Social Media

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform For Your Medical Practice

By Amber Turner On Jan 27, 2023 . 0 Comments

When implementing a successful social media marketing strategy for your practice, you must first understand the different social media platforms, and which are the best fit for your medical practice.

Many assume all social media channels are equal – but they’re not.

By knowing the differences between each platform, you will know which ones you need to prioritize when crafting your social media marketing strategy, saving you time, effort, and money.

With more social media platforms than ever before to choose from, healthcare professionals are faced with a tough question: which ones are right for my practice?

Today, we’re going to answer that exact question. We’re going to share the top 6 social media platforms for medical practices, cover their advantages and disadvantages, and give our final verdict on whether or not they’re good for your business.

First, let’s get clear on what social media marketing is and why it’s such a valuable tool.

Why Use Social Media for Your Medical Practice

There are many reasons why you’d want to use social media for business. The benefits of social media in healthcare include:

  • Raising public awareness
  • Combating misinformation
  • Connecting with existing and potential patients
  • Promoting engagement
  • Boosting your SEO

Sharing informative, educational posts on social media connects you with current and potential patients. 

For example, as flu season approaches, you could post a reminder for individuals to get their flu shots or share flu statistics. 

Screenshot of facebook post about reminding people to get their flu shot
Facebook Post Example
Screenshot of twitter post about reminding people to get their flu shot
Twitter Post Example

This improves the chances that people will not only use the information but also share it with others, which leads people to become more familiar with your practice through your social media presence.

Most of your patients are already using social media. Take a look at these numbers:

Infographic of social media profile statistics in America sourced from Broadband Search
Image source: Broadband Search

In a survey of U.S. consumers by PatientsLikeMe, 11% said they turn to social media to find reliable health information, 9% said they use it to research treatment options, and 7% said they use it to find information about medication side effects.

With these known statistics, social media marketing for doctors is essential. Simply put, if your practice wants to produce outstanding results, it needs to be active on the major platforms that best fit your business.

Factors such as specialty type, target demographic, and content you create play a significant role in deciding which social media platforms are worth the time and effort to reach your existing and potential patients.

Using the right platform can amplify your visibility and sales and take your practice to the next level.

#1 Facebook

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Facebook is number one on our list of the top 6 social media platforms for medical practice.

With roughly 2.96 billion monthly active users as of the third quarter of 2022, Facebook is the most used online social network worldwide.

This social media site stands out as the top digital platform and businesses can’t afford to ignore it in their digital healthcare marketing strategy.

Facebook is designed to increase brand awareness and patient engagement, additionally having a strong impact on local SEO for a practice.

Typically when you search for a practice, Facebook is one of the top search results returned. This means Facebook is one of the most important search engine optimization listings for local search.

For medical practices looking to increase their reach and grow their business, there’s a good chance their next patient is on Facebook. Paid social ads reach those patients more than a quarter of all digital ad spending goes toward Facebook.

Facebook’s advertising platform is by far the most developed of all the social media platforms.

Through Facebook ads, you can target by:

  • Location: Reach people in cities, countries, and communities where you want to do business.
  • Demographics: Choose the audience for your ad based on demographics like age, gender, education, and more.
  • Interests: Reach people based on their interests, hobbies, and Pages they like on Facebook.
  • Behaviors: Find people based on their purchase behaviors, device usage, and other activities.
  • Connections: Choose to include people who are connected to your Facebook Page, or exclude them to find new audiences.
Infographic of pros and cons of using Facebook for medical social media marketing

There are a few disadvantages that come with having a Facebook business profile.

  • Time and resources: Setting up and running a Facebook page requires a time investment. You may need a member of staff who can take on social media duties and have enough time to manage the page well and create engaging content.
  • Advertising cost: To make the most of Facebook, you will probably need to invest in paid advertising. This will require its budget and can be quite costly if not done efficiently. If you have a limited marketing budget, it can become difficult to use Facebook advertising for your practice regularly.
  • Negative feedback: The two-way communication capability of Facebook means that unhappy patients can voice their complaints publicly. It is important to handle these complaints well as your response will be under scrutiny from your audience.

While there are some disadvantages to embracing Facebook for your social media marketing, there are a plethora of advantages that we believe outweigh those disadvantages.

All medical practices and specialties are a great fit for Facebook and should utilize Facebook in its marketing strategy.

#2 Instagram

Instagram is one of the most widely used platforms among US adults, with over 159 million users.

Instagram started as a platform for sharing photos and still keeps that as its core use. However, it has expanded to the sharing of videos in posts and in a feature called “stories.” 

Using Instagram for medical practices means creating a business account separate from your personal account.

Why? Business accounts:

  • With 10,000 or more followers can add a “swipe up” feature to go directly to a website
  • Have analytics to see what posts work or don’t work
  • Can “boost” a post to reach targeted accounts
  • Get a “contact us” button in their profile

Instagram for physicians is designed to engage with patients and share images and videos of procedures, patient outcomes, inside the practice, and the physicians who work there.

Instagram can also be used to target local potential patients and promote any conferences or events your practice may be holding.

Alongside opportunities for organic content marketing and engagement, you can also pay to advertise on Instagram. As with most social media advertising, you can select specific targeted audiences for your ads. 

Infographic of pros and cons of using Instagram for medical social media marketing

Disadvantages of Instagram for medical marketing: 

  • Time and resources: Instagram involves the creation of custom graphics, posting, interactions, advertising, search and hashtag optimization, and building a relevant and engaged audience. A successful Instagram marketing strategy is very time-intensive so we recommend it to those who have the time and resources for everything this platform involves. 
  • Professionalism: Instagram is widely considered a place for a fun, laid-back approach to causal topics. It can be tricky to stay professional and reputable while being entertaining.
  • Less Context: Instagram’s visual aspect leaves less room for additional information, often crucial for medical topics. This includes more context, further explanation, and more in-depth analysis or medical studies to support the claims.
  • Less organic reach: With a Business account, you become a target customer for Instagram’s promoted posts, which is how they make much of their money. Your ability to grow and engage without “paying to play” will be limited.
  • Advertising cost: Much like Facebook, if you have a limited marketing budget, it can become difficult to use Instagram advertising for your practice on a regular basis and see the results you want.

Despite the disadvantages, this social platform has become an excellent way for healthcare businesses to show (rather than tell) their services, values, and voice.

To overcome the challenges of this platform, a digital marketing agency like Koda Digital can help with a full-scale setup of your business account and ongoing monthly management, or we can step in as consultants to help you get started.

#3 Linkedin

Linkedin is a social media networking platform designed for business professionals and encourages content sharing and networking connections. 

This platform presents many opportunities to connect with other like-minded medical professionals and potential patients seeking information about health care, while also allowing your practice to market its services to the right audiences.

Physicians can also use the platform to search for new hires and quickly review resumes, experience, credibility, and recommendations.

Much like other social media platforms, LinkedIn offers advertising to generate leads, drive traffic to your website or landing page, and build brand awareness through several different ad formats, including sponsored content and sponsored messaging.

It is important to note that LinkedIn is one of the more expensive social platforms for paid advertising. It can be easy to burn through your advertising budget quickly, with little to show for it.

Healthcare marketing on LinkedIn has the potential to be a great compliment to your social media marketing strategy, but you need to have a well-thought-out strategy in place.

Infographic of pros and cons of using Linkedin for medical social media marketing

Cons of Linkedin:

  • Time and resources: LinkedIn is not something you can just check up on every so often. If you want to get the most out of LinkedIn, be willing to set aside some time every day.
  • Potential Spam: Whereas you may take the sensible approach of connecting with people that are relevant to you and your medical practice, some don’t. Be prepared to receive connection requests and messages from random users who are trying to sell anything to anyone.
  • Fewer Interaction Types: Despite the fact it’s labeled as a social media site, there isn’t much social about it. LinkedIn does not provide as many ways of interacting with other users as other social media sites, which can be seen as dull.
  • Linkedin Premium cost: Although LinkedIn is free to join, the price of additional and better services can begin to stack up. Linkedin Premium Career costs $29.99/month, Linkedin Premium Business is $59.99/month, Linkedin Sales Navigator is $99.99/month, and Linkedin Recruiter Lite is $180/month. 

The upsides and downsides of LinkedIn for Business show that it can be an exceptionally advantageous development and outreach process.

Used the right way, LinkedIn can be a great tool in your social media marketing strategy and an effective way to brand your practice with a targeted, engaged audience.

#4 Twitter

With over 368 million monthly active users worldwide and over 500 million tweets sent per day, Twitter plays an integral part in daily life and most businesses’ marketing strategies.

You can post photos and videos along with a limited copy of 280 characters, but Twitter is most known for its feed of real-time updates.

Twitter can help you stay in touch with existing patients, and attract new patients to your practice while enhancing your online reputation. Building a strong Twitter following takes time and a lot of work posting engaging content but is well worth it to create brand evangelists who are the voice of your healthcare practice.

It is free of charge to set up a Twitter account. While paid ads are available, many businesses see benefits from organic posts and interactions.

Infographic of pros and cons of using Twitter for medical social media marketing

It’s important to be aware of the downsides of Twitter for businesses:

  • Time & Resources: Maintaining a presence on Twitter requires a time commitment. It’s also important that the staff member looking after the account has the right skills and training to properly manage the page.
  • Potential spam: Be wary of spam accounts on Twitter. In particular, do not click on suspicious links from users you don’t know.
  • Time-sensitive: Twitter moves fast. Unless you tweet at the right time when your followers are online, your tweets could easily be missed.
  • Negative criticism: Like with most social platforms, patients could complain publicly about your practice’s services. Negative comments can reflect badly on your business. However, dealing with complaints well can have a positive impact on your reputation.
  • Character limitations: You are restricted by Twitter’s 280-character limit. It can take time to learn how to communicate effectively. 

Twitter can be a great tool to grow your practice, connect with existing and potential patients, and establish yourself as an authority in your field. If you tweet relevant, useful information consistently, you can increase your online reach greatly, and enhance your professional reputation.

#5 Youtube

YouTube has 2.6 billion monthly active users.

Similar to Instagram, YouTube has the benefit of visual content.

A Youtube marketing strategy can serve as a significant outlet for providing medical information directly from the physician and allows the website to have a multitude of videos without the burden of hosting video directly on the website and weighing it down (from a speed standpoint).

Unlike the other social media platforms for medical practices that we’ve listed so far, it has the unique stance of being owned by Google. Therefore, YouTube has access to Google’s advertising platform, and you can use this to your advantage when running YouTube ads.

Infographic of pros and cons of using Youtube for medical social media marketing

Be aware of Youtube’s disadvantages for your medical social marketing strategy:

  • Time & Resources: Users have high expectations so your videos need to be of good quality which requires time and dedication.
  • Misplaced tags and wrong-related videos: Sometimes the section on the right will show unrelated and possibly inappropriate videos that are not connected to you, but have the same tagging. This could be off-putting for those watching your videos and can put your practice in a bad light.
  • Breach of Patient Privacy: The use of video platforms, notably YouTube, could land your practice in trouble under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), state medical laws, and state privacy laws. Patient knowledge and consent for videotaping procedures and public posting must be approached and executed with the best understanding of HIPAA policies and procedures.
  • Difficult to rank videos: Simply pressing post and assuming your video will get views and rank high in search results is not going to cut it. You must know about SEO, which takes time and effort.

As more people turn to online video for bite-sized, easily consumable content, traffic will only continue to grow and Youtube will be a must for marketing your medical practice.

#6 TikTok

TikTok is a newer social media platform that has become extremely popular in recent years with the app quickly achieving more than one billion monthly active users in 2022.

TikTok allows users to create short-form, five- to 60-second, mobile videos using a range of filters, effects, and music.

Although TikTok was once seen as “only for young people,” many healthcare professionals don’t realize that TikTok is used by all ages, which means it can also be used for medical marketing purposes. 

In November 2020, Cleveland Clinic announced that it launched a TikTok channel. The healthcare leader said it joined forces with the social platform to “motivate the public to wear face masks” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within 24 hours of launching its channel, Cleveland Clinic’s #MaskUp video had more than one million views.

This shows that healthcare marketing has a place on TikTok.

So how is this different from social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube? TikTok offers a few various video creation and sharing tools that boost engagement fast that are not options through other social channels. 

The app encourages more engagement with multiple response options and sharing features, such as stitching, dueting, video response, direct share links, comments, re-posting options, and favorite folders.

Since TikTok is a newer social media platform, best practices are not necessarily established as of yet. This gives your medical practice a chance to be creative, do something different and express your unique brand voice.

Additionally, TikTok marketing can also come in the form of paid ads. There are three categories of healthcare marketers that aren’t allowed to advertise on TikTok:

  • Weight Loss
  • Invasive Aesthetics
  • Illegal Drugs – ie, addiction treatment

View the entire list of medical marketing guidelines for TikTok ads.

Infographic of pros and cons of using TikTok for medical social media marketing

There are some downsides to consider when marketing your practice on TikTok. They include: 

  • Time & Resources: Despite the briefness of their format; making TikTok content takes time and effort. While it may seem simple enough to have an employee or your social media manager just “start making TikToks”, a successful strategy will take an abundance of planning and development to execute.
  • Demographics: TikTok has an impressive reach, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has the right reach for your medical practice’s brand. If your team primarily markets to older people, TikTok marketing might just not be the place for you.  
  • Additional Spend & Budgeting: Like any new marketing channel, TikTok marketing will likely lead to a change in your budget. Whether that comes in the form of ad spending, investing in higher-quality video production, or hiring a digital marketing team to manage the channel, you should consider your budget before you get started. 

All in all, it can be beneficial to start a TikTok account for your healthcare organization and play around. You never know — you may go viral.

Final Words – Embracing Social Media Platforms Fit For Your Practice

As you can see, no two social media platforms are the same and now you know that each platform has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. 

To gain the most from your social media campaign, you must be mindful when selecting a social platform for your marketing needs. 

Yes, the decision when choosing a social media platform for your marketing strategy can be based on targeted marketing goals (ie increase patients, increase new patients, etc.)

However, the biggest reason you need to choose wisely for social media is that you want to do it well. You do not want to have suboptimal social media accounts floating around for your practice.

Additionally, you are making a commitment because it takes consistency to build a social media presence and you must spend your time wisely since social media is time-consuming. 

Once you have identified the ideal social media channel that is the best fit, the next step is to hone in on a consistent social content marketing strategy and growth tactics to drive engagement and website traffic from the platforms.

Looking for help with social media content? Our team of experts specializes in creating custom healthcare content for most social media channels.

For more social media knowledge, check out our other blogs:

If you’re ready to diagnose your practice and make sure it’s in top-notch health, contact us today to get started. 

Helping our clients achieve social media success is only a fraction of what the professionals at Koda Digital do. For more insights into growing your practice through digital marketing, contact Koda Digital and get more patients through your door in 2023.

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