10–12 minutes to read
Should You Be on Instagram? Twitter? What Nurse Writers Need to Know About Social Media Marketing
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Love it or hate it, social media often influences our personal lives, including how others view us. This influence can carry into the business world as well, leading many freelance nurse writers to wonder whether they need to market on social media.
The short answer is no — it’s not necessary.
But let me explain why. I’ll explore two common myths regarding social media marketing when it comes to freelance writing. I’ll also share how to use social media effectively should you decide to use it in your marketing strategy.
Myth: It’s required to be on [insert platform here]
It’s true some people thrive on social media marketing, such as musicians and product influencers. However, if you speak to veteran freelance writers, you’ll notice a common theme. Many of them do not have a social media presence (or if they do, it’s quite minimal). Yet, they have thriving careers.
Because, traditionally, freelance writers have survived on the good, ol’ fashioned letter of introduction (LOI).
Simply put, instead of speaking to the masses via social media, LOIs give you the opportunity to knock (digitally) on someone’s inbox and offer your services. This approach is more personal and consistent, unlike social media – which can evolve faster than you may be able to keep up.
Yes, times have changed. As a millennial, I remember using Yahoo Chat and Myspace and then Facebook and Instagram. However, I’ve noticed that, for freelance writers, social media cannot replace the need to have a solid portfolio, great customer service, and persistence.
Therefore, rather than focusing primarily on social media marketing, I’d argue it’s best for freelance nurse writers to focus on building their foundation first, including getting comfortable with sending LOIs. In the end, social media is a helpful supplement — not a requirement.
Myth: Being on [insert platform here] will help me attract more clients
It’s true that for businesses, social media marketing can help bring clients to you rather than you having to reach out to them through LOIs. This is called inbound marketing, and it has to be done wisely – or else you risk wasting precious time that could have been spent on other marketing tactics.
If you choose to use social media in your marketing strategy, you need to know the tangible value a particular social media channel will provide to your career.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine the Potential Business Value of Any Social Media Channel
Who is your target audience?
This is the most important question because every social media platform caters to a different audience. And the first thing you need to remember as a nurse writer is that the target audience for YOUR social media marketing is editors and clients. Ask yourself: Where do these folks live online? What platforms can I post on that maximize my visibility to this audience?
Here’s a breakdown of the four most popular social media platforms for you to consider.
- Facebook is the most popular social media platform among older adults. Many people use Facebook to have deeper engagement with friends, family, and people with similar interests (via Facebook Groups).
- Twitter is highly popular among millennials, thought leaders, journalists, authors, and politicians. This platform is known to spread trending news — and various opinions regarding this news — at near lightning speed.
- Instagram often caters to a much younger audience, 18-24 years old typically. This platform provides users the opportunity to share visual content in different formats, including images, movies, and live TV.
- LinkedIn is often dubbed the Facebook for professionals. Here, you can connect with professionals in or outside your field. It’s also common for users to share personal information that deters from the hum-drum of work.
Let’s say you’re a freelance nurse writer who writes health journalism. You may want to follow thought leaders (such as highly-esteemed physicians) or health publications, and you may want to stay alert to pitch requests from editors. In this case, Twitter may be a good option.
On the other hand, you may not find editors and prospective clients to follow on Instagram (let alone get them to follow you), so that platform may not provide a good ROI in terms of elevating your visibility as a nurse writer.
If I had to suggest one social media platform that most nurse writers should have, it would be LinkedIn. This platform has active professionals from nearly all industries, including health journalism and content marketing where nurse writers often thrive.
What do you want to accomplish?
Many people set up a social media account without a clear goal of what they’re looking to get out of it. To avoid this trap, you’ll need to know your goals.
There are different types of social media goals, including:
- Growing brand awareness
- Driving more traffic to your website
- Increasing engagement
- Generating leads (i.e., incoming inquiries) through social media
- Improve the relationships you already have with clients
Goals should be specific and measurable. If not, you won’t know if you’re meeting them. Let’s say you want to generate more leads through social media. You can measure this goal by the number of people who send you a message on LinkedIn inquiring about your services.
Therefore, your goal could be:
I will generate 25% more leads through LinkedIn.
To make your goal tighter, I suggest adding a realistic deadline. For example:
I will generate 25% more leads through LinkedIn in 6 months.
With a clear social media marketing goal, you can create and execute a plan to meet it.
How will you achieve your goal and track your progress?
This is perhaps the hardest part — doing the work. But your prospects won’t magically come to you. You’ll have to stay consistent with your actions, which can vary depending on your goal.
Going back to the example of generating 25% more leads, your actions could involve:
- Ensuring your profile nails down what your target client is looking for and includes the keywords that will make your profile show up when prospects search for those skills
- Connecting with those in your industry
- Engaging in discussions with potential clients
Just like your social media marketing goal, try to make your actions specific and measurable as well. For example, rather than just saying you’ll connect with those in your industry, you may say:
Every Thursday, I will connect with 5 prospects and inquire more about their brand/role/industry to stir up a meaningful, authentic conversation.
Overall, social media marketing tactics depend heavily on the platform and your target audience. What works on LinkedIn may not work as well on Instagram or Twitter. So, it’s important to study your chosen platform’s algorithm and test what works versus what doesn’t.
For freelance nurse writers, social media marketing isn’t required to be successful, but it can boost your business when done wisely in conjunction with other marketing initiatives.
What are your thoughts on social media marketing? Has it helped you? Or have you found success with other strategies? Let us know on our social media channels (pun intended).