Social media started in 1997 with Six Degrees and was a place where you could upload a profile picture and make friends.
In the early 2000s, it came into its own with sites like MySpace leading the charge. Today, it’s a hotbed of activity, controversy, and potential clients.
The importance of social media in marketing your businesses cannot be denied.
This article looks at the special allure, potential, and importance of social media marketing.
Social media is here to stay
It’s easy to write social media off because of the news headlines that seem to come out every month. Facebook was embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica issue and Snapchat allowed a tasteless ad that cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.
Through it all, the top social media platforms not only weather the storm but continue to grow. 2.77 billion people are plugged into social media and that number is expected to rise to over 3 billion people by 2021.
Social media penetration hovers around 45% worldwide but in the United States, 79% of the population has at least one social media account and 63% are on Facebook.
Before there was ever an issue with privacy, it was a place to share (and store) memories and connect with friends. You could log into your Facebook account and connect with someone on the other side of the country in a way that still felt personal.
That’s what keeps people coming back.
The same is true for other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. Pinterest is where your potential clients save articles and services they’re interested in.
Twitter is where they keep up on the latest news.
Instagram is the platform they visit when they want to be inspired or get a new perspective on how others live. It can also serve as a springboard for your brand.
Dr. Pimple Popper began uploading videos to YouTube but didn’t get much traction. She noticed people liked the shorter clips she posted on Instagram so she focused her time there. Eventually, she turned it into a community, millions strong, signed a contract for a reality TV show, and has an endless number of patients.
Social media marketing importance cannot be exaggerated.
To top it off, by the end of 2019 digital advertising will outpace print and television advertising for the first time in history.
Let’s look at social media marketing importance in more concrete terms.
Increased awareness and visibility
This is one of the most obvious benefits of social media. Traditional referrals are effective but there’s a limited number of people a patient can or will refer.
Social media is unique because it allows you to showcase your best work and connect with hundreds or thousands of people. Not only that, you’re able to do it in a way that doesn’t come off as salesy or unethical.
Ability to tell emotional stories
Have you ever been on Facebook or Twitter and saw an ad but scrolled right by it? You’re not alone.
People don’t log into their social media accounts to buy. When they get on, they want to connect with family and find stories that inspire them, make them laugh, or distract them.
Social media marketing should tap into the way people already use the platform they’re on. Instead of pitching discounts and talking about the latest procedure, it’s an opportunity to tell the story of the people you’ve served.
This removes you as the center of attention and instead puts past clients and patients under the spotlight. They can tell the story of their transformation and how it affected their lives better than you.
A fringe benefit of telling and sharing emotional stories is that it humanizes what you do. You know your job description is more than writing prescriptions and telling them what’s wrong with them. You’re a pillar for them when times get hard.
The emotional stories you share show you’re more than a body in a white coat. You’re a human that cares about them and their outcomes.
Marked influence on buying decisions
As the world becomes more connected, we’re able to communicate, shop, and receive advice on a global scale. Though recommendations from friends or family members still hold the most weight, online reviews are important.
90% of people online are influenced by positive reviews and 86% are influenced by negative reviews.
It’s clear from these statistics that online reviews and social proof hold a lot of weight with your potential patients.
If you were in the shoes of your patients, who would you trust more?
Would it be Dr. Howard Luks who has a 4.7-star rating and thousands of followers or Dr. James Baird who has a few hundred followers and no reviews.
If you’re like the millions of people who give weight to online reviews then you’ll give Dr. Luks a chance first.
Thought leadership is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days. It can be difficult to pin down what true thought leadership is because it seems like everyone has a blog where they can air their views.
Put simply, thought leadership is when you have a platform to share your thoughts and concerns and people listen. The key is that you’re able to reach and influence the right people. Social media marketing is the fastest way to make that a reality in this day and age.
Individuals have done it in the fashion, music, and entrepreneurship space. You may think it’s not for doctors but I’ve already shared the story of Dr. Sandra Lee AKA Dr. Pimple Popper.
Another Doctor worth mentioning is Dr. Mike Varshavski.
Dr. Mike amassed his 3.2 million followers by sharing photos of his daily life, his dog, and patient interactions.
He’s parlayed his social media influence into appearances in places like Live with Kelly and Ryan, Good Morning America, and Tedx.
Now, he has the attention of hundreds of thousands of people every time he posts and champions causes like Movember while advancing his professional career.
Dr. Mike didn’t start off as a social media expert and thought leader but over time his consistency and effort paid off.
Right now, the internet may seem complicated and difficult to navigate. In reality, it’s the simplest it will ever be.
If you’ve not started social media marketing then you’re missing out on a lot of the benefits it has to offer you such as:
- Increased awareness
- The opportunity to tell compelling stories to a larger audience
- Social proof and positive online reviews
- Thought leadership
Let us know what you think about the importance of social media marketing and which platforms you plan to make your mark on.