Kickstart Your Social Media Marketing for 2020



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GRAB THESE HEALTHCARE MARKETING RESOURCES, TIPS, STRATEGIES and TACTICS froM Maria Todd, a Trusted authority on social media marketing in the healthcare industry.

Maria Todd is frequently engaged as a consultant to assist hospitals, physicians, dentists, veterinarians, and ambulatory surgery facilities to plan and execute marketing campaigns using print and digital marketing, advertising and promotions. With social media marketing, there’s a lot more to the process than simply claiming a page and posting “stuff”.  In healthcare marketing and advertising, there are significant consumer protection regulations related to what can be posted, promises, advertising claims, and results realized. Healthcare providers must be cautious about what their hire marketing advisers do, write, script and show in social media and other marketing, advertising, and promotional content.

Maria has observed many infractions and some clients who refused to heed these admonitions have been “delisted” by Google, meaning that they post, they pay for PPC, they pay for SEO and a bunch of tools and while they can see their site and log in to edit the site, the general public won’t find their site in search engine returns. Even worse, some were cited by the FDA and ultimately lost their entire business and were shut down. This has happened to several stem cell advertisers who crossed too many lines on promises and results to the general public. Don’t become a statistic if you can easily avoid doing so.

Just Starting Out?

While I advise clients to plan for the future by analyzing their past social media marketing efforts and results. But what if you don’t have any past efforts to analyze? Then this free 6-points social media marketing for healthcare checklist I’ve created will help you get started. 

If you still find it too challenging or time consuming, that’s an indication that you may benefit from professional help to get started, get trained on specifically which steps to take to start small, and then continue on your own or hire a service to manage your social media presence. 

Audit your social media presence

Once you’ve established your presence and started posting on a regular basis, the next step is very humbling. You’ll do these monthly or quarterly at the very least. 

When you first get started, you can make your own template from scratch. Listed below, I’ve included  the basics to use for your initial attempts to audit your social media presence.

  • Profile information (name and URL)
  • Decide what you plan to measure in terms of engagement (e.g. likes, comments, follower growth, or something else, conversions that result in trackable revenue,)
  • Audience demographics (age, gender, pain points, solutions they seek, how they consume content, etc.)
  • Referral traffic (how they found you)
  • Channel specific metrics (research these online for each channel you’ve selected to participate – not all content fares the same across all channels)

Find yourself

It always amuses me to hear doctors and executives say, “I never really looked online for myself.” What the heck are you waiting for? 
I completed one audit prior to accepting a client to create a concierge medical practice for him. I use professional tools that find every instance, profile, mention, share of voice, feedback, star rating and more. It then grades the overall sentiment of what’s out there after scraping the internet for 48 hours. While most of my clients seeking to transition to concierge medicine start out with about a 3.4 or “B” average, this guy got straight “Fs” on ever metric. He begged and pleaded to have me take him on as a client when my instincts said that there was a problem and eventually I took him on. Lo and behold!  I discovered fraudulent practices in billing, failed service experiences, and frequent and recent continued negative feedback.  The fraudulent practices gave me cause to decline to go further with him and I terminated my services. I have other more deserving clients to offer what limited availability I have as a leading international expert. That man will never really benefit from any expert’s or novice’s services to help him because he prefers to continue to do this his way. I don’t need the billable hours that much. Let a competitor who needs the hours work with him. I am more selective. Besides, if a consultant sees fraud or abuse, they are duty bound to mention it, document it, and run for shelter under attorney-client privilege for remediation.  If you won’t correct the fraud, abuse or other regulatory infractions, we are supposed to report you.  As I said, I don’t need the billable hours enough to put up with all that drama. 
Another source of surprises are old social accounts and profiles.  Did a former staffer create social profiles you didn’t authorize or forgot about? Do you have access to update them? Do they reflect your current brand image, personality, colors, content?  Is the content out of date? Get rid of it or update it!  Social media audit tools like Namechk or Knowem can help you find existing profiles of which you may be unaware. Use these tools to find yourself and claim your brand’s name on other platforms, just in case you want to use them in the future. You can also use these two tools to dig up profiles your competitors have that are also in a state of disarray. 

Set Goals

I advise clients to work with me for an hour to discuss their social media marketing goals before I accept them as a client for a longer project. This discussion exceeds the 15 minute complimentary introductory chat I offer and yes, they get a bill if they schedule the goal setting discussion. When I set aside 15 minutes, that’s it for the time slot. If you need more time, a separate appointment for a week or so in the future is often necessary because my schedule is pretty jammed to add last minute appointments on most days.  Here are some of the options for goal setting for social media marketing in healthcare:
Increase Brand Awareness
New Patient / Lead Generation
Increase Brand Engagement
Grow Brand Audience
Increase Traffic to Website
  • Goals force accountability for healthcare social media marketers. When you set goals, you are more easily able to list the specific steps you plan to take and explain the rationale you plan for each campaign. They also inform your budget for boosted posts and PPC keyword campaigns.

This goal setting step is where I observe the greatest failures in medical tourism marketing. Most professionals and facilities jump straight to “lead generation” without a product or any international or out-of-area brand awareness. What’s worse is that the providers expect revenue and lead sourcing to happen without investment. They decide to deploy a strategy that involves marketing through medical tourism referral agents who market a variety of providers in destinations all around the world. Exactly how do they expect increased brand awareness to occur amidst a cacophony of providers whose names aren’t revealed upfront out of fear that they’ll lose a commission? 

There isn’t any brand engagement for the provider or facility because they aren’t the one marketing. If the referral agent doesn’t set these goals and respond to engagement opportunities, it isn’t going to happen. And any growth of brand audience will be with the referral agent not the physician, dentist or facility.  And finally, if the provider identity is kept under a veil of secrecy until the prospect signs a contract with the referral agent, there won’t be increased traffic to the provider’s website. The whole business of medical tourism lead generation through “facilitators” or referral sources is a failure strategy if the goals are misaligned (or never set in the first place), not to mention illegal in several countries including the USA, Canada, Germany, UK and elsewhere.  The worst part of this anecdotal example is that this month, I will probably get 40 or so requests from surgeons and other lead generators in foreign countries asking me to “send them patients”. They offer me illegal contracts for as much as 30% of their fees on closed sales of medical tourism cases. I don’t refer cases. I don’t break U.S. laws, and I train my clients not to use referral agents and to do their own marketing. Is this lost in translation or are they hoping against hope? Or don’t they care? 

My social media marketing project proposal for healthcare clients

If after having read this article, you decide you’d like my help to kickstart your social media presence for 2020, set a time and claim your free 15 minute introductory chat. There’s no obligation to go past that 15 minutes, but to set your expectations, you’ll be doing most of the talking, not me. In that time, be prepared to share your concerns, and a brief history of what you’ve tried and how it worked (or didn’t). Also have in mind specific goals and duties you want to hire and what, if any responsibilities you’ll retain on your side of our collaboration. 

Be prepared to articulate your goals like the 5 above-listed or some other goals you want to achieve and by when.  That leads us to talk about your timeline. I don’t have time to fully manage your social media, but I may be willing to direct the work of others as the project manager. I am also willing to source other freelancers for you at my hourly fee and direct and check their work and advise them. Once the timeline is scoped out, we can talk fees and budget. I cannot quote fees until I know what the work will be and can estimate how long it will take. I cannot estimate budget without the diagnostics of what’s needed and who will create content, images, and other assets needed to have things to post. If you push me, my only option is to ballpark worst case scenario which may be a buffered high estimate which could frighten you away. I’d rather not.

The scope of work will include a posting schedule and content creation investments. Other work performed may be brand keyword and hashtag monitoring and then creating the recommendations about what to do with the findings. Analytics and reporting are another component to the scope of work. One doesn’t simply start analyzing. The tools must first be put on your website and APIs installed to trigger the analytic counts so they can be measured. Typically, reports are created monthly, however at first, you may feel more comfortable with more frequent reports to watch the progress happen more closely.  Other details we must discuss in our 15 minute chat include your expectations about project milestones and deadlines you’d like to set. This is how success is measured in social media marketing.  

For example, some of the milestones could include:

  • 5% Web-driven caseload increase for a certain surgical procedure by End of Q3 2020 

How will we measure? By using a unique telephone number of URL. Otherwise, the efforts aren’t trackable. 

  • A percentage boost in Facebook or Instagram engagement ratios by a certain deadline without using purchased engagement.

Google Analytics must be set up and tied to triggering events on your website and social channels in order to measure engagement ratios to ensure you’re reaching and interacting with more customers per month and have the data the back up your milestones. While Google Analytics is free, the time required to set up the triggers, monitor, and create formatted reports must be paid for with any firm. 

  • Launch A New Campaign by March 31, 2020 

Launching a new campaign isn’t a quick request and fulfillment. In reality, it requires time to complete various campaign stages such as kickoff, creative development, asset approval, launch, monitor and review and report generation, decision and continuation.

We’ll also need to discuss the terms of engagement and payment schedules, and who will be my go-to point person with the authority to spend money, provide a credit card, make decisions and receive reports and recommendations.

That’s a lot to cover in 15 minutes, but I do this all the time. What I want you to glean from this is how that 15 minutes leaves no time for blind consulting and recommendations from thin air or from past projects. Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. First you decide if you want to work with me, then I decide if I can help you. If that’s a match, the time I spend with you starts with researching and making and executing on my recommendations. Then we test with campaigns and evaluate outcomes.  We start small and expand as we get to know one another.  

Please keep in mind that a written proposal for a small solo surgeon looks very different than the proposal for a hospital or ambulatory surgery center or DME supplier. I don’t bake cookies and I don’t use cookie cutter proposals and pricing. You’ll need the above information at hand whether you work with me or another similarly experienced healthcare marketing expert with the regulatory compliance knowledge and clinical background to provide healthcare marketing services using social media.


Do you have questions about social media marketing, advertising, or branding strategies?

Would you like to chat about your goals and objectives for this year?

Schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns. Request a time for a courtesy chat with Maria with this form.


…for more information about what’s been mentioned in this article​ or something else you’d like to learn more about



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