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Tag : healthcare marketing

Healthcare Social Media: 20 of the Best Healthcare Marketing Websites

9Aug

The healthcare industry is one that The Go! Agency works with extensively.  All areas of this field – from recruiting, hospital groups, medical facilities and clinics, to individual physicians and practitioners – are waking up to the power of social media marketing. With the Age Wave and Baby Boomers demanding better, cutting edge, state of the art care – their ways of learning, communicating with their practitioners, and telling their friends about that care will advance too…and social media is the vehicle!

As we are always ones to keep up with the latest and greatest in marketing for all business segments, we have been compiling a list of resources to use to keep up to date with all the trends.

I shared this list with a healthcare client of mine and they went through the roof and suggested that we share it with all of you.  As you can guess – I loved the idea!

So below is a list of all of (my) favorite healthcare and medical marketing websites and blogs that have the sharpest and most informative content to help those in healthcare market their businesses more effectively.

Enjoy and make sure if you like the blogs, let them know I sent you!

Are there any more that you would like to add to this list?

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Your Social Media Prescription: The Cost of Social Media

13May

This has been republished courtesy of Doctor’s Life Magazine – take a look at the online version here.

Well, it’s free! Sort of. We all know the importance of social media, and to utilize it effectively, you’re going to have to spend either time, or money! It’s up to you as to which one you use! Currently ALL of these powerful social media sites are free to use. Sure, there are options that they utilize to try and get your money, from paying for (promoting) your posts, upgrading your account (you probably don’t need to do this) and with e-commerce options. But basically there’s no charge for using these platforms. But we all know the saying: “Time is money.” To optimize, populate (with a targeted audience), and fill your site (with content that moves your audience to action) takes some time, effort, and planning. Many businesses out there are seriously vamping their following, their sales, and reputation as thought leaders using social media—all the while using social media as a vehicle of P.R. and brand awareness—with speed racer proportions! Are you up to the challenge?

Social media platforms are a constantly changing and evolving medium. With that in mind, although we consider ourselves “specialists,” one can never be an “expert,” as all of us are constantly learning these changes, updates, tweaks, and new applications within the platforms. But the general principals with social media, as we mentioned above are:

Optimize your site. Make sure your images mirror your website so that your brand carries through. After all, this is a living, breathing, evolving version of your website. Make sure you fill it out completely—people expect it to look as professional, and it is a reflection of you and your business. Be sure that it has your location, contact info, hours and that all the links work. Also, be sure that you aren’t utilizing a personal page for your business.

Populate it with people that you feel might be interested (peers, current and potential clients and supporters, industry leaders, and more). Don’t be a wallflower here—reach out and follow/like/connect with at least 10 new businesses or people a day, and leave a comment on their site, letting them know you like something they have posted (if you do, remember – be genuine).

Fill your site several times a day with great content (comments, quotes, pictures/videos, questions, tips, news article links, announcements, new products/services, upcoming events/appearances, achievements, links to your blog/website).

Engage with your audience. If someone likes or comments on something you’ve posted be sure to thank them, and maybe even encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or blog “for more great tips like this.” But make it easy for them—include the link that will bring them there. Bit.ly is a great site for shortening and customizing a link. Check it out. (Tip: Always test a link before you send it – for example I recently wrote an article that was published in Doctor’s Life Magazine, and we posted it on our website. I created a short link, but every time I share it, I test it to make sure it’s still valid, or that I didn’t mistype it. Check it out: bit.ly/SocialMediaRx

With that in mind we recommend that everyone complete a simple marketing plan to ensure that you know what you have to do each day and get it done. Much like a diet, exercise plan, or even a road trip, having a pre-written plan or map in front of you makes you much more likely to stick to the proper route and reach your goal more efficiently and effectively.

What about the cost? Well, with the platforms being free of charge, what you have to think about in terms of cost is the time factor, and who you will have do all of the above actions. Here are your options:

1. Do it yourself

2. Office manager / marketing manager

3. Receptionist / entry level person

4. Outsourcing

Doing it yourself is a great option, as this is your reputation and business that you’ll be promoting. However, it does take you away from what you do best—running your practice.

Having an upper management person take over your social media is also a good idea, as they usually have a great understanding of your business, products and services, vision, and goals in mind, but it also takes them away from other duties, and if it’s your marketer, it takes them away from other sales duties, and face to face activities. Additionally, these people tend to be your higher paid employees and if they’re constantly being interrupted or aren’t proficient with social media – the added time equals more money out of your pocket.

An entry level person may seem to be a good alternative, they are more economical, sometimes are younger and more proficient on social media—but remember, this is your reputation we’re talking about. Will they deliver the business acumen, professionalism, and deep-digging, laser-focused campaign that you need? Will they be on top of the latest applications and logistics with these platforms that change daily?

Outsourcing to a company that specializes in social media may be your best bet! A common misconception is that hiring firms like ours to perform your social media marketing campaign is just too expensive. Having an in-house person do the work, or hiring someone may also include you having to pay for their benefits, taxes, insurance and when that person is out sick, someone else has to do the social media or it doesn’t get done.

Our services provide everything listed above so that you and your business can have 100 percent social media management, optimization, engagement, and monitoring taken care of—all for the cost of 4-10 venti coffees a day, depending on the services you choose!

Now, it’s obvious, no one drinks that many coffee’s a day, but it’s not out of the question for your sales/marketing rep to bring that many coffees and bagels to the offices that they call on. In fact, I utilize a caterer that specializes in pharmaceutical rep lunches. I asked them what the range and average is that pharma reps spend on lunches—I was surprised that the range was between $100-$500 per lunch, and the average is $150-175! Many times you have to feed the entire office in hopes of getting to the ONE decision maker that they need an audience with. With social media, you can get directly to that target or decision maker without all that hassle.

Think of that in terms of other more “traditional” means of advertising and P.R.—billboards, print and TV ads, trade shows—are all great ways of getting your name out there – however with social media, your message can change several times a day, is portable (it can be shared across the world with the push of a button), looking at peoples comments and the logistics – you are able to see what your following likes to hear about, and most importantly – you can connect with that laser focused target audience – people that WANT to be educated by, entertained by, and engage with YOU.

When outsourcing your social media, you may ask how we learn about you, your practice, your business, what sets you apart, what we can post, and to whom—this is where we excel. In the beginning, we have our clients complete a short questionnaire that gives us our parameters to start, and then we give you the option to pre-approve the posts that go out in your behalf. Our team of social media strategists meet regularly to discuss your campaign, how to improve, manage, and innovate your campaign. We also check in with you if anything comes up that is beyond our scope, is a referral, or can be put in your sales funnel for follow up by your sales and marketing team.

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Your Social Media Prescription

25Feb

Recently, I was honored to be asked to write an article about social media marketing for Doctor’s Life Magazine.  You can learn more about Doctor’s Life Magazine by clicking here.

Also – you can view article as it appears in the magazine by clicking here!

As I thought the information in the article could be useful to you, I am sharing the article below.  If, after reading, there is anything that I can help you with – contact me directly: dale@http://citsprojects.in/clientprojects/thegoagencyusa or toll free: 866-926-2636.

I hope you enjoy!

———————–

Sometimes our patients put off (or are afraid of) a visit to the doctor or dentist’s office.  They know they should do it, but they procrastinate for one reason or another.  Are you doing the same by putting off your ‘appointment’ with social media?

If you think it’s a passing fad, or may not be relevant to the healthcare field – think again. Here’s a test – think of the top 5 influencers or hospitals out there in your field.  Now type in a search for “(Their Name) on Facebook (or Twitter)”.  I bet you find almost all of them there, AND I bet that they have a decent following, as well as daily activity on their account.  Let’s take that a step further – go and search for your competition on Facebook and see what they’re up to – you may be surprised.
But….how can you market yourself and your practice on social media?  How can it help your business?  How much time do you need to devote to it?  Is your client base on social media?

If you would like answers to these questions, read on!

Channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and even Pinterest can have exponential benefits for your practice, give you the ability to educate your peers and patients, gain trust and approachability, and be positioned as a thought leader in your field.

Social media is a 24/7, worldwide, online, professional cocktail party.  To effectively “work the room”, you need to show up to the party with a goal: perhaps of meeting potential referral sources, patients, or other revenue streams.  Then proactively introduce yourself to lots of targeted people.  You need to approach them with a sincere interest in them, asking them questions – not approaching them with a ‘pitch’ about yourself (because people like to hear about themselves first!)…then keep them engaged, make them laugh, give them something to remember you by.  After the party you need to follow up and continue the conversation after the party.
Social media is very much the same – to be effective, you need to know what your goals are.  Develop a list keywords and phrases that your potential referral source or patient would type into a search to find you.  Then go out and ‘Like’, connect, and follow individuals, companies, or groups that you feel would be of benefit to you (or lead you to a potential client).

Next, start the conversation.  Depending on the platform(s) you decide to use – ‘Like’ their page, comment on a post, or feature they have that you truly like.  Talk about what they do first.  Share a post of theirs on your social media channels, if you feel it would be of benefit to your followers.  Be sure to thank or return the favor to anyone that does the same for you. And remember, just like a cocktail party, it doesn’t all have to be business…a cute picture on a Friday, an invitation to an event you may be hosting, or even talk about a community event if you’re posting locally.

It’s SOCIAL Media – so be SOCIAL!  Your goal is to continue the conversation offline in order to get them to remember you and your services when they, or anyone they know, may need them.

Use your social media channels to their full extent.  Use any applications that may help your use of these platforms easier.  For example, link your Twitter account to your LinkedIn account so that what you post on one, it will automatically post on the other.  Be sure to join the max of 50 groups on LinkedIn and post discussions in each group.  If a LinkedIn group isn’t very prolific, leave it and join another, until you get to that “perfect” 50.  Follow the people that you respect in your industry on Twitter, follow your ‘competition’ to see what they’re up to – stay ahead of the curve, and dominate your digital presence and recognized as a thought leader in your industry!

Now, where do you start?  If you don’t have an account with these social media channels – visit their site and sign up.  Claim your name before someone else does.  Then optimize your profile – fill it out completely.  Next, set up a schedule to do your online marketing consistently.  Consistency is the most important action you could do with social media marketing!

In terms of the time it takes you (or your staff) to do the marketing, start with a goal of an twenty minutes a day.  Maybe start with Facebook, as people are generally comfortable with how this platform works.  It’s best to create a business page on Facebook, rather than use your personal page so that you’ll be able to operate it completely separate from that personal page. Then start getting connected!  Post content that is educational, entertaining, and engaging.  Ask for ‘Likes’, ask people to share the content you post.

What is content?  Social media is PR – plain and simple.  It’s not sales.  Think of it as you would a billboard, but a billboard with muscle!  It’s recommended to have less than 10 words on a billboard, and people spend about 3 seconds whizzing by it on their commute to work, before they start to ignore it (and that’s if they even notice it to begin with).  Those with Facebook accounts, on average, spend nearly 8 hours per month on the site, much more than they spend looking at a billboard.  Some other key differences are that the messages you post can be changed several times per day, have as many words as necessary, include images, links, your hours and directions to your office.  Also, the messages are portable.  So if  a reader sees something they think would be valuable to someone across the country (or the world) they can share it with the push of a button!  You can also get a pulse of what people want to hear about by listening and observing your competition, your peers, and respected industry leaders, and also by asking!

“But my client demographic isn’t on social media”.  Wrong!  It’s not just Generation X, Y, and Z that use social media!  The largest growing users of social media are the 55+ group – the Baby Boomers and many of them are using it for their parents (incidentally called the Silent Generation) to find out more about everything from healthcare to what their peers think…and you know that people like to talk!  Social media allows them to praise you, or show you where you may need improvement.

“What if someone says something nasty?”  Not to worry, you being active on social media won’t increase any negativity, they’re going to say it anyway.  But by being present on social media you’ll be able to see any negativity and address it.  Having a presence allows you to spin it to your advantage, rather than just leaving it out there to fester.  Also, don’t forget your privacy settings! You have the ability to approve posts before they go live on many of the channels.

Afraid of patient privacy, HIPAA, and other regulatory issues?  With a simple disclaimer and common sense approach to your social media policy you’re covered!  The Mayo clinic has a simple 12 word social media policy: “Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry, Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete, Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal”.

“I don’t have time to do this!” That’s where a social media marketing firm may be of assistance.  Spending the time doing it yourself does take you away from what you do best.  Having an entry level person do it can be tricky, as it IS your reputation they’re handling.  Dedicating a higher level person or marketing manager may take them away from other marketing, and sales opportunities.  Although social media works in conjunction with your operations and marketing team, having them do the day-to-day activities may be more costly than outsourcing it.

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Healthcare Social Media Marketing: 5 Reasons Not To Wait Any Longer

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9Jan

It’s exciting to see more and more healthcare organizations buzzing about social media marketing over the past year.  Social media marketing is such a wonderful way to connect with members of your target market (including your customers, referral sources, patients, and their families and caregivers) I’m happy to see healthcare organizations are beginning to adapt their marketing plans to include a social strategy that extends beyond the traditional ‘face to face’ and old school collateral brochures.

As we at  The Go! Agency handle many healthcare clients, the trend that we have seen when speaking with these various organizations is that many are struggling to get things off of the ground.  Whether it be red-tape such as writing social media policy and procedure clauses, dealing with HIPAA guidelines or just superiors who are reluctant to invest time and money in this ‘new med‘ – push back has been a common problem.

While time will force these problems to vanish, there are quite a lot of advantages to being an early adopter as a healthcare organization.  After extensive research, we have found many healthcare companies fall flat when it comes to their use (or misuse) of social media.

Here are a few of the reasons why healthcare organizations shouldn’t wait any longer when it comes to executing a social media marketing campaign:

1.  Facebook is not just for Starbucks.  With its millions of active users (and I stress the word “active”), Facebook has a sea of people that you can engage with from your healthcare organization.  These people are consuming information in every category, not just the mega-brands.  Everyone has their space on Facebook.  Even better, with Facebook Pages you can categorize your organization fully, and configure locations and other valuable information for your target audience.  Whether your business is local, national or international, Facebook has the ability to create real connections, support customer/patient communications and will help you let your audience know about any events, or exclusive information with just a few clicks.

2.  Your audience (and competition) is on Twitter.  The healthcare and medical community is not only on Twitter…they are active!  Doctors, medical companies, hospitals and many more are offering updates, event news, guidelines and much more on a daily basis.  Yet another massive and active community, Twitter is a hot spot for sharing information and you need to be in the mix!

3.  There is a LinkedIn Group to fit your needs….or 50! Just adding your hospital or company to LinkedIn is wonderful and important step…but what if you could also add an additional audience of 50,000 to 1 million+?  With LinkedIn Groups you can engage with potential customers/patients based on subject and location and get in front of them on a daily basis.  Now that is coverage!

4.  YouTube is the portal for promotion. Using video as a promotional tool is a must in the healthcare industry.  Having the ability to illustrate what your company is capable of in addition to the skill of your team or products is imperative.  Now imagine having the ability to place this video on the second largest search engine out there: YouTube.     Fully branded and packed with information, this vehicle does nothing but build your profile, credibility and positive sentiment.

5.  Act now or be left behind. As there are many organizations that are understaffed or unable to give the appropriate time to either do the social media or even pitch the idea of a campaign to the CEO….the organizations are simply trickling in.  But this speed will begin to increase at a faster and faster rate.  By being an early adopter, you can gain more market advantage and make a splash as one of the first organizations in your area to have a wonderful Facebook Page, an active Twitter account, a linked in LinkedIn account and a sharp and slick YouTube page.

I like ending with number 5 as there are many healthcare marketers out there that have received a lot of push back on social media from their organizations.  But for every one, there are numerous others who are getting their campaigns approved and are launching effective social media marketing campaigns and claiming their social real estate.  My advice is to get your plan together quickly so you don’t miss the boat!

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LinkedIn for Healthcare: 5 Must-Haves

6Jan

With everyone going on about the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, my poor friend LinkedIn sometimes gets left out in the cold.  While not the most visible of the major social media sites, it is definitely one of the most powerful.  With millions of people from all over the globe taking part in the conversation on LinkedIn, it is definitely a place online where your target healthcare audience thrives.

Whether your healthcare organization is B2B or B2C oriented, you can carve out your own audience on LinkedIn.

So if you have registered for a profile, why isn’t anything happening?

I have the answer.

Let’s get moving and create some stellar results!  Here are my 5 LinkedIn “Must Haves” for healthcare organizations who are looking to get the most out of their valuable time online.

1.  You MUST Fill Out Your Profile:  A name and title is not enough.  LinkedIn gives you ample opportunity to showcase yourself and your healthcare brand.  Instead of leaving half of the profile blank (the percentage of which LinkedIn will show you on the right hand side of your profile), why not take an hour or two and really fill it in properly.  Want people to call you?  Add a phone number.  Want people to look at your website?  Mention it with hyperlink at the drop of a hat.  Don’t skimp here…this is where people are going to find you credible or not credible.  Oh, and one final thing.  Have a professional profile picture, nothing wild and off brand.  No picture = no credibility in my book.

2.  You MUST Join Groups:  Not only must you join groups, you must also take part in them.  I know it seems like a tall order, but this is one of the areas where the magic happens on LinkedIn.  Now don’t get stuck on the fact that you have to find groups only within the healthcare sector only, you want to find those in addition to groups where your target consumers may be.  For example, if you are a cosmetic surgeon in NYC you may want to join 25 groups on cosmetic surgery and 25 groups based around the NYC area.  The idea is simple.  The professional ones will help you gain news and knowledge in your sector while the others will help you share your business and expertise with target consumers.  I say join as many as LinkedIn allows (50) and start working them!

3.  You MUST Ask Question and Answer Questions: There is a wonderful function of LinkedIn that allows you to answer and pose questions to your network as well as LinkedIn at large.  This is a great way to get in front of prospective supporters, consumers and referral partners – so don’t be afraid to jump in there and share your expertise by answering a few questions now and again.

4.  You MUST Reply:  Nothing drives a social media user up-the-wall more than sending messages that never are replied to.  I’m not saying the mass messages that start with those wonderful words “Dear Friends”, but rather those emails sent to your on LinkedIn.  Not interested in what they have to say?  Give them a polite “No thank you, but I appreciate your kind offer”, don’t say “Leave me alone” or ignore them completely.  This is networking.  Would you act like that in a cocktail party?  Not likely.

5.  You MUST Bring Your Profile Alive With Testimonials and Applications:  Even the most engaging profile can use a helping hand now and again.  First off, anyone that you have ever worked with or has known you professionally – ask for a recommendation, a mutual recommendation.  This is an eye-catching way of proving credibility and the quality of your work.  Never ask for testimonials from people you don’t know, never worked with, and just friended.  That’s tacky.  On the application side of things, go onto your profile and scroll until you see the Applications section and click “More Applications.”  This will take you to a section that allows you to not only integrate your Twitter account and your WordPress blogs, but also share pdf files and PowerPoint presentations.  These are wonderful ways of bringing your profile to life….not to mention adds to your credibility as a expert in your niche!

I’m sure I could go on with the wonders of LinkedIn, but these are definitely the ones I am most passionate about.  These steps will help your healthcare organization get the most out of LinkedIn in addition to helping you learn more about shaping your LinkedIn marketing strategy.  Its not easy at first and can be time consuming, but keep with it.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your social media following.  It is an ongoing effort that will bring you what your after, if you are patient.

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