Using Facebook to Build Patient Loyalty
As a practice, you may not think of yourself as a brand, per se. And all the constant yammering from “experts” about brand building can be overwrought. But the truth is your practice is a brand of sorts. You may be the brand that provides the most available procedures. You may be the brand that provides the most attentive follow-up care for your patients. You may be the brand that is known for rhinoplasty. You may be the source for wisdom teeth removal. Or to your patients you may simply be a brand that they trust and enjoy patronizing.
People may not think of your practice and associate it with a logo, such as a big brand like Coca-Cola, but a practice creates its own brand. And brand loyalty is important to create loyal patients. Here are a few ways to build loyalty to your practice through your Facebook page.
First off — What is brand loyalty?
Every business from hardware stores to plastic surgeons would say their ideal customer is one thing: a loyal one. Brand loyalty is nothing more than a person being partial to one business or product over another.
Before these digital days, brand loyalty grew out of a simple belief in the product. It was pretty much a one-way street. People bought Budweiser over Miller because they liked the flavor, and maybe even the company’s advertising, more than Miller.
Today, customers expect more. They often want something in return from the business or company. One way to engender that give and take is with your practice’s Facebook page. Since we’re all about the digital media world here at Advice Media | MedNet, here are some ways to use your Facebook page to build give and take…and patient loyalty.
How about a rewards program?
Consider creating some sort of rewards program, VIP club, or something similar. This may seem silly — plastic surgery or dermatology or dentistry practices aren’t like Starbucks. You don’t get a free mid-facelift when you buy a tummy tuck and two Botox sessions. But before you go off here, think about it. Maybe it’s a VIP program for those patients who have had X number of procedures. Maybe it’s based on how long they’ve been patients of your practice for a dentist.
Social media is a great way to let this group feel they’re really a part of your practice. You can announce the program on your Facebook page, along with perks that come with it. You can encourage those VIPs to post content to your Facebook page, maybe your blog (for something like a first-person before and after procedure story). You can ask the group if there is a certain new procedure they think you should add to your practice (maybe something like Cellfina or Ultherapy, maybe Invisalign).
It should be exclusive, however — not just anyone gets to be a VIP of your practice. But your recognition of their continued patronage is important to them, and that recognition builds their loyalty. Maybe you give them a free laser skin tightening, maybe free dental whitening. Maybe you have a special wine and cheese party once a quarter. Whatever. Your Facebook page is a great way to promote the possibility of every patient becoming a VIP patient.
Encourage your patients to review your practice
Research shows again and again that up to 90 percent of U.S. consumers read online reviews when making decisions about businesses and products. In the healthcare industry, this is the way potential patients seek to find a level of trust before they’ve even entered the practice.
Encourage your patients to review your practice, whether it’s a formal review on RealSelf, or just talking about something they’ve had done on Facebook. If they’re thrilled with their new nose, have them post a selfie video of it on your Facebook page. And then be sure to interact with the post from the practice side.
Don’t fear a bad review. Most people don’t trust reviews where there is never a negative word; they think the reviews are planted. But if there is a less-than-favorable review, be sure to respond to it and try to fix any issues the patient had. And then ask the patient to post about the final result.
Show them the real you
Doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers have always had a level of mystery to their offices. You can pull back the curtain with your Facebook page. Take photos of staff members doing their jobs, or just being goofy and post them to your page. If you just purchased a new laser for gum contouring, take a picture or video and tell your Facebook followers about it. If your aesthetician paints in her free time, put some of her work up on your page. If you have four dogs, post about them.
The idea is to show your Facebook followers a side of the practice they normally don’t see. That makes them feel more like family, and that keeps them coming back.
At Advice Media | MedNet we think it’s important to use your practice’s Facebook page to build loyalty and familiarity with your customers. If you want us to build and handle the day-to-day workings of your page, we can do that. Or if you just need some advice on how to handle something like a VIP program, we can do that. Whatever your needs with Facebook and social media, we can help. Simply call your Advice Media | MedNet representative and ask.