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10 Social Media Hacks You Need to Use Right Now
You don’t need an expensive digital agency to grow your social media presence.
By: Wendy Lewis
You finished a long day of office visits, there is a pile of charts on your desk, your family is waiting for you to join them for dinner, and you just remembered that you didn’t post anything today. So, what’s a busy doctor to do?
Social media has taken on a life of its own, and the sheer amount of time it takes to get it right can present major challenges for overscheduled practitioners and their staff. It takes a village to design a social strategy and execute it flawlessly—especially if you are active across multiple platforms.
Social media is big business today and requires a major effort and a budget to make it work. Many doctors now have their own team of photographers, videographers, and content creators who follow them around to get the best snippets. Others have multiple digital agencies on board to help create content, manage posting across channels, and handle social advertising to reach their audience and track results.
For practices trying to go it alone, these time-saving, life-altering hacks will help make your social media life simpler, faster, and more manageable.
Build a Content Calendar
Think of a content calendar as a roadmap to your digital presence. Without one, you are taking a leap of faith that everyone involved is of the same mindset. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a unified social media strategy. Social media management goes far beyond scheduling Facebook posts and coming up with an Instagram post for any given day. It is vital to ensure that social media activity is aligned with all your other marketing efforts, such as email campaigns, videos, blog and website updates, events, and seminars. You need one universal place to manage all of your marketing efforts where they can be viewed and interpreted clearly by everyone on your team.
A well-designed content calendar should cover seven days per week for one month at a time. Social media marketing does not come to a screeching halt on Friday at 5pm. To start, create a horizontal menu of seven columns, Monday through Sunday, and add an extra column for notes at the end. Then arrange a vertical menu of all of your marketing activities—start with website, blog, events, and specials, and then add all social platforms.
Think of content in terms of buckets and try to vary your buckets to hold your followers’ interest. Content of just one type and theme used consistently in the same format can make them lose interest. One bucket should be practice news, such as introducing a new employee/product/treatment or special offers for the week or month. Another bucket should be related to the month/time of year. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and National Women’s Health Week is also a May theme. Memorial Day Weekend and Mother’s Day are also relevant to your audience. Add buckets for key services you want to push out for the week or month, including specific products. Then add general interest buckets around relevant topics, such as beauty, aging, wellness, fitness. Leave room for filtering in timely content that may arise during the month, such as media hits, practice/doctor milestones, new study results, FDA approvals, clinical research on a relevant topic, statistics, awards, etc. Consider adding a sneak peek or hint of something that will be happening in the next month to pique your fans’ interest.
You write a blog post and then share it on Facebook. Good job, but you have probably spent considerable time writing the post or paying a writer to do it, so you want to get the most eyes on it as possible. Facebook is a good start, but you can take it so much further. Learn how to repurpose your best content so it reaches the maximum number of fans and delivers strong ROI. To plan to repurpose your content, create types of content that can be easily tweaked to work for several platforms.
Try these tips:
- Transform articles into video scripts
- Create a short video series (5-10 minutes) of the most common consultation questions
- Turn slide decks into Slideshare presentations for LinkedIn or record them in a webcast format to reach consumers
- Turn industry statistics into colorful, shareable infographics
- Plan an email marketing campaign to drive readers to your social platforms
- Create a graphic to illustrate the theme you want to convey and add it to your tweets
- Develop matching images by resizing them for each social media channel
Many types of content can also be rescheduled across platforms until a finite future date. For example, if you tweet a special promotion or blog post just one time, you are minimizing the chances of reaching your target audience. Social media users have short attention spans, so repetition is often key to gaining their interest. Use your content calendar to easily repeat, requeue, and reschedule your most popular content. You can change the image, add or remove video, tweak the headline or reorder the intro copy to create posts that look new but are actually rescheduled versions of the same key messages. This is an ideal plan for promoting events, seminars, webinars, practice milestones, and special offers.
Create Evergreen Content
If your brain is on overload constantly having to come up with fresh, new content to post, think evergreen. Evergreen content is always timely, so it is not dated or season specific and can be recycled with relative ease. Once you identify evergreen posts, you can keep repeating this content at certain intervals across channels. Examples may include skincare tips, Q&A formats on a popular treatment or procedure, surveys or quizzes on consumer habits or goals, such as “Name your desert island skincare product” or ‘What area of your face/body so you want to improve most?” Or, you can use numbered themes such as “5 Ways to Look 5 Years Younger” or “6 Summer Skin Maintenance Strategies.”
Use a Dashboard
If you want to get serious about social, you need to invest in a dashboard. These platforms allow you to schedule, post, comment, repost/regram/retweet, load photos, and more across multiple platform. Some, such as Hootsuite, now enable you to schedule Instagram posts in advance as well, all from your desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. Choose the right social media management tool for your individual needs. While a lot of the platforms have much to offer, you might not need all the widgets and extra features that come with a hefty price tag. Consider how you plan your social media posts, what can be automated to save time, and where the gaps are. Then, check out a few of these popular choices, and choose the one that best suits your needs. Most offer a basic free version, but the better ones have sophisticated reporting, analytics, and scheduling options that are a must. Another benefit of dashboards is that it simplifies the process of tracking hashtags and bit.ly URLs.
You will also be able to repurpose content seamlessly on a dashboard. Hootsuite no longer allows users to post to more than one account at one time. If you have two Twitter accounts, you will have to post the same content at different times to avoid getting blocked. This is an effort to reduce spam.
Check out some of the available dashboards and find one that works for you:
Add MEMES & GIFS
MEMES and GIFs are pieces of visual content, often funny or poignant, that can be used across social media and take the place of words. Due to their visual nature, these are well suited to all channels and are extremely shareable. They can also add some entertainment value to posts. You can add your logo in the bottom to gain credit when your memes are shared and add comments or hashtags to the image. To save time, use existing memes that match the phrase and sentiment you want to get across. Search for an emotion or reaction you want to convey, like “Oh no she didn’t” or “TGIF.”
Find them by searching these free sites—or use the GIF tool on your Facebook page:
Learn What’s Trending
Need inspiration? Stay in the know on what’s trending and join the conversation to increase your engagement. Learn what people are talking about, for example, #OscarsSeason #HarryandMeghan and #NationalNursesWeek. This may include holidays, celebrity news, award shows, global events, and sports happenings. You don’t need to insert your brand into every conversation, but if you do a deeper dive, you may find one or more trending topics that align with your brand and content strategy. Look for fun or interesting hashtags that you can use with your key messages. The best place to look is on Twitter on the left column towards the bottom, and on the Twitter “Events” tab to find out what may be trending in the next few months.
P.S. Avoid politics, religion, sex or anything that may be polarizing or too controversial.
Think Visual Marketing
Visual marketing through video is one of the best ways to engage, entertain, and surprise your audience, and keep them coming back. It has become a mandatory way to engage on social platforms. On-demand videos let your customers know about your products and services easily, and people prefer it over reading about product specs. Most social media platforms have auto-play features, which increases the chances of your videos getting the attention of your followers. To create interest among consumers and prospective patients, create a video about a particular solution, videotape a treatment and give it your own take, ask a question, or simply tell your brand’s story to draw viewers in to learn more.
If you are serious about video marketing, invest in one of the new cameras that are designed for social media use. Lenovo just launched their own Mirage 180-degree camera for $299. It features two 13-megapixel cameras that can take stereoscopic images and videos in the VR180 format. This camera was designed to be easier to shoot and watch than 360-degree VR videos. Soloshot also has some cool options for outdoor video aficionados, and if the $649 price tag is too rich for your blood, they also have an app and will launch an indoor version soon.
Get a Ring Light
Want to have an instant glow in your selfies and videos? Do what vloggers do, use a ring light. A ring light is a handy multi-use tool that can be used for all types of shoots. It may use fluorescent or LED circular bulbs and provides uniform light coming straight from the camera's point of view to brightens your pics and help eliminate shadows. These systems can be used with a tripod and most having a mounting bracket for your camera or phone. One of the top-rated ones is 2.1 1. Diva Ring Light Super Nova 18″ Dimmable Light available at Walmart for $249, but you can get cheaper versions on Amazon and eBay.
Find the Right Apps
There is an app for everything and dozens for each conceivable application, but some are infinitely better than others in terms of ease of use and the features provided. Although many apps can take some time to master, if you use them on a regular basis you can get adapted to some of the more techie features if you’re game or just stick to the basics. Here are some of our faves:
To Watermark Photos
- Watermark Photo
- Watermark X
- Ezy Watermark
- My Watermarks
For Creating Quotagraphics
- Quot Maker
For Photo Editing
For Video Editing
For Cool Posts
Use Photo & Design Sites
So, if you don’t have the budget to hire a graphic designer or enlist a digital agency to create beautiful content for you, there are some reasonably priced workarounds available. Stock photography sites have huge libraries of images, vectors (drawings, clip art or illustrations) and videos for licensing, with fees based on the size of the image and its intended use. Some images are better than others, and it will take time to sort through available images in the category you are looking for. The more specific and narrow your search is, the faster this process goes. Many sites offer small-business-friendly subscription-based accounts that can cost $1 per image for limited use, as in a social media post, blog or on a website. Extended licenses are offered for larger projects. Best practice is to manipulate the images you choose to make them your own by cropping, adding a filter, adding text or a log or catch phrase.
Free-to-Use or Cheap Photo Sites
Subscription Photo Sites
Sites that offer pre-designed templates, slide decks, layouts, fonts, photography collections, and creative packages that can be customized through Photoshop or other design software are also helpful to augment your social media marketing. Check these out for affordable rates from $5 and up for limited use.
Got a suggestion? We’re all ears.
• Wendy Lewis is Founder/President of Wendy Lewis & Co. Ltd., a marketing communication and social media boutique in New York City.
• Founder/Editor-in-Chief of beautyinthebag.com
• Author of 12 books, including Aesthetic Clinic Marketing in the Digital Age (CRC Press 2018)