Monthly Archives: August 2016

Health Care in the Realm of Social Media

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In light of social media, relationships between patients and providers have seemed to improve for the better. In this new era of technology, there is potential for relevant and authentic communication between the health care field and patients. There are those in the health care system who recognize these advantages and are willing to recruit individuals who will support and positively advertise their services.

Today, and increasing number of people use technology to direct health care concerns. According to the Pew Research Center, one in three American adults use online websites to help with medical issues. Also, according to Mediabistro, 45% of consumers look up reviews for health care providers treatments and products, 23% of users on social media follow friends’ experiences or updates. With all these increasing stats about social media directing patients decisions on health care, it is interesting that only 26% of all hospitals in the United States participate in social media.

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Here are some pointers about social media and health care from experts:

  • Social media is changing the patient communication model:
    • Social media is giving a voice to those who feel voiceless by the health care system
    • It demonstrates that there is a small percentage of patients who want to become part of the overall health care system
    • It displays consumer’s demand for transparency from health care providers
      • Individuals trust doctors (relationships) more than hospitals, health insurances, or drug companies (systems) on social media sites
    • The number of doctors participating on social media is still relatively small compared to the number of practicing physicians
  • Accountable steps health care providers can take to address and rectify mistakes:
    • Once a mistake is identified, act decisively to correct it
    • Avoid using social media to communicate with patients about sensitive issues, even if it is a private message
    • Use social media in communications with staff and community
  • Why transparency is important:
    • The increasing demand for patient groups to play more meaningful roles in patient/provider relationship
    • Social media has shifted patient empowerment from individuals to groups
    • Access to information becomes easier the stronger the relationship is between patient and provider. Many providers are not adequately prepared to deal with information requests because of the barriers of HIPPA laws and malpractice claims
    • The presence of health care providers on social media still remains significantly low
  • Hospital preparedness to address positive/negative patient social media communication:
    • Depends on the hospital
      • Larger hospitals usually have the staffing and resources to address positive and negative comments posted by patients in a timely manner
      • Smaller hospitals usually do not have the staff or resources to have a social media action plan

Summary:

We need to have a plan to determine how to deal with social media communication, including all realistic scenarios. This is critical to effective and timely responses. This new social environment, which can create new issues for health care systems, is not going away anytime soon.

Hospitals can be proactive by:

  • Creating a culture of accountability that is collective for the health care system
  • Helping bring a community of people who will advocate on the health care system’s behalf because of the benefits it brings to the community
  • Making a commitment in messaging: making a systematic approach to communicating through social media
  • Having definitive goals before starting any campaign on social media

Helpful Tips When Using Facebook and Social Media for Pharmaceutical and Health Care Companies

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Currently, some health care and pharmaceutical companies have been very wary of using Facebook and social media as marketing strategies. In order to protect their integrity, some shy away from this avenue because it is not specifically mentioned by the FDA.

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However, social media and Facebook does not have to be your enemy if you apply these principles to your marketing strategies:

Is the Info Helpful?

Information about a product is helpful when it is relevant–this includes risks of taking or using the product and any possible reaction to the product. Companies need to discuss their products or services. Consumers are savvy and will do their research.

Ask Not Tell

The consumer will be more likely to be involved in social media if the company asks pertinent questions and listens to the consumer. This achieves a discussion with the consumer. Telling a consumer why the product is right for them is no longer a suitable way to present a service/product.

Consumer-Directed

This means the decision to purchase the service/product is driven by the consumer. Consumers now do a lot of research and want to understand what they are buying or who they are obtaining services from. They want to be able to contact someone directly to have their questions answered. This may be difficult in some situations because doctors are not able to talk specifics about work due to HIPAA and patient privacy. This must be tailored by case.

Expert Advise

Do not use sales or pharmaceutical rep. Have experts who will respond to consumers questions, thoughts or concerns (i.e. physician, scientist, dentist). This gives credibility to your responses. Consumers want transparency and want experts answering their questions.

Determine Appropriate Standards

Your standard of success is not the number of followers or likes—it is the overall environment and interaction of consumers. The more participation on your site, the more life and credibility you have with consumers on social media.

Commitment

It can not be a marketing crusade. Consumers will ignore what comes across as a facade. Consumers want commitment behind a product/service. A company needs to be committed to helping their consumers.

Publishing

You need to schedule when you will create new posts consistently. We live in a time where things change by the minute. You do not need a new post every hour, but you need to stay current for your consumers.

Reportable Errors

You need to be transparent with your customers so they trust you. You need to monitor posts on your social media pages.

The four things to monitor are:

  1. Who is the one affected
  2. Who is reporting the effects
  3. What was the reportable event
  4. What is the suspected product/agent/service that the reportable event is about

Summary

Anyone can use social media/Facebook effectively if they remember these concepts. Social media is not my enemy or yours. We just have to learn to use it safely, effectively and wisely.

 

Why Healthcare Marketers Love LinkedIn

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Social media has become one of the most popular methods of marketing today for any business, including the healthcare industry.  Although the industry is still slowly coming on board, many practices recognize its importance, as most individuals have an online presence and use social media to gain information about practices, treatment options, and so forth.  A recent study was conducted to find out what social media company was the most popular.  59% of the people involved in the study stated that LinkedIn was their number one branding tool.  Not only does LinkedIn help people become more efficient with their jobs, but it also helps companies stand out more and become recognized.

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Here are some reasons why healthcare marketers love LinkedIn:

  1. It’s huge! Out of all professional networks, LinkedIn is by far the largest. There are over 400 million members and the number continues to climb. By marketing on LinkedIn you are automatically making your practice visible to people across the entire world.
  2. It Shows Up First. When you google a particular healthcare business, the LinkedIn link is what typically appears first on the search engine results page.  People are most likely to click on the top three results, so having LinkedIn show up first almost guarantees people will land on your page.
  3. Keeps You Connected. LinkedIn is a wonderful, organized tool for keeping you in touch with other people and businesses.  If someone changes companies you do not have to fret about losing their email address.  Everything can be found right on their LinkedIn page!
  4. Ups Your Chances of Showing up in Search Results. LinkedIn allows you to have 3 outbound links in your profile.  This will make your healthcare company more visible for people searching for services you have to offer, as traffic will generate even more traffic with google search result rankings.
  5. It is All-Encompassing. LinkedIn is a place where you can manage all of your contacts.  You can even use different tags if you want to communicate with different groups at a time. You can even contact people that are not LinkedIn connections by uploading them from Gmail or your iPhone.
  6. It Lets Others Speak For You. You do not have to be the only one tooting your horn.  LinkedIn allows other people to give you endorsements as well as recommendations.
  7. Always Available. In case you are not near your computer you can use LinkedIn right on your smartphone in a matter of seconds through their very user-friendly mobile app.

Why Social Media Should be Used Amongst Healthcare Marketers

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Social media marketing is widely used amongst most companies.  Every single major brand you can think of can be found on any of the social media platforms.  It makes sense too; it is a way to get information out there on who the company is, what they have to offer, and any sort of specials and deals going on.  People love to see what others are talking about, interact with people from different businesses, as well as read reviews and others’ experiences.  The one industry that has been lagging behind in social media marketing is healthcare.  If you own a healthcare type practice, such as a dental or chiropractic office, you should absolutely be putting social marketing media into use.  Read on to see the top reasons why you need to implement this free and easy to use tool.

social-media-doctorsPeople love to see what others are talking about, interact with people from different businesses, as well as read reviews and others’ experiences.  The one industry that has been lagging behind in social media marketing is healthcare.  If you own a healthcare type practice, such as a dental or chiropractic office, you should absolutely be putting social marketing media into use.  Read on to see the top reasons why you need to implement this free and easy to use

Read on to see the top reasons why you need to implement this free and easy to use tool.

  1. Give Your Healthcare Company a Voice. Most healthcare offices don’t exactly come across as ‘engaging’ or ‘friendly’. Take away the sterile feel of the healthcare industry associated with your practice by adding human characteristics to your organization.  Use Facebook to interact with people, share interesting videos, jokes, and even post funny photos.  Anything you can do to not only share helpful information about your organization and what it does, but also engage with your patients is an excellent way to utilize social media.  Keep in mind that you must always go the extra mile to protect your patient’s personal information when using social media (do not use anyone’s name, physical characteristics, health conditions, etc.).
  2. Provide Education to Your Audience. In addition to sharing information about what your healthcare company does, why not educate your audience on health issues? Spread the word by sharing blog posts, writing your own, sharing videos, and posting helpful tips.  Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?  (Who doesn’t!?)  What a brilliant way to raise awareness about ALS and raise money for the cause.
  3. Social media is a free way to advertise.  Raise brand awareness as well as up your chances of people becoming patients of yours. Make sure your ads are relevant and eye catching (i.e. post them with a photo).
  4. Provide Content That Cannot be Found Anywhere Else. If you’re a chiropractic office you can post tutorials with photos on how people can do daily stretches that will positively impact their posture. If you are dental office you can post videos about your latest technology.  No matter what your healthcare organization is, you have information that can be offered to your audience.

Instagram Uses New Algorithm and Facebook Data for Stories Feed

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If you utilize the social media platform Instagram to help promote your healthcare company, you will want to be aware of the new process it is implementing to determine what is shown in its Stories feed.  Previously, Instagram would highlight stories in the order in which they were posted.  Now, its algorithm is actually determined by parent company Facebook.  It will assess what exact content people are engaging with on both Instagram and Facebook and then prioritize it in order from there.  The whole goal is to show people what they are most likely to be interested in based on how other people are reacting to the content.

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To put this into perspective, Snapchat shows its stories in reverse-chronological order, based on what has most recently been updated.  However, they are also considering changing their algorithm to reflect that of which Instagram is implementing.  There are many pros to doing this for the company as well as its users.  One pro is that it makes the content more accessible.  People feel like they can see things they are most interested in in the quickest amount of time, making the overall experience entertaining and seamless.  It is the equivalent of having a program like Hulu pick out a show for you rather than flipping through endless channels on your TV Guide.

Ross Sheingold, the chief innovation officer at Laundry Service, a digital agency, says: “An algorithmic feed for Stories differentiates their Stories product in a way that stays true to their mission of keeping people connected to those they’re closest to.”  If Instagram were to show their Stories in a reverse-chronological fashion like Snapchat, the chances of the Stories that users would be most interested in being hidden would be much higher.  For that reason, the algorithm will prevent this as well as optimize users’ chances of creating Stories in the first place.

Instagram_StoriesWatch-1920Currently, in the Instagram Stories experience, users can upload photos and videos without filters or emojis.  Unlike Snapchat, however, they are able to rewind as well as pause videos. Also unlike Snapchat, Instagram is not currently profiting off of its Stories interface.  There are no ads between Stories allowing companies to put their information in everyone’s feed.  So how does this affect your marketing efforts for your healthcare company?  Well, if you want your information to get out there, you need to learn how to get to the front of the feed or pay for the privilege.

How will Facebook’s Algorithm Change Affect Marketing?

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Facebook recently announced that they have made a new change to their algorithm.  The change entails limiting posts displayed in News Feeds from other Facebook pages and instead focus on posts from people’s friends and families.  Other Facebook pages include marketing posts from media companies and businesses like healthcare clinics.  This announcement comes as a complete surprise to the media industry.

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The actual announcement reads as follows:

“Facebook was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family. That is still the driving principle of News Feed today. Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook.”

Many companies rely on Facebook in the social media platform as one of the main sources of their web traffic.  Some companies say it accounts for over 40% of the visitors to their site.  Many young millennials also report that Facebook is the main source of their news.

However, it is important to note that this new change in algorithm will really only affect healthcare businesses and media companies if their website traffic is driven by Page posts.  If their website traffic is driven by people sharing their posts with their friends and commenting on them as well, it really won’t have a negative impact.  In fact, the chances of other people seeing the posts and sharing them will become greater.

Facebook claims to value that what friends and family post comes first.  The second value is that the posts should be informative.  Keep in mind, however, that the definition of ‘informative’ varies from person to person.  The third value is that the posts should be entertaining.  The clear implication of the word ‘value’ from this algorithm change shows that Facebook does not value news from trustworthy sources any more than the posts that its users are sharing.  It also shows that Facebook does not value its relationship with news publishers nor does it see itself as accountable for their fiscal profitability.  For Facebook, content is simply content.  Whatever keeps people interested and entertained is what Facebook values as important.

The overall takeaway here is that in order for healthcare companies, media companies, and other businesses to effectively market themselves, they must not rely on social media platforms alone.  It is clear that Facebook is not interested in being the solution to the marketing need.  Although it is beneficial for companies to utilize social media platforms as best they can, they should also focus on other avenues like good search engine optimization (SEO) through website content, blogging, mobile optimization, etc.

The SEO Playbook for Healthcare Providers

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

SEOs have primarily been using the same steps to redirect their HTTP sites to their HTTPS sites.  Granted, these steps have had their drawbacks, but there aren’t that many options when it comes to redirecting.

57991bbd2fb3c8.82160568Three main issues stand out when when it comes to changing a URL:

  • Using a 301 to automatically and permanently redirect- this is guaranteed to lose the same amount of rankings as when using an actual link to redirect.
  • Using a 302 [temporary redirects] incurs penalties from search engines for not treating the site change properly.
  • Migrating in general just plain old loses rankings- mostly because of the first two issues.

These issues tend to keep a business from changing their URL at all.  Especially for healthcare providers, who want to maintain a steady growth in rankings so that their sites are easily found by potential patients, changing from HTTP to HTTPS seems like an unnecessary drop in rankings.

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Recently, Google released their decision to not sites for using 3XX redirection methods.  They have also provided the incentive of a small rankings boost if you make the switch.  It all seems too good to be true, and it basically is, but that doesn’t necessarily make it all bad.

Google has decided that it will be risk free for using 301s, but that winds up only being for the URL.  So one link escapes penalty, which is great, but the risk free doesn’t carry over to all of the other site redirects.

As far as 302s, Google may have decided to treat them like 301s, but that doesn’t mean other search engines and social platforms have.

579910e0898242.59136524Hands down, redirecting your site from HTTP to HTTPS is going to effect traffic.  With all of the moving pieces and parts that come from this site, the potential for something to get lost in translation or done incorrectly is pretty great.   It is always recommended to practice this process on a smaller site before trying on a larger site, which obviously has more moving pieces and parts to mess up.

There are a couple of tips that been found to be helpful when redirecting a site:

  • Risks are inevitable, so don’t freak out if you see a small drop in rankings
  • You can’t make everyone happen: most search engines still prefer 301 redirects
  • If you can keep all of the other elements the same, except for the URL, chances of making mistakes become much smaller
  • The benefits that will come from redirecting your URL (for SEO) are promising for future improvement of traffic and rankings. This should be encouraging for healthcare providers, when their sites are so specific and full of “surgeon” speak and technical terminology.
    • Redirecting allows an opportunity to improve the overall structure of a site
    • It allows the opportunity to include primary keywords in the URL, which is a big deal for SEO, not to mention that specifying your practice in the URL is great for increasing traffic
    • Here’s the chance to make to make your URL easier for the user to read

Optimizing for Local Search

By | Local SEO, SEO | No Comments

Local search isn’t what it used to be.  Google has been switching things up in the past couple of years, and when I say couple I really mean couple, as in two.  Nowadays, it’s all about the mobile search.  No longer do people need to run home to their desktops or, heaven forbid, visit the computers at the library when they want to search something on the internet.  They now have the option of turning to their smart phones, doing a little finger dance, and getting results instantly.

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Since mobile searching has all but required that the rules for search optimization be rewritten, which they have, businesses need to make sure that they are keeping up with the times in order to maintain a healthy internet presence.  With a target audience of health care providers (from surgeons to chiropractors), who are notoriously on the move and overwhelmed to boot, Millennial Tech Services as  Indianapolis SEO provider has risen to the challenge.

What would a surgeon type in if they were looking for the business of Indianapolis SEO?  What would a dentist type in?  What would a family doctor type in?  These answers will provide the keywords necessary for successful local search optimization.  All of that is null and void if the page takes forever to load.  An uber busy healthcare practitioner wants results immediately (hence the use of the mobile device).  They’ll close the page after mere seconds if nothing is happening.  After that, the page has to be mobile-friendly or, once again, the user is going to shut it down and move on.  No one has the time or energy to be spending zooming in and out, for one.

A paid search would be highly recommended for companies looking for local SEO.  Who is the target audience?  Going back to the target audience of health care providers, this genre of professionals often pay to belong to private, specialized sites which maximize their own online experience.  Using a paid search platform requires a different strategy, with three main points to focus on:

Do your ads feel local?

electriciain-near-me-380x378If you want your business to show up as local, then make sure you include the location of your business in your ad, or a telephone number that can be clicked on at first glance.

Are you using mobile ad extensions?

electrician-near-me-2-380x184Location extensions are obvious when it comes to local searches, but sitelinks, call extensions, and click-to-call ads are all very useful and relevant. Sitelinks are good for high-lighting specifics, call extensions just plain old make sense when dealing with a mobile market, and click-to-call ads are especially relevant when it comes to healthcare providers.

Are you using promoted pins?

There is a growing need to partner directly with advertising and marketing campaigns now that Google Maps has updated it’s advertising. A solid logo and a customized results page will be tantamount.

In the end, the concept is simple: if you give your customer/consumer/patient/whomever what they are looking for, then you will get their business.  In this new, mobile world that is continuing to expand and evolve, successful optimization for local search is where it all starts.