Which social media networks should we use to reach clients and patients?


Running a small private practice or charity and doing your own marketing. Hmmm yes, that’s a handful! When do you find the time to reach out and engage with your clients and patients?

You’ll no doubt have two or three social media accounts set up to help promote your work and find like-minded professionals too. Social media has become one powerful, mother-flippin’ marketing channel but whilst it’s where your clients and patients are most likely to hang out, that doesn’t mean they’ll be there in their thousands, with party hats and whistles waiting for you.

So today I’m going to help you decide which particular social media networks are for your healthcare or charity organisation and how to make that choice really simply because I like simple! Like you, I don’t like to waste my precious time staring at my smartphone after work when I could be painting my step daughter’s bedside cabinets, in the hottest pink shade you can find at B&Q, just so she’ll put her flipping socks away!

Healthcare & charity marketing: the #1 myth about social media

Let’s get this straight from the start; unless you have professional help or a really boring home life, there is no way you should be trying to be on every social media network. Repeat. There is no way you should be trying to be on every social media network! Despite it being mainstream, being on every social media channel still remains one of the biggest social media myths today.

If you think your health centre might not do well on a certain social network, say Facebook with its billions of users, you must really have the facts and reasons. I’ll confess; I absolutely hate Facebook sometimes and it’s owners’ greedy lure to make you spend to get your Facebook business page even found.

There is a whopping, major exception to this though. If I’m asked by a physiotherapy client to get in touch specifically with 25-45 year old business women that work on Abbeydale Road and enjoy health and fitness in Sheffield, you can bet your bottom pound I can reach every one of them using Facebook. Now that’s just made Facebook a hell of a lot more appealing, right? Big Brother or what!?


Social media marketing channels: Has your health business or charity got the time, skill & money?

macbook-336704_1280If you’re a cash-strapped charity with a team of two and maybe the odd volunteer working in the office, you’ve to admit there’s basically no time to serve your client, meet targets and publish content on social media fit for potential leads. In most cases, you barely have time to grab something to eat at lunch, let alone fill multiple social networking sites with enticing content about your work. Time is always stretched, particularly for charities and if it’s stretched, then it’s stretched too thinly.

Considering the usability of the social networks as you explore their practicality as a marketing presence is challenging too. If you’re having challenges building a working presence on one, it must be the same or even harder for your audience.

Wouldn’t it be better to learn how to fully use the tools you have already before adding more to the mix?

The most important takeaway here; do the marketing activities that you can. Stick to social media that directly gets you where majority of the audience and potential clients are and forget the rest.


Where do people with an interest in their health or local charities hang out on social media?

Time for some homework. Okay you can thank me later for doing it for you. A fellow communicator colleague of mine, Ross McCulloch produced this nifty update on the latest UK social media stats recently and Hootsuite also have all the latest stats broken down by social media network here.

New social media platforms will come and go but so long as you keep checking the latest stats and hitting where the majority of your flock are, that’s all you need to focus on.


Find the flock and follow

Your audience should determine your social media postings and where, particularly if you don’t have time, bandwidth and a budget to be everywhere on the web. While Facebook and Instagram might be great for a visually-focused businesses with lots going on, having a presence in LinkedIn groups might not make sense at first but you never know the influential figures and journos that reside there – if they’re the types of people you wish to reach out to of course.

UK stats pretty much confirm that most people you want to target are probably on Facebook and if they aren’t there all the time, there’s a good chance they’re going to be on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat (for under 21s) or Instagram, or a combination of these. The latter of which is a growing powerhouse for visual types by the way; more on that in a future blog.


How to look for and find clients, volunteers, new staff and private patients using social media networks

As Facebook says when it’s trying to get money out of you – don’t worry, it’s just the tight Yorkshire lass inside talking – ‘get to know the people who matter to your business so that you can understand what matters to them. Learn about their locations, interests and behaviours so that you can create messages that will help your business grow.’

So how to do this:

  1. Start by writing your perfect target audience down in detail – find an image on Google to picture those people in your mind if it helps. Think age, gender, marital status, location, interests, job roles. Think about where they work, what do they like to talk about and share on social media. Some of this might not seem relevant but see if you can come up with 4-5 very likely people who are most likely to love and want to know more about what you do.
  2. Next head to the social networks and check out their insight tools to see how many people fit all of the criteria you’ve written down. If you head to the advertising section of Facebook as though you’re going to place an ad, there should be a section in the top left hand corner called Audience Insights. By selecting just a few interests, an age range and specifying Sheffield as my target location, I found there to be 20-25,000 active users on Facebook that would be likely to be interested in one of my particular services locally. That’s plenty to go at, don’t you think?
  3. You can search LinkedIn and Twitter using much the same tools by job title, topics and industry. On these platforms, you can even check out 10-20 profiles for yourself to see the types of things that they’re sharing and talking about. You’ll be an FBI agent in no time!


What did you find out about your patients and clients?

Once you’ve done this research, it should be much more clearer which the right social networks are for your healthcare or charity organisation. If you do choose to spend some money with Facebook to accurately target your specific crowds too, think about where you might be spending money elsewhere in your budget on much broader marketing activities. Wouldn’t you rather use narrow targeting and getting to the exact people you want rather than a wasted blanket approach?

Which social media networks do you use and love? Which aren’t working as hard for you? Share your challenges with us on our Facebook page and we’ll make sure we cover them for you in the near future.