Medical Group Practice Marketing: 5 Common Facebook Pitfalls | Social Media and Healthcare |

With marketing efforts increasingly shifting to online activities like blogging and search optimization,
marketers at medical group practices need to keep up and be able to communicate effectively with their large patient base and future prospective patients. One of the best ways to do this is through social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others make it so much easier for you to communicate, connect, and nurture all of your patient leads. This can be especially effective in group practices who have the critical mass to enjoy greater engagment from social media activity. The biggest social media site is, of course, Facebook.

However, you need to make sure that your Facebook marketing is tip top or you won't see the results you're trying so hard to achieve. There are major pitfalls that all group practices need to be wary of. When you avoid these pitfalls, your online marketing and social media will start to produce a real,measurable ROI.

1. Not Being Interactive

The biggest key of social media is going to be the first part of the word itself: social. If you're not making an effort to respond and interact with your Facebook fans, then you risk appearing like an organization that has poor service. This is especially true if patients are actively seeking and reaching out to your page with questions and concerns that go unanswered.

Instead, establish a policy that includes prompt timing when it comes to responding to posts on Facebook. The most ideal time frame would be within just a few hours. It may seem obvious, but you should train employees to treat patients on Facebook just as you would if they were calling you, courteously and professionally. Otherwise, they are going to have a bad memory associated with your practice.

  • Word of bad experiences travels fast on social media. 

2. No-Show Group Practices

When you create a Facebook page, the next step in the process is posting frequently enough to give a little reminder to patients that you're active on their news feed. Ideally, you will want to post content (special promotions, original content, articles, and the like) at least once a day, even asking
 a simple question or mentioning an interesting article can be enough to touch base with your patients.

Facebook allows you to schedule all of your posts for certain hours of the day, making the task of posting something that can be handled in small blocks of time.

  • Having a page on Facebook that looks like a ghost town leaves a bad impression of your organization.

3. Not Considering Your Facebook Audience

It is important to recognize what type of services your medical group practice provides and who your actual audience on Facebook is. Let's consider the example of an oral and maxillofacial surgery group. 

Like many groups, their Facebook community is made up mostly of patients who have come into the office for a procedure and were compelled to "Like" the group on Facebook. So far everything is great, working just like it should. However, many of the patients at an oral surgery group practice are coming in for a procedure like dental implants or wisdom teeth removal. These patients hope to never have to come in again for these procedures. 

Posting articles on Facebook about dental implants may fall on deaf ears, so to speak. Sure, your fans may hit "like" or even share the article with others. However, these are patients who have already come in for implants. You're presenting the wrong message to the wrong person at the wrong time. 

A better approach may be to discuss the implant maintenance and cleaning program your office just developed. Or promote cosmetic services like Botox, something a Facebook fan may still have interest in. 

  • Are your Facebook messages aimed at the right audience? 

4. Not Keeping It Somewhat Casual

Facebook is all about connecting with others and, sometimes, posting some lighthearted stuff. When most people are following brands, including group practices, they may be seeking out deals or "incentives," or they may be searching for helpful information about their health situation.

However, not lightening things up a bit from time to time will quickly make your business seem boring to your Facebook fans. While there needs to be a level of appropriateness, you can still keep it casual by discussing things that aren't directly related to work. Posting about how to eat healthy at a Fourth of July cookout while still enjoying yourself, for example. 

  • Is your Facebook page engaging and lighthearted enough to keep people's interest?

5. Posting Too Often

Yes, I just said to be careful and make sure you post often enough. However, there is a fine line and once it is crossed, your business actually starts to annoy people. A good rule of thumb is to post no more than 3-5 times per day. We know that Facebook does not show your posts to all of your fans. That said, people will get put off if your medical group practice is posting 2-3 times an hour with seemingly irrelevant information. 

  • Keep a close eye on the comments. If you start to read that people are getting annoyed it may be time to pull back on the throttle.

Avoid these pitfalls and your group practices will go very far with their social media. In fact, it can make everything seem a lot more fun!