by Honora Lee Wolfe
Facebook just became 1,300,000,000 and counting. If it were a country, Facebook would be the second largest in the world. The next link in this thought chain is that Boomers (49-70 years old) are the fastest growing group of new users at Facebook and other social media sites, worldwide. The younger generations, Genexer, Millennials, and younger folks than that are already there and have been for awhile; thus, new users in those age groups is growing at a slower pace than Boomers at this point.
Think about this for a minute. The urban legend is that 50,000 boomers turn 55+ every day. Even if the numbers are sketchy, it’s a whole bunch. And, so far, boomers are still the largest population of folks interested in our medicine. If that’s true, let’s think about what boomers want over and above food, shelter, and safety:
- To still be able to hike and walk and travel the world on their own two feet at 60+ and 70+ years old
- Not to get fat (or any fatter)
- Many don’t want to take lipitor or other cholesterol lowering meds
- Many more (millions maybe) don’t want to take arthiritis drugs like Vioxx
- To keep their minds sharp (especially since in the current economy many will have to work for several more years (which I think is actually a good thing).
- To keep their youthful skin and looks as long as possible.
So what do we have here….aging Boomers, a huge population of them experimenting with social media, and things they want that you can provide. It’s not very hard to see the marketing opportunities there.
Remember that social media networks are about sharing useful information…they are not about “you” as a practitioner or businessperson. While you can refer to things of value that you offer for sale, both services or products, you want to be perceived as sharing really useful, good information that is patient-focused, even if it is stuff on your own website. You might want to get in on the conversation, link up your site or your Wordpress blog and your Facebook page and Twitter accounts to as many other people as possible, share what you know and about any great resources or products that you find. For example, below are a few websites and blogs I have found that have great info for Boomers who are fighting the dragon of aging. It only took me about 10 minutes to find these.
http://www.otbskincare.com/blog/ (Skip the Tan and Eat Your Vegees and Fruits for Beautiful Skin)
http://www.topantiagingtips.com/anti-aging-blog.html (All things anti-aging...)
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/20/cholesterol.lowering.supplements/index.html (A great report on what can really work at CCN. Do you sell any of these products in your clinic?)
(A series of great videos showing specific exercises for various arthritic joints.)
Those are a few examples of sites you might share with your patients and prospective patients on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your website, your blog and that you can mine for information to use as a health educator in your clinic. You could also, of course, mention that you do Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture or specialize in Weight Loss or teach special exercise classes for arthritis relief. Maybe the best way to advertise these things on your site or on social media sites is with some fun, short YouTube videos (3-4-5 minutes long max.) Then if they want “more” they can “click here to schedule a free mini-consult” to see if OM can help them. Or put up a Facebook discount for patients on whatever is your slowest day of the week. You get the idea.
For those of you who want to get in on this type of marketing, here, also, are some industry-specific sites that use this conversational, viral aspect of the internet extremely well!
(This is Juliette Aiyana’s site. Juliette really knows how to use the internet, blogging, and social media effectively in an inter-related and patient-focused way.)
http://acupunctureinthepark.com/ (This is Lynn Jaffee’s site. Very integrated and shows up easily in a web search. Tons of links and great information here.)
www.insights-for-acupuncturists.com (Lisa Hanfileti’s site will give you tons of great tips…and has a bunch of other things for sale…but you can learn lots without necessarily spending money. Her newsletter is great and she is a master at online marketing.)
Here’s another one: Ask to “friend” Luna Acupuncture in Jacksonville, FL on Facebook. She does great little posts for her friends and patients. Her website is OK, but her Facebook use is intelligent and relevant.
To get the hang of using the expanse of the internet and social media networks well to help grow your business, visit all these sites and many more. At the end of the day, you have to participate…and I don’t mean sending out tweets like “I just went to Starbucks for my afternoon fix.” May your posts useful, specific to your market (in this example, Boomers, but whoever your market is) and regular (once or twice a week at least for a blog; daily or every other day for Facebook or Twitter). Point your customers back to your website or blog to get more (articles and information that you have posted right next to your “free consultation click-through”), so that they end up seeing you as one of the experts they rely on.
Good luck out there everyone.