By Maddie Langston, IDOC Practice Marketing Consultant
Many of you are active on multiple social media platforms to market your practice and would like to develop a content calendar so that you can either delegate the posting to a trusted team member or advise an outside partner on how to best market your specific practice. If you’re not quite to this point and are still “reactive” in how you market on social media – in other words, if you only think about posting on social media when the schedule suddenly gets light – then consider the advantage of planning ahead is that a well thought out content strategy will better serve to maintain rapport with existing patients who follow you and increase opportunities for online recommendations and conversations about your practice.
The first step to develop a good social media content calendar involves understanding the tone/mood of each social media platform so you understand the expectations of the audience.
Facebook is more "personal". People here want to entertain/be entertained and engage with friends.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so the audience here wants to read and share more serious articles and connect with other area professionals.
Twitter is highly interactive. The audience on this platform wants to engage with others, be witty and join or start conversations about social issues, politics and pop culture.
Instagram is image-based, and the audience on this platform wants to entertain/be entertained through images and videos.
Once you understand the expectations, the next step is to define your content mix. A poor content strategy is one that only seeks to advertise for the practice – it will eventually cause followers to "mute" you, as no one enjoys constant advertising. Good content falls into these categories: entertainment, engagement/starting a conversation, teaching, and providing relevant information. You should also list your business objectives, which may include the following:
Show off the practice personality and culture
Establish thought leadership
Build rapport with existing patients
Increase social referrals
Acquire new patient appointments
Good social content isn’t "one size fits all". Each post should match the expectations of the audience on the platform, so consider them first. Since most of you are on Facebook, consider using themes like "Motivation Monday", "Throwback Thursday" and "Friday Funny" to standardize your content and meet audience expectations. More serious articles about the practice, eye care, or product may be well-received through connections on LinkedIn and will help you establish thought leadership. After you’ve defined your content strategy and mix, the next step is to decide on cadence for postings. There’s not a set-in stone, perfect number of posts, and it can be tricky to post enough so that you’re meeting your objectives while not overwhelming your audience. Here are some general guidelines:
Post at least three times a week on Facebook, and don’t post any more than twice a day.
Share an article or post a few times a month on LinkedIn.
You can post multiple times a day on Instagram if your content is eye-catching and entertaining – between three to seven posts a day.
Twitter requires posting and engaging with commenters multiple times a day for it to be truly effective. It’s time-consuming, but for brands that get it right, it can also be very rewarding.
I don’t recommend trying to participate in every social media platform. The two platforms most relevant for your objectives are Facebook and Instagram, and if you have additional time, consider carving out a presence on LinkedIn, as well.
While it may seem like a much more complex world in which to market your practice, you also now have an extraordinary opportunity to expand your reach and amplify your brand through effective use of social media. Developing a good content calendar should ease any anxiety you may feel about marketing your practice through social media and will also help you meet your business goals as well.
Maddie Langston brings extensive experience in marketing and sales administration and has developed strategies to drive sales for various industries. Most recently, Maddie developed marketing programs for a national network of independently owned auto repair service centers. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Liberty University. Maddie and her husband Jim have a teenage son and two beagles. She enjoys reading, watching documentaries and hiking in her spare time. For questions or comments about this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.