Can a Healthcare Facility Use Facebook’s Live Video Streaming Feature?

By: Emily Williams

Can a healthcare facility use Facebook’s live video streaming-

With Facebook’s recent launch of its live video streamer, every Facebook user can now be a real-time social media reporter for all sorts of life events. In direct competition to other real-time video platforms like Periscope, Facebook is opening up the world to all kinds of personal, immediate and – let’s face it –  probably TMI news (Exhibit A: Ricky Gervais taking a bath).

(Here are Facebook’s instructions for how to share live video on your page.)

For many companies, real-time, instant social media posts (whether content, videos or pictures) can be a real winner. For example, Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet during the power outage of Superbowl XLVII is still revered for its social media timeliness three years later. In social media world, that’s a lifetime!

However, instant social media posts can also be a liability. A tweet that sounds insensitive, a picture that includes something inappropriate… just scroll through your social media news feed. There are bound to be posts that people – or maybe even companies – regret.

And, oh, how live video streaming opens up the door of regrets even wider!

So this begs the question:

Can a healthcare facility use Facebook’s live video streaming feature?

The answer is yes. However, there are many if’s and but’s that go along with that.

There are obvious benefits of live streaming content.

BUT you have to be so, so, so careful.

Don’t forget:

  • Get approval from your leadership before you broadcast anything live on your facility’s page.
  • HIPAA absolutely applies to live videos. Our company requires signed waivers for each person in your video (even if they are not the main subject of the video… even if that person is just partially shown in a crowd in the edge of your video for two seconds).
  • Your video is instantly public. It’s live. Don’t video any situations that you feel could get out of control quickly.
  • Is this video something that you want to rehearse? If so, maybe live streaming isn’t best. You can still upload a regular video to your page.
  • Yes, it’s live. But it needs to be planned. Know what you are filming, who is involved and the overall game plan before the broadcast begins.
  • This video represents your brand. Make sure it is clean and professional in nature.

As you can see, live broadcasting isn’t easy. But some things are just better live. Here are a few things that your facility may consider broadcasting live:

  • An entertainment event at your facility that some patients are unable to attend (i.e. a concert, a puppet show, etc.)
  • A ribbon cutting or awards ceremony
  • An interview with a physician or patient
  • Any other major milestone

For a healthcare facility, the most important thing is to have your ducks in a row before you broadcast.

It’s A Small World After All

By: Emily Williams

How a Trip to Disney World made my world smaller.When I was five, my parents decided to take my older sisters and me to Disney World. I don’t remember too much, but there is one thing I will always remember from the trip:

The “It’s a Small World” ride… Caught. On. FIRE.

Yes, I’d say that is quite memorable. We were riding in the boat through the various countries when suddenly our boat stopped for a very long time somewhere near “Europe”. Next thing we know, there is smoke ahead of us and we find out that the boat just in front had caught on fire. Our “captain” got out of the boat and helped each of us climb up onto the set and make our way to the emergency exit. I suppose some little kids might find this scary. Not me. Instead of just watching the set sing and dance, my dream came true. I was actually in Scandinavia – or maybe Eastern Europe – with these amazing little characters that were just my size. And I LOVED it. I got to walk through Europe – all the way to the emergency exit.

I came home and told my Kindergarten friends that I went to Europe. I didn’t… I was in Orlando. But Disney made my world that much smaller.

I have since been to Eastern Europe in real life, but even that doesn’t make my world feel quite as small as the people and places that I can explore online now.

In fact, Facebook says that the world is even smaller than it was when I was five. It has been commonly known for decades that you are connected to every other person in the world by just six degrees of separation. Every. Single. Person. Even that seems very close!

However, Facebook performed research on its own social network and determined that – out of its 1.59 billion active users – people in the U.S. are separated from every person in the world by just 3.46 degrees!

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That’s right. Social media brought the world almost twice as close as it used to be.

The internet has connected such a multitude of people that information spreads like wildfires. Good or bad. Right or misinformed.

Because of this, there are three things that you can to enhance your online marketing efforts:

  1. Double check before you post.

Before you post anything to social media or send out a digital correspondence, always ask yourself if it is helpful and appropriate. You only get one shot. Sure, if you post something on Facebook that you later want to delete, you can delete it from showing on your page. But it’s already out there. People have seen it, formed an opinion and perhaps even shared it or taken a screen shot. Things that you might post on a personal page are not always appropriate for your facility’s page.

  1. Create Shareable Content.

Whether through emails or social media or your website, the more shareable content you create, the bigger the audience you will have. For example, on Facebook your posts will show to those who have liked your page. But as soon as one of your followers likes, comments or shares, your content is exposed to all of that person’s contacts. And it just keeps growing!

Don’t forget – bad news blows up quickly. But so does good news! Share encouraging stories often.

  1. Promote Your Practice Online

It’s okay to promote your own practice on social media! Consider advertising online appointment scheduling, a new doctor or a unique service of your facility.

Just make sure that you add value and vary your posts. Every Facebook page should have three goals (perhaps sharing relevant health news, getting new patients for a particular doctor and raising awareness of a particular service-line). And we also recommend having three posts per week to maintain an active Facebook page. Try using one post per week to support each goal!

Make sure that you are using online networks to your advantage when promoting your facility digitally.

It’s a small world after all!

Create a Digital Plan for the Year and Stick to It

By: Carla Rivera

These days, if you find yourself running a business, you’re more than likely using the Internet to promote it.  For some, it is a struggle to keep up with every digital platform and be consistent with posting quality content.  This is why creating a digital plan for the year will help you stay on track week by week, allowing you to concentrate on what’s really important—attending to your customers.

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Now that 2016 has officially begun, chances are you have either already done this or have avoided it.  If you already created a digital plan, good for you!  If you haven’t, we are here to help.

The purpose of this post is not to give you a step by step process on how to plan a digital calendar for each digital channel.  What we want to give you are three key points that will help get the ball rolling to create a digital plan for 2016 that will help you be consistent with posting content online, this year and always.  Let’s get started:

  1. Do Your Research → Start by looking into each platform’s analytics for the previous year. Pull reports and answer a few questions: what topics engaged the readers more?  What type of content did they look at?  (video, photo, etc.)   Who looked at the content (demographics)?  How did they look at the content?  (desktop, mobile, etc.)  Which digital outlets worked better for the business?  Take all the answers into consideration for the new plan.  This will allow you to target the right people with the right content, through the right digital channels.  This might even rule out a social media platform that just isn’t cutting it—freeing up some precious time!
  1. Get Organized → We’ve already discussed the importance of creating a content calendar before. If you’re working with more than a handful of digital platforms, create a calendar for each.  If you only concentrate on  1-3 digital channels, create one calendar for all.  Do whatever is easier for you!  This will help you plan content ahead of time and maybe even show where you might need a little extra help.
  1. Re-group Quarterly → Once the calendar is in place and content is being posted as scheduled, it’s good to take a look back to see if there have been any changes. We advise that you go back to step 1 (Do Your Research) at the end of each quarter and look at those analytics again.  (Yes, each quarter.  Trust us…you do not want to wait a whole year to review.)  Ask yourself, what’s working and what’s no longer working?  You may notice changes; this will help you adjust your game plan for the next quarter.

Content Optimization for Multiple Search Engines

By: Chris McCarthy

CO for multiple search engines

When creating and implementing SEO best practices for your site, some have often wondered whether particular search engines require specific optimization. Does the same optimization work for all search engines? The short answer is yes.

Search engines are built with complex algorithms, allowing them to crawl, index and rank website pages the search engine feels their users will most benefit from. There are no “short cuts” to trick these algorithms, but some search engines have provided webmaster guidelines that outline what is viewed as important, trustworthy content.

Google Webmaster Guidelines highlights these tips to garner better placement in their search engine:

  • Write content for the user, and the rest will fall into place
  • Do not use trickery to get your users to click on a link that has different content than what is promised
  • Create internal links for a seamless user experience and to help the search engine connect the URLs
  • Curate rich, meaningful content to your user and the search engine
  • Do keyword research to see what users are searching for nationally and regionally, then implement the keywords within your content

Bing Webmaster Guidelines highlights the below to garner better placement in their search engine:

  • Implement keywords and keyword phrases throughout content
  • Produce new content often
  • Be sure to house content on webpages rather than in images or code

Ultimately, creating rich, meaningful content and utilizing SEO best practices will improve your site authority and establish trust with search engines. There are no secret tricks you can do for one search engine that will help your site rank higher. Instead, focus on the overall quality of your site, and the rankings will follow.

Planning your Facebook Content for the New Year

By: Kelly Bodell

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The end of 2015 is upon us – believe it or not! So seize the day and start planning your Facebook content for the New Year now! In order to plan your content we recommend you follow these five guidelines:

  1. Create a Content Calendar – We highly recommend you plan and create content ahead of time by using a content calendar. You can use the content calendar template you received during Course 200, or you can create your own.

    When creating your content calendar, the most important thing is that it is organized, easy to use and fits your needs. You may find that a Google Doc or Sheet is the best place to store your content calendar if you have multiple people contributing to the content for your Facebook page.

  1. Define & Use Your Goals – Evaluate the goals you set during PMP 200 and determine if they are still applicable, practical and attainable. The end of the year is always a good time to reevaluate your goals as you look ahead to 2016.
    If you did not set goals when you started your Facebook page, now is the time to create them! For example, one common goal for Facebook pages is to keep patients informed about happenings at your facility. These goals will help shape your content for 2016.
  2. Outline Your Weekly Posts – In order to stick to your goals, outline your posts for each week. For example, if one of your goals is to educate your patients, be sure to include at least one post with health tips each week. Don’t forget: We recommend posting three times per week.

    When using your content calendar, summarize the posts you need to include for that week to help you with planning. So instead of writing a full post, simply write “Health Tip” or “Practice News” in that day’s space in order to make it easier to create the content.

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  3. Keep it concise – Whether you are writing Facebook content for the year, six months or just for the month of January, it may seem like a daunting task. However, if you stick to our recommended best practice of keeping your text two sentences or less, it will make writing the content easier.

    Remember to keep all the content short, sweet and to the point. For example, if you are posting a health article provide a short teaser to the article instead of summarizing it in the post.

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  4. Plan your imagery – If the images are the most daunting part of planning your content, make them your priority. Because you cannot simply pull any image off of Google due to copyright concerns, this can be the most time consuming element. We suggest that you ask for help from others in your office.

    Don’t forget that when you are linking to an article, an image preview will often appear from the site. You CAN allow these images to appear on your Facebook page. You didn’t create the image, but the link to the original source serves as a citation.

    We also suggest using a program called Canva, a user-friendly design tool where you can easily create and store any images you may need for your Facebook content. The program is free to use and has an abundance of free backgrounds, images and icons. Some images on the site do cost $1.00 to use, but you can create high quality imagery without ever purchasing any of those. To learn more about Canva, watch this helpful video:

Dos and Dont’s of Email Marketing

By: Carla Rivera

Dos & Don'ts of Email Marketing

A new study conducted by Adobe found that the average white-collar worker spends approximately 6 hours a day on their email.  It doesn’t matter where they are or what they’re doing, they check their emails constantly—while watching TV, from bed, during vacations, etc.  Email has become the way we communicate with each other not only in the workspace, but it’s our preferred method of contact, period.

How Often We Check Emails Infographic

With technology evolving so rapidly, we have to find new ways to implement these changes into our business practice.  Nowadays, more businesses are taking advantage of email marketing in order to communicate very specific messages to their audience.  Whether it’s to current or potential clients, email has become one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, especially in the healthcare industry.  But this doesn’t come without its own set of challenges.

Even though no two types of businesses are alike, there are several dos and don’ts that apply to all email marketing.  In this case, we will give you a bit more insight into email marketing in the healthcare industry.  Here it goes!

Dos:

  1. Do target the right people→ Email is a great way to direct a message to a specific audience. Remember that it’s not just about what message you want to communicate, it’s also about who you communicate that message to.  Always segmentate audiences into groups based on the targeted message.

Quick Tip!  You don’t want to send out an email to your entire list of patients to “book an appointment” when some of them may have just visited the doctor’s office.  Separate that into two lists: one with a call-to-action (CTA) to “book an appointment now” and the other as a “follow-up” to their recent appointment.

  1. Do personalize→ A person is more likely to open an email that comes from someone they know. Adding dynamic content to your emails is a great way to show your clients that you know them by personalizing the message with information that pertains to them.  Dynamic content uses the information that you already have for a person to only show content that will be relevant, without having to create separate email campaigns.  Because the message will be highly targeted, this will immediately get the attention of the person who is reading it which increases the chance that they’ll respond to a CTA.

Quick Tip!  This is a great tool to use if you have separate content based on the person’s gender or age.

  1. Do capture their attention with the subject line & pre-header→ Coming up with an email’s subject and pre-header is just as important as the content itself. Think of this as your first impression.  What can I say that will entice the reader?  Not to be confused with using words that sound like you are trying to sell them something—these can be picked up by the server as spam and that’s it… they’ll never read it.  Keep the subject forthright and honest!  Same rule applies to the pre-header—give them a snippet of what they’re about to read and make it intriguing; it should complement the subject line.  This will engage the reader and will set your email apart from the 50+ emails they may get throughout the day.

Quick Tip!  What makes a great subject line?  Click here for a few examples.

  1. Do create one CTA per email campaign→ An email campaign should only contain one very clear and brief call to action. This will more than likely result in an immediate response.  It should be so strong that the reader knows exactly what the next step is.

Quick Tip!  Make sure you follow these steps if you have any doubts on what your next CTA should be.

  1. Do add shareable content→ Yes, the purpose of an email campaign is to communicate a message, but why not go further than that?  By adding a photo, video, infographic, etc., we are giving the reader something that he or she might like to share with their friends and family.  Take advantage of the free marketing that is social media!

Quick Tip!  People are more likely to share a video on social media than any other content.  Tie a video from your YouTube channel to the email!

  1. Do create tracking links→ Creating tracking links for whatever analytics platform you are using will allow you to notice behavioral patterns and collect information and metrics. This is one of the most important email marketing tools that you can use, mostly because it will give you all the information you want to know about that campaign, especially when it involves a CTA.

Quick Tip!  Tracking links can also be linked to your website, social media, email list subscription, future mailings opt-outs, etc.

  1. Do follow CAN-SPAM laws/regulations→ It’s the law! Make sure you read up and save yourself a headache (or a lawsuit).

Quick Tip!  Have more than one person on your team writing email campaigns?  Make sure you include this information in your practice’s training program.

  1. Do use alt text for every image→ Remember how annoying it is when an image just won’t load on your phone when reading an email? This is exactly what alt text is for.  First, analyze what the image is trying to communicate and then describe it in 5—15 words; this will get the point across in case the image doesn’t load.

Quick Tip!  This is also a great place to add search engine keywords.

 

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t forget to make it mobile responsive→ Since approximately 88% of people check their email on their phones, always design for mobile first. Both the template design and email content should be mobile responsive.

Quick Tip!  Take into consideration where someone’s finger will fall when you’re deciding on where to put links in the email.

  1. Don’t write a long email→ As we stated before, always keep your message short and sweet, and focus on one CTA at a time.  The average person spends 15-20 seconds reading a single email before they scroll to the next one.  The faster you engage the reader with a clear and concise message, the less likely it is that you’ll bore them, which equals less unsubscribes.

Quick Tip!  An email campaign always has a purpose.  Find out what it is and how you can make it brief.

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of a lightbox pop-up→ You know that little box that pops up as soon as you go into a website? Most people assume that readers find them annoying, but studies have shown that it’s a great and effective way to increase your list of subscribers by capturing more emails, therefore reducing the bounce rate.  Granted, this is not added to the actual email, but somewhere in your email you will have a link that will direct the reader through a CTA to a website—that’s where you add the lightbox pop-up!

Lightbox Pop-up

Quick Tip!  Creating an e-mail sign-up form is by far the best use for a lightbox.

  1. Don’t send out until you test→ Every online email platform will give you the option of testing the email prior to sending it. Use this option, always!  Test out your email in desktop and mobile, as well as every popular email client (i.e. Outlook, Gmail, etc.).

Quick Tip!  Make this process simple by creating a “Test” group and including several emails from different email clients.

  1. Don’t add big graphics or photos→ It is always a great idea to add either a graphic or photo to your email. When adding an image, keep in mind that most people check their email on their phone—the bigger the image, the slower the download and the higher the possibility of the image being blocked by the server.

Quick Tip!  It is recommended that the header image be between 600px—700px and any image in the email content be around 480px.

  1. Don’t forget to include relevant links→ The name says it all—email marketing. Take this time to also include several relevant links that are tied to your practice, such as: social media, company website, contact email, etc.

Quick Tip!  Place these links front and center.  They should be spotted easily by the reader.

How to Add Share Buttons to Your Blog Post

By: Carla Rivera

Share Buttons

By: Carla Rivera

There are many factors to keep in mind when writing a blog post for your business, some more obvious than others.  One thing that it’s often overlooked during this process is giving each post the capability of actually being shared.  Now more than ever before, sharing your content is just as important as writing it.  What’s the point of a great post when only a few people get to read it?

When writing a blog post, one must always follow the logical steps: brainstorm what you want to write about, do your research, include sharable material (i.e. photo and/or video), credit the correct sources, etc.  But one thing that can be easily forgotten is adding share buttons to your post.

How many times have you wanted to share something on Facebook and can’t find that share button, resulting in this process of having to go to a separate window, logging in, and copy/pasting the link into your status box in order to share?  More often than not, you end up not posting anything.  By simply adding share buttons to each post you are not only engaging the reader, but you are also enabling them.

The following steps will show you how to easily add share buttons to a blog post:  (Note: These steps are for the WordPress.com blogging platform.)

Step 1 – Once you’re logged in, click on My Site at the top left to go into your blog’s dashboard.

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Step 2 – Once in the dashboard, scroll down to Configure  and click on Sharing.

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Step 3 – This page will give you two options to choose from: Connections or Sharing Buttons—click on the latter.

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Step 4Sharing Buttons will allow you to fully customize the appearance of your share buttons, starting with editing the label text.  You can do this by clicking on Edit label text at the top, type in the title and then click on Close.

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Step 5Edit visible sharing buttons by clicking on the buttons you want to add or remove.  This will also give you the option of reordering the buttons to your liking by clicking on Reorder.  Once you’re finished, click on Close.

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Step 6 – Now that the buttons are added, you may proceed to customize their appearance.  We advise that you choose the Official Buttons since they are the most recognized by the readers.  Also, adding the options to Reblog & Like your posts is a great way to engage the reader.  Once you have customized these, click on Save Changes.

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Step 7 – Under Options, choose to show the share buttons on Posts and Pages.  This will automatically add the buttons to each every single time.  Click on Save Changes when finished.

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Done and done!  Remember that you can always preview the share buttons while customizing them in the Preview box at the top of this section.  Once all changes have been made you are good to go. Easy!