If a patient complains about their experience at your practice, such as a negative interaction with a staff member or billing mistake, you would most likely try to resolve the issue by listening to their concerns and finding an appropriate solution. The consequence of not listening and responding to complaints in a situation like this could be that the patient takes their business to a competitor. In the age of social media, the same logic can be applied to online users discussing and engaging with your chiropractic practice through social media. Following what is being said on social media, a key component of social media listening, can help you implement a better social media strategy that truly reaches and resonates with your target audience – so that they are less likely to be lost to your competition.
What Is Social Listening?
Social media listening is the process of finding what is being said about a business, topic, brand or individual on social media platforms. This also includes a company’s website and blog. For a chiropractor, this can mean monitoring anything from mentions of your practice on Twitter, to keeping track of the promotions competitors are posting on Facebook, to the types of nutrition and wellness content that are generating the most likes on Instagram.
Social media listening can sometimes be confused with social media monitoring, but the two differ in what is done with the information after it’s collected. With social media monitoring, you are simply watching for mentions of your brand, industry news and audience conversations. Social media listening, on the other hand, takes this same information and analyzes it in order to take action. While they are close in meaning, social listening takes it a step further by using the collected information to develop a social media strategy.
Benefits of Social Media Listening
Listening and responding to what’s being said on social media offers many benefits to your chiropractic practice. According to a study by American Express, the top five reasons US consumers use social media are to: look for responses from companies, offer a company praise, share their experience, vent about a negative experience, or ask for advice from other consumers about how to have the best experience with a company. Though not limited to these five reasons, social media listening tries to address how consumers use social media and develop the best possible strategies to increase positive social media engagement.
When you tune into what patients are saying online, you get priceless insights into how your current (and prospective) patients perceive your practice and its services. This honest feedback should spur action where needed to make improvements or provide you the confidence to continue programs that are popular. Furthermore, when you take suggestions from patients seriously and act upon them, you demonstrate your willingness to change to provide a better patient experience, which in turn, builds your reputation and loyalty.
How to Become a Social Media Listener
Before you set up a social media listening routine, you can make the process easier by first identifying your industry’s big names and their social media profiles. Also take note of popular keywords such as your practice name, industry buzzwords, your practice owner’s name, promotional campaign names and your competitors. Once you’ve collected all the appropriate information, put it into a spreadsheet so it is easily accessible to reference. From there, you can create a daily schedule to check for new followers, mentions, likes, or comments on the pages and topics you are following.
Having the right tools to help you with social media listening can make all the difference. For instance, Google Alerts are free and easy to use. Start by setting up a Google Alert with keywords you are tracking in the chiropractic industry, mentions of your practice, and even your competitors’ practice names. Twitter can also help with its Advanced Search feature, a built-in tool that narrows down your searches, explores industry-specific hashtags, and more. Other advanced tools allow you to set up different monitoring functions and automatically track specific keywords or twitter handles within the chiropractic industry, though these tend to take more effort to set up.
Respond According to the Feedback
Do not be a silent listener. Respond to questions and concerns as they arise in your patients’ online conversations. This demonstrates genuine interest in communicating with your followers. Social media is not solely for the promotion of your practice. Gathering feedback from your audience, understanding what it means and responding appropriately enhances your practice’s reputation as a whole, drawing in new patients and retaining current ones.
Based on your findings, you can use what you learn not only to create an optimal social media strategy, but apply these findings to your practice overall. What is working for your practice? What does not? Are there services that need to be improved based on what you are hearing online? Remember – social media listening is only as valuable as your practice’s response to it!