In 2017, the United States had approximately 479,000 documented physicians, and that number is only expected to increase in the upcoming years.

Want to beat the competition? Learn how to utilize social media for healthcare.

Millions of people read and scan social platforms every day, and not just for funny videos and recipes. People are researching medical conditions, treatment options and healthcare providers online. Here are 5 ways to get your brand in front of their eyes and improve your bottom line.

1. Live Videos

Live videos aren’t just on Facebook anymore. New platforms such as Periscope are quickly gaining traction utilizing only live videos. Most marketers agree that video usage in 2018 will be huge and that now is the time for every industry to get on board.

Video provides an additional channel to educate patients on subjects such as medical procedures, disease prevention and more. Video can also save physicians time by reducing the need for individual counseling for some patients. It is cost effective also, as modern computers, webcams and other capture devices provide high quality video that can easily be posted online for patients to view at their convenience.

Did one of your doctors receive an award or present at a conference? Perhaps there is a new announcement that needs to be made. This is another way healthcare providers are starting to use video.

People want to know what’s going on as soon as it happens, which is why they often tune in for live videos. Engage these interests with fresh new content.

Not sure how to get started? Check out our guide for the best content marketing trends.

2. More Information for the Patients

The second thing you are going to see in 2018 is a push for more information and content from healthcare providers. Patients have more information than ever at their fingertips and you can guarantee they are going to use it. Patients go online to read reviews and find medical condition information and treatment options more than ever before.

Social media is a great way to push out information and build your brand as an expert. With all of the fake news being published, it’s also a way to provide accurate information from a trusted medical professional. Create content that explains medical  conditions or medications in a simple and engaging way. Social media is also a good channel to promote awareness of medical conditions and treatment options.

Providing relevant information will not only attract new customers, but it will also provide a better understanding of their health and your ‘brand’.

3. Push for Reviews

Third, push for reviews. Reviews on social media sites can go a long way. Incentivize your patients to give you a review online. This can be done by creating a drawing or giving them a discount. Think of this as advertising spend.

Not only do reviews help bring in new patients, but a study was completed that found that the more reviews you had, the more valuable the product or service would seem. Reviews carry a lot of weight when people are searching for a new provider. It’s well worth the effort to push for reviews from your patients.

Here’s a bonus tip: respond to the negative reviews you receive as well. This will help people see that you care and are responsive and engaging.

4. Stay on Top of Messaging

Another way to show people that you are responsive is to stay on top of messaging. When people have a question about your business hours or service they are usually in a decision-making mode. Taking too long to respond back to them could mean the potential loss of a customer. Even if you are away from the desk, set up an autoresponder and then respond as quickly as possible.

If you have a staff member that can manage a live chat or social media feed, this is another way to provide value to your current patients, as well as those looking for a new provider.

5. Influencer Marketing

Lastly, incorporate influencer marketing into your social media for healthcare. Influencers are valuable because they have a much greater reach than your brand might have. By using influencers, you are able to utilize both their reach and engagement for your own brand.

Influencers in the healthcare industry may be open to sharing your content with their connections. Start building relationships with these people on LinkedIn or other social media channels. Offer them something of value in exchange for helping you expand your own brand reach.

Using Social Media for Healthcare

Using social media for healthcare can be tricky. Healthcare is a heavily regulated industry and you must always be aware of patient privacy and federal and state rules and regulations. It’s important to train your staff on HIPAA compliance with social media. If you hire a social media specialist or marketing agency to manage your account, make sure that they too understand what they can and cannot do on social media within the healthcare industry.

Not all social media specialists are the same. Here are 5 questions you should ask a specialist before you hire them.

Do you know of any tips we might have missed? Leave them below in the comments.