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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.
So how do you get started with Twitter?
The first step is to sign up for Twitter. Make your username either your name or your clinics name. Our Twitter "handle" is @WebPT.
Once you have your registration out of the way you are ready to edit the details of your profile. Write a quick description of the topics you are interested in put your website address so people can contact you if they like. You can make your photo your clinic logo or use a headshot of yourself. We recommend using a headshot so you can humanize the tweets your will be sending out.
Now you are ready to begin tweeting. Let’s explore some functions and some lingo that you need to know.
Lists – This is a great way to use Twitter for professional development. If you search for physical therapy you will see a button that says ‘Save this search’ in the upper right hand side. Now you can click on the ‘Searches’ drop down menu and track any tweets that have physical therapy in the body of the tweet. You can save as many searches as you like. Using lists will help you quick jump to your favorite topics.
#Hashtags - The hashtag for physical therapy looks like this (#physicaltherapy). They are formatted at the topic with a pound sign preceding the word. Using a Hashtag in your tweets will expand the range of your message and make sure the right people see it. If you tweet with the physical therapy hashtag, other people following the same tag will see your message. Using the hashtag will also make sure other people who are interested in physical therapy will see it as well.
Retweets – Retweets are a way to share a tweet with your audience. Once you have those loyal followers we were talking about, you can share tweets that they might be interested in. When other people Retweet your tweets to their audience you can reach a whole new group of people who otherwise may not be aware of your business or your twitter account.
#FriendFriday or #ff – Friend Friday is hashtag devoted to helping others discover tweeps.
Tweeple – People who use twitter are called Tweeple. (I know, I know, it's a little strange.)
Handle – A users handle is their username with the @ sign. For instance, WebPT’s Twitter handle is @WebPT
DM – DM stands for Direct Message. You can privately message other tweeple in the messages area at the top of your twitter stream
Fail Whale – When there are too many tweets for twitter to handle you will see an image of a whale. This has since been named the ‘Fail Whale’.
Twitter is all about sharing, engaging and being creative. Use Twitter to drive traffic to your website or patients through your doors. Whatever you do on twitter, be sure to have fun and interact with your tweeps. Get out there and start tweeting!
We hope this post will get you started and join us on Twitter. Want more details on how to use Twitter and other social media tools for your clinic? Join us for our FREE webinar on August 23rd or 25th titled “Social Media and Your Clinic: Engaging your community and adding value to your practice.”