I think about Twitter best practices like it’s my job. In fact, it is my job. But I realize that for a private practice owner, front office staffer, or a practicing PT, spending hours strategizing about the best approach to social media marketing just isn’t in the cards. That’s cool. The five tips I’d like to focus on are pretty easy and quick to implement; more importantly, they’ll make a big difference for your Twitter account.
1. Don’t be an Egghead
Ask anyone—I love nerds! But when it comes to your Twitter profile picture, leaving the default “egg” image is a huge mistake. First, the egg makes it look like a fake Twitter account, created to spam other feeds or sold to users looking to boost their followership. I don’t associate the egg with a trustworthy individual or a reputable brand. Second, the egg indicates a lack of effort. Either you haven’t really thought about the way you’d like your Twitter audience to perceive you or you don’t really care. This is a quick fix! I recommend a nice, clean headshot or company logo (depending on whether it’s a personal or a professional account). Here’s how to upload your profile picture.
Your header image, theme, and profile picture combine to form your personal brand on Twitter. You’ve taken the time and put in the effort to make sure you and your staff look like the medical professionals you are and that your office is warm and inviting, thus ensuring the best possible impression on existing clients and potential new patients. It is equally important to present yourself and your practice in a professional manner on Twitter so that your brand image communicates the right message to your target audience. I recommend working with a graphic designer to create your brand imagery and size it appropriately for Twitter, but I understand your time and resources may be limited. This is one of the reasons why we’ve done some of the work for you! You can download free social media marketing resources (including Twitter profile pics and backgrounds) right here.
As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. That applies to your look on Twitter as well as your substance. Who are you exactly and what are you doing there? Those are the two questions you should aim to answer in your Twitter bio. This is the place to highlight your specialty, passion, or both! There’s nothing wrong with including a few personal details. In fact, it makes your Twitter account seem much more human when you do. But don’t forget your main reason for being on Twitter. If you’re there for business reasons, your bio should reflect this. Oh, and if you have a website for your business, be sure to include the URL. You are not going to make too many direct sales on Twitter, but directing people to a place where you might (like your website) is a great idea. Here are a few examples of effective Twitter bios:
@DrBenFung: I help people reclaim their lives by restoring physical health & defeating pain. Martial Arts Student. Family Man. Theme Park Junkie. Studying MBA-MKT @umich
@WebPT: EMR Solution for #PT, #OT, #SLP Community I Expert in All Things Compliance (Functional Limitation Reporting, PQRS) I #GetPT I #SolvePT I #BizPT
4. Interactions Tab
If you don’t have much time to devote to your Twitter account, that’s not a problem, but don’t assume your followers know about your time constraint issues. If you have an active Twitter handle, people expect you to be responsive if they contact you directly or mention you in a tweet. So each time you log in to your Twitter account, I recommend going directly to the Interactions tab to acknowledge and respond to anyone who has contacted or mentioned you. Make it a habit to thank people for following you, retweeting or favoriting your content, and interacting in any other way. Getting people to engage with you is quite a challenge! That is why it’s so critical to capitalize on the opportunity when genuine engagement does happen.
5. Think First; Tweet Second.
A little research goes a long way. Here’s an example:
When we first started sharing our functional limitation reporting resources (which, I must say, are plentiful) via Twitter, we were using the #FunctionalLimitationReporting hashtag when space allowed and the #FLR hashtag for short. Turns out, #FLR was an existing hashtag—and a fairly inappropriate one for our purposes. What could we have done to avoid this altogether? The answer is simple. I now make it a habit to research a hashtag before I ever use it. It takes just a few seconds to learn whether you are being clever and attracting the right kind of audience with great use of hashtags or unwittingly aligning yourself and your brand with something embarrassing—or even worse—offensive to your audience.
Hopefully, these tips will make you better prepared to get the most out of your Twitter experience. But don’t stop there! If you have extra time and enjoy spending it on this social media platform, I encourage you to think about your strategy, learn best practices, and implement the tactics that make the most sense for you and your business.