Between Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, and whatever other cool, new social network just launched a minute ago, there are plenty of platforms for you to choose from. But which platform is right for you and your practice?

Social media is a conversation—not an ad—platform, so it’s not necessary (or advantageous) to suddenly arrive on the social scene with as many profiles as you can create. It’s much more important to select the platforms that best fit your practice and audience. You can spend all the time in the world tweeting, sharing, and liking without seeing the fruits of your labor so work smarter, not harder.

Here are some tips for choosing the right social media platform:

1.) Consider your goals on social. Are you there to engage with and educate current patients, to win new business through referrals, or stay on top of the latest industry news and trends?

2.) Based off your goals, decide who you want to reach. Who is your intended audience?

3.) Choose the site(s) that will fulfill your wants and reach your audience. Here is a breakdown of the most popular social sites along with examples of how you could use them:

Facebook
Your mom is on Facebook. That means everyone is on Facebook. You should be there, too, whatever your goal.

Establish and optimize your Facebook to strengthen relationships with current customers and referrers, while also engaging prospects.

Twitter
Instant, public dialogue in 140-characters or less is Twitter in a nutshell.

If you want to keep up with rehab therapy industry news, events, and research, join Twitter and start following (and interacting with) some of the major players. To find such major players, check out #SolvePT on Tuesday nights.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 161 million members. (Think Facebook meets professional resume.) Watch this video to learn more.

LinkedIn is a great way to connect with fellow therapists; network with current and potential referring physicians; and bolster your reputation to prospective patients researching your services online. You can also use LinkedIn to join groups that discuss topics of interest.

Pinterest
A virtual pinboard, Pinterest allows you to tell your story or inspire through compelling images. It also allows for you to organize images, like exercises, activities, or infographics, based on your own categories.

Build boards and research others’ pins for treatment ideas and best practices. You can also strengthen your practice’s brand through categorized imagery. Lastly, use Pinterest to simply better organize information and resources you want to “bookmark.”

Blogger/WordPress
A blog is a great way promote clinical expertise. While you obviously can’t share individual patient data or recommendations, you can use your blog to educate generally.

Blogger and Wordpress are two easy-to-use and very popular platforms for blogging. 

Google+
Similar to Facebook regarding profiles, Google+ also boasts hangouts and circles. It’s also fully integrated with your Google account, if you have one.

And because it is a Google product, a Google+ profile can increase your practice’s visibility and ranking in search. 

4.) Determine the amount of time you have to devote. If you don't have a lot of time, it's better to do a great job engaging your audience on a single platform than being unresponsive on numerous sites. After all, the only thing worse than no social media presence is an inactive one. Now, regarding how much time “doing social” takes, that’s a tough questions to answer. We’d like to say it’s as easy as 30 minutes a day, but ultimately, it’s your call. How much time can you devote to obtain the results you want to achieve?

5.) Once you conclude which site(s) you’re ready to commit to, get committed. Create your profiles and start a dialogue with your audience. Just be sure what you’re sharing ultimately relates to your goal and is meaningful to your followers.

 

Want to learn more? Check out our PT’s Guide to Social Media whitepaper.

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