14 Oct How To Use Social Proof To Get More Patients (+ Free Template!)
Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing strategies in the rehabilitation industry, but many clinics still aren’t sure how to use it to market to their patients and referral sources. In this guide, we’ll help you understand what social proof is and how you can incorporate it into your practice’s marketing strategy.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof can be defined as the psychological theory that people are influenced by others’ actions when they’re seeking similar results.
If you’ve ever read a review, followed a celebrity on Instagram, or asked a coworker for their opinion, you’ve been influenced by social proof. Most people understand how social proof affects marketing products to people on Amazon or clothes to followers on Instagram, but it also influences healthcare.
For example, remember when Michael Phelps sported cupping bruises during his 2016 Olympic races? After seeing an Olympic athlete receive this treatment, viewers at home caused a 2,100% spike in “cupping” Google searches and immediately reached out to their rehab professionals to get a similar treatment. Social proof is huge, even in rehab.
How Should I Use Social Proof?
Most rehab professionals don’t have access to celebrity endorsements, but they do see “influencers” every day in their clinic: patients. Patients who have been successfully treated praise the therapists who helped them recover everywhere they go. The best way to use social proof is to give your patients a platform to share their stories.
(Pro Marketing Tip: Your patients are some of your best spokespeople. Offer them a platform like your website, the Astym website/social media, your Google reviews page, or your social media to tell their recovery story.)
Patient success stories can be collected by having the patient directly submit their comments into a review site, social media, or a web portal. In the alternative, you can help the patient craft their story by interviewing them, collecting specific quotes, and adding in details that would be of interest to other patients. Make sure you receive a full, informed written consent from patients to use their quotes and information publicly. In addition, you should have the patient fully read any interview piece you may produce, and approve/give permission to publish it. This strategy provides clinicians with direct quotes and allows patients to tell their recovery story from their own point of view.
Your 3 Main Audiences
Current Patients: These are the people you see in your clinic every day or they have already received treatment by you or a colleague.
Potential Patients: These are people that could become your next patient or request a service from your practice. They could have a recent or an old nagging injury or they’re simply looking to reach a personal fitness goal (ex: training for a marathon, running farther, lifting more weights, etc.).
Referral Sources: In this case, we’ll be talking about doctors, surgeons, etc. We understand some of the best referral sources can be anyone like family, friends, or co-workers. The most important alternative referral sources are your current and previous patients.
(Pro Marketing Tip: Each audience interacts with your clinic in a different way, so it’s important to utilize your patient success stories in a way to reach each audience.)
Marketing To Your Current Patients
Your current patients are already seeing you and know how great your clinic is, but they probably aren’t aware of just how many services you can provide at your practice. Share your patient success stories on your website’s blog to get their attention and introduce the wide range of treatments you can do! To make your job even easier, include a link at the end of each post to an online form where patients can submit their own success stories.
(Pro Marketing Tip: If your clinic doesn’t have a blog on its website yet, consider starting one. Blogs allow you to post new content on your website, which can increase your website traffic and your website ranking in search results!)
Marketing To Potential Patients
Your potential patients are using more than Google searches to find you. They’re also looking at social media. Whether we like it or not, potential patients use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as a means to gather valuable information about healthcare practices. Quotes, informational graphics, and videos gain traction on social media and are a great way to use patient success stories for social proof.
(Pro Marketing Tip: Try placing a short quote from a patient on top of a colorful background or image, post it on social media, and link it back to your website. Do this regularly, and you’ll begin to notice an increase in social media engagement and traffic to your website.)
Marketing To Referral Sources
Physicians, surgeons, and other referral sources are looking to continue providing the best care for their patients even after they’re released from the hospital. Not only are they looking for statistics and clinical proof regarding your expertise, but they also want to know how you’ve interacted with your previous patients. Patient stories can help increase your potential for gaining new referrals and even new referrals sources!
(Pro Marketing Tip: When marketing to your referral sources, incorporate a few of your favorite patient stories in your conversation or put together a handout with great quotes from your patients.)
To help you get started, we’ve put together a template you can send to your patients. This template can be emailed, printed out, or embedded into your website to encourage patients to share their stories!
(Pro Marketing Tip: On top of gathering success stories, you can use this template to collect emails and build an email marketing list to send newsletters, updates, and promotional content straight to your patient!)
Quality success stories breed deeper connections with your patients and develop a more authentic experience for your practice. For Astym Certified providers, you can offer your patients the link to share an Astym Success Story. This link goes to a form that guides them through an online story submission, which will upload their story to the Astym website and social media. We’ll make sure you and your clinic are prominently featured in the posts so other patients and referral sources can easily contact you. You can then share this story on your social media.
As an Astym Certified provider, you can also Download the Share Your Story Postcard from the Astym website and hand them out to your patients. It’s just that easy!
How Astym stories benefit YOUR practice:
- Offers you new content to leverage “social proof” marketing strategies in your practice.
- The story content is easily shareable to your site and social media platforms.
- Increases your social media presence through links and unique content.
- Your clinic’s contact information and website are included in the story’s posts.
- Market to your target audiences through niche stories (ex: runners, weightlifters, etc.).
- Stories are published on our social media and website, giving you diverse platforms to reach potential patients as a free service.
Not Astym certified? Register today to become certified in Astym therapy. After the course, you’ll gain full access to all the benefits of the Astym program, like professionally designed marketing materials, clinical manuals, review materials, Advanced Astym Application modules, and full-time clinical support.
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This post was originally published on December 12, 2019. It was most recently updated and republished on October 14, 2020.