Hashtags are utilized everyday on social media sites including Twitter, Instagram and Pininterest. Yet many medical practices have not utilized this effective social media marketing tool that can improve online presence, find potential patients and develop and maintain a strong and desirable brand. MediWebPR offers its advice on how to use the latest in social media trends: hashtags.
Social media is a great way to reach a large patient audience at little to no cost. Using hashtags (#) on sites like Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram is a great way to brand and expand your practice, be part of popular trends in the online world and promote your message.
John Beilharz, PhD., President of JB Communications in Santa Rosa says, “Medical patients are now finding health information online more than ever before and it is important to have a strong brand along with a strong online presence in order to create a positive first impression.”
Hashtags are widely used across various platforms and can identify growing trends in social media. The identifying term (#hashtag) spread organically as a way for users to categorize messages. Hashtags can be single words (#cardiology) or several words threaded together (#bestcardiologydoctors) with the key # symbol at the beginning. Clicking on that term on a post directs you to view all the tweets about that post. This helps readers find your message even if they are not following you on a social media site. Think of hashtags as an index to a book, where if you wanted to find out how to find a local doctor you would search (#santarosadoctors).
Creating your own hashtag is an efficient technique in promoting your practice name, services and a new medical trend/technology. Yet starting a hashtag from scratch can require a constant social media presence in order to gain traction. Using basic marketing techniques, you will need to consistently spread the word about your hashtag: put it on your website, re-tweet any tweets or posts that use your hashtag and encourage patients to use it to submit testimonials or experiences. The key is to remain consistent and your hashtag will pick up popularity and consequently your practice will gain a larger online presence allowing potential patients to find and talk about your practice.
Tips For Using Hashtags
Over 50 percent of Twitter users would use a hashtag more often if it involved incentives. Create a hashtag and offer patients a cost effective perk.
Keep it concise and clear: Avoid acronyms that can confuse patients. Keep it catchy yet short, most people will not want to use long hashtags especially with Twitters’ 140 character limit.
Be specific: in order to attract the sort of patients you want, be specific. If you want local patients with orthopaedic needs you wouldn’t use #orthopedics. Instead be specific to your area #eastbayorthopedics
Be relevant: do not use your hashtag on completely unrelated topics
Keep it to 1-3 hashtags per post: It will be difficult to follow a post that is flooded with hashtags.
Use multiple platforms: hashtags are used with Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and Twitter. It will be easier to gain traction with the smaller sites and of course eventually increase your practice and make it visible to a larger audience.
Keep it uniform: When using hashtags across multiple platforms you want readers to be able to identify it as YOUR hashtag, so develop a strategy in order for your content to be found and categorized effectively.