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
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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