Ethical osteopathy business and marketing advice delivered in a British accent. You’ll find me running, at the beach or inside our courses helping osteopaths create their perfect work-life balance.
Osteopaths seem to understand the power of social media but fail to keep at it for numerous reasons. Does this sound like you?
For osteopaths, social media is an online extension of word-of-mouth. And like having a clinic logo, an online presence is essential for osteopaths. If you can harness the power of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, you can make your reputation as a credible osteopath flourish.
The benefits of social media for osteopaths include:
Consistently showing up means logging in to post meaningful content and engage with other people and businesses at least a couple of times a week, every week, year in and year out. Social media is a long-term game. So please take that into serious consideration before you jump into social media. It’s a powerful marketing tool, but it is by no means compulsory or the only option when considering online marketing.
Let’s break down the basics that you must understand before tackling social media as an osteopath. Then, we’ll give you our top 3 platform recommendations for you or your clinic. There will be plenty of links to excellent articles and resources we recommend if you want to know more about a specific subject. So let’s dive right in!
What do you desire from social media? New patients? More website visitors? Building awareness in your local community? Do you even enjoy being on social media?
Of course, we all want patients through the door. But this is about setting realistic expectations. Just because you decide to give social media a go doesn’t mean that you’ll get new patients straight away. It’s essential to avoid feeling demoralised by setting your expectations from the beginning. You may get many patients one week, followed by several weeks of nothing.
Instead of thinking that the only good thing to come from social media is patients, try shifting your mentality towards other benefits. These include increased awareness, improving digital word of mouth or building trust between you and your online community. These factors accumulate together to bring patients through the door.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are used to create communities and build relationships. The more you give to your followers, the more you’ll get back from them.
For osteopaths, building a community on social media is more than a group of people who sometimes ‘Like’ your posts. It’s about bringing people together who believe you can help more than just themselves. They follow, engage and share your content because they believe in what you do and why you do it; they want others to ‘discover you’ the same way they did.
Gary Vee’s book ‘Jab, jab, jab, right hook’ outlines the importance of providing genuine value to people (jab) and continuing to give and give (jab, jab) before asking for anything in return (right hook). Consistently providing value leads to higher acceptance when you ask for something like an email address, website visit, or booking in a treatment.
It isn’t enjoyable when you follow someone who constantly tries to sell something to you. The last thing you need is to sound like the annoying, ignorant salesperson who wants nothing but your money. The research supports this too. According to Sprout Social, 46% of people unfollow businesses on social media due to too many promotional posts.
You’re probably thinking that being across a few social media platforms is the best option, right? Well, as with everything, it’s better to focus on doing one thing at a time to the best of your ability rather than running your energy and efforts thin. We suggest sticking to one social media platform for at least one year so you can know everything inside and out. What works, what doesn’t work, what features to use, what new features do etc.
We suggest Facebook, Instagram or YouTube because they are fantastic platforms for promoting the types of things osteopaths do. For example, Instagram boasts a core community in the health and fitness sector. YouTube is one of the best places to learn how to do almost anything for free. While Twitter, Linkedin and TikTok are all great platforms and extremely popular, their primary features don’t complement what osteopaths are generally on social media.
Let’s look deeper into our top 3 platforms we suggest for osteopaths to consider. We’ve listed the qualities you may have that would allow you to thrive on that platform.
Disclaimer: We’ve recommended specific social media platforms depending on your strengths, but all recommendations can be applied across all platforms. The best choice for you is the space you feel most comfortable using.
Watch Osteohustle’s Alan talk about the pros and cons of Facebook from our course The Social Media Academy For Osteopaths.
Watch Osteohustle’s Alan talk about the pros and cons of Instagram from our course The Social Media Academy For Osteopaths.
Watch Osteohustle’s Alan talk about the pros and cons of YouTube from our course The Social Media Academy For Osteopaths.
Summary: Choose a platform that utilises your strengths and is a valuable feature on that social media platform.
A few paragraphs back, we introduced Jab, jab, jab, right hook. Now that we understand which platform you might focus on let’s revisit that concept. How do you give genuine value consistently to receive when you ask for something in return? It takes effort and planning. What you put into social media will determine what you’ll get out of it, which is why it’s essential to have a clear goal for the social media platform you choose.
You need to refine all your social media basics to excel. We’ve looked at refining from many platforms down to one. Over the following few sections, we’re going to look at narrowing down the type of content you post, who you speak to and when you communicate with them.
If you haven’t already, take this opportunity to read how branding will fix your marketing forever. In that article, I talk about the importance of having a strong brand to find direction.
Think about the things that stop you from scrolling.
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I often see osteopaths approaching social media as an advertising platform. Social media is just that- social. As I said at the start of this article, we need to reframe our thinking of social media advertising; it needs to be less about trying to “sell” osteopathy and more about building genuine connections on the platform you choose and using the medium of photos, words and videos to speak to the people you wish to connect to in your local area. You can learn more about this, in-depth, inside The Social Media Academy For Osteopaths.
Not everything is about osteopathy; it can be about what you’re doing that day, general health and fitness advice, healthy recipes etc. This excellent article by Marketing Interactive explains that people don’t buy your products; they buy the stories you tell.
Having a content planner or calendar is essential to take your social media to the next level. Choose a topic to focus on for a month and create your content around that theme. Keep your patients in mind. Have you seen a rise in arthritic pain due to the weather lately? Create one month worth of posts around reducing arthritic pain. We’ll go into how to create content later.
We’ve created the perfect Social Media Companion For Osteopaths for all your content planning, scheduling and tracking. You can take a look inside over here.
Your brand should colour everything you do on your social media. Take why you do what you do, and tell that to the type of people you want to treat. My number one secret weapon I tell all osteopaths about is Canva.com. If you haven’t already discovered Canva, go and have a look. I love Canva because it allows you to create professional, branded products for free. This includes leaflets, business cards, Facebook and Instagram posts, video thumbnails, posters, banners, Instagram stories, letterheads, patient notes paper, vouchers, flyers and more. I highly recommend paying the small subscription for Canva premium. Still, it is a hugely powerful tool even if you choose to stay with the free version.
I’ve spoken enough about Canva. Let’s discuss Hootsuite and Later. These websites are designed to make scheduling posts across multiple platforms easier. Comparecamp goes through a more in-depth comparison.
No matter which platform you choose, you will need a smartphone with a good camera for photo and videos. I’m not saying to upgrade instantly, but please consider the camera on your phone next time you upgrade.
If you’re focusing on YouTube, editing will be essential. There are many free options for editing software out there. I use iMovie, but other options include inVideo and Vizmato. You can compare the two video editors over at FinancesOnline.
How often to post depends on your ability to maintain that level of consistency. I’ll break down the general guidelines for each of our three platforms below, but the number one priority is consistency. If you can consistently post two quality Facebook posts per week at regular times for a year, that is far better than fluctuating between 10 and 20 posts a month at unpredictable times. As we outlined, one of the benefits of YouTube is the ability to be successful on there without posting daily.
Buffer has a full breakdown of their social media posting schedule.
Features on social media change constantly. I want this to be relevant for more than three months, so I’m not going to outline the exact features of each of our three platforms. By the time I finish typing this, they will have inevitably changed. So instead, I’ll outline why you should use as many of the features on a social media platform as possible and focus on any newly introduced features.
Let’s define what I mean by “features”. The most common features that you will be familiar with are our stories on Instagram and IGTV, reels, carousel posts, and highlights. Facebook has tonnes of features, including stories, polls, groups, rooms, and live. YouTube is the least ‘feature’ heavy platform, where most of the features affect the uploading process- like uploading a thumbnail and turning on comments.
Social media platforms aim to keep you and the people who engage with you on the platform for as long as possible. Moreover, they want people to use the new features to have positive statistics about evolving the platform. Therefore, you’ll get rewards from their algorithms for using multiple platform features and heavily using new features.
99firms.com explains this perfectly, using Facebook Live as an example. “The changes in Facebook’s 2018 News Feed algorithm focused on encouraging meaningful interactions, where comments, reactions, and shares get priority over passive actions such as clicking the Like button. One of the crucial new ranking signals is the type of content users post. What does this have to do with Facebook Live? Well, Facebook’s live videos encourage the meaningful interactions the 2018 algorithm is all about.”
So when you’re creating your social media plan, keep in mind not only what you’re going to say but also how you’re going to deliver it. A great way to use multiple features on Instagram and Facebook is to use one post for numerous purposes. Upload an Instagram post, then share it on your Instagram story with the hashtag #newpost. Do the same with Facebook posts, then go live for a few seconds talking about the post you uploaded and opening up a Q&A about the post topic.
Success on social media depends on your goals. Having 10,000 followers means nothing if that number is made of 9,999 other osteopaths and your mum (love you, mum). Similarly, having only three comments on a post doesn’t mean that post is useless if those three comments are all enquiries about booking an appointment.
As an osteopath, the main focus of your KPIs should be overall engagement. It would be best if you were aiming to have people commenting, liking or sharing your content as that indicates to you that it’s providing your followers with value.
One of your social media goals should be to grow your email list. Having an email list is a pillar of marketing for many reasons. Getting people from your social media to sign up for your emailing list benefits you because that list is yours. That platform ultimately owns connections on social media. However, an emailing list is a guaranteed way for you to continue contacting people you’ve connected with. People are more likely to engage with you via email than on social media.
According to Optinmonster.com, the conversion rate of emails is 6.05% compared to 1.9% for social media. Furthermore, it has a 22.86% open rate compared to a 0.58% engagement rate. This means that more people are more likely to read what you’re saying and act on something you ask them to in email compared to social media. People actively demonstrate that they trust you because they’re giving you more access to their time.
Another benefit of email is that it gives subscribers a direct, professional link to you via email rather than a social media comment or DM. You can use that professional link to welcome people to ask you more detailed questions or explore your website. Suppose you’d like to direct people from your social media to your website or email. In that case, it’s best to post links in Linktree on Instagram or in the comments section on Facebook or Youtube. We don’t recommend putting outside links into your main text because the algorithm picks that up and will punish your post because of it. Links are currently unclickable on Instagram.
Mailchimp may be the best-known email marketing tool. However, there are multiple better options for you to choose from, in my experience. I recently changed over to Getresponse, which I have found incredible. It’s super easy to transfer your contacts too. If you don’t have an email collector yet, you need Getresponse or MailerLite. The best choice is Getresponse. The best free choice is MailerLite.
An option for clinic owners with associates is to tap into their associate’s talents. Investing in your associates by upskilling them or utilising their talents builds up your clinic higher than ever. It can establish systems that you can teach the next lucky associate. Or, at the very least, you can feel good knowing that you’ve just helped the profession of osteopathy by giving someone a career-long skill.
There are plenty of social media managers specialising in allied health; some are, in fact, osteopaths themselves! Social media managers will take a lot of the work out of understanding and analysing your social media for you. However, you have to understand that managers can keep you informed, but they aren’t you. You will still need to be in the comments and answering peoples questions to give them your honest advice or opinion. A social media manager can analyse, create a plan and reach social media goals for you. However, they cannot make one-to-one relationships with people in your area. If you want to cultivate relationships online, you are the only person that can do so.