Social Media

A Facebook Experiment: Can You Recommend a Physician?

Recently we’ve been talking to a local medical group about its marketing. When my team presented its recommendations, they included digital strategies (pay-per-click was a big component), additional video content for various platforms, and social media marketing, among others. Unfortunately, the powers that be within this group do not believe that social media is an important component of an overall marketing program for a medical practice. “No one uses Facebook to find a physician.” They had similar feedback related to LinkedIn and Twitter.

With that in mind, I decided to conduct a quick test using my Facebook account. I use Facebook primarily to connect with business friends and colleagues around the country. I don’t have many contacts/Facebook Friends who actually live in my community. So, when I posted my request for recommendations for an orthopedic practice in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, I wasn’t sure what I’d get. You can see my post below.

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Below is a csreen shot of the exchange that ensued (it is still going on). As you’ll see, within 2 hours I had recommendations for three different orthopedic practices in the area (Duke, UNC Sports Medicine and Triangle Orthopedics), along with recommendations for Bikram Hot Yoga and Vodka. Two suggested I consider alternative options: one suggested neuromuscular massage while another recommended seeing a physiatrist. (Physiatrists, or rehabilitation physicians, are nerve, muscle, and bone experts who treat injuries or illnesses that affect how you move.) Later I received a second recommendation for Triangle Orthopedics. Remember, the people making these recommendations are old friends – people I trust. For me, there is power in these recommendations. Note: I’ve blacked out names of individuals in consideration of their privacy.

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2 comments on “A Facebook Experiment: Can You Recommend a Physician?

  1. The medical group’s response is typical and what I see all the time here in the mid-Atlantic. Great tactic to help them understand how wrong they are… I hope you don’t mind if I imitate your approach! :0)

  2. I work as a marketing consultant exclusively with elective medical practices (mostly vein centers and lipo/body contouring). We see very few “direct” referrals from social media (indicating Facebook/YouTube, etc. when asked “how did you hear about us”? I agree, most prospective patients don’t go trolling Facebook pages searching for a doctor. They do, however, trust their friends/family’s opinion almost more than their referring physician’s, so they do use social media to solicit recommendations, though, they may never end up on the doctor’s actual Facebook/You Tube page. However, we all know that prospective patients will go searching the web for information once they do receive referrals, so there’s where the importance of videos/You Tube, a Facebook Page with regular postings and positive interactions and, of course, a good, informative website come in to play.

    Although ppc provides the best ROI of any referral source we use for new patients, I do stress to my clients the importance of having multiple “tough points” for prospects. They are much more likely to jump your way if they’ve received a rec. from friend/physician, find you on the web with a good, professional website, have seen some local friends “like” your FB page, and, even still in 2013, seen an ad in a newspaper, tv or magazine (newspaper still provides a decent ROI, magazine does not, though my long-term background is branding).

    Many doctors want to believe that they do not need to market their business as other small businesses should, but the reality is that they need to do so even more, because there is so much competition in almost every field of elective healthcare.

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