For better or worse, social media is a major channel through which clients and potential clients learn about a company. In telemedicine, it is tempting to think that customers and prospective clients don't want to connect on social media, the reality is that many do. Ignoring social media simply is not an option for any business. Smart use of social media, however, can produce new client connections, strengthen existing relationships, and improve utilization rates. All of that translates into increased revenue and happier customers. To make the most of social media, it's important to keep the following tips in mind.
Cultivate a Personal Touch
Social media has created an expectation among customers that they will have access to company executives and employees in more personal ways. By making a personal connection with customers, they become invested in the health and wellness of your company because they see the human presence behind the product or service. To understand the kind of connection that a company needs to make, think of social media "followers" as friends. Share with them the same things you would share with friends. Good examples of humanizing a company through sharing include posting staff photos, exciting news, helpful information, and entertaining tidbits to social media platforms.
Build Trust with Sincere Content
A personal touch is important, but simply throwing out clichés, like photos of white picket fences, can damage your brand. Customers need to feel that the content and information that a company shares are genuine. Social media is a good place to let customers get a glimpse of the real people and personalities behind the company. When news is shared, try not to spin it too much. Don't doctor photos or post glamor shots. Keep entertainment genuine, but inoffensive. In short, share what will make people think the best of you in a way that reflects your company's values.
Don't hesitate to recycle content either. What is posted to Facebook can and should be posted to Twitter and other social media outlets. Keeping content consistent across various forms of social media is as important to brand as ensuring your logo looks right. Keeping things consistent fosters trust.
Be genuinely proud of the things your company does well by showcasing expertise and highlighting talent. Remember that part of building trust involves letting customers see just how good your company is at the things it does. This is especially important in the telemedicine industry, where customers connect with the service at some vulnerable points in their lives.
There are a couple of general ways to showcase talent. The most effective method is to demystify what your company does. The World Wide Web (www) is a perfect place to post behind-the-scenes videos and photos that illuminate the day-to-day processes that make your company work. In telemedicine, this could be a physician explaining how a typical patient encounter takes place or the chief technology officer explaining the features of telemedicine software.
Another way to communicate expertise is to use experts to make a process look simpler. While they are doing that, they need to convey warmth and understanding, demonstrating that your company isn't just good at what it does, but good at caring as well. Experts who care enough to express their passion are the best spokespeople for conveying sincerity.
Build a Following and Keep It
Building a cadre of dedicated social media followers isn't easy, but keeping them is just as hard. A careful blend of informative and entertaining content is a great way to get people to acknowledge your social media presence and connect with it in a meaningful way. You want people not just to like and engage with your content, but to share it with family, friends, and colleagues as well.
Social media isn't just a place for you to share with customers; it is also a place to gather information from them. In other words, do as much listening (maybe more) as you do talk. People feel comfortable sharing both positive and negative sentiments on social media because there are less pressure and more anonymity. People are simply more genuine in their criticism, which can be hugely valuable to any company.
The first rule of social media research is to listen. The second rule is to ask the right questions. Use social media survey and information gathering tools, like Survey Monkey, to conduct proactive research about important issues. You can probe followers about their satisfaction with your service, their concerns, and even their ideas for making a good service better. Use the anonymity of social media to your advantage to get genuine responses from real customers.
Sealing the Deal
The cardinal dogma of social media is always to respond. Unlike letters and communications of the past, and even unlike email, posts to social media require a response. Customers expect to hear back, especially about the most pressing issues. If "location, location, location" is the mantra of real estate, then "respond respond, respond" is the equivalent for social media.
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