How to Boost Online Engagement
Engagement with your practice’s website, social media pages, and business directory listings helps you gauge how well these assets are performing and leverage them to get more patients through your office doors.
When we say engagement, we don’t mean the kind that ends with a shiny ring and lots of Instagrammable sunset photos. Online engagement describes how a person is interacting with a site, program, service, or other types of online offerings. Depending on the platform, engagement can be measured in a variety of different ways. For example, on social media, this may be the number of people who like or comment on your post. On your website, engagement may be judged by the number of people who click on a call-to-action button or share your blog posts.
A healthy engagement rate tells you that the efforts you’re putting into your online presence are being well received by your audience. Similarly, poor engagement can indicate that your collateral isn’t speaking to your intended demographic and adjustments need to be made.
Want to boost online engagement on the channels you’re using to promote your practice? Read on to learn ways to encourage your audience to interact more with your website, social media pages, and business directory listings.
How to Boost Engagement on Your Website
First things first, let’s start the most essential part of your online presence: your website! Your healthcare website is an extension of your practice, providing useful information to patients or clients even when you’re outside the office. Through a list of services you offer, informative blog posts, and a detailed “About Me” page, current and prospective patients can learn what they need to know about your business.
Let’s go over two major ways you can encourage online engagement on your website.
Content, Content, Content
Producing regular content on your website can help improve your Google ranking, build credibility in your industry, and, of course, better your online engagement.
An ideal way to do this is by creating a blog on your website. Depending on your team’s bandwidth, you can post blogs weekly, bi-weekly, or even more often to supply your audience with useful information about your particular industry. An active blog can increase online engagement by encouraging web visitors to stay on your site for longer, share your content elsewhere, and follow through with calls-to-action.
On both blogs and other pages on your website, implement keyword phrases so that you can signal to Google’s algorithm that your web pages are relevant to applicable search queries. This will help boost your Google ranking naturally so that your content attracts more clicks from web users. And more clicks means more engagement!
A call-to-action, often referred to as CTA, is a statement that urges readers to take a particular action, such as call your office to make an appointment or fill out a form. These should be included all across your website, from PPC landing pages to blog posts.
By adding calls-to-action on each page of your website, you are encouraging the type of engagement you want your audience to take. For example, on a landing page promoting a recent special, you may write a CTA that instructs patients to call you by a certain date to receive discounted pricing. On a blog post, you could write a CTA that asks your readers to share the article to their Facebook feed.
We suggest also including a CTA to call your office at the top or bottom of every page on your website so that prospective patients can easily connect with your team.
How to Boost Engagement on Social Media
Your website isn’t (or at least it shouldn’t be!) the only piece of your practice’s online presence. Engagement on your social media pages can also be beneficial to your practice by spreading brand awareness in your community, inspiring click-throughs to your website, and even converting followers into loyal patients.
We’re sensing a trend, here. Content is essential to online engagement! No one will keep revisiting a website or social feed that doesn’t continuously update its content. Bor-ing, right?
When creating content for your social channels, imagine what kind of posts your audience will be likely to share. If you are a chiropractor, an image demonstrating the painful effects of “text neck” may be shocking enough that patients feel compelled to share that information with friends. If you are a veterinarian, you may create a meme of one of your silliest patients (with their human’s consent, of course) that clients will share to entertain their own followers.
Thanks to tools like Facebook Insights, you don’t just have to guess what kind of content your audience likes best. Check analytics dashboards like these to learn which of your posts are performing best so that you can replicate similar posts in the future.
Respond to Comments and Messages
Create connections with your followers by responding to comments on your posts and messages to your inbox. This will show current and prospective patients that you value their opinions and engagement with your social media posts.
32% of social media users who contact a brand expect a response within 30 minutes.
As a small to medium-sized business, you have the benefit of having the time and resources to communicate with your patients or clients on social media. Take advantage of this ability and use it to foster a community bonded together by your healthcare services.
How to Boost Engagement on Review Sites
It’s pretty difficult to garner a 5-star online reputation if people aren’t leaving your business reviews!
These days, more and more people are turning to the internet to vet a business before deciding to purchase a product or service. This is even true of the healthcare industry. Research suggests that as much as 77% of people start their search for a new provider using online reviews.
Send Follow-Up Emails
Once a patient or client leaves your office, send a follow-up email to thank them for their visit and encourage them to share their experience online. In the email, include clickable links that will lead recipients to your favorite online business listing so that they can easily leave you a rating and review.
Once you start gathering more reviews, your business listing will begin to attract more attention from web users looking for services like yours. The better your rating, the more likely you are to convert those web users into patients.
Respond to Reviews
This point is paramount to the success of your business directory listings.
It’s essential that you interact with reviews of your business for several reasons. Firstly, paying attention to what patients or clients are saying about your practice will give you a good indication of what is and isn’t working well at your business.
Second, it gives you an opportunity to repair relationships with disgruntled patients that may have had an off visit to your practice. But even if that patient doesn’t come back into your office, prospective patients will see that your team cared enough to try to rectify the situation. Thirdly, this will boost online engagement with your business directory listings!
Make Online Engagement a Part of Your Marketing Strategy
Riddle us this… if your healthcare practice has an online presence and no one is interacting with it… do you really have an online presence?
The answer to this riddle is: not really.
For your website, social media pages, and business directory listings to be successful, they need engagement! Analyzing the frequency and type of engagement your web materials are receiving will help you pinpoint which parts of your marketing strategy are working and how you can improve upon it to reach your business goals.
Now, go check your Facebook messages.
Check out these other helpful resources…
4 Content Tips to Boost Engagement
5 Benefits of Using Social Media for Healthcare Practices
How to Turn Website Visits Into Office Visits