Social media is changing the way your patients see themselves, and it provides a new way for you to reach them and brand your practice. With 1.3+ billion monthly users, Facebook remains the biggest social platform out there, but it’s not the only game in town.

When it comes to your practice’s Facebook page, post once or twice daily about any specials at your practice, upcoming speaking engagements or publications as well as any trending plastic surgery stories. Remember the goal is not quantity, rather it should be quality and engagement. These elements are more important than merely the number of Facebook fans you have. To gauge engagement, look at whether your Facebook posts are being liked, commented on and shared. At its core, social media is all about building relationships with your audience.

Sharing photos and video content is key. Research suggests that people are 44% more likely to engage with content that has images. Make your business page look like a magazine – with attractive and appealing images, customized content, and a beautifully designed cover photo. Your page is like real estate so don’t waste that valuable space.

Social media is not free or something you can just dabble in. It involves an investment of your staff’s time and/or the possibility of outsourcing your social media accounts to an experienced vendor. Facebook ads are also needed to grow your fan base. Without ads, it will take a long time to build a respectable size community. It also helps if you boost Facebook posts for as little as $15 using targeting features. Don’t forget to use “Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter” signage in your practice and on all materials to help build your online community.

Your practice’s social media presence is a big factor in the search engine-ranking algorithm, and enhances branding and word-of-mouth exposure. Take it seriously and have fun! Social media is here to stay.