otherwise well-adjusted adults who pass through your office doors, I was quite the handful as a first-time parent.

Now that my son is almost six, I can’t imagine calling the pediatrician’s office more than a few times a year. But in the beginning, it was at least weekly—even though, other than a serious case of gas accompanied by a foul mood, I had a perfectly healthy baby.

Nonetheless, when my son was about six months old, we ended up finding a new doctor with whom we’ve been happy ever since. Maybe that original doctor-parent pairing was never meant to be, but there are several ways that relationship might have been saved, or at least ended sooner:

A more structured prenatal interview.

I did what the books instructed, and scheduled time to meet with pediatricians while I was still pregnant.

The trouble, though, was that having never dealt with an actual newborn infant of my own before, I had no idea what questions I should ask. Most of my mind was still focused on the pregnancy and impending delivery.

With absolutely no framework for addressing what would come next, it wasn’t helpful for me to guide the interviews, which ended up being woefully generic. One of the areas that first doctor and I were less than compatible, for example, was that of medication and pain relief.

Had the practice used some type of standard form or questionnaire for expecting parents to fill out, the discussion likely would have been far more productive and possibly identified mismatches in attitude or expectations.

A virtual support system.

In 2007, there weren’t many physician practices I knew of that had Facebook pages or blogs. What I had, which became a lifeline and a cinderblock tied to my leg, were online message boards teeming with other over-tired, paranoid new parents.

A physician-authored blog such as Survivor Pediatrics would have been invaluable. If you don’t host a blog or post extensive parenting resources on your website, steer parents to trusted resources, such as healthychildren.org, that do.

If you host a Facebook page, you can keep the positives of message-board sharing intact by encouraging parents to post their own tips, provided you have the ability to moderate for nonsense or potentially harmful information (and reach out to parents who may need to adjust their remedies).

For instance, I discovered by accident that running the vacuum cleaner, or even a faucet if I was away from home, would calm my colicky baby almost instantly. Every day I could have gotten that information sooner may have very well added another to the end of my life.

A hub for community resources.

A lot of what I really needed during that stressful period truthfully wasn’t something the doctor’s office could provide at all.

I needed other moms to talk to, face-to-face, who were not relatives (family support is great, but as a source of advice can create a whole other kind of stress); public places I could take my child where screaming meltdowns, oceans of “spit-up,” and diaper blowouts were A-okay; someone to clean my house; a nap.

If you don’t do so already, create a bulletin board in your office posting details for children’s programs at local libraries; mothers’ groups; child-care resources; and relevant community activities.

Consider dedicating one corner of the board to any of these items that are also free or discounted to your patients—since budget is big driver keeping new moms isolated in their homes.

Again, you’ll have to exercise some oversight to make sure your board doesn’t become too advertorial; but a little time curating this information for your patients could alleviate a lot of the time you and your staff spend hand-holding new parents.

Finally, remember to cut new parents some slack, or at least not sigh audibly when the question list they pull out of their purse resembles a never-ending scarf cascading out of a magician’s sleeve. In six months to eighteen years, we’ll all return to our normally calm, rational selves.

Learn more about Deb’s work by visiting FiercePracticeManagement. You can also follow her via her new Facebook page.

Interview: Pediatrician’s perspective on why he loves his Facebook presence

For today’s post, I have an interview with Dr. Seth Kaplan. Dr. Kaplan posted what I thought was a great response on SOAPM regarding Facebook, so I asked him if he would answer a few questions regarding his Facebook presence and how he is using it to leverage his practice.

I know the answer to this already, but for the benefits of the readers of PediatricInc, tell me how you feel about your Facebook presence.

I absolutely love my facebook presence.

Why do you like it so much?

Unlike my website, which is relatively static and I don’t have an easy way of updating, Facebook can be updated with up to the minute breaking news if need be.

More importantly, it’s been an outstanding educational portal for my practice, allowing me to present information about topics that I just don’t have time to cover during well visits.

Plus, when patients ask about an issue that I don’t have information at my fingertips for them, I can use my Facebook page to get info out once I find it and have that information benefit hundreds of people instead of just that one patient.

Plus, my patients absolutely love getting all the info (although the number of “likes” and comments may be small and vary, patients are constantly bringing up things I’ve posted when they are in the office, mostly to thank me for bringing the information up.

My patients also tend to be big cheerleaders for my practice and for my “outside of the office” accomplishments.

Can you give me an example?

I just got my act together and wrote my first blog post (See http://www.meandmydoctor.com/2012/07/first-amendment-right-of-physicians-and.html). When I linked the post to my practice page, I got a ton of likes and support.

Where do you find material for your practice’s Facebook page?

Finding material for the page is easy, thanks to Dr. Stuppy, and the We are Pediatricians Facebook page. In addition, many of us have our practices linked to each other and beg, borrow and steal articles. A couple of Twitter feeds are also extremely useful for finding good information to post (Nemours, Parents Magazine, NPR health, my local childrens hospital.)

What would you say to people that that don’t want to put themselves out there online because they might get a negative comment from a patient?

Overall, I’ve found that the benefits of a Facebook presence far outweigh the occasional difficult statement/comment.

Why do you have a Facebook presence?

My patients/parents are there, and this has been an outstanding way to communicate with and teach them when they are not in the office.

Dr. Kaplan is a contributor to the Survivor Pediatrics Blog. You can check out his practice’s  Facebook page by visiting this link

10 Things I learned from managing my practice’s Facebook page

I while back, I blogged about my favorite Facebook Pages. Among them was Winnsboro Pediatrics. Dr Kim Burlingham manages what I think is one of the best practice Facebook pages out there. Dr. Burlingham does a lot of cool things on there, but if I had to say why I like the page so much, I would have to say that she does a great job of  adding her own personality to each one of her post. Quick little remarks about the links she is posting which add character to her site and of course to her practice.

When you get a chance, take a look at  Dr. Burlingham’s Facebook page. In the meantime, here is Dr. Burlingham’s  10-things she has learned from managing her practice’s Facebook page. 

  1. There are some people that “like” everything- mostly the retired grandma types and if several days go by without them liking your posts, you’ll want to check with their families to see if they are OK.
  2. Just because somebody doesn’t hit the “like” button doesn’t mean they didn’t read it- I am always surprised at the number of people that mention that they read about “it” on my page while in the office with their child but never once have hit the “like” button
  3. People take the time to “like” stupid stuff and jokes a lot more than a good solid article. The post that has had the most likes/reach during this past month on my page was an “E-Card” that had a picture of a mom resting her head on an armchair with a quote “the moment you realize that the kids have been in bed asleep for thirty minutes and you are still watching Nichelodeon.”
  4. It takes time to keep the page up but it is a heck of a lot easier to do if you “like” other pediatrician’s pages and freely share the gems they have found on to your own page. Also “like” hospital, poison control, safety, etc pages.
  5. Always try to add a bit of your own voice onto the links you share on your page.
  6. Middle school and high school boys will “like” the oddest posts, for example 3 of them liked a post about the fact that stepping on a Lego hurts more than childbirth.
  7. Info-graphics and e-cards are in, pictures of cute babies are in, links without thumbnails are rarely liked.
  8. Let people know about things going on in their community – plays, library events, etc. The non-profits love help in spreading the word.
  9. Include visual office contests on your Facebook page. Our last one, right before the 4th was to guess the weight of a watermelon.
  10. Somehow my practice Facebook page is attached to my Twitter feed and whatever status update I put on Facebook goes to Twitter which is not very twittery. I have to fix that.

Dr. Burlingham also manages a page called We Are Pediatricians  which is a great resource for those of you looking for content to share on your Facebook Page.

Is Social Media Bad for Physicians?

I read with great an article titled Facebook and Physicians: A prescriptions for Trouble.  In it, Lucas Mearia references a guy by the name of Crotty who advocates strongly on the notion that doctors should refrain from engaging patients and collegues online.

The article highlights several situations that could potentially lead doctors into trouble.

For example, a doctor who gave a patient a prescription for medicine that could have an adverse affect when mixed with alcohol might decide to check out the patient’s Facebook page to see if the individual is telling the truth about his drinking habits, Crotty said.

To me this is a little far fetched and an extreme example to make an ethical point. Let’s be realistic though, do doctors have time to check every single patient’s profile on Facebook? How long would that take? How would the doctor know if he/she was even on the medication?

The article also talks about sites like Doximity and Sermo which are social sites exclusively for doctors . Crotty equates these types of networks where doctors ask other doctors for advice as curbside consultations.

“What if the treatment they suggested was wrong and you chose the wrong one?” he said. “The thing is, when you get a second opinion, the doctor you’re getting the opinion from has no clinical context or clinical relationship with that patient.

How is this different than calling up a collegue and asking her for an opinion on a patient? Does Mr Crotty think that a physician is not smart enough to discern the fact that the consult physician isn’t seeing the patient, isn’t examing the patient and knows only what she is being told?

I think this Crotty guy is completely missing the boat with his assertions.

I think social media has giving us the tools to connect with our communities in ways we have never been able to do before. We can now broadcast, share, be published, connect, educate, curate, an collaborate thanks to social media tools.

And you know who are the ones in the best position to take advantage of these tools? Pediatricians. Why? Because peds’ demographic will always skew younger than other specialties. And guess who are the ones using all this new technology?

If we want to have any type of influence over generations to come, we will have to have a presence online. Simply put, this isn’t going away. This is the future, no doubt.

We can continue defending the status quo, like this Crotty guy, or we can find ways to leverage these wonderful tools the Internet has afforded us.

And as for Mr. Lucas Mearian of ComputerWorld, I think he should stick with writing on issues of storage, disaster recovery, business continuity, financial services and healthcare IT, because clearly he has no clear idea of how doctors could leverage this technology.

To read the entire Computerworld article, click here.

How Does One Know When They Are Doing Social Media Right?

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at the CCPA’s annual meeting about social media. My pitch? Incorporate social media in your practice. Why? It is good for pediatrics and it is also good for you.

During the questions and answers session, I was asked how does one know when they are doing social media right.

Great question, but I think I gave the doc a poor answer.

I didn’t want to say, this is how you know you are doing it right, because I don’t think anybody can actually say that. You won’t really know until you actually do it. Moreover, I didn’t want people to not even try social media for fear they wouldn’t get it right.

Instead of clarifying that, I told the doc that because everything is new and moving so fast, it was nearly impossible to know how to do it right. What might work today may not work tomorrow.

I mentioned that in our practice’s social media journey, at the beginning we had poor results in terms of followers and patient engagement even though we were doing the exact same thing that other people and practices were doing.

In retrospect, the point I was trying to make is that there isn’t necessarily a right way to do social media. What works for you might not work for anybody else. But I felt that my answer was more along the lines that you can’t never know if you are doing it right. Which isn’t the case.

Below is the answer I would have liked to have given.

Clear as Mud Objectives –

Just like anything else, I think it is worth sitting down (not literally, this can be done in your head while driving to work if you want), and getting an idea of what you want to accomplish with social media. For example, if followers is your goal, then decide, 1000 or 10,000 or 1,000,000 is the goal.

Once you hit your goal, you know you are doing something right. Of course if followers is your only goal, I think you are missing out. But I bring followers up because it is easy to explain.

Perhaps your goal is to educate people about pediatrics in general. This goal is a little bit harder to measure. But for example, if you are getting people in your practice saying, “hey doc, I saw on your blog you wrote about fevers and I told my friend to read it too since her kid had a bad fever and your article really was great,” then I think you are doing it right even if it is just one person.

No Perfect Answer –

I know a pediatric office that has Facebook page that only post pollen counts. I think pollen counts are kind of boring and not necessarily useful. But, to their community, they are providing a great service and it is working for them. But it would have never occurred to me that pollen counts was the “right” thing to do.

Trial and Error is OK –

If we believe there is only one way to get it right, then we won’t try other things. We miss out on experimenting, which gives us an opportunity to see what works in our community or what does not. Thus, I think trial an error is a good thing.

I’d rather you try and maybe not get it right the first time, than have you not try at all because there is no one clear way to succeed.

Engage –

At the end of my response to the question, I told the doc that if I had to pick one measure of success, it would have to be engagement. If you are engaging, then you are winning. If you are engaging, in my view, you are doing it right.

Social media is about communication. And just like the real world, the best communication is when it is done collaborative. Otherwise, it is just advertising.

Hopefully this will help people that have the same question. I know that writing this post will help me answer the question a little better in the future.

How would you have responded to this question?

Social Media: How to Use it to Improve your Practice

If you are in the Chicago area, I wanted to let you know about a chance to hear me speak. I will be speaking about Social Media: How to Use it to Improve your Practice at the CCPA Annual Meeting.

If you are not a CCPA member, I’d suggest to become one. They are a great GPO. If you dont’ know what a GPO is or how it can help your practice out, click on THIS link to learn more about how a GPO can save you serious money.

And to learn more about the CCPA specifically, visit this link. In this post, I interview Paresh Patel, National Sales Manager for CCPA. I think he makes a compelling argument as to why you should join CCPA.

If you do make it to the meeting, make sure to say hi. I’d love to meet you.