Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have the attention of billions of people who use the service each day, nobody knows what kind of changes will come forth in the future that will develop that narrative into one with less consumer attention.
Meaning we don’t know if Facebook and Instagram will always exist.
So how do we not fall to the mercy of these platforms? By building a powerful brand image around your practice.
Patients will naturally gravitate towards care with a more trustworthy reputation.
Brand image is the way your practice is observed by members of the community, whether they be current or prospective patients. It’s how recognizable or familiar people are with your practice and how they feel about it.
When there is a degree of quality and true kindness behind your practice, patients will associate you with a higher level of respect. In return scheduling with you above your competitors and profits will follow.
Brand image is essential because it helps you create longevity for your practice.
Great brand image is what allows you to create a business page on Facebook and get new patient leads from it, but the next day create a profile on a new platform and do the same thing if Facebook were to disappear.
In a comparable fashion that Cocoa-Cola ran its very first advertisement in 1886 in The Atlanta Journal. Then 136 years later in 2019 have the brand power to run ads on Snapchat or Facebook and still be relevant - this is because they have invested in brand image.
You must understand the difference between Branding and Brand Image…
Brand = The way patients view your practice and its value to their health
Branding = The way patients see your practice, literally (Logo, colors, catch phrase).
Both are closely linked and equally important but one can not work without the other.
How to build a strong brand image
There are many ways to build a brand image for your practice.
One of the most dependable ways to generate influence and harness brand image is through storytelling. Allowing patients to follow along with your story – who are you, what do you do, are you any good at it – will help them to become invested in your care.
Some more great ways to build a brand image are:
Another excellent way to build brand image as a medical practice is having patients talk about you on social media.
To do this, encourage patients to take a selfie/photo in your office and then ask them to post it on social media.
Their caption or description can be their honest review of their visit with you.
The most important element of a social media post from a patient is ensuring the patient is tagging your practices account so you can repost the original image/video to your page and be recognized by the patient’s followers.
This is essentially micro influencing: someone posts a positive review of your care and their friends are influenced to create an appointment since their friend who originally posted had a great experience.
Large companies and brands do this on a macro level, meaning they use social media influencers with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers, but it is just as effective on a micro-level.
To make your brand sustainable you must listen to patient's needs and not live in your head about what you think is good for them in terms of everything we previously discussed that contributes to brand image.
In 2020 neglecting the effort of building a robust brand image around your practice ends one way; profit loss.
Because there will inevitably come a doctor in your city that will have the appetite for more and they will be the ones to give patients what they want - which is a deeper connection to their healthcare.
This is not impossible for small, medium or even large practices. A bulk of brand building initiatives can be done for free or little cost to you. So what’s preventing you from having blind loyalty from your entire city?