by Sally Falkow
A recent webinar featured Sarah Outlaw, a successful healthcare practitioner. Sarah shared how using social media contributed to building her two highly successful nutrition practices – one in New Jersey and one in Des Moines, Iowa.
The trick is to truly understand what social media is and how it works, so that you post the right content and reach the right people. Just having a Facebook page and an Instagram account and posting sporadically won’t yield results.
You need to have:
- a sound strategy
- a commitment to creating excellent quality content
- a daily posting schedule
- eye-catching and interesting graphic posts
- regular video posts
- a system to help you monitor the responses
Social Media is Not a Passive Medium
The clue is in the word social. Think of it as a huge networking event or cocktail party. For some, it’s a family reunion.
Social media involves a group of people with similar interests who are connecting and communicating with one another.
You want to reach the group that’s interested in what you offer. But if you stand on the sidelines and post random content from time to time, don’t be surprised if no-one sees it or takes any notice at all. The Facebook and Instagram algorithms are geared to reward content that gets engagement.
Original content is preferable. You have a great camera in your phone – learn to use it. Get a book on using your phone camera to get great shots. The Art of iPhone Photography is one. This article has excellent tips. And this one is for Android phones.
One of the questions on the webinar was, ‘Where do you get images that are applicable to Nutrition Response Testing®?”
The answer is, take them yourself! That way they are real and personal. It’s always good to share content about you, your staff, your patients, and your practice.
When you share yourself on social media your followers learn who you are. You educate them about what you do and how you can help them. They see that you are knowledgeable, you have helped others, and they start to like and trust you.
Visual Content and Design Skills
But I’m not a designer, you say. Well, the good news is that there are all kinds of easy-to-use resources online today that you can use to make amazing content.
Canva is one of my favorites. They have pre-made templates for all kinds of different posts.
All it takes is a little bit of time. Learn how to use all the various elements Canva offers. It’s not hard to do.
And if you really don’t have the time or the inclination to make visual content, hire someone on a site like fiverr.com. You can find good designers from all over the world who will work for a small fee. I’m currently working with one from Ireland who is a gem.
The Power of Video Content
One of the points Sarah stressed on the webinar is the need for video. People love to see you and really get a feel for who you are. Video is the very best way to do that. Even if you feel you would not make a great video star, remember it’s not about that. It’s about people getting to know, like, and trust you.
They’re not looking for a movie star. They’re looking for someone who can help them with their health issues. It’s about what you know and how you can help them. You don’t worry about how you look when a patient comes to see you, so don’t worry about how you look on a video.
That said, there are some tips you should implement to look your best on camera. Mostly, it’s about the lighting. This article has a video tutorial on how to use three-point lighting. You can buy lights on Amazon. For less than $100 you can get everything you’ll need.
Sarah’s rapid success with her second practice in Des Moines, Iowa was the result of her social media. and video content.
The plan was to build up a following in the area and then open the practice in the fall of 2018. Because the social media campaign was such a success, and the demand was so strong, she had to open 6 months earlier than she had planned to. And within a year that practice was doing $1 million in revenue!
The Successful Social Media Strategy
- Set up your Facebook page and Instagram account
- Optimize the page/account
- Set up an advertising account with Facebook
- Establish a budget for your campaign – you will need to advertise to reach people to start with
- Create an audience in the Facebook advertising platform concentrating on your local area and people who have the kind of interests and demographics you’d like to reach. Facebook has all kinds of information about their users. You can choose income levels, job titles, interests, followers of specific companies or pages.
- Create a content calendar for the next three months.
- Use Canva to create your images (use the Instagram post template)
- Post first to Instagram and choose the option to also post to Facebook.
(Or use a social media management dashboard like Sendible.com so you can upload your content, pick which social account to send it to, and schedule posts into the future. It’s a wonderful time saver.)
- Make at least one video a week and post it.
- Once you have posted good content twice a day for two weeks, start a page promotion campaign in Facebook. Use your selected audience and spend $5 or $10 a day to get the people in your audience to like and follow your page.
- Boost the posts on Facebook and choose ‘also advertise on Instagram.’ You can boost a post for $20 and reach probably about 7000 people in your area who are interested in health and nutrition.
The more you spend with Facebook and Instagram, the faster you will grow your following.
Just remember, it does depend on the quality of the content. If it’s blah and boring, they won’t like and follow you.
Keep a close eye on your notifications and the Insights. Make sure you respond quickly to any comments or messages. After all, the purpose of all this is to start a conversation with people who might be potential patients. If they speak up, jump right in and get that conversation going.