Using social media is a very productive approach to getting more participants involved in your CME offerings, but it is by no means the only option. In addition to starting a social media campaign, you can also get more participants involved in your CME offerings email lists and sending newsletters and/or use paid digital advertising.
Social Media Campaigns
Some marketers believe that using social media to increase sign-ups to continuing medical education (CME) courses is more difficult than using social media to promote other courses to less-specialized audiences, but that's not what the numbers indicate.
Even as far back as 2014, 65 percent of physicians were using social media as a professional tool and "more than 90% of physicians [used] some form of social media for personal activities."
There is also an assumption that using "physicians-only" social networking communities (such as Sermo, Doximity and QuantiaMD) will prompt a greater number of conversions. That isn't the case either. Studies have also shown that 53 percent of nursing schools — not including the students themselves — use platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram in one form or another.
In other words, if you are having difficulty generating interest in your CME offerings, it isn't because the attention of health care professionals is difficult to capture. Here's how to use the main social media platforms to attract more participants in your CME courses.
LinkedIn is designed specifically for professionals to brand themselves, network and build business relationships. It is straightforward and should be the first social networking platform a health care professional uses to develop a digital social reach.
But LinkedIn also provides analytics you can use to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your LinkedIn marketing strategy. So, don't just add contacts on LinkedIn and consider that your LinkedIn campaign strategy is over. Use the analytics LinkedIn offers to develop and improve your CEM brand.
Facebook offers CME providers with the largest social media following in the world. The most important thing to do when using Facebook to expand your professional social reach is post original content. Organic or evergreen content has a better chance of attracting followers and illustrates your interest in the industry and potential clients.
Other means of increasing your professional network reach using Facebook include using Facebook’s organic post targeting; posting at odd, off-peak hours (decreases competition for viewers' attention) and producing audience-driven content rather than driving content of your choosing to your audience.
While Instagram doesn't have the same following as some of the other options, it achieves 120 percent more interactions with users than Twitter and almost 60 percent more than Facebook. So, Instagram can be extremely effective in attracting participants in your CME offerings if a proper campaign is developed.
Paid advertising campaigns, especially pay-per-click (PPC) advertising like Google AdWords, produce interactions and conversions by exposing your CME offerings to a high quantity of viewers. In the health and medical industries, paid advertising — specifically, AdWords — has a click-through-rate (CTR) of 1.79 percent and a .37 percent CTR on the Google Display Network (GDN).
While the CTR of the health and medical industry is on the lower end of the spectrum in relation to other industries in Google Search, the Google Display Network CTR of the health and medical industry is relatively high in relation to other industries. As such, it is wise to use GDN if PPC advertising is a paid advertising option you are considering.
Email Lists and Sending Newsletters
The benefit of email lists and newsletters is the fact that you can direct your campaign at specific individuals. Rather than casting a wide net, email lists and newsletters are target specific. And, both email statistics show high returns in medical, dental and healthcare industries with a click-through-rate of 2.42 percent.