Daniel: Welcome to “The Future Adjustment” Chiropractic Economics podcast series on what’s new and notable in the world of chiropractic. I’m Daniel Sosnoski, the Editor in Chief of Chiropractic Economics. And our guests today are Chad Lio, Social Media Marketing Director for Chiropractic Economics. And Alexis Lignos, Marketing Director to the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. These two talented experts are here today to talk to us about the myths and realities of social media marketing for chiropractic professionals. So, Alexis and Chad, welcome to our podcast.
Chad: Hey, Dan.
Alexis: Yup. Hello, thank you.
Daniel: Okay. Well, first off, let me ask you both, why should doctors of chiropractic be looking at using social media for their marketing endeavors?
Chad: Alexis, I’ll let you go first on that one.
Alexis: Okay, thank you. Well, my response is to reach new patient audiences. Majority of Facebook’s two billion active monthly users identify as female. And women have long been the undisputed family health decision makers, making approximately 80% of the family health care choices. So, that includes choosing the children’s doctors, taking them to appointments, and at really ensuring that they get the recommended cure they need including chiropractic. So, it’s important that doctors of chiropractic use social media for marketing to reach those new patient audiences.
Chad: Yeah, I would absolutely agree. The market there for people who are on social media is extremely huge when it comes to, if you think about people waking up on their day, the first thing they do is grab their mobile phone, and check their social media networks, whether that’d be Facebook, or Instagram or any different types that may be available to them, and what they find most pleasurable in interacting with their friends and family and so forth.
So, I think there’s also a stat to that, it’s close to 50% of referral traffic, and the overall internet comes from either Facebook or Google. So, it’s a huge opportunity that just not enough DCs are leveraging when it comes to new patient acquisition, potential figuring out who their patients are in the area or just the overall demographics that they wanna speak to.
Daniel: Okay. And just to be a little more specific and pin our terms down, when we say marketing, are we talking about sales, or are we talking about something else?
Chad: I think, in general, social media marketing it can be a combination of both, but there needs to be a fine line in and division between how much marketing, and how much sales we’re actually pushing. You know, marketing, in my definition when it comes to social media, is delivering value. So, things along the lines that you can educate your current patients on, or potentially new patient acquisition, things that you can teach them value wise.
And then when you’ve built up enough trust and authority with them on your platforms or being a knowledgeable source, that’s when you can, kind of, jump into the sales aspect of, “Hey, why don’t you come in for a free…basically checkup,” or any type of service that you may provide that will potentially get them to be more of a lifetime value.
Alexis: Absolutely, and I have to agree with you, Chad. But marketing it really encompasses…but there is a divide between marketing and sales, but, of course, marketing encompasses everything. It really touches your customer, your patient. So, yes, in my opinion, sales they are a part of the marketing process. And really anything communications focus falls under that same umbrella.
Daniel: Right. So, if I understand you both correctly, what you’re saying is that you can use social media to establish relationships with your patient base, and then after you have the relationship established, you can then perhaps convert that to a doctor-patient relationship?
Chad: Yeah, absolutely. And the problem that I see…
Chad: …too much with the overall demographic and this, you know, extends past doctors of chiropractic as well seeing that we’re in the social media marketing world of any type of small business, or even medium, the large size business sometimes is that, because there’s such a large number of people on those platforms, they immediately think that it’s immediately open for them to start selling, and gaining new patients and things along that line, when really you have to like any other business build it up, and get people trusting you to become your customers before they actually start purchasing from you.
So, to do that, you have to find a very good balance, and see what’s working and what’s not working from the type of stuff that you’re putting on there. And in today’s age, people…it’s so crowded with other messages, and marketing messages, and businesses on those platforms that a general consumer who’s on Facebook can see right through you if you’re just trying to sell to them.
Daniel: Yeah. I was looking at an article this week about techniques for going viral on the internet. And one fellow who is very successful at doing that said that it was basically a process of experimentation. There wasn’t necessarily a formula for that, but that he would try different things. And for one week, he would do a lot of blog posts. And for one week, he would make memes and so forth. So, you have to, I think maybe be creative with the medium, and see what your target market is interested in doing on it. Are there other things you can do with social media beyond marketing? I think you mentioned education?
Chad: Yeah, I think, you know, Alexis does a great job with the foundation. If she wants to talk about kind of the education that they provide from a consumer’s stand point, absolutely.
Alexis: Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, chiropractors, they can use social media to really build a virtual community that’s ready, willing, and able to support, encourage, and really build experiences for the patient. It’s more than a marketing channel. It’s become like a customer experience channel where your brand being your clinic can really participate in the consumer’s journey. So, but that goes back instead of trying to sell your services to users on social media, focus more engaging your audiences relevant content being educational material.
So, a lot of what the foundation does provide is educational material for consumers. We have infographics, the social media accelerator program, public service announcements, press releases, and it just continues to go on. There are so many different types of materials that we do offer our members.
Daniel. Yeah. So, Alexis, you mentioned your social media accelerator program. Could you tell us a little more about that?
Alexis: Yeah, absolutely. So, the social media accelerator program was launched within the past year. It’s a weekly e-blast that we send to our doctor members, and it provides easy to share social media content for Facebook and Twitter. So, the doctor will receive the e-blast, you know, the email and they can…we’ll walk you through how to share it to your Facebook business page, and then also to your Twitter page. Chiropractors are busy, so it’s difficult for them to stay on top of their social media channels.
So, at least it gives them an easy outlet to just be able to one-click share, here they go, and then they can give their following something to see that’s relevant to their target audiences.
Daniel: Yeah. So, if any DCs listening are interested in ramping up their social media game, they should be aware that they can visit the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, and right on your website, they can access the social media accelerator program, which is, sort of, a campaign in a box ready to go. With regard to the various social media platforms, in your opinion, are there some that are better for DCs than others to be using?
Alexis: Okay. I agree with your opening line. We all depend, you know, there’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, they’re all consumer focused. You know, LinkedIn is a key platform for business to business, but if I were to suggest one platform for chiropractors that are new to social media to start with, my recommendation is to create a Facebook business page for your clinic.
Then, you wanna get verified with a gray verification badge on Facebook, which adds legitimacy to your name and reputation and it confirms your authenticity of your local business. So, you should use your newly built Facebook page to really engage with your current patient, attract new ones, by posting material that’s relevant to your audiences.
Chad: Yeah, I definitely agree with Alexis that Facebook should be your number one priority when it comes to, you know, if you’re going to dive into to social media that that should be your main option because that is, kind of, the bread and butter when it comes to everyone being on that platform. One thing that I do see a mistake though is that you can’t have too many platforms as well. If you’re not gonna commit yourself to one platform and be really good on that one, and then, you know, kind of, jump to the next one. It all depends on one where your target demographic is living. So, and why I say living, I mean, interacting on social media.
So, if you are a sports therapy practice and you are more targeting high school athletes, while Facebook would be great to target the parent’s side of things, you can also be on Instagram to kinda target the actual patient side of things. So, you may do a post on Facebook warning parents of a specific hazard or something they should look out for when their teams play sports or whatever sports it’s…or their posture or anything that they should keep note of.
But then on the other side for Instagram, you can kinda engage more with a photo that kind of speaks more to that target demographic as well teaching them or giving them something that they can use in their everyday practice.
So, until you master one and you’re really good at that, you’ll really see its interaction with it. What I suggest, jumping into another one, and starting that. Only one of you have the time, and resources to do that because if you spread yourself too thin, you’re not gonna really see the engagement or the ROI from it as well. So, it’s important to keep that in mind when you are going to dive into it as well.
Daniel: There are some kinds of classic mistakes that people can make with social media especially companies. And one of them that I’ve seen is a company may have a slogan or a product or something they’re bringing to put on the market. And the basically just push that one message on all the social media platforms at once. And in your opinion, does each platform have its own flavor or its own kind of signature use? Alexis?
Alexis: Oh absolutely. Each platform is different it goes back to what Chad just said about Instagram, you have a sports practice, you’re gonna be posting on Instagram with images. Same thing with Pinterest, you know, it’s more image focused platform versus Facebook. But from my experience, one of the most common mistakes that I see companies make is that they post useless business information.
So, this goes back to them trying to really accelerate the sales process. You know, consumers, they want images and quick facts, you know, even better quick facts and images otherwise known as infographics. So, if your social media posts are too business focused, your followers will ignore it. So, your customers being your patients, they need something that applies to them that’s relevant to their daily life.
Daniel: Right. People don’t get on social media to look at ads. In fact, they don’t want to look at ads. So, you should be looking to give your audience something of value in some way. Would you agree with that?
Chad: Yeah, absolutely.
Chad: You know, that’s kinda going back to the marketing versus sales aspect that we were talking about. If you’re known completely for just giving a percentage offer or, “Hey, it’s a certain holiday, come on in for X percentage off for a free something like that.” It’s not gonna resonate really with that customer because you’re not delivering any value for them. You give them the reason why they should pay attention to you and things going that line. So, that’s definitely one of the major ones that I see.
There’s some smarter ones, too, and it’s just a base, just an overall understanding of how the social media platform actually works. So, I’ve consistently seen different practices or businesses actually posting, “Hey, like our page, because we’re great in the Chiropractic space.” And really what they’re doing is already pitching that to people who have already liked their page. Nobody’s gonna go out and see that who doesn’t like their page or any. So, that’s one that I always kinda giggle at when I see things like that.
Another one is that, the understanding of how the Facebook news feed works. So, 97% of the engagements and interactions happens within the news feed of Facebook, and not on the actual page itself, or on your company page. Because people are consistently thumbing through the news feed, or scrolling through the news feed, that’s where most of the engagement happens. Very rarely do they actually visit your company page. So, you have to really stand out when it comes to making a post or putting up a sponsored video or a video in general or any type of imagery.
So, based on that, the more engagement that you get, the more likely that that post is gonna be seen throughout your reach of fans. Because realistically, Facebook works off an algorithm, and actually most social medias work of an algorithm where if you’re not getting engagement on that post, it’s not going to spread. And they’re only gonna show certain things that get engagement or show more of that option. So, based on that, you really have to work at getting engagement.
And two, more than likely unless something really goes like in your terms turns viral as far as engagement wise compared to your audience. Only 1 to 2% of your total fans are going to see that post from an organic standpoint. And that’s why the social ads platform, it’s super valuable that we’re going to a little bit more later on. But engagement is huge and just know that if you’re not trying to get more engagement, and when I mean engagement I mean comments, and shares, and likes, and things along those nature, it’s not gonna be seen nearly as much.
Daniel: It’s been my experience with chiropractic economics on social media outlets that doctors of chiropractic are seen to be often quite insular. They’re not super active in terms of making comments, doing shares, and likes of material on Twitter and Facebook as much as other medical professionals are. But they definitely are there, we do see that they are reading. So, they may have to get a little bit out of their comfort zone I think to get more active in the space. But that said, is social media marketing something that a busy DC can delegate to staff members?
Alexis: Absolutely. Chiropractors, they’re busy. And I usually do work with CAs, the majority of them, because I have found that they do run the doctors’ social media pages, and that’s okay. This goes back to what we’ve discussed earlier. The foundation, we have our social media accelerator program which is the easy to share social media content for Facebook and Twitter. So, the CAs can share directly from the email blast, and our doctor members love it because they trust the material.
Everything we post on our social media channels being the foundation social media channels is evidence based. So, there’s really never a question of accuracy.
Chad: Yeah, and I always feel that you know, marketing kinda takes a step is below a step when it comes to the whole operation of the chiropractic practice, and that shouldn’t be the case because at any given point, you know, a doctor can focus on, “Oh, I just wanna focus on helping patients, and healing patients, and so forth.” But in reality, if you’re not getting those new patients or a volume of patients, you can’t do that because that business won’t survive.
So, you know, marketing is a huge aspect that can tend to be a little bit under rated when it comes to the overall chiropractor. Now, 100% agree that you can use your front of house staff to do that. I would just do it at a very organized manner where you set up a meeting maybe once a week to discuss some ideas of how you could push different things.
And that’s working together with both, whether it’s your Chiropractor assistant, or the front of house and the doctor itself, like, “Hey, can you film my video of me giving a tip every single week that I can post on our page?” Or things going that line, or let’s give five myths about chiropractic that we think, that too many people believe that we can kinda settle those myths, or really just conquer them so that we get people easier to understand that.
So, it’s a big thing, it goes into planning. Is how we can work together to do this at a time where it’s most effective for our practice, and at the same time doesn’t cloud anyone out from doing their normal daily responsibilities. You know, keeping the business flowing as it should.
Daniel: Those are some good ideas. What are some realistic expectations if you are gonna commit to yourself or your staff trying to engage an audience on social, like, you know, what’s the payoff there? How do you know that this is actually worth your time? What are some signs that you are being successful at doing this?
Chad: Alexis, I’ll let you go first on that one.
Alexis: Okay, sure. So, some signs of success are you’re seeing increase in likes or followers and engagement in general. Or, people sharing your post, or people liking them So, as long as a doctor is really active on social media, they should expect some growth in their likes and followers and their reach. And I notice this is off topic, but a lot of consumers also judge a doctor by their website. So, if you update your website, frequently post on your social media pages, you should see results.
And also infographics, they receive three times more likes than any other content on social media. So, you wanna make sure you post graphic versus a really text-heavy document on social media for maximum engagement. And that just sums it up.
Chad: Yeah, and I think like any given marketing strategy or any given business strategy, you can expect an outcome depending on the amount of effort that you put into it and the quality that you put there. So, if you’re randomly doing it one to two times a week just kind of…nobody got anywhere by doubling. So, you really have to fully invest in that. So, being organized is the key, and really coming up with a strategy for your practice that you can utilize as many researches as possible to make it engaging.
And once you dive in, and start figuring things out as far as what type of engagement you’re seeing, what times you’re seeing it at, you can access all these analytics from most of the social media platforms in-house analytics tools. Whether that be Facebook insights or Twitter analytics, they are built within your page so that you can see those different times that people are engaging with your content. So, first, it’s the effort, and the quality of content that you’re putting out there to see results.
And then, from an overall ROI which is probably the hardest thing to quantify when it comes to social media. You can get all these likes, shares engagements which is great from a customer experience side of things, but how does it help them? Well, then you need to kind of dive into more a series planned out of, okay how do we get them coming to our website? How do we get them filling out a new patient sign-up or ways that we can get them in the doors to at least try it out, and see the difference in it?
So, that maybe where your social media ad strategy comes into play where you’re developing ads where you offer a free…the first visit is free for certain people that, you know, come from social media, or visit your website, and retarget them with a social ad. Facebook’s ad platform is great for that as far as really developing your different kinds of audiences. Creating look alike audiences so that people that are your current patients that it’ll formulate an audience based on people that you already have in the most similar aspects.
And then, you know, just really diving in and seeing what’s working, and what’s not working. And it’s gonna be a while. It’s gonna be an investment, a long term investment. But until you actually make that investment, and realize that there’s no quick wins.
Daniel: Okay. And just to, kind of, wrap things up, I wanted to ask. Direct marketing continues to be effective for chiropractors because with a mailing list they can identify, for example, a particular zip code, and they know that they can get their message out to everybody within, say, a 5 or 10-mile radius of their practice, and not spend any money going beyond that. Whereas, social media’s potentially worldwide, and the patient base that you’re targeting are going to be people local to you in your city.
Are there ways that you can narrow your social media broadcasting so that you’re definitely hitting the people on your geographical area and not necessarily going well beyond that?
Chad: Yeah, you can do that.
Chad: Both sides of the organic side which is just a normal posting that you do on a daily basis, and the paid side as well. Facebook has some features to only target a certain area when it comes to an organic post. People that already like your page that are within a certain area. You can do that, it’s a custom thing that you can click on when you’re actually posting. I believe it looks like a little compass or a little, like, kind of, target cross hair icon that you can use to just target people within a specific area.
And then the Facebook ads platform allows you to reach people in your geographic area that don’t like your page. You know, so, it’s, kind of, more a paid push to certain people that draw them in, and maybe like your page or are coming for a free visit, things along in that nature. So, the social media platforms have to make money, so at any given point, they’re gonna develop as many tools possible from a paid ads perspective, or from a user engagement [inaudible 00:23:41] to give you the best tools possible to reach your audience because that’s what keeps them in business.
Daniel: So, if you wanted to, say, promote a tweet, you could set that up to basically hit people in your city?
Chad: Yup, or even down to the zip code, and not just the general city. Only if you’re right outside of the city, and don’t want…but it’s a 25-minute drive you can maybe start with a really focused niche at first to build your awareness, and build a word of mouth marketing standpoint before you start reaching into other areas.
Alexis: And what’s important to add is that these options on social media, Facebook has advertising, Instagram you can do boost your content all for a fee, but by picking and choosing that age range, and location you can really target who you wanna reach, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Facebook, for example, allows you to promote a post for, say, $5 a day. So, you can see how much engagement it’s getting by the clicks, and all the analytics are there. So, you can gauge, you know, do I wanna put $10 into this post? And you’ll learn over time what works, and what doesn’t work as you become more comfortable with social media.
Daniel: And also I think a lot of patients are gonna find you by Googling “Chiropractor in Cincinnati,” and they’ll find your web page first. So, it’s probably a good idea to have links to all of you social media channels on your homepage so that people who’ve already found you can, say, follow you on Facebook if they like you as well. Would you agree with that?
Chad: Yeah. You can get more recognition, and get people following more than one channel. That gives you an opportunity to speak to them more than once on a daily basis. The only thing that I would suggest is that you make sure that you’re varying up your content in between those platforms. So, if you’re posting on Facebook for the day, and you also have a Pinterest channel. Think about who the audience is on that Pinterest channel because Pinterest more than likely is a female on that channel. I think the demographics [inaudible 00:25:43] 70% female.
So, you know, what might be good a post for Facebook as far as maybe if your target audience is more male dedicated on Facebook, you could maybe do a golf tip whereas on Pinterest you may be doing something for your children, or things that a career woman might wanna take into effect. So, you really have think that out, and that’s where that overall planning and strategy comes into play that you develop with your staff. But if you really focus on that and really think it out and deliver that value, you’re gonna see way more engagement than just trying to push some sort of percentage offer or all new patients get something free. Something along those lines.
Daniel: Well, all right. And I would also recommend any Chiropractor who wanted to get savvy in this space. Look around online, and see what other doctors are doing. Look at some of the rock stars out there. I know DCs like Kevin Wang, for example, are really effective in building online communities. And take note of what successful people are doing, and see what’s working for them, and maybe you can get some inspirations.
Well, okay. Well, thank you so much for spending some time with us today Chad, and Alexis. This has been extremely informative. You’ve given us a look at the social side of “The Future Adjustment.” I’m Dan Sosnoski, we’ll see you next time.