September 26th, 2011 Mike Wilton
As I’m sure you’ve seen and probably heard, Facebook has unveiled a slew of updates to the public. Not only during their recent f8 announcements, but even the weeks leading up to it. With so many changes happening at once many are left confused and unsure what exactly happened. To help everyone understand the recent changes without going into too many details I’ve developed a Cliff Notes version of the changes to sum them all up.
The new subscribe feature lets users subscribe to updates from Facebook users without particularly being their friend. This comes in handy for people wanting to get updates from celebrities, political figures, and other public figures that may not actually friend someone from the general public on Facebook. Additionally it lets you control what updates you receive from friends and people you’ve subscribed to.
Perhaps the biggest update to roll out thus far has been the revamped News Feed. No longer can you choose between “Top News” and “Most Recent”, instead they have been combined. The new News Feed now displays “Top Stories” within your feed that are designated by a blue triangle in the upper left corner of the update. Additionally, if you are away from your Facebook account for an extended period of time, the News Feed will separate out your content and show you “Top Stories” first followed by “Recent Stories”.
Deemed by some the “Stalker Bar” or “Facebook on Facebook” ticker appears in the upper right corner when you’re logged in to Facebook and features real time updates of what your friends are doing on Facebook. The purpose of the Ticker is to display content that is often deemed “annoying” or less important, such as Like’s, comments, new friendships, and the like.
The new Facebook profile, called Timeline, displays a timeline of information about a user with events generated by their profile, their updates, and the apps they use. What was once looked at as just a place to share your identity online, Facebook Timeline now makes the Facebook profile a place to share your life story. In addition to content populated by Facebook itself, users can now add significant life events to their timeline including birth, engagement, trips, and other significant points in their life and accompany them with locations, photos and a description.
There is a lot to explore with the new Facebook Timeline and it’s variety of options for adding life events. Though it’s not yet public, many have converted to the new Timeline profile, including myself. The new Timeline offers some great opportunities to share who you are and your life, but with so much functionality it will definitely take some getting used to. The general public should see it in the next couple of weeks. To sign up to receive Timeline as soon as it’s available or to learn more about it you can visit the Facebook Timeline Page. Note that these changes are only impacting personal profiles, and will not have any impact on your business Facebook Page.
What are your thoughts on the new Facebook layouts? Do you like them?
September 20th, 2011 Mike Wilton
There’s a little tool I keep in my arsenal that is great for increasing online visibility and earning links to your website, it’s a website called HARO, which is an acronym for Help A Reporter Out. The service connects reporters and sources to aid in the research of news articles. Throughout the day HARO sends out a digest of news queries being researched and sources can pitch their insight to the reporter directly.
How HARO Can Help Your Cosmetic Practice
With HARO you can easily monitor queries posted by reporters in periodic emails sent out by HARO. The emails list a variety of queries that are broken down by categories that are displayed like the list below. By clicking on the links you are taken to a brief description of what the piece is on and what the reporter is specifically looking for. Just yesterday I was sent a variety of queries directly related to cosmetic enhancement, which you can see below:
Each of these queries offers the opportunity to share your expertise and insight and be quoted in print and web forms. By doing so you increase your visibility as an expert and have the potential to show up on popular websites, blogs, and sometimes even magazines. Additionally, you have an opportunity to earn a link back to your website from web based content. This link is extremely valuable 1) because it is often from a trusted and credible source and 2) because it is an editorial link, something included within the content of a highly relevant article.
Using HARO in Your Practice
Signing up for HARO is fast and easy, and as a source your are pretty much ready to go as soon as you sign up. Once signed up you will begin receiving 2-3 emails a day from the service will the latest queries from reporters. Have these queries emailed to an email account that is regularly monitored, either by your office staff or you personally and when they come in review the list to see if any queries match your expertise. The email will provide you with the needed information to respond to the reporter with your pitch.
Some key things to remember when you receive your queries:
- Don’t just skim categories related to health – While there is a Biotech and Healthcare section you will oftentimes find stories that require doctors, but aren’t focused on the medical side of things. Oftentimes the query is in regards to how doctors are using technology or running their business.
- Read all of your query emails – A lot of new HARO users disregard emails sent by HARO later in the day because they think they are filled with the same queries. Each email features a new set of queries for that particular day.
- Respond quickly - More often than not reporters are working on a deadline. The sooner they find a source the better, so if you are quick to respond you have a better chance of being featured.
Once you find a query that interests you be sure to click through and read the directions from the reporter carefully. If you’re unsure how to format or respond to the query, SEO Hosting has written 5 Quick Tips for Responding to HARO Queries that include some insight on how to properly respond to queries sent by reporters.
HARO is a great way to get yourself some added media attention, especially if you’re not a doctor who is regularly putting out press releases or being featured in the news. Additionally it is another great way to help your SEO out with links only you can get. While we monitor HARO, the time lapse between receiving the queries and then passing it off to our doctors is simply too great. It’s best to have doctors handle these queries in-house so that they can quickly respond and ensure that they will be available to answer questions.
September 14th, 2011 Mike Wilton
A few weeks back I reached out to a number of our clients as well as surgeons in a number of groups I belong to on LinkedIn. I asked them, “How are you incorporating social media into the day to day of your practice? Does your staff do the work? What are they doing? How are you promoting yourself and your practice?” Sadly, responses were minimal and the ones I did receive seemed to hint at the fact that they were doing something, but they just weren’t sure what. In the past, I discussed tips for integrating social media into your practice as a means of gaining new Likes and followers, but today I’d like to look at how you can integrate it into your daily workflow.
Set Your Goals
Before you do anything in social media it is crucial to set up goals for your efforts. Are you trying to drive more Likes and followers, are you looking for more engagement, are you looking to drive more traffic to your site – what is your overall objective? Once this is established you should be able to build a day-to-day roadmap for whoever will be carrying out your daily social media tasks.
If you are looking to build more Likes and followers it may require you to go out and engage users more, suggest they like your page, and follow your target audience on Twitter. If your practice has a decent number of followers, but not a lot of engagement, it may require you to prompt your fans and followers to interact more. Ask questions, post polls, share photos. Offer something that entices them to engage in the content you are putting out there. Finally, to drive traffic to your site or blog, you are going to need to make sure to: a) generate content that is actually of interest to your fans and b) make sure that you are really selling the content on your Page and not just pushing a link to the masses.
Building Your Day-to-Day Roadmap
Recently, we introduced Jennifer Galvan as the new Community Manager for iEnhance.com. When she took on the role I put together an outline of daily tasks that we knew she had to complete in order for us to be successful. This list works to ensure that each day she completes a number of items that will help us to achieve the goals we have set for iEnhance and its social media efforts. Below are a few of the tasks that Jennifer does on a daily basis. Hopefully, these items will give you some ideas that you can integrate into your daily social media strategy.
- Check and reply to blog comments – Remember, a blog is just as much a part of social media as Facebook and Twitter. When people comment or ask questions it is crucial that you reply. Ignoring comments is just like ignoring a phone call or an email. That commenter may be a potential patient.
- Scan news feeds for interesting content – Keeping up on your industry and the news is great because it allows you new content to share that isn’t your own, and also may act as fodder for new content you want to develop for your site or your blog. Remember though, if you’re going to write content about a news story, be sure you are able to add your own insight or spin, don’t just regurgitate the same thing on your website.
- Check Twitter and Facebook for comments, retweets, and messages, and respond accordingly – This is pretty straightforward, but remember to thank those that retweet your content and respond to messages. Ignoring questions or comments on social networks is like hanging up on someone in front of millions of people.
Rinse and Repeat
Even if your staff isn’t able to do this on a daily basis, every other day or once a week is a start. The main thing to recognize is that you can’t ignore your social media audience. The sooner you implement a regular strategy, the better off your practice will be. I still see a number of doctors who are using sites like Facebook and Twitter as a one way marketing channel, when really it should be a two way means of communication. Too many potential patients are being ignored when they ask questions or comment. A reply or a response from a doctor or his staff could turn a question or comment into a paying patient.
September 9th, 2011 Mike Wilton
The art of repeat tweeting is not a new concept. Guy Kawasaki, a social media master and the co-founder of AllTop, has been preaching the idea for years. In fact, Guy is known for tweeting his content two or three times a day in eight hour intervals to ensure that his content is seen by the various segments of his Twitter audience. And though many scoff at the idea of pushing the same content multiple times in a day, a new study from bit.ly suggests that the idea might not be that bad.
The study, which not only looked at Twitter but also other social networks such as Facebook and YouTube, found that the average lifespan of a tweet is about three hours. At that point, the link in the tweet has delivered the bulk of the traffic it is going to send to your website or blog. This means that if you tweet an important message in the early hours of the day, you may completely miss your night audience.
If At First You Don’t Succeed, Tweet, Tweet, Again
Armed with this new insight, it may be a good idea to consider posting important tweets a few times a day to make sure you gain maximum reach among your followers. If you have an important message to push to your audience, it might be a good idea to make sure that you are tweeting multiple times in greater than three hour intervals to ensure that each segment of your audience is receiving your message. Search Engine Land refers to these tweets as “second chance” tweets and in a recent blog post they reported that clickthrhoughs from the second tweet are oftentimes 50% higher than the initial tweet.
That being said, don’t do your followers a disservice and regurgitate the same tweet two to three times a day. Deliver the message at different intervals with different messages. Not only does this prevent you from looking like a bot, but it can also give you insight into what voice or message style delivers the best clickthroughs to your site. Don’t have time to tweet your message that many times in a day? You might consider a service like Hootsuite, which will allow you to schedule tweets throughout the day.