Social media takes time, but that’s no reason to not use its powers for your practice’s benefit. As you head into the new year, it’s time to take inventory of what worked and didn’t work with your social media efforts last year so you can improve upon what you’ve learned as you move forward into 2014. Here’s how to take your social media strategy to the next level while also making your life a little easier.

Start by evaluating if you should be as active on all the various social media networks you’ve joined as a business. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be everywhere. Where are your patients spending the most time? Which platform engages your target audience the most? That’s where you should focus your efforts. That’s not to say you should completely abandon the rest of your social media accounts, but you should definitely invest the most time in the social networks that work best for your practice in particular.

If you do happen to promote your practice on multiple social platforms, try using a free social media management tool like HootSuite so you can monitor comments on most of your social sites from one dashboard. HootSuite works best for Twitter and Facebook. You can also manage your incoming Instagram comments from Statigram, which is also free. Just note: You still can’t post photos directly to Instagram from the web, but you can reply to comments using the Statigram website.

To see exactly how well your posts are performing, use listening and measurement tools which determine how many clicks, comments/replies, shares/retweets, and likes, etc., they generated. Test out SproutSocial (on a free trial basis). This allows you to listen for keywords (such as the name of your business or a product you might sell) so you can keep an eye on any comments (positive or negative) that social media users may be posting about your practice. It’s a great customer service tool.

Statigram also provides analytics for your Instagram posts. And if you’re on Pinterest, sign up for Tailwind’s free Pinterest analytics to see data on your pins””how many repins or likes they are getting””as well as which of your boards are most engaging.

Make the most of your time on social media by staying focused on the networks that perform the best for your business. These tools will help simplify your efforts in the year ahead.

Ana Montoya is Social Media Director at First Vision Media Group.



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