To Tweet or Not To Tweet: THAT is the (Twitter) Question

Follow Us on Twitter-DigitalMed Blog Post

Twitter is one of DigitalMed’s top four social media platforms.  Why?  In a word:  reach.  Twitter has 255 million active users who collectively send 500 million tweets each and every day![i] If you’re not on Twitter, you could be missing out on a lot of potential patients.  Many practice’s start their foray into social media with a Facebook page.  Although this is a good place to start, keep in mind not everyone who has a Twitter account also has a Facebook page.  Although Facebook and Twitter both fall under the heading of social media, they are completely different platforms.  This means that there’s a slightly different demographic for each.  This is why having a more comprehensive plan is always a better strategy.

Still on the fence?  The next time you’re watching the news, an awards show or your favorite talent-based reality show, pay attention to the text on the bottom portion of your screen.  You will almost always see the either the Twitter logo, a hashtag (more on hashtags below), or a live twitter feed. Twitter has completely changed the landscape of television.  TV shows have now incorporated ‘real-time’ tweeting into their programming.   They’ve caught on to the fact that interactive shows are a great way to create buzz about their particular brand.

Twitter Basics:

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Character limit: With Twitter, you are limited to 140 characters for each post. Some view that as a negative as you sometimes have to get creative in order to get the message conveyed within those limits.  We see it as a positive as it decreases the amount of time spent on each post.  Instead of putting all of your content in your post, you can use Twitter as a ‘teaser’ and direct your interested followers to a landing page on your website for more information.  After all, one of the main goals of social media should be to drive more patients to your website.  If you give all of the information in the post, there’s no reason to continue on to your website.
  • What to post: Much like all social media platforms before you start, you have to have a clear idea of the focus of your brand.  (We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating:  Your medical practice IS your brand.)
    Define Your Brand-DigitalMed Blog Post
    Once you define the focus of your practice, you can begin to develop your Twitter strategy.  Another important factor to consider is the more dynamic the post, the better it will perform.  Therefore, pictures, and videos perform better than just plain text.  For instance, if you’re a plastic surgeon and the main focus of your practice is Botox, a posting of side by side before and after photos would be a great idea for your practice. You should also include a link to a landing page on your website which includes a comprehensive list of the Botox services you provide.
  • It’s ALL about the #hashtags! What’s a hashtag? The hashtag symbol is the pound sign on your computer keyboard.  Using this symbol before a word (without any spaces) categorizes that tweet so that it’s searchable by a specific keyword on Twitter.  Twitter defines it best:
  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search.
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.[ii]

Be sure to incorporate at least one hashtag in each post.  Not sure which hashtag to use?  First, use the hashtag of the keyword that best represents the focus of your practice in as many posts as you can (just be sure the hashtag is relevant to the content of the post).  In the above example the hashtag could be #Botox and perhaps #BeforeAndAfter or #WrinkleFree.  Another hashtag you can use on every post is the name of your practice.  Hashtags categorize your keywords which means by using a hashtag, you have the ability to reach anyone on Twitter, not just those who opt in to your tweets by following you.  So if any Twitter user has an interest in a specific health treatment, they can search that treatment using keywords and find the most relevant posts for it.  Likewise, if they’ve been referred to you, they can do a search on Twitter for your practice name.  It’s another form of research.  If you’ve used the appropriate hashtags, your posts will show up in the search for those keywords.  However, be careful not to use too many hashtags.  Two hashtags per post is optimal.  You shouldn’t use more than 3 hashtags per post, or your message could get lost. The benefits of using hashtags are really limitless, especially if you are looking to gain new patients…and who isn’t?

  • You can advertise on Twitter to increase exposure. In addition to reaching those who have chosen to follow you on Twitter, you can reach a targeted audience of your choosing.  This can be done in one of two ways:
  1. By promoting a post to a targeted audience.
  2. By creating an ad and sending that out to a targeted audience.

Once you’ve created a twitter account, you’ll find a link to advertising on the lower right side of your home page. From there, you can either choose to create tweet engagement by choosing an existing tweet to promote or composing a new tweet OR you can create an ad.  For both, you can target your audience by narrowing it down using categories such as age, gender, language and geographic location. Then choose your budget and start your campaign!

Conclusion:

If you have a social media strategy in place, it just isn’t complete without a Twitter account.  You can increase your practice’s exposure by reaching more followers and establish yourself as a specialist for the focus of your practice with the proper use of #hashtags. The best part is you can do all of this by writing a small blurb of 140 characters or less.  DigitalMed can help you establish your medical practice on Twitter.  Contact us on Twitter or via email at digitalmed@digitalmednyc.com to get started today!

[i] http://blog.digitalinsights.in/social-media-users-2014-stats-numbers/05205287.html

[ii] https://support.twitter.com/articles/49309-using-hashtags-on-twitter

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