I had dinner with a practitioner recently who told me that her Twitter following of several thousand people had generated a grand total of…drum roll…three patients.
Her point wasn’t to condemn Twitter, though, but to make the point that social media isn’t the best way to grow a new practice.
Why? Because of this critical little fact:
The basic unit of practice growth is CONVERSATION.
You’re in the people business. Health care still fundamentally takes place with two people in a room together. That’s how it’s delivered. It’s personal. It’s up close. And that means your efforts to find patients should be the same. The more people you connect with in real life, the more new patients you’ll get. More conversations=more patients.
If you’re struggling to grow your practice, ask yourself this: How many conversations am I having with new people each week?
Why Are You Tweeting Instead of Meeting?
Because it’s easier. And by easier I mean less scary.
That’s why you’re tweeting instead of meeting. It’s why you’re posting to Facebook instead of shaking hands with someone new. Why you’re connecting on LinkedIn instead of connecting over lunch or coffee.
But you don’t get paid for easy. You get paid for risk and value. And if you don’t take any of the former, you don’t get to provide the latter. If you don’t get out there in the real world and meet new people then it takes an awful long time to grow a practice.
If you gain a dozen new Twitter followers for a year, you’d have over 4000 new followers. And there’s a good chance it could make almost zero difference in your practice.
But if you met just one new person a day for a year and talked to them about how you help people? You’d meet less than 400 people, but be an absolute rock star.
The point here isn’t to abandon or ignore social media. It’s to point out that if you’re substituting social media efforts for the high-value work of actually meeting real humans in real life, you’re selling yourself short.
Sure, keep tweeting. Just make sure you’re meeting.