It's pretty safe to say most people don't really understand and appreciate what chiropractors do and the real value of the services we offer. Historically, our profession had the excuse that "we just can't afford to get our message out to the public" through the mainstream media, so we accepted our fate and chose to "educate the public one spine at a time." We did the best we could with the limited resources we had.
A Communication Revolution
Social media has changed the way we communicate forever. For better and for worse, thanks to iPhones, iPads and Facebook, the world is more connected than ever. Ideas spread around the world like viruses at the speed of light. Chiropractors now have an unprecedented opportunity to share the chiropractic message worldwide for free. But many still ask the question, "Does social media work?"
The question shouldn't be, "Does social media work?" It does for those who know how to use it. The question is, "Do you know how to use social media to promote your practice?" Likely not. If we want more people to understand what chiropractic really is, it's time to end chiropractic's social media illiteracy.
Whether you want to change the world, serve more people or make more money, the solution to all three comes down to how well you are able communicate your story and connect that story with others. It's simple: If more people in your community know who you are, what you really do and why you do it, your practice will be as busy as you'd like it to be.
But until your community knows who you are, what you really do and why you do it, practice will be a struggle and you'll always feel threatened by outside forces such as insurance companies, the medical profession and new health care policies.
Social networks, specifically Facebook, allow you to share your ideas with the world without the traditional barriers, costs and restrictions of mainstream media. Revolutions are occurring around the world because of social media and people's ability to connect with each other quickly and easily. Now is our opportunity to lead a revolution in health care.
Want More People to "Like" Chiropractic?
Chiropractors are often frustrated that more people don't really understand the true value of chiropractic. We often believe people have been convinced of the medical model and therefore have an irrational belief in drugs and surgery as a solution to their health concerns. But how did this happen?
The fact is the medical profession and pharmaceutical industries make a conscious effort and substantial investment of time, energy and money to promote their message of better health through better drugs. People don't naturally believe they should take pills and shots for better health; they have just become convinced it's the right thing to do because of such consistent and aggressive communication tactics.
Chiropractors now have the same opportunity to let people know why they should "Like" chiropractic by building their practice's social networks and consistently sharing quality content with their networks every day.
Why Should You Like "Likes"?
According to Facebook, people who engage with your Facebook page by clicking the "Like" button are more active and more connected than the average user. The average "Liker" has 2.4 times the amount of "friends," and clicks on 5.3 times more links to external sites than a typical Facebook user.
When you post great stuff to your practice's Facebook page, the number of people who see your content is based on the number of people who "Like" your page. In other words, the more people that "Like" your practice's Facebook page, the more people will see your name and message.
When you focus on posting attractive images with simple messages about chiropractic on a daily basis, and then encourage people to engage with your daily posts, more new people see your messages every day. When someone "Likes" your practice's Facebook Page or a specific message you post, their friends will see that engagement. You now have an opportunity to reach an audience who is not yet familiar with you. That's how you turn Facebook into your automatic new-patient referral machine.
What If I Don't Like Facebook?
For those who don't invest the time to learn how to use these communication power tools correctly, it is true they can be a huge waste of time with little to no return on investment. However, those who invest the time to learn the basics of social networking and social media find these tools to be the answer to their dreams. How can you not love the ability to communicate your practice's chiropractic message with your community every day for free?
You may or may not like talking on the telephone. You may or may not like email. But these are basic requirements to communicating with people and requirements to running your practice. In today's world, sharing your message with your community is now considered a basic requirement for running your practice, whether you "Like" it or not.
Shouldn't We Practice What We Preach?
Remember, doctor means teacher. It's our job to be teachers of our message. Just getting great results in your practice isn't enough to shift people's consciousness and convince the general public to embrace chiropractic care as part of a mainstream approach to natural health and healing. If it were, all our offices would already be filled to capacity.
Chiropractors ask people to be open-minded to new ideas. We ask people to be willing to think differently about things and try something they might have previously been prejudiced about. We ask people to invest their time, energy and money into a new approach to nature health and drug-less health care.
Perhaps we should heed our own advice? Maybe as a profession we should consider investing our own time, energy and money into forms of communication and technology we might have previously been prejudiced about? Shouldn't we be first to open our minds to think different about how we communicate our chiropractic story with our community?
We tell people in our communities, "If you want something different, you might have to try something different." We tell people to "Try chiropractic and be prepared to be amazed at the results you'll see in time." Well, chiropractors, I'm here to tell you this truth holds for us, too. If we want something different, it's time we try something different. Try social media to clear the interference in communication between your practice and your community – and be prepared to be amazed at the results you'll see in time.
4 Important Steps to Get Started
- Do you have a Facebook profile set up for yourself already? Visit your Facebook profile regularly to see if you are accumulating "Friends" or "Likes." A profile is for individuals and accumulates "Friends." A Facebook page is the appropriate way to establish your practice on Facebook.
- Create a Facebook Page for your practice at Facebook.com/pages.
- Create a Facebook username; for example, Facebook.com/FreeChiropracticMarketing. That way, it's easy for people to find you on Facebook. Use your Facebook username on your business cards, forms, signs and advertisements.
- Find and share great stuff on your practice's Facebook page every day.
These are the four easy, fundamental steps to help you get started and make sure you get your practice set up on Facebook correctly. Learn more about how to grow your impact and practice on Facebook with a free seven-day "Facebook Training for Chiropractors."
Dr. Jason A. Deitch is a chiropractor and social media strategist who works with the profession's leading universities, organizations, associations, vendors and most successful practices around the world. He is the founder of the world's largest chiropractic social media content library. Learn more here.