Gallup produced a report last year called “The Myth of Social Media,” summarizing the results from more than 18,000 personal interviews about the influence social media has on their purchasing decisions.
- 62 percent of people said it has NO INFLUENCE AT ALL.
- Only 5 percent said social media has a great deal of influence.
- 30 percent said it has some influence.
Now you might be asking yourself, but what about these digital natives, people in the mid-30s and below who grew up with the Internet?
Forty-eight percent of those millennials said social media has no influence on their purchasing decisions.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Does it make sense to devote your time, which should be worth at least $750 or $1,000 per hour, to devote to posting on Twitter or Facebook trying to get new patients?
- Does it make sense to devote the time of your staff to an endeavor where 94 percent of the people are not listening to you?
- Does it make sense to pay someone to post and Tweet and Like and whatever when 62 percent of people say that whatever you say doesn’t affect their spending decision?
Here’s a hard truth: Friends and followers don’t ‘Like’ to become patients.
Gallup has told us that most people are on social media to keep up with family and friends and are NOT INFLUENCED AT ALL by social media when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
But what about the prospects with whom you have ALREADY connected on social media? They like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter.
Gallup says 53 percent of those people say social media has “some” influence on their purchasing behavior. Thirty-four percent said social media has no influence at all.
Only slightly more than half of the people who you have successfully attracted – either through your time, a staff member’s time, or a paid company’s time – say engaging you on social media MIGHT influence their decision.
That is not good ROI.
Gallup shows that consumers still influenced much more by traditional methods than social media: Traditional methods like: Friends, family members and experts.
Gallup says, “Company-sponsored Facebook pages and Twitter feeds have almost no persuasive power.” It goes on, “Consumers are highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content. These channels do not motivate prospective customers to consider trying a brand or recommending a brand to others.”
If you want to reach prospective patients through social media, Gallup and we recommend engaging EXISTING patients. Let these existing patients spread the word about your practice via social media.
To quote the report, “If companies want to acquire new customers, their best bet is to engage their existing customers and inspire them to advocate on their behalf.”
Prospects Want Social Media to Be Social, Not Sales
What can you do to make social media work for you?
Here is what Gallup says:
“Consumers are more likely to engage with companies through social media when they believe those companies’ intentions are genuine. They look for real people and real communities. Therefore, companies that want to become part of the conversation must shift their social media initiatives to be more authentic, responsive, and compelling.”
People don’t want to follow you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever and hear a sales pitch.
Let’s look at the three qualities Gallup identified in a successful social media strategy:
- Authentic. Consumers, “want to interact with a human, not a brand. Companies should back away from the hard sell and focus on creating more of an open dialog with consumers.”
- Responsive. “Companies need to actively listen to what their customers are saying and respond accordingly. If mistakes were made, they must own up to them and take responsibility.”
- Compelling. “This content should be original to the company and not related to sales or marketing. Consumers need a reason to visit and interact with a company’s social media site and to keep coming back to it.”
There is nothing wrong with spending your time posting on Facebook. You can post all the cute cat pictures on Instagram that you can find. You can rip off four tweets an hour that display how witty you are. And some people will LOVE all of that. They’ll get a great sense of who you are. They’ll have a positive impression of your practice.
But, as Gallup’s statistics have shown, THEY STILL WON’T BECOME YOUR PATIENTS.
Ask yourself: Do you want to be popular on social media, or do you want more freedom, more patients and more profits?