Utilising Social Media Effectively

By Cait McLaughlin / 10 Nov 2022

Communications manager Cait McLaughlin shares advice for staying abreast of the ever-changing social media landscape and using video to promote your clinic.

We’re busy people. We have clinics to run, patients to see and business critical tasks to take care of. As the pandemic proved, social media is an integral tool in our marketing arsenal and one that demands our attention. It acts as the shop window to our businesses, and it’s often the first place prospective patients will find us. With Instagram desperately trying to compete with the likes of TikTok, and video content being more heavily prioritised in our customers’ feeds, what can we do as busy business people to make adapting to social media changes as manageable as possible? 

Ultimately, our social media platforms give us an incredible opportunity to build trust with prospective patients, allowing them to get to know us before they even pick up the phone to book an appointment. The old marketing mantra of ‘The Seven Times Rule’, developed by marketing guru Dr Jeffrey Lant, states that a consumer has to see a particular advertisement, service or product seven times before the message will really resonate.1 When a social media user sees an advert or a piece of content, it often takes creative repetition for the message to truly sink in and encourage the user to take action by seeking more information, booking an appointment or buying a product. That’s why it’s so important that as business owners, we utilise social platforms confidently, using them to their maximum potential to yield the best results. 

How video is transforming social media 

Following the rise in popularity of short-form video app TikTok, Instagram – which had previously been an image-focused platform – has been in a perpetual state of diversification in order to compete. In 2019, Instagram introduced Reels – full-screen, vertical videos that can be several minutes long. In 2021, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri declared that the platform is ‘no longer a photo-sharing app’, and that it will ‘embrace video’ going forward.2 Creators are therefore encouraged to up their video game in order to stay at the top of followers’ feeds. 

It comes as no surprise that video content resonates more effectively with audiences. On a basic human level, our brain enjoys video content because it’s easier to retain visual information, and users on social platforms fundamentally find videos more engaging than static imagery. According to a report by software company DataBox, 60% of marketers said that video content drives more clicks on Facebook, compared to just 30% who said that static imagery is the most engaging.3 

So, with these changes in mind, it’s important to consider how we rely on social media to remain a valuable marketing tool for our businesses, while not allowing it to completely overwhelm our already hectic workload. 

Outlining short-term goals 

Firstly, when it comes to managing a successful social media account, it’s important to set out some goals for the month ahead. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you have a specific campaign you’d like to promote? Would you like to better understand your audience? Increase traffic to your website? Publicise your successes? Share news? Thinking about the ‘why’ in advance will allow you to shape the type of content you’ll be creating, and it’ll feel less like you’re posting for the sake of posting. 

Bulk scheduling content ahead of time will prove an excellent way to make the most of the time you spend on social media. Using tools like Meta Business Manager, Hootsuite or Later, you can develop content well in advance and post to your social platforms at a date and time that suit you, and your followers. By dedicating a few hours to writing content, preparing video/imagery and loading them into the scheduling tool, you’ll free up valuable time in the month ahead. 

Bulk filming is also an excellent time-saving technique. If you have time to film a video, why not try filming a few and bank them to use later? Many practitioners will block out time in their calendars each month – even for a couple of hours – to film several videos back-to-back for use on social media. Consider video content such as showcasing new products and treatments or introducing your audience to members of your team. If editing a video for social media makes you feel a little out of your depth, not to fear – free tools such as Canva, Splice or Adobe Premier Rush provide easy-to-use templates where you can slot in your own video clips to create quick, easy and professional-looking Reels and Stories. 

If standing in front of a camera sends shivers down your spine, just remember, we’re not aiming for perfection. Users like to see the real, authentic side of the individuals, clinics and companies they follow, not necessarily the polished version reading from a script. You might even have some talented videographers ready for the spotlight in your team! Mix things up and take turns to get in front of the camera, sharing stories and voices from across the business. 

Instagram stories are another quick and easy way to bring both current and prospective patients on a journey with you each day, letting them see behind the curtain and, importantly, building trust and rapport. Filming short videos to give followers a window into your journey to clinic, chatting about your day, providing clinic updates or receiving your copy of the Aesthetics journal can prove really effective and engaging ways to keep your audience interested in what you’re up to. 

Engaging with your audience 

Networking and engaging with your community, whether they may be prospective patients, existing customers or colleagues within the industry, is critical to your success. It’s easy to maintain your profiles on social media and develop a good routine for updating them, but engaging with the community on the platform is also important for growth and engagement. 

There are several easy ways to keep on top of community engagement. Firstly, it’s important to be seen as a participating member of the community, so make sure you’re prompt in responding to enquires and direct messages. Many social platforms facilitate the option to send automated messages when you might not have time to respond straight away, letting people know you’ve received their message and will reply as soon as you can. Use the tools within the Instagram stories feature to pose questions and create polls. Ask people what they’d like to see from you, why they’re following you and what kind of information they’re there to see. 

Like any business strategy, social media marketing is most effective when goals and plans are underpinned by real data. Social media data analytics provide information that helps you understand what’s working and what isn’t. When using social media for your business accounts, you’ll automatically gain access to ‘Insights’ via your Professional Dashboard (on Instagram) and ‘Analytics’ via the Meta Business Suite (on Facebook). By analysing the data at the end of each month, you can make the right business decisions and refine your strategy as you move forward. 

Important statistics to be aware of are your ‘reach’ – the number of people who see content from your page whether they follow you or not, and ‘impressions’ – the number of times any content from or about your page is visible on a person’s screen. By analysing these detailed insights, it allows you to find out what content resonates most effectively with your audience and what has the greatest reach to new users, as well as providing information about your follower demographics, meaning you can get to know your audience better.

Embracing the platforms 

Lastly, lean in. Changes to platforms and algorithms can be frustrating, especially when it feels as though it’s only been a week since you got your head around the last update. It’s very easy to put off learning how new features work or ignoring them altogether in the hope that they’ll eventually go away. More often than not, when a new update goes live, social networks will let you know when elements of their platform have changed and offer the opportunity to read more, learn the basics and get top tips on utilising new features effectively. The reality is that we must move with the times, embrace the updates and get into the swing of things to avoid being left behind. 

Many of us now also face an interesting dilemma: is Instagram enough, or do I need to consider TikTok too? While many of us would assume that TikTok is a young person’s game, full of memes and viral dance routines, you may be surprised to learn that as of April 2022, over 30% of TikTok’s users were females aged 25 and up.4 It’s also the fastest growing social media platform, and has a 57% female user base.5 So, if the question remains, ‘are my patients likely to be on TikTok?’, the answer is, they very well could be! 

The best way to find out if your patients are using the platform is to simply ask them when they come into clinic so you can find out if engaging with TikTok is going to be worthwhile. If managing all platforms at once seems overwhelming, focus on your bread and butter platforms – usually Facebook and Instagram – but ensure you’ve got accounts set up with your bespoke username and profiles before they are snapped up on any additional platforms. This way, you can maintain a low-key, hands-off approach, maybe only updating the likes of TikTok once every fortnight initially until you build confidence and get into a good routine of publishing content on there. 

Maximising success 

To maximise your success on these ever-changing, ever more video-centric platforms, it really does come down to getting into a robust routine. Plan ahead by thinking about what your goals are for the month, schedule content and bulk record video content when you can, network and respond to any incoming enquires as promptly as you can, analyse the data at the end of each month and, critically, be brave. Throw yourself in to embracing new features, put your face out there and let current and prospective patients see the authentic you. Remember, social media should be one of several digital strategies to promote your business, and you should complement this with other factors such as a website and email marketing. 

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