Market Your Practice on Facebook Like a Pro

The digital marketing landscape can be an intimidating space for some. New ways to advertise products, connect with customers, and promote your brand online seem to be cropping up every day. So where should hearing healthcare practices be focusing their time and effort when it comes to social media platforms?

A recent study from Clutch found that 86% of small businesses are utilizing Facebook as their preferred channel to connect with customers. Although Facebook started as a place for college students to connect with peers, it has since expanded from a social network to a marketplace, connecting customers with businesses every day.

Totaling at 2.13 billion users (and growing!) by the end of 2017, there are a lot of potential customers waiting to be connected to brands. With Baby Boomers coming in as the fastest growing segment of digital users, it should be no surprise that they are among the most active group of Facebook users too.

This is great news for the hearing industry: you have a swarm of potential customers age 65+ right at your fingertips – 62% of them in fact – and they are now using Facebook to make purchase decisions. So, are you doing everything it takes to connect with these potential patients on Facebook?

What can you do to put the right foot forward in your social media presence? Here are some tips for making the most of the social media giant that is Facebook:

Get set up! Follow these instructions for setting up your Facebook Business page.

  • Include a profile picture of your practice’s logo and some sort of relevant image as the cover photo (i.e. photo of the staff, office building, etc.)
  • Provide as much information as possible. Don’t forget to set up your office location, contact info, and hours of operation!
  • Link to your website and vice versa! Now that your Facebook page is set up, put a link on your website to drive traffic to your social media page.
  • Encourage current patients to ‘Like’ your page. Mention your Facebook page in the office using a handout and send invites to patients to ‘like’ your business page online!

Know your audience.

  • Keep in mind who you are talking to and where you are talking to them. Facebook is more social by nature, so use this space to connect on a more personal level. Remember your page will be visible to your entire community, so make a great first impression; lend a voice to your individual brand and share your story.
  • Keep it personal. Provide relevant, educational content on hearing loss and solutions, but don’t get too clinical – remember your viewers are consumers.

Get the content flowing.

  • Serve up content with a purpose – share what’s going on in the office that month, extend offers, invite patients to events, or announce what latest technology is available at your practice.
  • Recycle relevant content. Follow other thought leaders in the industry and repost their articles – you don’t have the reinvent the wheel.
  • Know your limit! The sweet spot for post length is between 40-80 characters. Any longer and your readers will get tired and move on to the next post in their feed.
  • A picture says a thousand words. Images and infographics are the top form of content for interaction at 54%. Give your readers a break from all the text and provide some visual relief.

Delegate!

  • We know your time is valuable, but someone’s got to do it! Assign someone in your office to manage your social media presence and make a habit of it.
  • Aim for posts once a week (twice, if you can manage!) – stats show that the most popular times for post activity are weekdays between 12 pm and 3 pm.
  • If you aren’t a wordsmith, consider hiring a third-party vendor to manage your social media accounts and/or blog page. Blog posts help boost your SEO rankings and sharing blog posts on your Facebook will drive more traffic to your website.
  • Check with your manufacturer reps on any available social media programs you can use.

This might seem like a daunting task, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. You’ll soon get the hang of what types of posts are most popular among your patients and lend a voice to your brand.

 

If you want to learn more about Facebook and other digital marketing activities, contact marketing@ConsultYHN.com, or download our Digital Marketing & Social Media Guidelines.

 

Additional References:

Social Media and Blogging: What to post and what to write about

How About LinkedIn?

Boost Your Brand with Social Media

Social Media 101

 

Sources:

https://clutch.co/agencies/social-media-marketing/resources/small-business-social-media-survey-2018

https://blog.hootsuite.com/best-time-to-post-on-facebook-twitter-instagram/#facebook

https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-character-counter/

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.

The FitBit is Now HIPAA Compliant!

fitbit-forceConsumer device manufacturer Fitbit announced that it now supports HIPAA compliance. The changes they made ensure they are aligned with federal compliance standards. What it means though, is that covered entities and business associates can continue to use their devices without compromising personal health information.

This announcement highlights the importance of meeting personal privacy regulations, across all segments of the healthcare industry.  Yet, surprisingly, many organizations are still not in compliance with the more stringent 2013 Omnibus Rule and face an increased business risk if a data breach occurs. Failing to keep protected health information secure and private can lead to serious consequences and significant fines.

Putting robust security and privacy policies in place can decrease the chances of having a breach, not eliminate it completely.  Organizations that do so will be less likely to face significant enforcement action by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) with a compliance program in place.  At minimum, all Consult YHN Associates should perform and document a risk assessment, implement technical, administrative and physical safeguards and provide training and guidelines for all employees!

Fitbit is in HIPAA compliance, are you?

List Generation: Buying vs. Building

With any marketing strategy, it’s imperative to make sure you are targeting the right audience.  Development of target names and addresses, known as list generation, should be a priority in your planning and implementation strategy.  After all, if you don’t reach your intended audience, how will you generate sales?   But when attempting to reach this audience, is it better to buy a list or build your own?

Let’s look at the facts

When marketing, it's important to reach the right audience. Concentrate on your most qualified leads first and your target prospects second.

When marketing, it’s important to reach the correct target audience.

  • Buying a list is quick and easy.
  • Building a list takes time and resources.

So, what’s the best strategy?  The answer is: it depends.  Meaning, it depends   on who you are trying to target and what type of message you are communicating.

Buying a List

When your objective is to reach a new pool of prospects within your area, buying a list is necessary.  Whether that’s for direct mail or telemarketing, you’ll need to reach out to those prospects within the community who don’t yet know about your services.  Be sure that you are reaching the appropriate audience – in this case, the 65+ active senior and Baby Boomers.

While buying a list for the traditional outreach like direct mail and telemarketing will help feed the pipeline with new opportunities, we recommend steering clear of purchasing lists for digital marketing [i.e. email marketing].

Building a List

We all know that retaining a current customer is more cost-effective than bringing in a new customer.  That’s why developing your customer database for future marketing [out of warranty, tested not sold, etc.] is so important.  Your customer database [read more here] includes your most qualified leads – those that are not as price sensitive – and nurturing these relationships will reap continuous rewards.

Reaching out to your current database with targeted messaging across the traditional mediums – direct mail and telemarketing – will result in a higher response rate and more positive return on investment [ROI].  And as mentioned earlier, it’s best to take the time to build an email contact list by collecting email addresses from you customers – let them ‘opt in’ to receiving email communication from your practice.

What’s Next?

Once you have your targets identified [compiled from both your customer database and prospect lists], remember to develop a marketing plan to reach these consumers on a frequent and consistent basis.  Also, think about the communication strategy [i.e. “what you want to say”] in order to convey relevant messages to each segment of your list.  Your target audience will appreciate the time and effort you put into speaking to them based on their needs via the mediums they prefer and you will reap the rewards.

Questions?  Consult YHN Marketing is here to help!  Contact marketing at marketing@ConsultYHN.com

Integrated, Organized and Educated Marketing

Every marketing plan should start with an overarching, ‘big picture’ strategy to ensure the correct audience is being targeted, the budget is being used wisely across mediums that produce opportunities and everyone within your business is privy to and educated on how to capitalize on the marketing efforts.

Integrated Marketing

When approaching your marketing plan, it’s imperative to take an integrated approach when choosing the strategy.  By ‘integrated,’ we mean incorporating the initiatives that drive traffic to your business while targeting both your current and future target markets.

Why is this type of strategy important now?  We’ve been saying for a few years that direct response marketing to your current customer [the 65+] should be your focus.  Your marketing strategy still needs to rely heavily on this goal, but you also need to plan for your future target [the Boomer] via multiple marketing mediums.

The Marketing Pyramid

No doubt you’ve heard us talk about the strategic importance of the ‘pyramid’ approach.  That’s because it’s the best use of your time and marketing dollars, plus it produces the most opportunities.

The crux is this: focus 80% of your efforts on your current patient database, physician referrals and patient referrals.  These are your most qualified leads and will produce opportunities with the least amount of effort.

The other 20% of your focus and budget will be prospect marketing [i.e. direct mail, newspaper, telemarketing, etc.] to continuously feed the pipeline with new customers.

Using this combined strategy will leave no stone unturned and produce a constant flow of opportunities 

Marketing is a Collaborative Effort

In order for your marketing initiatives to be as effective as possible, your entire staff needs to be on board.  Successful marketing is a collaborative effort between all facets of your organization, from the front office through the audiologist/dispenser and everyone in between.

For example, make sure the front office personnel are generating patient referrals, identifying out of warranty opportunities and rescheduling cancelled appointments.  Plus, ensure that they understand the all current marketing initiatives [direct mail, newspaper, etc.] to handle incoming calls and set appointments.

Apply these same principles to all positions – practice development representative, telemarketer, and audiologists/dispensers – so the entire office is ‘on the same page.’

Many strategies and tactics need to work together for optimum marketing performance.

Many strategies and tactics need to work together for optimum marketing performance.

Ready to Get Started?

Beginning with these ‘big picture’ strategies will keep you organized and focused while working towards a path of positive return on investment when it comes to marketing for your business.  Reaching the appropriate target audience, capturing opportunities from both your current customers and new ones will keep the pipeline full and creating an environment where all employees are working toward the same goal will collectively help your  marketing dollars go farther and produce better results!

How Great is Your Practice? Let Customers be Your Biggest Fans!

It’s a great feeling when you get positive feedback in life.  Whether it’s kudos on a job well done, a compliment on the way you look or a ‘thank you’ for a good deed accomplished.  The same feeling applies to your practice, except it doesn’t have to be a passing note of gratitude.  Testimonials are a great and [semi] permanent way to tell the rest of the world how much your practice is loved, what a wonderful job you do and how satisfied your customers are – and even better, it’s feedback coming right from the consumer for other consumers to see!

If a customer gives you a 'thumbs up,' let the world know!

If a customer gives you a ‘thumbs up,’ let the world know!

Testimonials from customers can be used across various marketing mediums: in direct mailers, newspaper ads, on your website, in flyers [to physicians or the community] – the sky’s the limit!  The fist step is to ask for them.  A satisfied customer will be happy to compliment your practice.  Just ask them to fill out a compliment slip, complete a form on your website, write a recommendation letter or give a verbal testimonial – depending on the best format for them.  Always have the customer sign a release form so you can use said testimonials across all marketing and PR channels.  It’s no time to be modest – if you are providing excellent customer service while enhancing the quality of life for your patients the world has a right to know!

What happens if someone’s not satisfied?  Asking for feedback will eventually result in some negative comments as well.  But that’s okay.  This is an opportunity to find out what is dissatisfying the customer and quickly remedy the problem, turning a negative experience into a positive one for both the customer and you.

And what to do once you have all of these glowing testimonials collected?  Start integrating them into your marketing materials – where appropriate – based on the message.  For instance, in a direct mailer or newspaper ad, you’ll want to focus on the positive feedback regarding service and how long you’ve been serving the community [the mature and Boomers audiences LOVE this type of information]; for web based marketing, you want to show how you can save time for the Boomer audience and a sense of ‘well roundedness’ for the influencer audience; for physician marketing, you’ll want to showcase how important it is to the patient that their doctors work together to provide the best overall care possible.  You can utilize the testimonial in a variety of ways and speak to a number of audiences.

The best part is this is a free tactic that can be integrated into your messaging.  It’s the details in these testimonials that will set you apart from your competitors – positive feedback about your practice from your customers.

Get started today!

Direct Mail & Digital: Unlikely Allies

In today’s marketing world, multi-media integration has the potential to be broader, deeper and more powerful than ever before.  Instead of looking for “the next shiny object,” or “the silver bullet” (which don’t exist, by the way), think about how you can build a strong marketing presence by leveraging several media outlets – that have been tested and proven – and making them work together.

The cheese does NOT stand alone

Direct mail and print are integral staples in our Associates’ marketing strategies (because they work!) and integrating

Although direct mail has dipped since 2008, it’s still relevant and it works! What to expect in today’s marketplace: a .25-1% response rate to a prospect list.

these and other initiatives will strengthen the reach and depth of your marketing strategy.  Different media have different strengths and weaknesses; woven together, they help one another succeed.  Consider the cumulative effect of marketing; instead of looking for one magic solution (still doesn’t exist), and focus on maximizing the mediums you do use.

We’ve found through reporting, that for Associates within the Consult YHN network, direct mail is still the #1 response medium, followed by print (newspaper) at #2.  The integration of digital is also important as your next generation of customers turns 65.  Paying attention to what is working currently will help you help more of the hearing impaired population now and planning for the future will ensure you can continue to help the younger Boomers.  So plan for your marketing strategies to work together – direct mail, print and digital – through targeting your current and future audiences, communicating with them properly and scheduling frequent outreaches with them.

Opening the digital doorway

Your next generation of consumers is the fastest growing segment of online users!

Your current target audience of the 65+ can still be reached by direct mail and print, but if integration is a key component of any strong marketing strategy, where does digital fit in?  Because the 55-64 market is the fastest growing segment of online users – and your future target audience – it’s important to allocate funds, plan a strategy and get comfortable with the digital environment.  It will be important to target your next wave of consumers with both print (direct mail and newspaper) and digital.

Why?  Because with print, it’s a tangible, targetable and easily measurable medium; you can’t accidentally “delete” it.  For those customers who have already gone paperless (e.g. bill paying, appointment reminders), they’ll appreciate that you are communicating with them via their preferred medium.  By using both mediums, you’ll cover more ground in less time and keep the revenue streaming in consistently.

Need to find a direct mailer that’s right for you?  Want to learn more about digital marketing?  Contact marketing at marketing@ConsultYHN.com.

 

Source: Direct Marketing