How Can I Make My Medical or Dental Posts “Go Viral”?
It seems everyone is eager to create “viral” content—posts that are so compelling users share them with all their friends, who share them with all their friends, eventually racking up thousands or even millions of re-shares. As enticing as the prospect may seem, going viral should be low on the priority list for most dentists and surgeons (find out why in our social media FAQs blog post). That said, it never hurts to understand how to increase engagement, and knowing the tips and tricks used to produce popular posts can be a handy skill.
Common Components of a Viral Post
Based on a study conducted by the University of California Los Angeles, psychologists determined that social media users are more likely to circulate the posts they believe would be of most interest to their audience (i.e. friends, followers, etc.). These highly “shareable” posts typically evoke an emotional response — whether those feelings elicited are positive or negative. In essence, people are more likely to engage with a post that they find useful, amusing, or inspiring. Although going viral shouldn’t be a primary objective of your practice, a cursory understanding of how to craft appealing content will only strengthen your ability to connect with current and prospective patients.
With that goal in mind, here are a few helpful ideas on how to make your blogs, status updates, videos, and images more shareable:
- Create Delight – Induce smiles (and interest) with music, GIFs, animation, and videos.
- Collaborate on a Charitable Cause – Love to give back? Encourage users to join you in contributing, either with donations or via participation of another sort, to a philanthropic opportunity that’s close to your heart.
- Deliver Exceptional Quality – Just like dental and medical care, quality matters in the social media world. Review posts for clarity, grammar and spelling, and the message (and don’t stray far from your field). Keeping a post short and snappy is often the most effective approach.
- Keep it Topical – Exciting news breaking in your field? Share in the moment by posting about how this event relates to your practice. Just remember, trends pass very quickly, so you have to move fast.
- Incorporate Attributes – Know your patients well? Use that to your advantage; create posts that are relatable to your client’s lives. For instance, a plastic surgeon may want to talk about the most popular procedure for moms in their 40s. A dentist may want to reveal the most common dental concern among retirees.
- Weave in Cultural Elements — If there’s a popular meme or TV show applicable to the services you want to promote making the rounds on the Internet, these elements can work to make your social content more entertaining. If done tactfully, incorporating culturally relevant ideas into your social posts can only strengthen engagement.
- Tell Patient Stories — The most inspiring content on the web often involves overcoming challenges or adversity. If you have a patient who is willing to divulge how your services helped them improve their life, share their story! Whether they’re a dental patient who just received a life-changing smile makeover or a bariatric patient who completed their first 5K run, these real-life experiences are often more heartfelt and resonant than an online review or promotional post.
Individually, each tip can boost the allure of your posts. The more traits you can combine, however, the stronger the likelihood that others will gleefully participate. Remember, though, the shareable nature of your content is far less crucial than providing informative and accurate material—a patient-focused approach should come first. Clickbait can be irresistible to many, but it can also diminish a physician’s reputation by making him or her appear superficial or unprofessional. If this seems intimidating, delegating the responsibility of content and social media marketing to an experienced team can save you time, preserve your prominence, and boost your appeal to prospective patients.
Patient Confidence Trumps Momentary Exposure
At the end of the day, healthcare practices are in the unique position of trying to build a long-lasting relationship with their patients as opposed to simply completing one transaction of service. This continuity of care means there is more value in gaining the confidence and trust of your patients as opposed to enjoying the brief circulation of a popular post. Still, when utilized properly, social media can be a compelling tool to relate to your client base, connect with patients, and communicate need-to-know information. Ways you can engage your community without diminishing the reputation of your practice include:
- Sharing little-known facts, tidbits, and inspirational stories related to your field of care
- Linking interesting articles relevant to your services
- Posting light-hearted memes to communicate the warmth of your practice
- Promoting offers, discounts, or a specials campaign
So now that you’re inoculated against the notion that going viral is a necessity, you can continue to build your practice’s character and influence using these carefully curated tips. For more winning suggestions on how to navigate the delicate field of social and content marketing while maintaining exceptional patient care, we encourage you to reach out to our skilled team at Rosemont Media.
Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on December 27, 2016.