Earlier this year, Google and Twitter announced that Tweets would be integrated into Google's search engine real-time results. This may give you a feeling of déjà vu, and that's because Tweets used to be integrated into search results until a few years ago, when Twitter stopped allowing it. With a change of heart, Twitter is giving Google more real-time content and in return Google is likely giving Twitter more traffic as well.
Since May, relevant mobile queries have produced real-time Twitter content in addition to ordinary mobile search results. Furthermore, you can search for specific news feeds. For example, during the recent Pluto fly-by, you could have searched "NASA Twitter" to get the agency's latest Tweets. Tweets tend to appear at the top of search engine results, and include the profile image and Twitter handle of the account that made the Tweet, the body of the Tweet, and a time-stamp.
Active Twitter Users Can Extend Search Reach
Currently, relevant Tweets as real-time search engine results only happens on Android and iOS, but Twitter says that the desktop version is coming soon. Ultimately, this team approach will give Google more power across social platforms while bringing in more up-to-the-minute information for queries. This means physician practices with an active Twitter strategy can extend their search reach with well-timed, relevant Tweets, potentially boosting online traffic to their websites and by extension, drawing new patients.
Doctors Targeting High-Income Patients May Benefit Most
People who earn over $100,000 per year are particularly influenced by social media, so physician practices that perform elective or cosmetic procedures, or that have fee-for-service practices may enjoy especially good reach with a solid Twitter strategy. Nearly half of all consumers start online research on a product or service by using a search engine, so with Tweets potentially playing a more important role in search engine results, a physician practice with a strong social media and Twitter strategy could effectively target higher income consumers.
How Can Physicians Make the Most of the Twitter-Google Combination?
Unfortunately, there's no single thing you can do just one time to optimize your practice's online reach. Making the most of the Twitter-Google combination requires that you have a strong search engine optimization (SEO) game and a good social media strategy. Here are five tips for doing this.
1. Include Real-Time Tweets as Well as Scheduled Tweets
Post scheduling is terrific for staying in touch on social media, but sometimes events develop that make real-time interaction more important. For example, if the CDC announces a flu outbreak in your area, relevant real-time Tweets using appropriate hashtags can raise your profile quickly, boosting short term and long term SEO.
2. Keep Up With the News
Twitter can be terrific for driving traffic to your practice website, and if you want to maximize reach through Tweets in Google search results, pay attention to news relevant to your practice. This way you can make informed decisions about what to Tweet. Tweets scroll off Twitter quickly, but they can stick around in search results, so you want them to be good.
3. Learn Hashtag Strategy
Perhaps you've become well-versed in keywords for driving traffic to your website and blog, but now you need to pay more attention to hashtags if you want to benefit from Tweets in search results. Hash-tagged Google queries already get social media results. If your hashtag game is weak, a good starting point is this helpful infographic on hashtags.
4. Don't Advertise
Your expertise should be demonstrated through informational and educational resources online. People are immediately turned off when they see blatant keyword-baiting with phrases like "best doctor." The only "advertising" you should do on your blog, website, or social media accounts is to provide a simple link for scheduling an appointment. Try to make your Tweets helpful to your patients. A strategy with the patient in mind will help you be the #bestdoctor in town.
5. Consider Tweets as Mini-Landing Pages
Though Twitter is primarily considered a mobile conversation and messaging platform, its new ability to influence organic reach through Tweets in Google results means you should treat your Tweets like landing pages: keep them simple, link to your site, and include a simple call to action in your Tweets where possible.
Twitter can be a productive part of a physician practice's marketing strategy, and is even more critical now that mobile Google search includes Tweets in results. Combined with outstanding electronic health records (EHR) systems and solid revenue cycle management, an excellent online presence can help your practice maximize revenues and build a good reputation.
If you're interested in more information about revenue cycle management and EHR solutions, we encourage you to contact us at GroupOne Health Source to learn more.