group using social media to improve their marketing

If you’re operating an addiction treatment center, chances are you’re aware of this thing called social media. If not, you’re way behind the times and need to look into it stat.

It’s a brave new world out there. Billions of bits of information are being shared via social media profiles every single day ranging from pics of little Johnny’s recital to gourmet food at a five-star restaurant to regurgitated news with opinions, and believe it or not, addiction treatment.

You heard correctly. Every single day people from all walks of life are sharing their life experiences and for a lot of them having just gone through successful addiction treatment, they’re sharing their experiences on their social media profiles and are not afraid to tell the world about it. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for them to tell the world about the center that got them on the road to recovery.

So, which social networks should a rehab center focus on for their efforts and how can they capitalize on them?

Here’s a list of social networks we typically advocate for substance abuse marketing (and how) when conducting social media marketing for their center:

Facebook

With well over two billion active accounts on Facebook, there is an amazing opportunity for companies and organizations alike operating treatment centers to get their brand amplified to the masses and at a reasonable cost.

For Facebook, it’s always a best practice to do at least three posts per week at a minimum to keep your profile active and healthy. The types of posts we see get the most traction in terms of likes, shares, and comments are:

  • Images offering powerful statements such as “When you were a kid, you didn’t have dreams of being an addict” embedded on an image of a child with a cape holding up a plane as an example
  • Images that pull at the heartstrings with positive and inspirational statements empowering its viewers to stay strong and not deviate from their path of sobriety (for those who have overcome addiction)
  • Thematic days of the week that is regularly updated such as “Freedom Friday” (freedom from addiction), “Sober Saturday”, etc.
  • Videos of your facility and/or its faculty
  • Video testimonials from previous clients (please make sure ALL testimonials are approved in writing by the client prior to publishing to avoid HIPAA compliance and legal issues in general)
  • Periodic seeding of relevant articles on your social profile whether it be the latest addiction treatment options at your facility, new certifications, or relevant news to addiction and/or addiction treatment in general
  • Etc. (contact us to find out more!)

In addition to standard updates on your Facebook profile, Facebook offers several advertising opportunities for treatment centers including:

Boosted posts

Boosted posts are not really an ad per se but do present an opportunity for your center to pay “x” number of pennies or dollars to promote Facebook posts to the masses.

Link Ads

Link Ads are oftentimes seen in both desktop and mobile environments on the right side of someone’s Facebook feed (desktop) and as a part of their scrolling feed (mobile). As the name indicates, these ads can link to a number of different digital collateral depending on the destination page and action you want them to take when they get there. Treatment center options often include a link back to their website, a short form, addiction treatment news, a press release announcing a new rehab location opening up, etc.

Video Ads

As the name indicates, video ads are videos placed in people’s feeds. With video ads, they can be as long as 120 minutes in length, but we don’t suggest having anything close to that if you want any traction from your audience in terms of engagement. Successful video ads for rehab centers on Facebook are typically hard-hitting and short clocking in around 15-30 seconds in length.

Page Like Ads

Page Like Ads is a way for treatment centers to get new “likes” for their Facebook profile. These ads are pretty straight forward in terms of messaging to your target audience with a prominently placed call-to-action to “Like” your Facebook page.

Messenger Ads

Unlike nearly all other ads that typically show up in profile feeds, Messenger Ads only show up in Messenger Inbox and Messenger Stories. These ads do, however, offer a less noisy way for you to promote your center in a more intimate setting within the Facebook Messenger platform.

Retargeting

When someone visits your center’s site, there’s an option for that visitor to get served an ad for your center when they go back to their Facebook feed. We have found this to be an amazing way to keep a brand in front of previous visitors to treatment center sites that may not have committed to the desired actions laid out for them when they visited their site originally.

There are other advertising formats available on Facebook, but we intend on writing a more thorough post in the future about Facebook advertising do’s and don’ts.

Instagram

Instagram is an incredibly popular network second only to Facebook coming in at over one billion active users and similar to Facebook, we recommend doing at least 2-3 posts per week.

Unlike Facebook which is a good blend of text content, images, and videos, Instagram tends to be more of an image- and video-heavy platform which we think is great for companies operating in addiction treatment space.

Rehab centers who have a solid social media marketing content plan in place flexing a wide range of images, videos, memes, gifs, etc. will find Instagram to be a great platform for disseminating content to this base of a large and oftentimes more engaged audience than other platforms.

Just like Facebook, there are similar advertising opportunities on Instagram, but if you’re not currently LegitScript Certified, be prepared to practice patience.

there are many social media channels you can leverage image

What is LegitScript Certification?

Since organic social media marketing can only get you so far in terms of reach, it’s important to look at incorporating social media advertising as a part of your social strategy as covered above, but there’s a caveat. If you’re not LegitScript certified, you won’t be able to run ads on Facebook and Instagram since both platforms require LegitScript certification in order to boost posts and run ads on their networks. If you’re already certified, great! If not, you’ll need to go through the certification process which can take anywhere from 2-6 months to get reviewed and approved or rejected.

In order to get LegitScript certification, you must first go through their site and submit your treatment center for an exhaustive review and it’s not free either.

There’s a one-time review fee of $995 and if approved, there will be an annual fee of $1,995 per year per location. So, if you’re operating a treatment center with multiple locations, be prepared to loosen up the purse strings a bit for LegitScript each and every year your center remains certified.

Please do yourself a favor and don’t worry too much about the fees associated with LegitScript. Based on our experience in social media advertising and other Pay-Per-Click opportunities such as Google Ads and Bing Ads, LegitScript certified clients have seen first hand that the performance in terms of brand amplification and new admits from these platforms far outweighs the cost of certification.

Twitter

Twitter is a beast of a platform with nearly 500 million tweets being sent out daily. Yes. There are nearly half a billion microblog messages being sent out on this platform each and every day. However, we’re not convinced this is the right platform for addiction treatment companies to focus a lot of time and energy in social media marketing since roughly 80% of Twitter users are NOT in the United States.

We’re not taking a position Twitter shouldn’t be a part of your social strategy, but we are taking the position that rehab centers shouldn’t spend any time creating Twitter-specific content. Instead, simply repurpose post content from Facebook or another platform to Twitter to save time and money and manage your expectations in terms of performance since this platform has yet to prove any real value to treatment facilities in the form of new admits.

LinkedIn

Let’s be honest, LinkedIn is NOT the best place for getting new admits to your facility…or is it? Well, it really depends on how you look at it and more importantly how you use LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is obviously more of a B2B play in terms of social networking online. It’s because of this, LinkedIn is an AMAZING platform for getting new admits. We can say this confidently because we’ve successfully helped our clients navigate this platform to establish and foster relationships with other treatment centers offering similar services and centers that offer relevant services not provided by their facility such as detoxification as an example.

When rehab centers reach maximum capacity or have patients whose needs can’t be fully addressed at their location, they don’t want those patients reaching out to them to go without treatment. It’s at this point, having an established rapport with other treatment centers can provide a periodic flow of potential admits to your facility.

Look. If you haven’t pursued LinkedIn as a part of your social media strategy, get to it! You’re missing out on more than you can possibly imagine and if it intimidates you, don’t let it. We can help your center maximize LinkedIn to its fullest potential.

Google My Business

It may come across as odd that we’re including Google My Business as a part of our social media recommendations, but the reality is Google My Business is very much a social media platform — it’s just not often looked at as such.

It’s not uncommon to conduct a search on Google for phrases such as “drug treatment”, “alcohol treatment”, “drug rehab”, “alcohol rehab”, etc., and see Google My Business listings (Google Maps) show up in search results. What most rehab centers may not realize is that these listings provide a wealth of opportunities for their businesses to disseminate all types of information ranging from photos of their facility to videos to blog posts (blog posts can also be used as profile updates for other social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram btw).

Standard Google My Business listings should at a minimum include:

  • Business name, address and phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Forms of payment accepted
  • Photos
  • Videos (if applicable)
  • Business description

There are advanced techniques centers can use to optimize their Google My Business listing, but we will be writing about this more comprehensively in a later post. :)

Social media marketing isn’t anything new and it’s certainly gaining the attention of drug and alcohol rehabs across the country and around the world every single day. But before you start pumping out content willy nilly, be sure to incorporate the following into your strategy:

  • Create a content calendar (1-2 weeks worth of content in advance at a minimum)
  • Utilize social profile automation tools for propagating your content based on days of the week, hours of the day, etc., to automatically update your social profiles with fresh content (we highly recommend SproutSocial, but HootSuite is a second option we recommend as an alternative especially for non-profit treatment centers who are watching their expenditures like a hawk)
  • Monitor communication taking place on your social profiles and in the social sphere in general which can act as an extension of “Customer Service” (be careful in how you deal with negative items you may uncover…)
  • Monitor your center’s reviews taking place (be careful in how or when you engage with negative reviews…)
  • Post testimonials and testimonial videos (with permission of course)
  • Entice your followers to engage with your posts via comments, likes, and shares
  • Encourage/share social media support groups
  • Ask successful patients if they’d be willing to share their experience at your treatment facility in the form of reviews
  • Integrate unique value propositions into your social profiles and content updates that will help to distinguish your treatment center and its options from the rest of the pack (this can include unique items such as cash-only options at a discount, equine therapy, men’s only, women’s only, dual diagnosis treatment, and so on.)

Parting Note

Social media marketing and engagement for rehab centers isn’t exactly rocket science, but if you do it wrong, it can cause more harm to your brand and its reputation than you can possibly imagine.   

If you’re not convinced you have a sound social media marketing strategy in place or if it’s being executed properly for your company or non-profit organization, don’t hesitate to reach out to a digital marketing firm like Lead to Recovery that specializes in rehab marketing to assist. Chances are they can help and help in a big way! Click here for a free quote.