Three Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Note: You could win a free seat inside Acupuncture Marketing School this October! Guest blog post author, Michelle Grasek, is hosting a scholarship competition and Unified Practice is sponsoring a scholarship seat this month! Click here to sign up for the scholarship and learn more about Acupuncture Marketing School.
Feel like you’re spending a ton of time on social media, but not getting new patients from your efforts?
You’re not alone. One of the most common questions I get about social media marketing is, “How can I actually change my followers into patients?” Because there’s no point putting in the effort if you’re not going to see a return, right?
Social media is genuinely a great place to get visible in front of new members of your community, grow your know-like-trust factor, and find new patients. But there are a few mistakes that acupuncturists (and wellness entrepreneurs in general) commonly make on social media.
Once you adjust your approach, I think you’ll see better results from the time and energy you put into social media.
Three Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them:
#1. Not using a call to action in your social media posts.
A call to action is simply telling your audience:
A) What you want them to do, and
B) How to do it.
It’s fantastic to use social media to educate your audience. But simply sharing or teaching something is not enough. Next you have to clearly connect the information or knowledge that you shared with your practice and how you can help people, and include a call to action telling your audience what you want them to do next.
For example, at the end of an Instagram post about “Dietary Recommendations for Glowing Skin,” you’d want to mention how cosmetic acupuncture fits into an all-natural skincare routine, the fact that this is something you offer at your clinic, and include your call to action:
“If you have questions about cosmetic acupuncture and how it can help you, schedule your free consult now by clicking the link in my profile.”
Tell your followers what you want them to do, and when – “Schedule your free consult now,” as well as how to do it – “Click the link in my profile.”
A lot of acupuncturists are reluctant to include a call to action for fear of sounding “salesy.” I hear this from my marketing students all the time.
But it’s so important. Here’s why you must include calls to action in your social media posts:
Consumers are busy and distracted by a million things on the internet. You need to clearly tell them what to do if you want them to do it.
NEVER assume that it’s “obvious” that someone should click a link to schedule online. Always assume that they need to be hand-held.
This is not insulting their intelligence. This is a standard, professional approach in digital marketing. People expect to be told what the next step is in the online world: How to work with you, where to register for something, where to click next.
Research suggests that people have the attention of a goldfish (about eight seconds) or less when they’re using the internet.
If you make them click around too much trying to find what they’re looking for, they’ll get distracted, leave your page, and end up watching cat videos on YouTube for an hour.
Make it so that they have to do as little searching and clicking around as possible. Tell them what to do next. You do this by giving them clear instructions through a crisp call to action!
The Fix: As a rule of thumb, include a call to action in at least every other post that you publish on social media. So if you post four times on Facebook this week, two of those should contain clear calls to action.
#2. Not having a plan or strategy for social media marketing.
Having a social media marketing strategy is so important. It’s much easier to generate patients from social media if you have a plan of action that is aligned with your specific goals for your social media marketing.
Gone are the days when it was effective to post whenever you remembered or felt inspired.
Planning in advance is much more effective than trying to create content “in the moment.”
Here’s what I see happening pretty often. If this is you, zero judgement! We’ve all been there, myself included:
You haven’t posted on Instagram in three or four weeks, and you’re feeling guilty and stressed about it. You know you need to post something, to get visible in front of your audience, but you’ve been procrastinating because you don’t know what to say. You’ve got no ideas.
So you post a picture of your lunch and in the caption, you try to relate it back to Chinese medicine as best you can. This isn’t bad, necessarily. At least you posted something, which allowed you to get visible in front of some of your audience members, reminding them that your business exists.
But often the content that we post on the fly – without a marketing strategy that reflects our goals – lacks direction and can feel scattered for our audience. We might have taught them something or showed up momentarily, but did we ask our audience to do anything? Did we tell them what to do next?
In other words, posting on the fly often lacks “next steps” or calls to action for our audience. Sure, our followers may have seen us, but did the post make your followers want to take an action, like set up an appointment or call you with questions?
The truth is, you need to think about each item you post and ask, “How does this fit into the action I ultimately want my audience to take?”
When you outline your goals for social media, such as, “Get three new patients on the schedule next week,” or “Get four more people to register for the class I’m teaching at the local library,” then you can construct your social media posts around that goal. That’s your strategy.
Once you set a goal, ask yourself if each post will drive your audience towards the goal for this week. It’s okay to post things that are outside the “goal,” of course, like occasional inspirational or entertaining posts that your audience would resonate with.
But the big impetus of most of your weekly posts should be moving people toward that goal. And this is much easier to do when you plan your social media in advance.
Sit down once a week for an hour or two and plan out what message you want to get across that week. Define your goal, and structure most of your posts around it.
#3. Not using social media to connect with other small businesses for collaboration.
Social media is an incredible place to engage in business-to-business networking. If you’re not already using social media to connect with other local business owners in your area, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.
It’s essentially low-pressure networking. For many people, particularly introverts like myself and many of my students, it can be easier to interact online than to attend an awkward in-person networking event.
Social media networking is a low-key method of generating relationships with local business owners that you can engage in regularly without feeling mentally exhausted. (Read more about my favorite marketing approaches for introverts here: 5 Marketing Tips for Introvert Acupuncturists.)
Some of the best relationships I’ve cultivated – the ones that result in actual referrals to my clinic – began through social media interactions with those businesses.
Why is this so effective? Because other local businesses have audiences that you want to get in front of.
If you can get other small businesses to feature you on their accounts, or even to talk about your business to others in person, that’s a huge win.
For example, I follow and interact with a ton of yoga teachers on Instagram in my area, because I want to either do YogaPuncture classes with them (which would get me in front of their audience in person) or because I want them to come see me for treatment and eventually start referring their yoga students to my practice over time.
It’s a huge opportunity you can’t afford to miss.
So how do you go about networking on social media?
- Focus on local businesses that are complementary to yours – ones you might refer to.
- Follow them on social media and comment/like their posts regularly.
- Over time they’re pretty likely to follow you back.
- Once they do, reach out with a private message letting them know how much you enjoy their work in the community.
- *Ask how you might support them and their clients, or how you might work together to support your community at large. Invite them for a casual coffee and chat.
The more you’ve already chatted with a small business on social media, the more comfortable this will feel – sort of like you’re not really meeting for the first time.
And you’ll already be able to tell if you’re on the same wavelength with the business owner based on their response to your interaction with their brand on social media.
So when it comes time to ask how you might support each other, you’ll already know whether they’re a good fit for collaboration.
Social media is a wonderful opportunity to get visible in front of your local community, when you use it effectively.
I hope you put these three tips into action right away to get more patients from your social media marketing!
Don’t forget to sign up for the scholarship waitlist to learn how you could win a free seat inside Acupuncture Marketing School this October, sponsored by Unified Practice! Learn more about Acupuncture Marketing School here.
About the author:
Michelle Grasek, MS, L.Ac., is a practicing acupuncturist, marketing strategist and founder of Acupuncture Marketing School. She’s been teaching marketing for seven years. In that time, she’s taught marketing to over 2,500 acupuncturists. It’s her mission to help you grow your business using marketing techniques that are genuine and generous.
Through her articles and online PDA courses, Michelle aims to help you outline a strategy, focus on marketing that’s authentic, and get new patients every week. She shares all of her practice-building secrets at michellegrasek.com and on social media @michellegrasek.