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Tag Archives: media

7 difficult social media marketing truths

Talk to professional online marketers, and they’ll likely tell you about the raw power of social media marketing.

Talk to business owners from an older generation, and they’re likely to tell you how social media marketing is a useless fad.

Related: Social-Media Marketing Is Not Dead: 10 Companies That Are Still Rocking It

Obviously, the former group has an incentive to tell you how great social media marketing is and the latter group has a negative bias toward communications technologies. Does the truth lie somewhere in the middle? Kind of.

With proper planning and successful execution, social media marketing can be effective for practically any business.

In a survey of 357 marketers that I recently conducted, social media marketing had the highest percentage of respondents (96 percent) who claimed they planned to increase or keep their social media marketing budgets the same over the next year. Social media marketing also had the third-highest average ROI rating, out of 10 strategies surveyed.

Still, there are a handful of dark secrets about social media that no marketer—including myself—likes to admit:

1. Social media marketing isn’t free.

One of the greatest advantages of social media marketing that marketers like to play up is the fact that it’s free.

It won’t cost you anything to claim your business’ social media profiles, flesh them out or post on a regular basis—at least not monetarily. The problem is, even though you won’t necessarily have to spend money to fund your strategy, you will spend lots of time.

It takes hours of work to build out your profiles and several hours a week to even maintain the most basically active presence. Add up those hours, and suddenly the amount of time that social media marketing does “cost” will become clear.

Time is money, right?

2. There’s no predictable pattern of success.

No matter how sure people seem when telling you they hold the “secret” for a business’ social media success, know that there’s no verifiable or consistent way to guarantee success for this task.

For starters, every business is unique, with a unique target demographic, history and competitive landscape.

There’s no way any single strategy could possibly apply to everyone. Add in the fact that social media is always evolving and other random variables that could interfere with your results, and the predictability of success sinks even more.

3. You need a lot of followers before social media marketing starts to pay off.

The bottom line for social media, like any online marketing strategy, is your total return on investment.

Over an extended period of time, it will be very good if you execute your social media strategy correctly, but your initial ROI will probably be terrible.

Imagine that it takes you 15 minutes to write a good post, and you submit it to your 15 followers. Now, imagine you create the same post, but for 15,000 followers. Which one do you think will have a higher ROI (assuming those followers are all genuinely interested in your organization)?

It takes a long time for social media to start paying off.

Related: How to Make Time for Social Media Marketing

4. Social platforms restrict your reach.

Social media companies have a vested interest in getting you to pay for their advertising. As a result, they often restrict the amount of reach you’re able to get through organic (unpaid) posts.

Even though you have 500 followers, that doesn’t mean that every post you make is going to reach 500 people.

Keep this principle in mind when considering the sheer potential of social media—it’s probably far, far less than you think it is.

5. Data won’t tell you everything.

Another advantage social media has is its access to sheer volumes of data—you’ll be able to probe deeply into user behavior, patterns of interaction and demographic information.

Unfortunately, data can’t tell you everything. It can’t give you qualitative insights about how individuals feel toward your organization or about specific interactions.

Data also can’t help you generate new ideas you haven’t tried before. It can’t even give you actionable insights—unless you’re asking the right questions of that data in the first place.

6. Adapting is important, but exhausting.

Social media changes often, with new platforms cropping up seemingly constantly and new trends coming and going at an ever-increasing pace.

If you want to be successful, you have to try to keep up—but keeping up is exhausting even for the most passionate, dedicated marketer.

It’s comforting to settle into a routine, but with social media, you’ll never get that opportunity. At least, you’ll never get to stay comfortable for long if you’re doing things right.

7. You’ll end up kicking yourself—a lot.

There’s a lot of regret in the social media world, especially on a minor level.

You’ll end up making typos or mistakes occasionally, but more often you’ll kick yourself for what you didn’t do.

You might miss a good opportunity for a post, a hashtag or an engagement. You might see a competitor’s post and wish you’d thought of it first. In any case, your strategy won’t be perfect, and you’ll be all too aware of that fact.

Related: How to Save at Least 2 Hours Per Week on Social-Media Marketing

Despite these ugly truths and seldom-mentioned secrets about the true nature of social media marketing, it remains one of the most cost-efficient and approachableonline marketing strategies you can adopt.

No matter what stage of growth your company’s in, who your target market is and what your long-term goals are, social media can help you in your journey—as long as you recognize its advantages and limitations.

Jayson Demers is the founder and CEO of AudienceBloom. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur. Copyright © 2016 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

(Image via)

HealthCareCommunication.com

How to create a social media calendar for marketing your healthcare practice

How to create a social media calendar for marketing your healthcare practice

When you run an active healthcare practice, it might seem impossible to keep up with the demands of an active social media slate at the same time. How do you generate enough new posts every week to remind the world of your work?

That’s where a social media calendar comes in. It can be a saving grace for a busy practice, helping to lay out a road map for months worth of content. Best of all, it can radically reduce the amount of time you spend on social media while radically raising its effectiveness. Below are a few tips for creating a social media calendar to help market your healthcare practice:

  • 1. Identify your networks. Quality matters more than quantity, so pick a few social media networks to really focus your attention on. Use a visual icon to identify each network on your calendar, and you’ll be able to see when you’ve over-posted or under-posted to one of them. Keep in mind that some networks demand more frequency than others; experts recommend posting at least five times a day on Twitter, while Facebook can thrive with as few as three posts a week.
  • 2. Create or mine your content. Decide on the content you want to post, and make a plan to get it! If you’re linking to a blog post on your website, make sure that your calendar includes a reminder to assign a writer to create that post in advance. If you have special events or deals to offer your patients, be sure to spread the word several times across your networks well in advance of the date. If you want to share images, be sure to assign a staff member as designer or photographer. And if you’re sharing health-related content from other sources, be sure to identify the system – such as Google Alerts – you’ll use to mine that content.
  • 3. Humanize your content calendar. Content comes not just from within your practice but from outside it, as well. Search for important healthcare dates, such as National Nurses Week, updates on MACRA, even staff birthdays, and put them on your calendar to be posted. Human touches light up your social media presence.
  • 4. Use your calendar as an analytics tool after the fact. Calendars aren’t just for looking forward! Mark what kinds of post generated the most views, interactions and shares, and use that information to design next month’s content and posting frequency.

With this detailed social media calendar saving you time and work, effective social media marketing is easier than you think. You’ll see the direct benefits when your online interactions help to bring new patients in the door.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

5 tips for summer media relations success

Summer is a time to enjoy the warm, sunny days with picnics, margaritas and poolside relaxation, but what about your PR plans?

The season can be a challenging time if you have PR initiatives that must move forward. With many reporters on vacation, your media outreach can take even longer than usual—especially with July Fourth around the corner.

Pitching can be anything but a picnic during the summer. Follow these five tips to make the most of it:

1. Planning is imperative.

Trying to choose the best date for an announcement? Study your calendar. Unless your news has a tie-in to these holidays, avoid major summer holidays, such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day—as well as the days immediately before and after.

Virtual Summit: The mobile revolution is here. Reach customers in 2016 and beyond on their mobile devices.

If you’re making a tech-related announcement, for example, give yourself time it so it doesn’t coincide with a holiday. This will help you achieve maximum visibility. If your news involves a holiday-related trend, deliver your pitch a week or two before the holiday.

2. Allow extra time.

Reporters can be on vacation, so it’s a good idea to build in extra time on pitches during the summer months. For instance, if you usually pitch news a week before an announcement, give yourself two weeks. That way, if a journalist is out of the office, you’ll still have time to follow up.

3. Avoid the dead zone.

Both Independence Day and Labor Day fall on Monday this year, so you can expect the Friday before to be quiet (you can almost hear the crickets chirp!). Some reporters might take off the Tuesday following to create an even longer weekend.

Once they return, their inboxes will probably be filled to the brim with pitches. You don’t want your pitch to get lost in that sea of email, so wait another day or so before sending it.

4. Think about Christmas.

Believe it or not, it’s not too early to think about winter holidays. Gift guides for many print magazines are already in the works. If you have a product that fits in that category, start pitching your gift guides now. Have product descriptions and high-resolution photos prepared and ready.

5. Cover your time off.

If you’re in charge of working with reporters for your organization or client and are planning to take a vacation, have a plan in place should a reporter get in touch during that time.

Ask someone to cover for you and have basic resources ready for them to use for reporters’ requests. These materials should also be posted on your organization’s newsroom, making it easy for both the reporter and the co-worker covering for you.

Don’t leave your clients in the lurch. Give them plenty of notice so you can complete any work they need done before you go. If you’re a consultant leaving for an extended period of time (more than a week or two), consider asking someone, like a trusted consultant colleague, to fill in for you. That person should be on call, should your clients need anything.

These tips can help you make the most of your summer PR initiatives so you can get back to your sunbathing.

Michelle Garrett is a PR consultant and writer at Garrett Public Relations. Follow her on Twitter @PRisUs or connect with her on LinkedIn.

HealthCareCommunication.com

Is It A Good Idea to Share Recent News Items On Social Media for Your Practice?

Is-It-A-Good-Idea-to-Share-Recent-News-Items-On-Social-Media-for-Your-PracticeBIG

When the legendary music artist Prince passed away this past Thursday, we learned about it through social media. Almost everyone was expressing their sadness and condolences online, from friends and family to local businesses.

Social media has quickly become a place where most people learn about the most recent news. From Facebook’s trending feed to Twitter’s most-used hash tags, it’s easy to stay connected with the biggest news stories of the hour or the day.

Even though you run a healthcare practice, it doesn’t mean you should exclude the latest news items from your social media accounts. As doctors and dentists, you have varied interests outside of your work and, if you were a Prince fan, it’s absolutely acceptable to share the news of your favorite artist’s untimely passing and still stay professional online. Here are some benefits to including recent news as part of your healthcare marketing strategies:

Connect With Your Audience

Whether it’s the death of a much-loved celebrity or a recent win for a local sports team, sharing your thoughts on the latest news will help you connect with your audience on a more personal level than sharing just healthcare updates.

Keep Your Content Fresh

Creating a social media post in the wake of a recent news story will also help you keep your social media account active and fresh. Instead of having a feed full of scheduled content posts, a post about the latest or breaking news helps break up your content, so it feels less monotonous.

By using a trending hash tag or sharing trending news, you can stay on top of the most recent online social media trends to help keep your social media accounts engaged and relevant.

Gain New Traffic

Being part of the conversation online will keep you active, fresh and relevant, but it can also help you gain more traffic. By posting about what’s new and trending and getting on the latest social media feed, you can help drive more traffic to your accounts and your healthcare practice’s website.

If you want to learn more about social media strategies to help build a better online presence and gain a new audience for your practice, contact our healthcare marketing consultants today at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical Healthcare Marketing Agency for Doctors & Hospitals

The Do’s and Don’ts for Gaining Social Media Followers

The-Dos-and-Donts-for-Gaining-Big

Having social media networking accounts for your medical or dental practice is a great healthcare marketing strategy, but in order for it to be effective, you need to ensure that you have an audience.

It can sometimes feel like an Everest climb trying to get your Twitter or Facebook follower numbers to increase. So we’ve put together a list of do’s and don’ts to help you gain more social media followers, connect with a wider audience and gain new patients and referrals.

Do: Promote your accounts to your patients

Your first step should be promoting your social media accounts to your current patients. Since almost all of them probably already have social media accounts of their own, it’s a quick and easy way to gain followers and offer your patients information about your practice and your healthcare specialty in an easily accessible format.

Don’t: Pay to increase your followers

There are a lot of services online that offer to increase the number of followers for your social media page for a fee. While this can make your social media account appear popular, it can also be obvious that the accounts are fake. While it’s tempting, it’s best to grow your followers organically to ensure that your practice’s accounts stay authentic.

Do: Share information and articles

Following other experts in your field and sharing or retweeting their information not only helps increase the content on your page, it can also help you reach a wider audience and gain more followers.

Don’t: Forget to include your own content

It’s also important to ensure that your social media accounts stay unique, so you can find your own audience. Be sure to include your own exclusive content on your social media pages, as well.

Do: Update regularly

Updating regularly will show that your page is active and will also give your audience something to look for. The more you post, the more likely you are to find an audience.

Don’t: Overwhelm your audience

While it’s important to update regularly, too much information in a day can have the opposite effect. If you overwhelm your audience, you risk annoying them into unfollowing your social media pages. Keep your posts to a few times a week to connect with your audience without alienating them.

If you want to ramp up your social media strategies to gain more followers, our healthcare marketing consultants are ready to help. Contact us at 800.679.1200 or at info@practicebuilders.com for more information.

Practice Builders

How to Schedule Healthcare Social Media Posts

When developing healthcare marketing strategies for your social media accounts, one of the first questions you probably have is, “How often should I post”?

There isn’t one definitive answer. Scheduling your social media updates can depend on a variety of things – your own schedule, how much time your staff can devote to it, how much you want to market your practice and the type of social media marketing networks you’re using.

But in order to effectively market your practice, you should post to your social media accounts at least a couple of times a week. This will help ensure that your accounts look active. Plus, updating frequently will keep your posts on your followers’ news feeds, so your medical or dental practice stays at the top of their mind.

Updating with frequency may make it seem like you will run out of topics to cover on your social media feeds. But with the right planning, you can cover a wide range of topics, so you don’t have to post about the same things more than once.

Signing up for Google Alerts is one way to get enough content to post a few times a week to your social media accounts. Google Alerts will send you news items, articles and blog posts about a specific subject as often as once a day. So if your practice specializes in dermatology, you can get sources for news items that reference dermatology and dermatology subjects that you can share on social media.

Another way to keep your posts fresh is to post about things that are happening at your medical or dental practice – whether that includes announcements for patients or special deals that you’re offering. You can also create your content by posting to a blog regularly, by creating your own online brochures and by creating your own videos to share online.

At Practice Builders, our healthcare marketing consultants can help you create up-to-date and engaging content for your practice’s social media accounts. Contact us here for more information.

Practice Builders

Norovirus spreads in Boston as Chipotle execs make the media rounds

The PR team and executives at Chipotle are slicing and dicing their messages.

The E.coli outbreak in the Pacific Northwest has a new look in Boston, where dozens of students at Boston College have been stricken with norovirus. City health officials found three “critical” violations at a Chipotle location near the BC campus; that restaurant has since been shuttered.

Chipotle_Boston_violationslist

“This was a very unfortunate incident, and I’m deeply sorry that this happened,” Chipotle’s founder and co-chief executive officer, Steve Ells, said in an interview on NBC . “But the procedures we’re putting in place today are so above industry norms that we are going to be the safest place to eat.”

Ells said the company could recover financially, adding that the food safety procedures Chipotle is putting in place would put it 10 to 15 years ahead of the industry, according to Yahoo News.

“We’re doing a lot to rectify this and to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he told NBC. (Read our related story on PR Daily).

Chipotle_CEO_CNBC

The moving parts

Ché Knight, spokeswoman for the Boston Public Health Commission, said Thursday that the number of cases could rise. Knight said some students may have caught the highly infectious disease from classmates. Also, The Boston Globe reported the BC men’s basketball team canceled practice Monday because at least eight players were sick.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said: “If there is a silver lining with an incident like this and not knowing for sure what the cause is, it’s that it has prompted us to fully reassess our food handling practices, from the farms that produce our food to the restaurants where we serve our customers.”

Still, college officials are taking precautions. In a statement on Thursday, spokesman Jack Dunn outlined how his team is keeping the college community informed: Officials have:

  • Issued an email to students with tips about self-care for the infected.

  • Explained the university’s response plan.

  • Redoubled efforts to clean all common-touch surfaces in restrooms, dining halls, academic and administrative offices, dorms and athletic facilities.

  • Closed self-service salad bars in dining areas.

  • Started offering “flu buddy packs” that students can buy in dining halls for sick friends.

Folks in Boston are keeping a watchful eye on the crisis as well. There has been a flurry of colorful comments on Boston.com.

Chipotle_BC_comments 

Several people have commented that dining hall food may seem especially appealing right now.

Russell Working contributed to this post.

(Image via)

HealthCareCommunication.com

Should Instagram Be Part of Your Social Media Strategy?

Since the rise of Facebook, social media networks continue to grow and expand. If you’re using social media as part of your healthcare marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the new social networking sites that launch and how they can help your healthcare practice, so you stay ahead of the marketing curve.

Instagram is one of those new social media sites. It allows you to share your “visual story” by posting an image with a caption. While mainly for personal use, Instagram is looking to expand by increasing perks for business accounts.

Is Instagram right for your medical, dental or veterinary practice? We’ve put together a list of the pros and cons to help you determine if you should start a healthcare Instagram account:

Pros:

Visual Medium

Instagram is all about posting photos, which is a great way to connect with your patients and followers on a more personal level – like sharing photos of your practice and staff.

It can also allow you to share images with important healthcare facts, so you can show your expertise to your patients and followers and mark your reputation as an expert in your field.

Advertising

Like Facebook, business accounts on Instagram allow you to create advertisements for your practice, so you can raise your exposure, build your brand and gain new patients, referrals and followers.

Links to Other Social Media Accounts

Your Instagram posts can be linked to other social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook. By sharing the same images among your social media accounts, you can stay consistent in your branding and messaging.

Hashtags

Also like Facebook and Twitter, you can use hashtags to organize your Instagram posts and make them searchable for other users, so you can gain new patients and referrals.

Cons:

Advertising

The advertising for business function on Instagram is still in development, so it’s not as advanced as other social media networking sites. Instagram ads aren’t widely available, so your healthcare practice may not be able to reap the benefits of advertising just yet.

Less Context

Since Instagram is mostly a visual medium, there’s less opportunity for you to explain your posts or provide more health information and context than on a social media site like Facebook.

Still Growing for Healthcare

Using Instagram for your healthcare practice is still a growing market. While you may be ahead of the trend by using it, you may find fewer professionals to connect with, fewer followers and fewer new patients and referrals than you would for other sites.

If you’d like to learn more about Instagram or other social media networking sites to see if they are right for you and your healthcare practice, our healthcare marketing consultants are ready to help. Contact us at 800.679.1200 or info@practicebuilders.com for more information.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

Gain More Social Media Followers in 5 Easy Steps

Most medical and dental practices have set up social media accounts by now as a way to market themselves as part of their healthcare marketing strategy.

Even if you’ve had your social media accounts for a few years or a few months, you still want the same thing – more followers. Here are the top five tips you can follow to gain more followers on your social media accounts to expand your practice, increase your revenue and gain new patients.

Regular Updates

One of the easiest ways to interact with your followers and gain more is to have regular updates. You can post a few times a day or a few times a week; the schedule is up to you and the intention is the same – to have enough material to draw in an audience.

Sporadic updates weeks or months apart makes your social media account look like a ghost town. Regular updates make your account look active and gives you enough material to attract new followers, plus it ensures that your social media page will show up on their feed when they log in throughout the day. Updating regularly will also help you keep track of comments and messages so you can communicate with new and old followers and market your practice.

Meaningful Updates

Updating on a regular schedule is a great start, but to take your account further you need to make sure that your updates are meaningful.

Updates throughout the day about your day – what you’re doing, what you’re eating, etc. – are great for personal accounts, but updates for your medical or dental practice need to have more substance. You can hire a content writer to help with your content or search the Twitter-verse and Internet for updates and interesting stories related to your field that you can use.

Hashtags

Twitter and Facebook users often use the search function to find out more information on health topics or to look for practices in their area.

By using hashtags for certain keywords – like #CrownReplacement or #KneeSurgery – you can draw in new patients and new followers who are looking for information on the medical or dental fields that you specialize in.

Giveaways

Giveaways, deals and drawings are other ways that can help you find more followers. For one, it allows you to make use of valuable hashtags to get your target audience’s attention. You can also ask your audience to follow you to be entered in the giveaway or deal – if they win, great! If not, they are at least starting to follow you and are gaining more information about your practice.

Links and Reposts

Linking to articles or reposting posts from other accounts is another good way to gain more followers on social media. By sharing information from other sites and sources, you’re gaining a new audience that follows the sources you’re drawing from. Plus, it makes you look like an expert in your field by sharing information that relates to your expertise. It also helps give you meaningful content that you can share on a regular basis with your followers and makes your account look active and engaged.

Looking for more ways to gain more followers and create a more active social media presence? Our experienced healthcare marketing consultants can help provide you with guidance, content and social media marketing ideas. For more information, you can contact us at 800.679.1200 or by email at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing