Aug 22, 2011| Mike Mannheimer
Happy Friday to all of our hard working PTs out there! Over the course of this past week, we’ve highlighted why and how to use some of the basic social media tools for PTs. Today we want to wrap up our week with some next level tools for your benefit.
Below you’ll find our list of best-of-breed tools and why you may choose to use them.
Twitter and Facebook
I’ve set up a Twitter Account and Facebook page, but how am I going to manage/maintain the conversations?
How: Consider using what is called a “social media aggregator.” These tools do exactly what you think. They pull all of the information and communication from all of your social media “channels” into one place. Efficiency is key, right? Consider creating an account with either Hootsuite or TweetDeck. The initial setup will take just a few minutes (you’ll need to connect with all your different accounts) and then you’ll only have one login for all future conversations. Remember, social media is all about building relationships through conversations.
Aug 20, 2011| Mike Mannheimer
We know what you are probably thinking. Why would I use Twitter to promote my Physical Therapy Clinic? While Twitter may or may not be the right choice for you, it does prove useful in the marketing space.
Boasting over 175 million users, Twitter is a great way to stay up to date on topics in 140 characters or less. Twitter works well if you want to find out if conversations are taking place about your business, and you want to join in (trust us, you do).
You can easily build a list of loyal followers and also stay up to date on industry news from your peers.
Ok, so how do I use Twitter as a marketing tool?
This answer is somewhat two fold. First of all, thinking of twitter as a traditional marketing tool will ultimately make your initiatives fail. Trying to sell on Twitter will ultimately annoy your followers. You should think of it as an ongoing conversation that you can be a part of. The second part to this answer is that sharing relevant information and replying to others tweets is a great way to engage your target audience. Once you have a group of loyal followers they will come to you for therapy when the time comes. Out of 175 million Twitter users, undoubtedly some of them are in your area and need rehab.
Here is a scenario: You have a cancellation towards the end of your day. That time slot in your clinic can either go unfilled or you can go to your list of loyal followers who like your business. In 140 characters you can alert hundreds of fans that you have a time slot open and get a patient in a clinic. This works especially well clinics that offer massage or medically oriented gym services.
Facebook for your Practice: How to Setup your Page and Engage Both Your Current and Potential PatientsAug 19, 2011| Mike Mannheimer
Facebook has become a part of over 750 million user’s daily lives. There is a pretty high chance that you have a personal account to stay in touch with your family and friends, but have you ever thought of having a Facebook page for your practice? Studies in healthcare marketing have shown that Facebook can increase revenue and loyalty. Plus, it’s a great way to connect with your current patients, referring physicians and community partners. If you’ve wanted to set up a business page but have not been sure how to do it we have some tried and true techniques to help you set-up a successful page and begin engaging your audience.
The Beginning of Your Business Page
- The first and most important aspect of creating your page is determining the email address that will be associated with the account. The email that you use to create the page will be used for the administrator of the account. Make sure this email is one that will be with the company for the long haul. We’ve heard horror stories of practice manager’s assigning an employee to set up the account and the employee ends up doing so with their own personal email. Unfortunately, if the employee leaves the practice, they can take access to your Facebook account with them. Use your administrator email to set up a personal page first on the Facebook Homepage. You need a personal page in order to set up a company page.
- Once you have your personal page setup with your administrator email and login, go to this page to create an “Official Page.” This is where you will need to determine if you want to appear as a local business, a brand product, or organization.
- Now it is time to name your page. It’s usually best to use your company brand name. After you have the main components of your page, fill out the information tab, your profile picture and a short summary about your company. Here’s your chance to really share who you are and what you have to offer as a practice. Your company summary should include links to your actual website and provide useful information to people who may come across your page. Your profile picture is a simple, yet important part of your page. Make sure that it is creative and speaks for your clinic or brand. A logo works but you can also use a picture that shows what you offer at your practice.
How to Get People to “Like” You and Your Brand
The more people that you get to “Like” your brand will increase the amount of people that you can reach through Facebook and increase awareness about your practice. The first step to getting your current customers to “Like” your page is letting them know that you have set up a page in Facebook. Most companies send an email to their customer base announcing that they have set up their Facebook page and request that their customers “Like” their page. Place the Facebook logo on your advertising, marketing materials and website to let everyone know they can connect with you. With your website, make sure the logo links directly to your Facebook page.
Aug 17, 2011| David Straight
How many visitors view your website each month? Analytical data from our clients tells us it’s in the hundreds of visitors …even more of you drive traffic with search engine optimization and/or pay-per-click ads.
It just makes sense that you put some time into your website copy. Copywriting is meant to persuade someone to take an action. It’s not written words simply to educate someone.
When writing home page copy, you need to refer to the clinical research, business experience and make some assumptions about the people that are visiting your site. When it comes to physical therapy, a vast majority are prequalified. Most have already made the choice to go to physical therapy versus another form of health care. They have been referred by a friend, a family member or their doctor.
Here are some assumptions and experiences we’ve noticed about local physical therapy markets:
Reasons people visit your website and might choose your practice:
- Confirmation: Some are making sure that a referral to your practice is a good referral.
- Comparison shopping between clinics: Some that visit your website are comparison shopping –this should impact your copy.
- Comparison shopping between health care services: Some may be comparing physical therapy to chiropractic, medicine, massage, acupuncture, or personal training.
- Other reasons people choose your practice: Your communication with them or their referring physician, your company culture, your location, convenient appointment times, your specialty, or if nothing else, because you accept their insurance.
Inspiring Prospects to Choose You over the Clinic Next Door
There’s one test I would like to share with you. You should apply this to the copy that you put together for your practice. The test is a simple question, “If you were to replace your name and logo with that of any of your competitors’, could the copy just as easily represent them?” In other words, what unique competitive advantages can you include on your home page copy that will set you apart from anyone else? I know this isn’t easy but here are a couple of thoughts:
1. Include testimonials to support your statements (nowadays, it’s called social proof).
Aug 17, 2011| Mike Mannheimer
How can a blog help to market your practice?
Utilizing a blog on your clinic website can be a great way to promote your business. You can use a blog for any number of marketing initiatives. We will cover the benefits of using a blog for your business and some best practices to help you get started.
Using a Blog to enhance your patient experience
Many patients probably have questions about their diagnosis, their treatment, and their Home Exercise Program.
Obviously, you cannot use a public forum to address a specific patient, but you can supplement their experience in your clinic with educational items they need to know. Imagine being the resource for your patients if they need to brush up on proper form with their HEP, or getting tips on how to keep their young baseball player from injuring their shoulder. Blogging in this manner does a few key things.
- First, you are able to add value to your practice. Not only are your patients going to get regular therapy sessions from you and your staff, but they also have a great resource to maintain their health and prevent further injury. They will appreciate the added value and the fact that their treatment doesn’t stop the second they walk out the door.
- Secondly, you are establishing your expertise in a relevant and helpful way. You patients will be thankful for you advice and, more importantly, they will trust you for rehab related issues. Building customer loyalty in important when there are so many choices for therapy related services. The idea here is to have people associate your brand directly with physical therapy.
- The final effect, and probably the most important for your business, is when your patient encounters friends or family who are in need of therapy they will recommend your practice. People love to share knowledge with their circles and they do not forget their good experiences. With the increase of Direct Access availability, word of mouth can be a huge revenue stream for your clinic.
Aug 16, 2011| Mike Mannheimer
Getting Started with LinkedIn
Continuing our week-long social media theme, today’s topic is Linkedin. There are already over 17,000 physical therapists in the United States on Linkedin. But what is the value of Linkedin? Let’s start at square one.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120M+ members (think Facebook meets personal resume, but strictly professional).
Check out the video below to tell you a little bit more about LinkedIn:
Why this matters to Therapists
Now that you know the basics of Linkedin, let’s talk in more detail about why it matters to PTs. Let’s say one of your patients makes a referral to a friend or a potential direct access patient is looking for a PT in your area. Chances are that they are going to search online. Go ahead and try it right now, Google your own name. What comes up?
Aug 15, 2011| Mike Mannheimer
By now, everyone is aware of the financial incentives available for clinicians who switch to Electronic Medical Records. The incentives are supposed to help clinics offset their costs while they digitize their entire office, including getting rid of those awful filing cabinets.
Before too much excitement sets in, you should also be aware that while Rehab professionals (Occupational and Physical Therapists) are required to make the switch under the mandate, they are not eligible for the financial incentives. The reasons for this exclusion are confusing, but we will save that for another blog post.
The lack of funds for Physical Therapists highlights a big factor in all of this. The EMR system they choose to put in place must increase profits or save the clinic money. The system must add productivity and lower costs without having a large start up investment. Most Therapists don’t have a large capital reserve to put up $30,000 to $60,0000 to get up and running with a new system.
A great article from Plus91, recently put forth some practical ways an EMR can drive up clinic revenues:
Aug 15, 2011| Mike Mannheimer
The month of September is going to be a busy month at WebPT Headquarters. In our quest to continue leading the PT EMR market, WebPT will be releasing some exciting new features and products that we are sure will enhance your experience and improve practice management. We wanted to quickly update everyone on these products and the education that will be accompanying the releases.
Before diving into these features, we wanted to address the changes that WebPT made to our technological architecture in the past month. As many of you know, WebPT has experienced exponential growth over the past few years. Part of WebPT's foundation of success has always been customer satisfaction and we understand we failed to meet that standard for many of our members. To ensure that WebPT functions above expectations regardless of growth, we recently invested over $200,000 into performance based technology upgrades. We also brought in a consultant who helped solidify the framework of such reputable companies as Groupon, 37Signals and Facebook. Through this review, we actually discovered that the WebPT system is in fantastic shape with only a few areas in need of optimization.
Finally, we deployed a number of new tools for monitoring response time more closely so that we may respond quickly to any issues that may arise. With these changes, we have already seen a huge difference in system performance and have received positive feedback from our members regarding increased speed and functionality. Thanks again to our amazing community of therapists who have been so patient with us.
Now onto more good, exciting stuff:
Aug 14, 2011| Heidi Jannenga PT
Social Media has revolutionized the ability for people to connect with one another. While great for connecting with friends and family, it can also be a huge asset to your business. Contrary to what you may think, social media is not just for posting random thoughts or crazy videos.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are avenues for marketing, clinic name recognition, and networking. It is the new generation of communication that can't be ignored. If you are hesitant and don't know where or how to get started, here is some food for thought:
5 Things to Think About Before Using Social Media for Marketing
1) Don’t believe the hype; at least not ALL of it
It's important to assess the social landscape and see what is going to work for you. Healthcare and specifically Physical Therapy has never been a competitive market in advertising. So, it is not important to blast on to the scene with as many forms of social media as possible. It's more important to be organized and calculated about time, strategy, and staffing. Social media can be time consuming, so choose wisely. If you aren’t keen on jumping on all the bandwagons, simply choose one and focus on it. Creating a profile and then never updating it is worse than not being there at all. If you are already familiar with Facebook for personal communication, start with it for your business marketing as well. If the almighty Twitter speaks to you, check out this presentation by Dale Boren Jr. and Casey Kirkes on how to use it for professional advancement.
Aug 14, 2011| Mike Mannheimer
The rehabilitation space is one of the more compassionate medical disciplines. Many WebPT members spend an hour of one-on-one time with their patients to ensure the best quality of care is delivered. While this attitude should be mimicked and admired across the healthcare field, it does create some concerns when it comes to the implementation of technology.
A recent article titled, “The Loss of Eloquence in EMR Notes” highlights the inability of some clinicians to tell the story of their patients with a rigid EMR. I believe this is a legitimate issue that is exacerbated in the PT space. Take, for instance, a pediatric therapist who has to tell the story of a child with a developmental issue. They may have years of information from a parent to relay in an exam.
The solution to the problem lies in the development process of the EMR software. If a provider does not consider the end user, ultimately, they are not considering the patient. It is important in your search to make sure your EMR provider understands what goes into a patient encounter and is flexible enough to accommodate the vast range of patient visits.
The other critique mentioned in the article is a phenomenon called ‘Doc Block’.
'Doc Block’ refers to a computer being placed in between the clinician and the patient, which can make patient visits cold and impersonal. For physical therapists, this can be a major issue for a couple of reasons.