This week’s episode is the second in a 3-part Reboot Marketing Series for medical practices. In this episode, Michael, Scott, and Jared discuss how to take your online content to the next level, starting with social media and video marketing. It’s easy to get so caught up in the details of the content, that we ignore the power of the story itself. Learn how to focus on the authenticity of the story rather than getting lost in the weeds of the platforms.
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Announcer: It’s time to think differently about healthcare, but how do we keep up? The days of yesterday’s medicine are long gone and we’re left trying to figure out where to go from here. With all the talk about politics and technology, it can be easy to forget that healthcare is still all about humans, and many of those humans have unbelievable stories to tell. Here, we leave the policy debates to the other guys and focus instead on the people and ideas that are changing the way we address our health. It’s time to navigate the new landscape of healthcare together and hear some amazing stories along the way. Ready for a breath of fresh air? It’s time for your paradigm shift.
Michael: Welcome to the “Paradigm Shift of Healthcare,” and thank you for listening. I’m Michael Roberts here today with my co-hosts, Scott Zeitzer and Jared Johnson. Today’s episode is the second in a three-part series about rebooting practice marketing. This is building on our recent three-part marketing refresher series we had where we walked through parts of your digital marketing that tend to get neglected or forgotten but they’re still vitally important to your online presence. So, we’d encourage you to go back and listen to those if you haven’t yet. That was episodes 73 through 75, where we discussed SEO, social media, and physician finders. We’d also encourage you to check out the first episode in this series where we’re addressing how to keep an eye on your ROI, your return on investment, when there are so many moving parts in your marketing today. Guys, welcome back. Thanks for being here.
Let’s dig into it today. We are looking at taking your online content to the next level. This is a topic that gets brought up constantly. We bring it up constantly. We really believe in this. This is something that really we’ve seen make a difference for practices so many times. So, we talked about in our last episode that practices really are waking back up so to speak. They’re getting back out there with the content, they’re getting back out there with their marketing. And it’s really easy to start looking for these shortcuts and hacks when it comes to content.
As a quick aside and quick example of this, you know, one of the ways that we see practices, what we’ll advise practices, you know, just on a very basic level around the content, you know, make sure you have content that addresses each of the things that you do. So, if you do a hip replacement, have an article about. And we’ll often end up with a conversation around like, okay, so how much can I get into this one article? Could I have shoulder replacement, hip replacement, knee replacement, ankle replacement, it’s like, look, at some point, we’re starting to water down the effects. So, like I get it, I applaud the effort to looking for those shortcuts, but it doesn’t always work out.
So, let’s talk about rebooting your social media. What mistakes should practices avoid making in this area? We talked about some of the other content, what should they be avoiding in their social media as they’re trying to ramp back up?
Scott: I can start with that one in my own mind. The first thing I would say is don’t do it just for the sake of doing it. And by that I mean, if you’re never on Twitter, you don’t care about Twitter, and you can insert whatever social media platform you want, well, then you got to hire somebody who’s really into it. And you’ve got to assign someone at the practice to, you know, be the point of contact. We dealt with one practice where they decided they wanted to be on Facebook and they really weren’t that involved. And frankly, I don’t think they even knew what they had on Facebook. And that can be damaging as well, you know, because there are a lot of people on Facebook who are really into it. So, if you’re not really making an effect there, guys, everybody who’s listening to this podcast, how many times have you gone to a Facebook page for a restaurant where you’re going like, “Wow, this is really outdated. Are they open?” And I think sometimes that same effect, unfortunately, can take place as well on practices. So, if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to have a game plan. And so, that’s the first thing I would say.
Jared: Yeah. That’s a real good one, Scott, I think, it’s really tempting like you said to either go places that don’t really make sense for you, you know, ramp up on channels that you’re just not into, and people can tell when you have a channel…
Scott: They can.
Jared: …when you’re just forcing it. And it’s either done by someone who doesn’t have enough actual content, you know, that’s pertinent to your practice. One other piece I’d add to that is to not think that we’re all over it yet, meaning the pandemic. There are still a lot of different thoughts on how careful we need to be. What being safe actually means. It’s going to be more than months. It’s going to be years realistically before the majority of consumers feel “safe” to physically be in a physician’s office. And I think we just need to take that into account and kind of pump the brakes enough to say the more we say it’s safe, come on back, without showing it, we run the risk of coming off even more inauthentic. And healthcare had a trust problem before the pandemic.
The good thing is, I think in a lot of cases for individual practices and providers, that built up a lot of goodwill for healthcare providers, for frontline workers. I think a lot of communities have shown that especially early on. And I don’t think that’s necessarily died down. We want to make sure that we show that we appreciate that goodwill. You know, the terms like healthcare heroes that we did not hear on a frequent basis associated with our frontline workers before the pandemic. Let’s make sure that’s taken in context and that, you know, we don’t just go back into straight up transactional mode and say, hey, you know, it’s all in the way, it comes off, I guess. And we just want to be careful that we don’t so far back to how we were before the pandemic that it comes off as inauthentic.
Scott: Yeah. You know, along those lines, that’s where social media can be helpful, right? So, on the downside, if you’re not into it, don’t do it or hire somebody that is, and I think that that’s a good takeaway. But on the other side, hey, if you did hire somebody or you’re into it yourself, talking about what you’re doing to help your patients, those are good ideas where you can really kind of bond with your current patients and your potential patients. Walking them through, you know, what your COVID practices are is a great example, walking them through if you’re starting to embrace telehealth of any sort. Again, we all know that there’s a new normal right now for how the waiting room is set up, etc. Hey, social media can help a lot with that, and I think that there’s a lot of possibility with that. And that’s some of the things that you can be working on. I know that we had a great…it was one of our first podcasts where we were talking to a pediatrician who embraced social media well before a lot of other people did. What was that doctor’s name, guys? I apologize.
Michael: Dr. Justin Smith.
Scott: Yeah, great guy. And he took advantage of the fact that he was answering a lot of the same questions that everybody had, you know, for newborns, you know, when you bring your baby in for the one-month, two-month, etc., etc. I mean, hopefully, this is all we’re going to be talking about. Very normal for the pediatrician and very scary for the new parent. And I think this is that thing that you were talking a little bit about, Jared, where, you know, everybody providing healthcare is exhausted. Everything had to change. Patients tend to be taken care of. And I’m talking everybody from the people who were in the ICU to the orthopods, to the neurosurgeons, etc., everybody’s tired. Man, it’s been a rough year for everyone. But if you throw on on top of that, hey, we got to keep people alive and I’m tired, man. And so, you can’t let your guard down, like you were saying, Jared, and you got to let people know, and I think having some of those social media can be very helpful in helping to set good expectations for normal processes. And do you agree with that, Michael?
Michael: Absolutely. I think so much of what we’re all saying here is this interaction that happens on social media and is so necessary. Here’s what we’re doing to make you safer. Here’s what’s going on. Here’s how we’re connecting with the patient. You know, I think one of the warning signs that I often see around this type of around like online media is that they turn it to this is my broadcast platform and I’m just going to say things, you know, and there’s no interaction, there’s no response. It’s just this person just keeps pushing messages out. Like, there is that danger in being transactional. That was a great word that you had there, Jared, like just, “Hey, come buy my thing.” And whether you’re doing that for a medical practice or you’re doing that for a car salesperson is exhausting, right? Nobody wants to hear that message all the time. So, there has to be this community that’s there that you’re nurturing, that you’re building. You know, we do work with some various practices around their social media advertising and some of their management overall and you see all these comments that we in no way prompt.
You know, we see, oh, I love Dr. Smith, Dr. whomever, you know, like this person really helped me with this. And this stuff like just comes pouring in for some of these practices and you can go like, “Okay, they’re getting it.” Like, even if they’re not like super active, like they’re so invested in the people that they work with that it just naturally spills out. Like, that’s kind of your best case scenario. Like that’s a real aha moment.
Jared: Yeah, exactly. And when you think about social itself, for instance, you’re telling a story visually and in written word and people are scrolling through a feed so fast, so sometimes people are not reading the whole post. If you have a picture or a video, then they’re just seeing the photo itself. Or, you know, sometimes they watch the video, sometimes they don’t. So, it’s accounting for still at the end of the day, this is something that I don’t see ever changing. You’re accounting for people who consume what you’re posting in a lot of different ways. And so, for instance, that explains one reason why it’s hard to just put messages out to say, “Hey, it’s safe to come back.” And this comes back to that show, don’t tell principle.
There’s an orthopedic group out in in the New York City area that I commend them because their way of showing that it’s safe is that ever since probably mid to late summer last year, they have been sharing photos of a patient, you know, properly socially distanced, masked up in the room with the doctor, both with the thumbs up. And it’s something that’s pretty simple, but it’s like, if you wonder whether it’s safe to go back, there’s a patient that genuinely looks happy. If you’re not feeling safe, you’re not going to be smiling that way or have a thumbs up in a photo when you’re actually there in the office.
So, like the storytelling that’s gone on there, you almost don’t even need the text, like the written words in those posts because just the photos themselves tell you and show you that at least these patients felt like it was safe to come back. And then it’s thinking about it that way and realizing that yeah, consumers do feel differently and we just have to take that into account.
Scott: Plain and simple.
Michael: Everybody, I always appreciate that you tune in, that you’re listening to the show here. I wanted to let you know that we have set up a new newsletter that you can get to at paradigmshift.health, that’s paradigmshift.health. You can go there. And the reason that we’ve got this newsletter is that we’d like to send out a few extra pieces of information with the show. We also have a full transcript for every single episode that we do, and we can let you know that through email, we can let you know also if we have like a good quote card to be able to show for every episode. So, check that out if you’d like, paradigmshift.health. Thanks so much.
Scott: There are a lot of other ways that we can attack like the next level, but I will always say, like, I go back to it before we jump into other options, but you still need a good website, you still need good content on that website, and you still need reputation marketing of some level to reassure the patients that you’re a good choice. And then afterwards, I mean, I want to make that point very clear, afterwards, we’re talking about, “Well, what else is there?” You know, and social media certainly is an option. The other option we’ve been dealing with lately has also been video. You know, we’ve got a lot of our clients, Michael, that frankly not only are good surgeons, they’re actually charming people.
And it’s good, you know, that’s wonderful. I think it’s good to let the prospective patient know that a little bit more about the surgeon again, to help set expectations, and video’s just another way to do that.
Michael: It does in so many different ways. There are the doctors that come on and they are effortlessly charming on-screen. They just talk, they’ve got a good smile, all of that kind of stuff, but it’s so much more than just appearance and your presence on camera. I think every doctor we’ve spoken with, every surgeon we’ve spoken with, whether they’ve been the more kind of rough and gruff type, and, you know, there are those surgeons and they’re there to get the job done, but when they talk about how they interact with patients, that still comes through. That compassion, that care, that desire to help still comes through. And getting somebody talking about how they care for their patients, getting them to talk about what it is that they do to go the extra mile because they all do.
All of them are looking for some way to not just show up and do their job but to provide excellent care, getting that on film is enough. You know, you’ve got yourself a good spot right there just letting the doctor say that one bit. So, that level of interaction, that level of, okay, this is a real person that’s going to be caring for me, not just a system, right, or not just that entity over there, you know, that we kind of all get into this kind of nervous relationship with. Because, you know, you start thinking about, oh, the bills and you know, all this kind of stuff, and it’s like, but hey, there are real people involved in helping do this. Let’s focus on that.
Scott: Yeah. I mean, how many times, guys, I mean, we’ve all been coming out of a particular doctor’s appointment where you went, “Did anybody hear me?” I don’t think that went very well. I don’t think they were really listening to me, that kind of thing. And I think that can happen online as well, right? So, it’s a tough day. I’ve spoken to a lot of surgeons when they’ll say like, “Man, I don’t know. You know, I served 45 people today because I had to. I had to fit them all in. I hope I gave everybody their due diligence.” And that’s where social media can help, that’s where video can help setting expectations about what is going to be discussed, and what to bring, and what kind of questions to ask to make sure that that conversation feels better for everybody. That’s the goal. That’s what everybody’s looking for.
Jared: Yeah. I really like that, so that’s the way I’m thinking about it. Because at the end of the day, video is still a medium. Yeah. There are rules of engagement, there are parameters, there are dimensions on the screen, aspect ratio, resolution, you know, like lighting and audio and all the pieces to it, and I’m not trying to diminish that at all, but when we’re talking about like how to level up here, how to make it stand out above other videos, I definitely see one of two things for videos that stand out at least for me, things that stick in my mind. One is that it’s super, the word authentic might be overused, but like it’s super real. It’s very clear that the subjects are not pulling your leg at all. That they are just speaking from the heart. They are trying to share something about them or their story or what makes them different. But it’s not in your typical like marketing-ese, like marketing language. And then the second one is that those practices that are able to tell their story with video consistently, like doing it more than just once. Like one single video about your practice is definitely a good start. It’s better than nothing in my opinion. But there are those practices that have a physician or multiple physicians that are developing a relationship with consumers because they’re putting out video on a regular basis.
Like, my wife follows a physical therapist on Instagram and it was way before, you know, she ended up, you know, needing some physical therapy for an injury, and she was following this physical therapist way before that. It was somebody who was putting out content, not necessarily every day, but multiple times a week. And it wasn’t highly produced every time, but it was produced enough if that makes sense. There’s kind of like the professional enough level of video that is still very clear that somebody is telling a raw real story, and they’re just sharing something that’s going to help you. I think it comes across one way or the other in the way that you produce it. And more than ever, we want to see video in a way that we can trust somebody. And one of those ways is just by doing it more often.
Scott: Yeah. You said a very good word, trust. You know, we talk about that a lot. Michael and I talk about it, about how do you build trust. You know, how do you build up enough trust so that the patient feels comfortable, and in their mind, say something along the lines of, “Wow, I think this doctor’s the right doctor for me?” You know, and then that can be done in so many different ways. And video’s just one of those. Social media is another one of those. What you write and put on your website about a particular procedure and what you write about just you yourself, your own biography.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve helped out a practice where I’m looking at the surgeon’s bio and it’s literally like, I went to this school, I went to that school, I specialized in these bulleted things, I play golf, I love my kids. It’s all true. It’s not making me feel like this is the doctor for me, right? And so, all of these things we’re talking about are ways to build trust. You start with that core, you know, the good website, the good content, the reputation marketing again, where other people are saying that you’re good at what you do. And then, hey, social media can be there. Video can be there. There’s lots of other things, but those are some really good ways to get started.
Michael: One of the big things that I think really stand out about the way that you can engage in video is that there are a variety of budgets that work, and that can really bring something authentic to the screen because, you know, depending on the size of your practice, you’re not trying to create the ad that’s going to rival Cleveland Clinic or you know, Mayo Clinic. You don’t have the budget that they do and you don’t need that. And it’s not necessary. I mean, the example that you were talking about there, Jared, of having somebody that was telling that story on a regular basis, there are so many different ways of doing that. Ultimately, it comes down to the message you’re getting across, but there are so many different ways to approach each of these different platforms that we’re talking about. You don’t have to be a mega hospital to play with a video, and especially, you know, nowadays. And so, there are so many ways, but professional enough, word enough is a big, big word there because we’ve seen examples of all the different spectrums, right, of the good and the bad. You know, so making sure that you’ve got somebody that’s kind of coaching you along at least and even probably providing some production value for you there is going to be very helpful.
Scott: No doubt.
Jared: So, Michael, that kind of leads me to think about how easy it can be to get lost in the details again. And we’ve talked about this in the previous episode, two words, it’s easy to get lost when we were referring to keeping an eye on your marketing ROI because there are so many new emerging channels and trends. And how often do your practice operations change? Well, another thing we can get lost in is the details of the content. When we were just talking about social media, for instance, and video, yeah, there are a lot of rules of engagement for each of those channels and platforms and it is easy to get lost in them. But once we get a mastery of those rules, then we can’t forget the story that we’re trying to tell itself.
And I do think that’s something that’s easy to get lost along the way, because the fact is content does have the power to strengthen healthcare brands. It is a powerful way to build that trust, Scott, to what you were speaking about. But if we really do get lost in the weeds, then that can result in a story that falls flat. And the more we think about content as a story that we are telling that can either be good or bad for our organization, for our practice, then we’re going to do it in a different way than if we’re just thinking, “I know I need to post a video, I just don’t know what about.” Like, you know, let’s approach it from the very beginning as a story that you are telling. And if you do it the right way, you are going to build trust.
So, that focuses a practice on the authenticity of the story rather than getting lost in the weeds of all the, how to do it and just the thought of, “Hey, I know I’m supposed to post something. I just don’t know what.” It’s best to avoid that route altogether,
Scott: Yeah. You go back to like that, like where we’re most effective is when the practice just wants to help their patients. They want to set appropriate expectations. They want to reassure them that this is the right thing. This is the right procedure. This is the right surgeon, etc. And everything you do should be about that. And if you do that sincerely, you’re gonna get more patients.
Michael: There’s this interesting aspect of all this where you are trying to figure out the way to articulate it and there’s this concern around, have I said this too much? Am I saying the same thing or saying a variation of the same thing too often? And you know, when I think about like the story that you’re talking about there, Jared, like, you know, the story is pretty simple, right? It’s pretty straightforward. This group of surgeons, doctors care about you. These are the things that they’re doing to try and help. That story is very consistent from week to week, from month to month. But we put that out there and how many people hear us at a single time. How many people are hearing that message this week as opposed to next week? Especially with the way that social media algorithms keep updating, you’re going to have a hard time getting in front of that audience on a regular basis unless you’re really like paying to play kind of thing. So, there’s a lot of the core message that you can keep telling over and over and over. I mean, you know, just to be silly, but if you use something like patient’s testimonials, that patient testimonial you’re probably posting is going to be very positive and glowing, but they’re probably going to have a very consistent theme, right?
Like, hey, this doctor really cared about me. This doctor is really interested in me. The practice took care of me this way. That story is in a lot of ways the theme of it carries through very strongly. And so, there’s a lot of different ways to play on that theme. And I think that sticking close to one theme, to one kind of overall storyline that you’re telling is that way to be able to just kind of like get yourself into the patient’s head because there are so many different messages. If you’re trying to just keep on coming up with new ideas all the time and keep pushing new thoughts to people, it’s hard to ever like recall that person for that thing. Oh, that’s Dr. Smith, you know, Dr. Smith is the one that does blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like, if you can get to that place in their head, like you’ve won. That’s the story that you were really hoping to tell.
Jared: It makes me think of a way that I had to keep myself from doing earlier in the career when I spent a lot of my time doing front end web development and web content design, and I’d be sitting there with a, I mean, way back in the day when it was like 800 by 600 pixels, right? You know, and that was like everyone. You know, we finally went to 1024 pixels wide and we were like, “Whoa, like that, that’s a lot of space.” And I remember thinking, okay, look, we basically just increased the size of the canvas, now that just means we have more space to fill. And it was really easy to get stuck in this route of I just need something to fill that space because that space is there now.
And that was very clearly the wrong way to think about what content to put on the website because if there wasn’t any functionality or design reason to have something there, then there was no reason to put some content there in that space just because it existed. I remember clearly, you know, at one point saying, we all have to stop thinking like this is just a canvas to fill. It is an opportunity to put things in there that are valuable that are going to help the user accomplish something. And it was a paradigm shift in terms of how to go about the content.
And I do think we can think the same way, we can fall into that same trap with video or with social media if we’re not careful. So, it is literally, like it’s not a hey, it’s Tuesday, time to post something, like be a lot more intentional about from the beginning, that part’s never going to change. But now we have more opportunities to use that space to build trust and show patients why they really do need to, you know, engage with our practice again.
Michael: Absolutely. I think this theme of trust is really one that we can send around when you’re looking at social or you’re looking at video, like what is that trust factor that you’re building. Guys, thanks so much. I think we’ve covered a lot of ground today. We’ll come back with part three of this Rebooting your Marketing series. Thanks so much.
Announcer: Thanks again for tuning into the “Paradigm Shift of Healthcare.” This program is brought to you by Health Connective, custom marketing solutions for medtech and pharma. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.