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!

and i'm yours

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.

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!

Best Times for Businesses to Post Content Online

By: Carla Rivera

In our fast-paced world where content is being posted and shared at rapid-fire speed, how do you capture your audience’s attention?  The truth is that every company is continuously trying to figure this out, some faster than others.  What sets them apart?  Not only having the perfect “sharable” content and the right tools, but also having the right knowledge.  When it comes to social media, this means knowing when to post on each outlet.

You hear it all the time, “timing is everything.”  Posting content at just the right time on social media means reaching a broader audience.  The more people that see your content, the bigger the audience you engage and the more likely they are to share that content, giving you an even wider reach than you initially anticipated.  Did I mention posting on social media doesn’t cost a thing?  You have a free marketing tool right at your hands, so why not use it correctly?!

You may remember a similar post on our blog from May 2014. Remember that statistics on social media are always changing.  Make sure you do your research every year to keep up with the latest trends.

Nora Flint of TruConversion recently released the latest analytics on the best times for businesses to share content on each social media platform.

Here is the breakdown:

facebookFacebook

Best Time:  1 p.m. – 3 p.m., with Friday being the best day for user engagement.  People tend to be in a better mood on Fridays, too.  Use this day to your advantage!  Facebook also allows you to schedule posts ahead of time so don’t forget use this feature.  And remember that videos are more engaging than any other content, followed closely by status updates, links and photos.

Worst Time:  8 p.m. – 8 a.m.  If your practice is closed outside of normal daytime business hours, then you may not be posting then anyways!

Quick Tip!  Need content?  Share a video you recently posted on your YouTube channel.

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Twitter

Best Time:  12 p.m. and 6 p.m. for a higher CTR, with Wednesdays and weekends being the best days for user engagement.  If you’re looking for more retweets, then 5 p.m. is the right time for this.  Also, weekdays are always a good time to tweet being that most people check their Twitter during office hours.  And even though you can’t schedule tweets, the 140 character limit makes it easy to tweet at any time.

Worst Time:  8 p.m. or later any day, particularly on Fridays after 3 p.m.   Think of nighttime as a “Twitter Break.”

Quick Tip!  Try posting small facts and bits of information related to the most searched medical terms.  You never know who might be thinking of booking an appointment that pertains to something that you just posted.

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YouTube

Best Time:  12 p.m. – 3 p.m.  You will be able to engage more users in the evening, with peak time being from Thursday – Sunday.  If you have content that you’d like to share, make sure you post it towards the end of the work week.

Worst Time:  5 a.m. – 6 a.m., especially Monday – Wednesday.

Quick Tip!  What makes content viewable and sharable?  Just think, what am I expecting to see in this YouTube channel?  More than likely the answer will be: provider bios, practice overviews, educational videos, testimonials, facility tours, provider Q&A’s, etc. Anything informative.

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Google+

Best Time:  9 a.m. – 10 a.m., with user engagement being higher on Wednesdays.  If you’re going to make a social media post when you first come into work, this should be it.

Worst Time:  3 a.m. – 7 a.m.  Conveniently, this is snooze time for most.

Quick Tip!  Since this platform is perfect for targeting people between the ages of 45–54, this makes a great outlet to share information about your practice, videos, health-related articles, etc.

Check out TruConversion’s infographic for stats on additional social media platforms!

Google Adds More Health Information: How It Can Help Your SEM Campaign

By: Emily Williams

Many people Google health symptoms before seeking the care of a provider. Because so many are seeking medical advice online, Google has expanded its health conditions database. In fact, the number of conditions in their database has more than doubled to over 900!

Just like before, searchers will see an overview of the illness, but now it will include more in-depth information, a wider range of illnesses, design changes and even a downloadable pdf for patients to take to a doctor’s visit.

For example, if a user searches for ‘Epilepsy’ on Google, the results will show something like this:

paid ads results

In addition to creating more informed patients, this new search feature can have a significant impact on your healthcare facility’s online presence.

Because there is now better medical information on Google, searchers may look to Google for health answers more often than before, moving traffic from medical websites to a Google search results page.

This is good news for your healthcare facility, particularly if you are running a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign! If your facility is running a paid advertising campaign on Google, it most likely includes specific medical conditions in its keywords.

This means that if you are a neurology clinic in Edmond, OK running an SEM campaign that includes the keywords about ‘epilepsy’, your advertisement is likely to show up beside this Google health result for a searcher in the Edmond area looking for details about epilepsy. Even though the searcher is looking for information about a specific illness, he will find your facility’s information right next to the medical information if the keywords trigger your ad to appear. This creates a very short action plan for the searcher! If he is concerned that someone in his family may have epilepsy, he googles it. Once he reads the symptoms on the Google search results page and confirms that the symptoms are clear, he doesn’t have to search again for what his next step is. Your contact information is right there beside the results!

With more people turning to Google for medical information, your SEM campaigns are likely to benefit from the traffic!

The “Now, Three, Three” Method of Online Content Promotion

By: Chris Mason

How often should you be promoting your online content?

Mountain Division has a process for that.

Oftentimes, a good piece of content doesn’t get the “air-time” it deserves. To help with this, consider using the “Now, Three, Three” method of promotion.

The Now, Three, Three method for online content promotion

Here’s how it works:

When you’re scheduling your content on social media (blog post, article share, video, etc.) determine if it will still be relevant in the near future. If it will, share your content now, then schedule it to go out again in three days, and then schedule it to go out again in three weeks.

The majority of people won’t see your content the first time, especially if you’re not buying traffic. Using “Now, Three, Three” as a template to your promotion strategy will ensure you’re doing your part to get your content in front of more people.

Plus it will only add about 30 seconds to your posting routine!

Generational Effects on Online Content Preferences

The differences between Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Millennials are frequently emphasized and stereotyped in the everyday business world. However, when it comes to consuming online content, all three generations have a lot in common. For instance, did you know the top three favorite types of content across these generations are blog articles, images and comments? Or that all three generations use Facebook more often than any other social network? The more you understand about how these generations consume content, the more opportunities you have to tailor your content to reach them.

This infographic from Fractl and BuzzStream further examines the preferences of each generation for how long content should be, where they view it and how they share it.

Social Media Generation Gap Infographic Promote My Practice