facebook fertility marketing

We don't "like" it anymore: 7 reactions from the infertility community to Facebook's new options

By Griffin Jones

Now here's a social media update that has already begun to change the way fertility practices and their patients interact with each other. We have been waiting for this new function for some time. On February 24, Facebook introduced a change to how its users can react to content on the platform. In the past, you posted a status update and people either liked it or they commented on it (if they reacted at all). And that was it. So if I posted a picture of my breakfast, an announcement about starting my new job, or the passing of my Grandmother, you as my Facebook "friend" would have to comment on the photo in order to distinguish your reaction from a general like. The like function would feel very inappropriate if the post mentioned bad news, or very underwhelming if it dealt with something outstanding.

Now, the infertility community has more ways to react to each other's content

Now, the infertility community has more ways to react to each other's content

For some, this change won't be especially pronounced. Few life chapters are as emotionally diverse as what we see. For the infertility space on the other hand,  there is no emotion that doesn't appear across the range of news that we receive and deliver. From the ecstatic triumph of a beautiful baby after a long journey, to the torment of the loss of a pregnancy, to the needed levity of inside jokes, every possible emotional expression can be seen among the online #ttc (trying to conceive) community. Now, Facebook is offering more ways of being able to react to the content we see. Last fall, Facebook tested its new reactions in Ireland and Spain. This week, the new options were made available to the rest of the world, and the infertility community is already using them. 

More ways for the infertility community to express their emotions

More ways for the infertility community to express their emotions

It's distinctly possible that it will take some time for social norms to establish themselves with regard to how people dealing with infertility choose to use their new reactions. In the same way that e-mail open rates were astoundingly high in the 1990's, or that you followed back everyone who followed you in the early days of Twitter, we may see the love reaction take over for the like function for a while. Nonetheless, we are already starting to see distinct responses to infertility content. For example, of the 100 people that reacted to an e-card that posted by Buffalo IVF, we can see that nine people "loved it", six people "laughed" at it, and the rest liked it. .Let's break down the new Facebook reactions, and how we see them developing into new social norms in the infertility family.

  1. "Like": Traditionally, we've seen the like button used for everything, because it was our only option. Now that the like function's monopoly is over; the only certain prediction is that it will be used less frequently. I think we will continue to see the like button used for different kinds of practice news, such as soliciting feedback about a baby reunion, and in other demonstrations of community support. For example, a post about your team at your local RESOLVE Walk of Hope is content that will probably continue to be "liked".
  2. "Yay": I imagine this will be  a common response to pregnancy announcements and other accomplishments like weight loss and embryo status. Yay can be used in place of like and love in most cases.
  3. "Love": We can expect to see a lot of love in the fertility space. We're seeing a lot if it already. New baby pictures are already getting lots of love, and it's only just begun. A like simply doesn't cut it when it comes to responding to a beautiful baby picture or an emotional pregnancy announcement. For those fertility clinics whose doctors and nurses are absolute sweethearts, I predict we will see a lot of hearts under their photos as well.
  4. "Haha": There is an exceptional sense of humor to the infertility community and a growing body of research indicates that laughter has therapeutic value. This would explain why we see so many e-cards, memes, and inside jokes in the #ttc community. The @infertility_hopeandhumor account has more than 2,800 followers on Instagram. From my experience, I've noticed that the funny content often grabs the most interaction. I think humorous posts will be even more appropriate for practices to share now that there is a reaction that fits its purpose.
  5. "Wow" is definitely the most ambiguous of the new reactions. I see this function being used in parallel with  all of the other reactions except for sad. It will be interesting to see what meaning the infertility family decides to give to wow.
  6. "Angry" Other extremely popular posts are those that capture the feelings of the social pressure faced by couples and individuals struggling with infertility. The most shared link posted by Fertility Institute of Hawaii, for instance, discussed the social protocol of asking someone when they are going to have a child. At risk of generalization, the infertility community hates this. They hate being told they can just adopt. They hate being offered their friends' children in jest. They hate being told to "just relax and it will happen." These topics are almost always the most popular among the Huffington Post's beat of articles on infertility. I wonder if we will see a lot of angry emojis under these links. 
  7. "Sad" The word doesn't even begin to describe the heartbreak and loss that so many people coping with infertility feel every day. The #infertility and #ttc tags are heavily populated with status updates about loneliness, depression, and loss. In our community, early pregnancy loss is far too common, and frequently, this is a subject where people turn to blogging to express their feelings of hurt. Often, the infertility-related posts on Instagram with the most comments, are those of outpouring support for someone mourning the child that they were unable to carry to term. This is a frequent, delicate, and compelling issue for our community. The sad reaction will be one we use more than we would like, as it offers a gentle, quiet way of expressing our sympathy.
More people "loved" this photo than liked it

More people "loved" this photo than liked it

Getting closer

The new Facebook reactions represent an interesting baby step; one toward a more fluid blending of human and technological communication . There have been times where I have chosen not to respond to a particular comment, because it wasn't appropriate to offer words, and the gesture of a like would not have been suitable. I would have appreciated some of the options that are now at our disposal. The ability to react with more emojis doesn't meet the emotional diversity of the infertility journey, but it does allow us to virtually "put our hand on a shoulder" or beam a smile when words aren't pertinent. We can express ourselves more acutely, as fertility practices and patients further develop the language of the infertility community.

 

6 Ways Savvy Fertility Clinics Are Preparing to Take IVF Cycles From You in the Next Recession

By Griffin Jones

"Then the Grasshopper knew...it is best to prepare for the days of necessity."

Generally speaking,the last few years have been very good for fertility clinics. We seem to be in a time of abundance. So I write this article now, to reference when the time comes. A mediocre patient experience or sub-par marketing presence may suffice for the moment, but now would be the time to  begin improvements to avoid increased vulnerability during any potential drop in IVF cycles. 

In one of Aesop's fables, the ant toils all summer to be prepared for the winter, while the grasshopper does nothing to prepare for leaner times

In one of Aesop's fables, the ant toils all summer to be prepared for the winter, while the grasshopper does nothing to prepare for leaner times

lean economic times expose the mediocre

David Kiley of Bloomberg Business argues that "weak brands" are exposed during a recession. During the Great Recession of 2009,  brands like KB Toys, Circuit City, and Linens'n Things were forced to close their doors after decades in business. Stronger brands in their respective categories such as Toys "R" Us, Best Buy, and Bed, Bath and Beyond, offset the decline in the overall market with the gained market share of their vanquished competitors. Meanwhile, certain brands with low price points (Dollar Tree), easier points of sale (Amazon) and a unique customer experience (Apple) experienced accelerated growth though the weakest economy of their corporate existence.

Fertility treatment could be considered "recession-resistant" (I don't believe in such a thing as "recession proof"). There has never been a decline in the number of IVF cycles performed in the U.S. over the last decade. According to SART data, the slowest growth in IVF cycles overt the last fifteen years was in 2009, with still more than 1,400 cycles than the year before. Post recession growth has resumed to 8,000-10,000 year-to-year increases. Still, many clinics throughout the country reported a sharp decline during 2009 and 2010. I have spoken with others in the southern United States and in western Canada who have been effected by regional recessions caused by the decline in the price of oil. 

hope for the best, prepare for the worst

I don't own a crystal ball. I can't say when the next economic downturn will come nor how strong it will be, and I am wary of those who tell us they can. We've heard for some time that the market will implode or the value of the US dollar will fall to zero. We're still waiting. Nonetheless, it would be reckless to assume that another sharp decline in the global economy will never affect fertility practices. It would be equally irresponsible to take for granted that IVF cycles will increase forever, even though current medical and social trends don't show any sign that they will decrease in the near future.

 I will be eager to capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. I am not concerned about an economic downturn.  I prepare so that I don't have to be concerned. Neither should you be worried about the future of your practice. The point is not that you fret over potential upswings or drops in the market. The point is that you focus on providing a unique patient experience and leverage it to win market share from competing fertility centers.

Winning share of IVF cycles is the best hedge against a downturn

According to Fast Company, "market share is the most important metric because it is a relative measurement against external benchmarks." In other words, increased market share is your buffer heading into a recession. If the total number of IVF cycles decrease in a given area, you can mitigate the decline with an increase in the share of IVF cycles that your clinic performs. Rather than scramble to grow market share at the onset of a recession, we can begin to take measures now that will blunt the losses we might have otherwise incurred. We may even be able to use a weak economy as an opportunity for growth. Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that 9% of companies emerged from the Great Recession, performing better on key financial parameters than they had before, due to a combination of strategic cuts and investments in marketing and new assets. These are six measures fertility centers can take to win market share and prepare for a recession:

  1. Pay attention to other fertility centers' reviews to inform your competitive analysis. Monitoring sites like RateMDs, Yelp, Vitals, Facebook, ZocDoc, and Fertility Authority, allows you to see what patients like and dislike about other fertility specialists in your area, so you can assess your competitive strengths and weaknesses. Read all of the reviews that you can find of every fertility doctor/clinic in your area including your own. Example: you read several complaints that another reproductive endocrinologist (RE) was very inaccessible, while your reviewers laud you for the time you spend with your patients. Your "time with patient" is a competitive strength. If other practices have very few complaints about billing, but almost all of your negative reviews involve your billing office, your billing process is a competitive disadvantage that has to be corrected.
  2. Track all of your marketing efforts. In a recent blog post, I talk about the importance of closely monitoring key performance indicators (KPI) at your practice. You can't nurture relationships with your top five referring OBs if you don't know who they are. You can't cut the expenses of your three least effective marketing ventures if you don't quantify what results they produce. Start tracking your marketing effectiveness now so that you have a finely tuned system in place when going into an economic slow down.
  3. Expand your "word of mouth" referral system by over 600% with social media. Most fertility practices I have spoken to put their "word of mouth" referrals and those who report having found the practice through the internet at a combined fifty percent of new patients. Internet and word of mouth aren't entirely distinguishable from one another, due to the prevalence of social media. Data from Statista shows that on Facebook alone, your patients have an average of 360 friends. Meanwhile, according to the Social Brain Hypothesis, on average, people have a social circle of fifty friends and fifteen in whom they "can confide in about most things". So if you don't effectively leverage social media, you forfeit sixty to ninety six percent of the word of mouth social network that would otherwise be at your disposal. Use social media as both outbound distribution of patient recommendations and a source of inbound feedback to continually monitor the patient experience. Amplify your word of mouth referral network as much as you can by engaging your community on social media.
  4. Strengthen your MD referral relationships. Word of mouth is king. Internet presence is paramount. Still, referrals from OB offices play a hugely important role in new patient acquisition. Most clinics report half of their new patients coming from referring MD offices. One practice in the southern United States increased OB referrals from less than 40% of all new patient visits to 60%, citing physician lunches "as their single biggest marketing return by far". Your REs are extremely busy; taking them to an OB's office for an informational lunch might seem like an inefficient use of time, but with relationships with referring doctors yielding such high returns, it's wise to nurture these relationships before you need them the most.
  5. Test other markets. If you live in a more sparsely populated area, it may be that no amount of marketing or exceptional patient experience will yield you enough new patients. There are various ways for fertility centers to enter new markets. First, you can check Google Analytics to see if people are looking at your fertility center from other markets. If you live in an area with a low cost of living index, within a short flight of an area with a much higher cost of living, it could be that your IVF pricing is much more affordable than clinics in that area. Further data from the Harvard Business Review supports that drawing patients from remote markets is a way of increasing your market "headroom". If pricing is equal, and you can't find other strong competitive advantages to why someone would come to you from out of town, your only option for growth may to be open an office in a new market. 
  6. Increase your role in support. Connecting people to support is part of the patient care experience. As part of the standard of care, people should be informed of resources for both professional and peer support. Support groups, by default, then become referral networks. Like online reputation and social media, this is why effective marketing inherently depends on outstanding patient attention. Patients use their support groups to solicit and make recommendations of fertility centers. By supporting organizations like RESOLVE, and Fertility Matters, and informing patients of other support resources online and in their area, you give patients the confidence to recommend you to others in their support networks.

Organize, don't agonize

There's no way to be certain if the next recession will come in twenty days or twenty years. We don't want to worry about how we will operate during a recession, we want to operate in a way so we don't have to worry. If the trend in IVF cycles ever stops its nationwide increase, you will be well-served from having won market share from other clinics. Gaining market share is the greatest hedge against an economic downturn because it mitigates the overall decrease in IVF cycles. We can increase market share by expanding our "word of mouth" systems, nurturing referral relationships, empowering support networks, testing new markets, and tracking everything we do to bring in new patients. By preparing for a downturn in IVF cycles while conditions are strong, your fertility center will be well poised to flourish and grow.

win share of ivf cycles from other clinics to hedge against a downturn! download my absolutely free e-book "Digital Marketing for fertility centers: how to use digital media to acquire new ivf patients in 2016".

 

 

 

 

The Truth Is Undefeated: A hard look at "questionable techniques" and the current state of fertility marketing

By Griffin Jones

You can tell I'm still relatively new to the fertility space. I don't appear in the top ten Google search results for "fertility marketing". I'm working on that, that's what brought me to check. I was both encouraged and discouraged by something else that did come up, however.

On the first page of Google search results for the term, "fertility marketing".

On the first page of Google search results for the term, "fertility marketing".

It's unfortunate for the field of reproductive medicine when our top search results for marketing include, "Many Fertility Clinics Use Questionable Marketing Techniques Online", a Jezebel reiteration of a Huffington Post article from three years ago. I would normally argue that we should avoid questionable marketing techniques by using only real patient testimonials and images. But authentic content does not fully address the issue of transparency in fertility marketing . The fundamental problem is that fertility clinics serve two different populations who sometimes overlap and who are sometimes at odds. Until we equally recognize both groups and the value of their experiences, I'm afraid we'll continue to have more problems. 

Flowers over figures

Both articles are sensational summaries of a report called Selling Art: An Empirical Assessment of Advertising on Fertility Clinics' Websites by Jim Hawkins, of the University of Houston Law Center. The report suggests that the content on fertility centers' websites may be misleading--using pictures of smiling babies and the words, "miracle" and "dream". The report offers criticism that these images and words may influence a prospective patient's decision instead of focusing on the Society for Advanced Reproductive Technology's (SART) published data on success rates. Such advertising may suggest that a pregnancy after IVF treatment is a certainty, when we know that in some cases, it's not even likely. 

It does seem that people sometimes feel misled. In a small survey I finished in April of 2015, patients told me that confusion about success rates was one of their greatest pain-points in selecting their fertility clinic. We also read in negative fertility doctor reviews that people sometimes feel rushed into IVF treatment. I recently spoke to a couple at Resolve's Night of Hope who felt the same way. It is certainly the case that some people feel that IVF is being sold to them. 

So why do I also find it encouraging that highly authoritative links to this report ranked so highly in the search results for "fertility marketing"? For the same reason I am building a company that will also rank among those results. I believe in a marketing strategy built on support and transparency. The report suggests that fertility clinic marketing should be more thoroughly regulated because of these questionable marketing tactics. My largest problem with that notion is that it shares a faulty belief with the lousy marketers that implement those tactics: obscurity works. Indeed, not being fully transparent may work in the short term. Some people clearly feel that they were persuaded with unrealistic expectations to pay for expensive IVF cycles. This strategy may have been tenable twenty years ago. Today's data, however, proves that people increasingly make decisions based on what they read in online reviews from their peers

You can run but you can't hide 

Fertility centers need to properly manage new patient expectations or their online ratings will suffer. Social proof in the form of online reviews should be the cornerstone of every good fertility clinic's marketing efforts. If any prospective patients or patient advocates read this post, I implore you to check the reviews of a provider before you decide on them. Investigate both the fertility practice and the reproductive endocrinologist (RE) on Yelp, Health Grades, Vitals, ZocDoc, RateMDs, Google reviews, or whichever of those are the most used in your area. Don't look at the star rating alone, but pay attention to the comments. If there are enough reviews, you will be able to get an idea of the culture of the practice or physician you are considering.

I don't know if fertility practices should be required to post their success rates, but I certainly think that they should post them. Patients are looking for that information and if they don't find it from you, it will be from a site like fertilitysuccessrates.com or from one of your competitors. Clinics should be transparent with success rate info and create content explaining the complex data to patients. 

Patients will find your success rates from one website or another. Fertilitysuccessrates.com

Patients will find your success rates from one website or another. Fertilitysuccessrates.com

Miracles happen and dreams are real 

I disagree that it would be appropriate to remove baby pictures and words like "dream" and "miracle" from your site.Those words belong to the patients themselves. If you look at the Facebook pages of nearly any fertility clinic in America, there is almost certainly a photo post from a happy patient that includes the word, "miracle". That child truly is a miracle for the parents that ventured that hard, lonely journey for so long. Their fertility specialist and their practice helped bring that miracle into existence. And for those couples and individuals that are struggling with infertility, it is their dream to have a baby of their own, a dream stronger than any other. We should speak to people in the language that they use, especially when it's based on results you've achieved. Your practice exists because people vividly dream of a miracle. Ideally, we should use baby pictures from actual patients. I think it's time to get the HIPAA release forms ready. The authentic account of someone who has actually realized their dream  is critical motivation for people under enormous emotional stress who are making a complicated medical decision. Sadly, however, we know that dream will not come true, in that form, for many people. So we must recognize the value of two communities rooted in the journey of infertility.

The word miracle belongs to the infertility community.

The word miracle belongs to the infertility community.

Serving two communities at the same time

I will oversimplify the infertility community for the sake of fundamentally understanding our responsibilities to them. As I see it, the infertility community is one population of people that becomes two. There are those who have ended their journey by achieving their dream of a biological child. In parallel, there are those who are still very much on their journey who may never realize that version of their dream. I hope this is the beginning of a much longer dialogue, because not recognizing the significance of both groups' feelings leads to many problems. We often hear complaints from patients without children when little ones are in the waiting room. Yet, we hear grievances from patients with children when they are asked not to have their child in the sitting area. For one group, Facebook and Instagram are places to celebrate their triumph over the darkest period of their lives. For the other group, they are in the midst of darkness and every pregnancy announcement on Facebook and every baby photo on Instagram is excruciatingly painful . Both communities have an inalienable right to the way they feel. These two communities overlap and we serve both of them. Because we're serving two communities, we have to be able to offer them a variety of benefits or some will never get value from their experience with us. I think fertility centers need to consider themselves agents of help beyond clinical treatment. Both groups need access to support; a peer support group member should never have to find out about her support group on her own. To better serve both populations, we need to

  • Send patients home with information on support groups in their area. RESOLVE facilitates infertility patient support groups in most mid-size to large U.S. metro areas and Fertility Matters is their peer in Canada. These are only two examples of support networks. There are patient advocacy groups and countless independent support groups throughout North America. I believe it's our responsibility to promote support groups when they ask for our help in distributing their information.
  • Empower people on social media. Whether it's on your fertility practice's Facebook page, or in a private forum, people coping with infertility use social media to connect with people who know their struggle. Promote RESOLVE Fertility Matters, and other groups online and share their groups if they ask you to. We don't not need to participate in these support forums (it may be better if we don't), but simply connect the people who are interested in them.
  • Give patients a list of popular infertility blogs and infertility podcasts so that they can interact with people who share their experience. 

Can you grow your practice by reconciling your results as a "miracle worker" with empirical expectation setting? I am building a business with my vote of confidence that it's the best way to do so.

Setting up for success

There are real life examples of the virtuous cycle I propose--attract new patients with the experience of delighted former patients, offer support and other resources, temper with very realistic expectations, and repeat. Dr. Ilan Tur-Kaspa is one of the highest rated REs in the Chicagoland area. I spoke with him about his approach. Dr. Tur-Kaspa says that the number of new patients that tell him they chose him because of his online ratings has increased. He credits a strong emphasis on properly managing expectations with the patient before treatment. "We talk a lot about the difference between disappointment and surprise," Tur-Kaspa says. "Whatever the probability of success is, it is important to communicate that in the terms of the probability of failure. i.e. if there is a 30% chance of success, we should communicate that there is a 70% chance that it won't work. The patient should preferably  acknowledge the odds of failure. Wait until they say 'I understand'".

When a patient looks at your online reviews on a site like ratemds (pictured), they are one click away from every other RE in your city. We want your reviews to be the best they can be.

When a patient looks at your online reviews on a site like ratemds (pictured), they are one click away from every other RE in your city. We want your reviews to be the best they can be.

I'm not a physician, so I certainly can't advise physicians on how to speak to their patients. Nor do I want to offer an incomplete solution, because I see that positivity is hugely important.  I'm simply a marketer who sees the impact that clear expectations have on the public image of the practice. Some marketers may ignore expectation setting for the sake of scheduling more IVF cycles in the short term. A good marketer will use the patient delight that comes from proper education as the pillar of their marketing strategy. For highly rated REs and fertility clinics, those reviews belong front and center on your website. A window to Yelp and Facebook  provide a balance to the testimonials that you've selected . It's okay for patients to see the occasional one-star review. Not every one will be satisfied 100% of the time. I believe that when we publicly acknowledge that, we begin to ensure that people are satisfied as much as possible.

The truth is undefeated (eventually)

We don't have to use "questionable marketing tactics" because they won't grow our practices over the long term. For those that embrace transparency and connection to support, market share will grow and marketing will be more effective and less expensive. We have to provide the best possible patient experience in order to build public social proof. That social proof, tempered with clear expectations and information, is the best way to attract new patients. In order to preserve this virtuous cycle, delighted patients bringing in more patients, we have to recognize the dynamics of both populations in the infertility community, and the equal worth of their experiences. 

Forget Twitter: The 2 Most Important Social Networks for Fertility Centers

By Griffin Jones

It's annoying, isn't it? So many social networks come and go, how can a Reproductive Endocrinologist and her practice manager be expected to be fully engaged in a dozen social media platforms?  The task becomes much less daunting when we reverse engineer our patients' attention. We don't have to be experts of every social network, we just need to know on which our prospective patients spend the most time.

 In 2017, I may well have new recommendations regarding into which platforms you should invest your time and resources. Through 2016, however, the two social media networks on which every fertility center should be present are Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook can be the best review site for fertility centers as well as a referral source.

Facebook can be the best review site for fertility centers as well as a referral source.

1.    Facebook. 
Facebook is by far the largest, and most widely used social network in the world. 70% of Facebook users check their accounts daily, with 43% of users checking every day .
There are 49 million women between the ages of 25 and 45 on Facebook in the United States and Canada. The ad targeting capability on Facebook is unparalleled to any other medium, period.

Yet, on their own, none of these are reasons for your fertility center to be on Facebook. The reason fertility centers need to be active on Facebook is because content of babies and children is central to the DNA of the platform. 97% of US mothers who use Facebook every day, post pictures of their children . If your practice is active on Facebook, you know that former patients will post pictures of their children from every occasion to your Facebook timeline, sometimes on the day of delivery.

Facebook is also a meeting point for peer support. The Infertility Inspirations community has over 13,000 members for example. Dozens of other closed groups account for thousands of members each.

2.    Instagram. 
Instagram has surpassed Twitter to become the second largest social media network in the world . It took Instagram only eight months to reach 100 million photo uploads. The growth rate of Instagram is astonishing. But again, it’s not Instagram’s massive numbers that make it a necessity for fertility centers. Like Facebook, baby pictures and inspirational content are inherent to the platform. The popular #ttc (trying to conceive) hashtag on Instagram counts for more than 300,000 posts. Related hashtags, #ttccommunity and #ttcsisters account for more than 25,000 and 67,000 respectively. 

The number of emerging social networks can appear overwhelming for an already swamped RE and practice administrator. But your practice does not have to be, nor should be, involved in more than a few. Social networks require a commitment of time, energy, and resources. One should be reliably served before beginning an additional. Priority is determined by the social nature of the network and the attention of the patient.  In 2016, Facebook and Instagram are the two most important platforms for fertility clinics to utilize. 

In taking my own advice, I have admittedly neglected Pinterest. Is your fertility center active on Pinterest? Please tell me about it, I would love to hear what you've found.


Turn Your Social Media Channels into an IVF Referral Network

By Griffin Jones

A fertility center’s Return on Investment in social media can be traced back to the activism of its community.The value of social media is not that we have a free broadcast mechanism to reach people with any time we like. None of that is true—it’s neither free, nor a broadcast mechanism, nor will people see our message whenever we please.

The value of social media is your community.  Fertility centers acquire new patients through social media when they have a passionate, connected, community of people that zealously advocates for them.  This is "word of mouth". Communities will gladly rise up for their fertility centers—providing better advertising than we could ever hope to buy—but only if they are engaged. To engage your community:

•    Respond to all direct messages as quickly as possible
•    Reply to all comments and posts
•    Thank those who leave reviews and compliments
•    Crowdsource: Ask for input on various practice initiatives

Responding to comments and reviews is a critical part of community management for infertility clinics. 

Responding to comments and reviews is a critical part of community management for infertility clinics. 


The most direct way to use social media to attract new IVF patients is to empower current and former patients with a "word of mouth" referral network. When you interact with your community of supporters, the number of people who are they are able to refer to your practice increases dramatically.  If you look at the Facebook pages of the vast majority of fertility centers in North America  you will find that patient communities are largely ignored. If you are unable to dedicate the time it takes to respond to, thank, and inspire your community, your ROI on social will be very limited.

 

The 5 Most Common Mistakes Infertility Clinics Make on Facebook

 By Griffin Jones

I have reviewed the Facebook pages of nearly every infertility clinic across the United States and Canada. (Not an impressive bragging point at cocktail parties, by the way). These are the most common mistakes.
 
5). Having a lot of likes with little to no interaction. It doesn't matter if you have 60 fans (page likes) or 6,000, if only 2 people like your posts on average.  It´s your mother-in-law and your uncle and they are not prospective patients.
 
4). Not Paying for Facebook Advertising. Interaction is more important than fan size because it leads to reviews, recommendations, and referrals which generate new patients. That said, you need distribution and paying as little as $500/month on Facebook will build a community of hundreds of people in your area who are researching your services. 

No one has interacted with this fertility center's content on Facebook, so very few people will see it. 

No one has interacted with this fertility center's content on Facebook, so very few people will see it. 


3). Too Much Medical Content. But wait,  expertise is paramount in REI. You need to establish yourselves as the the best trained and most knowledgeable. Yes you do...on your website and on your blog. This is what Gary Vaynerchuk means when he talks about respecting why people are using each social media platform. People are not on Facebook to research medical advice.
 
2). Not Enough Community Content. Much to the contrary, people spend record time on Facebook looking at and posting baby pictures. This is why every fertility clinic should be generating plenty of new patient referrals on Facebook. But they´re not. With HIPAA release authorizations and patient generated content, your practice can play to its strengths on Facebook. 
 
1). Not Responding to Positive Reviews Though not the most common, this is the most grave, and it makes me want to pull my hair out. We all know (I hope) that we have to respond to negative reviews. But the vast majority of Facebook reviews for fertility clinics are positive, and we shouldn't ignore them. We have a bit longer to respond to positive comments, let´s call it 3-5 days, but we need to thank these people for being our strongest supporters. These are the patients who refer the most people. Responding with enthusiasm deepens the relationship with the patient and makes them even more vocal advocates of you and your practice. 
 
 
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People who generate the most new patients for fertility centers are ones who leave reviews like these. They should be thanked and acknowledged.    

People who generate the most new patients for fertility centers are ones who leave reviews like these. They should be thanked and acknowledged.