Google+ Gets A Facelift

April 11th, 2012

Described as an effort “toward a simpler, more beautiful Google“, Google released a significant overhaul to its Google+ user interface this morning.  The new design, which is set to roll out over the next few days, was created as a means of making the user experience more engaging and fluid.  The updates which include customizable navigation, a dedicated Hangouts page, and a variety of elements designed to increase engagement also included the roll out of new profile pages.

The new profile layout features a Facebook Timeline-esque cover photo feature, which allows both profiles and pages to highlight a select group of photos or a panoramic image to help highlight their personality or brand.  By selecting “Change cover photo” users and Pages alike can choose between two cover photo templates.

Scrapbook Cover Photos

The first layout mimics the previous Google+ profile format by displaying a row of images next to a larger profile photo.  Each image thumbnail is 110 pixels x 110 pixels and can be clicked on to display a larger image.  Google recommends that scrapbook photos be at least 150×150 pixels in dimension and in .jpg, .gif, or .png format.

Google Plus Scrapbook Template

Panoramic Cover Photo

The other option, which is similar to the Facebook Timeline cover photo, uses a panoramic image across the top of your page.  The image, which will appear under the profile photo and across the top of the page is 940 pixels wide and 180 pixels tall and must be at least 940 pixels wide to upload.  Images that are larger than 180 pixels tall can be cropped after upload to feature only the section of the picture you wish to use.  Google recommends .jpg or .png fiels for this cover photo template.

Google Plus Panoramic Cover Photo

While the scrapbook format offers a unique look in comparison with Facebook Timeline, Google’s cover photos also offer a unique marketing opportunity for brands and businesses.  Earlier this afternoon I verified with Google+ Your Business that Google+ cover photos did not hold any limitations in terms of marketing.  In fact, the only limitations to cover photos are those set forth by the general photo sharing guidelines on Google+.

Mike Wilton, the cover photos should abide by the same content policies that govern general photos shared on Google+.

Unlike Facebook Timeline, Google does not limit the use of calls to action, contact information and the like.  This creates a great opportunity for businesses to draw attention to promotional content via Google+ that is otherwise prohibited on Facebook.

Love it or hate it, the new Google+ layout is actually pretty impressive.  Though most users loved the original Google+ format, revisions and new additions to the social network definitely made the interface more clunky than when it started.  The new format is more streamlined and clearly designed for growth moving forward.  If you haven’t setup your Google+ Page for business, now is a better time than ever.  Be sure to check out our Google+ For Business Setup Guide or contact our offices about our medical social media services, which include the setup of Google+ and a number of other social media services.  If you’ve already setup your Google+ page with the new cover photos, feel free to share your creativity with a link to your page in the comments below.

Social Media in Healthcare Infographic

March 27th, 2012

Medical social media marketing is a growing trend.  With more doctors as well as patients engaging in social media it’s important to understand how it’s being used as well as the risks involved with engaging patients online through social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.  Below is an infographic that explores how some doctors are using social media for both personal and professional use.

Social Media in Healthcare
Via: PowerDMS

Effective Blogging: Content Creation, Optimization, and Distribution

December 5th, 2011

Go On CreatingWe’ve talked a lot about blogging in the past and stressed the importance of moderating blog comments , keeping your blog software up to date, and ways to come up with new blog topics, but we’ve never really touched on how to create that content, optimize it for visitors, and make sure it can be found.

The Blog Title

When I read blogs posted and written by doctors they tend to follow a similar formula.  The vast majority of them see blogging as an extension of their SEO, so they simply stuff their titles with keywords (e.g. Beverly Hills Breast Implants), but fail to realize that they aren’t actually helping their SEO.  In fact, in most cases, you are hurting it.  A keyword title isn’t eye grabbing, it doesn’t show any depth, and is likely to now be competing with another page on your website.

As Problogger Darren Rowse states in the opening paragraph to his post, “How to Craft Post Titles that Draw Readers Into Your Blog,”  “Those few words at the beginning of your blog post can be the difference between the post being read and spread like a virus through the web like a wild fire and it languishing in your archives, barely noticed.”  It’s ok to incorporate keywords when coming up with blog posts and titles, but they do not need to be in every title.  A good rule of thumb: would the title make sense if this was published in a magazine or newspaper, or was the title written for the search engines?

The Blog Content

The content of your blog post should be original, informative, and well written.  You should be writing in the interest of your site visitors and not in the interest of the search engines.  For tips on how to identify if your content is of quality, be sure to check out Google’s content quality guidelines.

When it comes to content length, it’s important to remember that the search engines are looking for well written and informative content.  A lot of people write short, shallow posts that are only about 200 to 300 words; however, after Google’s Panda algorithm update, it might be wiser to aim for 500 words or more to ensure that your content doesn’t appear shallow and un-meaningful.

Including Links In Your Blog Posts

Another element to consider when writing content is the ability to reference and link back to other articles you may have written on a similar subject.  By doing this, you pass potential link value from this article to other articles on your site, and give the content new life not only by having them crawled by the search engines, but by introducing, or re-introducing them to your readers.

You can also link out to other websites or sources if they are relevant to the subject matter.  Don’t be afraid to link out, it will not kill your SEO efforts and in many instances it can increase the conversation around your blog post. This may also help your blog gain links or social media referrals if the blog owner discovers you linked out to them and wants to share your post.

Using Imagery To Enhance Blog Posts

Plain text is boring.  You can liven up a blog post and break up your content a bit for readers by adding imagery to each of your blogs posts.  The photos should be relevant to your topic and can be pictures of your own, or you can use free images available through Creative Commons licensing.  Remember, just because photos are available on the internet it does not mean that they are free for your taking.  Always use your own images or those that are legally open to use.  A quick resource for this is flickr.com, where you can run an advanced search for user photos that are available for use via Creative Commons.  Just make sure that you follow the rules of the image license.  In some instances, you may need to credit the user for the image.

Distributing Your Content to the Masses

Remember, just because you wrote an awesome piece of content it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be found immediately.  Sure, ping services setup in your blog software will help turn websites and search engines on to your content, but it’s you who can push your content to the masses directly.

After writing a new blog post, hit your favorite social network and share your content with others.  Post your content on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.  If you belong to groups on LinkedIn and the content is relevant to its members, share your content there as well.  Where possible, add some additional insight in your comment section when posting to encourage clickthrough and conversation.  You might also consider timed distribution using social media management services like Hootsuite, which allow you to schedule posts so that you can make sure you get your morning and evening audiences.

A blog is your personal platform to display your expertise, ignite conversation, and help build your reputation, and it’s important to treat it as such.  If you are just filling it with useless regurgitated content about the procedures you want to rank for in the region you work in, you may as well just stop blogging all-together because it isn’t benefiting you.  If you need help with developing your blog content, Plastic Surgery Studios offers blog writing as one of its many internet marketing services.  If you need help blogging, contact us or give us a call at (909) 758-8300.

Our Continued Support for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 26th, 2011

This year Plastic Surgery Studios vowed to do it’s part to help spread the word about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the dangers of breast cancer.  From our in-house breast cancer awareness t-shirt competition, to our iEnhance exclusive interview with Sarah Budulica, a young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 15, we have put forth a continued effort to make people aware of this life changing and oftentimes deadly disease both on and offline.

Last week we announced that we would be partnering with our New York City clients to help support Pink Pin.  Pink Pin is an initiative set forth by Google and Susan G. Komen that was designed to connect New York City businesses and consumers who support breast cancer awareness with each other through an initiative website and map.  Today the map was unveiled and we are excited to see our New York City doctors on the list.  If that weren’t enough, a handful of our doctors went above and beyond and made a monetary donation to the cause as well.  Dr. George Beraka, Dr. Sydney R. Coleman, and Dr. Alesia P. Saboeiro all made contributions to the effort and for that we are extremely grateful.

In addition to be listed on PinkPin.com, patients of our New York City doctors can now make donations via text message from the doctors practice location.  As stated on the Pink Pin website “Customers simply dial **PinkPin (**7465746) and reply ‘Yes’ to the text that appears on their phones, in order to donate $10 to Susan G. Komen.”

As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month winds down we still have a few efforts we’re working on.  At noon today we will be announcing the winner of the staff breast cancer awareness t-shirt contest on Facebook.  Additionally, we will feature a new Real Story on iEnhance.com that chronicles the triumphant and emotional story of Erika, a breast cancer survivor who is now working through the reconstruction phase and is hoping to have her new breasts by Christmas.  We appreciate the efforts of everyone who has contributed to this months efforts and look forward to next years work, which is already in the planning stages. But remember, just because the commemorative month is ending, doesn’t mean you have to stop showing your support!

Are You Building Relationships Through Your Website Content?

October 20th, 2011

Copy WritingDo you think about how your website copy impacts your site visitors? David Meerman Scott of Web Ink Now wrote a blog post yesterday called “World class, cutting-edge hospital gobbledygook“. The bulk of the post is about how businesses load their websites with industry jargon, buzzwords, and the like. However in the beginning of the post he makes an intriguing observation using a slide from one of his presentations:

“We have assembled surgical and clinical expertise second to none, have a state-of-the-art trauma center, developed sophisticated minimally invasive techniques, and called on innovative training and technology to ensure the highest level of patient safety and quality of care. These clinical initiatives, a thriving research enterprise and an unparalleled [Famous University]-affiliated medical education program all enable [Hospital Z] to fulfill our mission.”

When I read this I don’t imagine people working at this hospital have a great bedside manner. Sure it’s “just website copy” but it is important.

This is intriguing because it’s rare that doctors think about how their web copy impacts potential patients.  They want to sound authoritative, professional, and  better than the competition on their website.  In doing so they load up their content with fluff to make themselves sound more official, forgetting that ultimately they have to make the patient feel comfortable and trusting.  After all, you may be cutting open or injecting this person in the near future and they want to know they will be in caring hands.

Scott ends his post in saying, “The content you create is meant to build a relationship… The best content is developed through an understanding your target audience and using the words and phrases that they use. Focus on buyer problems, not your own ego or the jargon in your industry.”  This is key, if you are not writing in a style that makes sense to potential patients you are not going to connect with them.  As a doctor you have to sell yourself to your patients.  If you can make them feel comfortable and make them feel as though you understand where they are coming from it may set you apart from competing doctors in your area.  Do you need industry jargon in some sections of your site, such as procedure pages? Sure.  But make sure your home page, about page, and pages that really give patients and idea who you are are written to build a foundation for your doctor-patient relationship moving forward.

 

Photo by ocherdraco

 

Successfully Initiate Social Media Tasks By Integrating It Into Your Daily Business Practices

September 14th, 2011

ChecklistA 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.

Content Is King, But Can You Keep Up?

August 19th, 2011

By now, most people that advertise their business through internet marketing have heard the phrase, “Content is king” and understand how critical good content is. For instance, here is a blog, that details many traffic sources businesses miss out on when they stop blogging. But despite this, I consistently notice that many practices I work with struggle to keep up in their content development, be it for their website, blogs, news and press releases  or email blasts.

The problem generally boils down to specialization. The doctors have the expertise, knowledge and are ultimately the ones held accountable if they misspeak but they are also the ones that have the least amount of time. The goal of this post is not to guilt trip any of you because I get it, producing content is time consuming and hard! Rather, my goal is to encourage practices to consider using medically specialized ghost-writers if  they can’t keep up or simply would rather expand their internet presence.

Here is some quick information about our team of writers and editors:

  • Professional career writers
  • Specialized and very knowledgeable about aesthetic medicine, HIPPA, and medical associations
  • Trained in ghost-writing, which enables them to mimic your individual writing style
  • Thoroughly edit and fact check all content
  • Interact with practice, which includes making sure all content gets approved by practice
  • Versed in various types of writing depending on the format (blog, PR, web page, etc)

If you want to rule the internet, content is the key to your kingdom. For more information about our writing services contact your internet marketing consultant or call us at (909) 758-8300.

Build A Better Plastic Surgery Website

June 21st, 2011

One of the most important factors when developing a website of any sort is understanding your audience, after all they are the ones your site is created for.  Sadly, many website owners are still chasing search engine algorithms and competitors when it comes to developing their websites and in many cases are missing out on delivering the kind of content potential patients are looking for.  Plastic Surgery Studios recently conducted a study asking the general public to imagine they were considering plastic surgery and had just performed a search at Google, Bing or Yahoo for procedure information.  Then we asked them to answer a series of questions.

What is the most important piece of information you’re hoping to find when you click a link?

The majority of the users who took the survey stated that before & after photos were the most desired result that they had hoped to find when they clicked through to a website.  Procedure info, such as cost came in a close second when it came to importance.  It’s important to note that cost related queries are quite popular in the search engines, and our survey supports that this is clearly something people want to know more about, however if you browse plastic surgery websites,  you rarely find cost information.

What is the second most important piece of information you hope to find when you click on a link?

The majority of the people who responded to this question pointed out that information on the pros and cons of a procedure were important.  People wanted to know what the risks were, what the benefits were and ultimately what options they had to achieve the results they wanted.  A great example of this would be butt implants vs butt augmentation, both enhance the buttocks, but are performed differently and have different advantages.

What is the third most important piece of information you’re hoping to find when you click on a link?

Testimonials, doctor information and contact information were tied as the most popular response among those who took the survey.  One person went so far as to say, “I need some piece of evidence I am dealing with a reputable company.”  The key here was that people wanted to know who you were, where you were, and what other people have said about you.  Once they had seen your work and learned more about the procedure they were interested in, they wanted to know if you were a person/practice that they could trust and felt comfortable scheduling an appointment with.

Are there any additional elements that you would like to see on the site that would make the page more interesting or share worthy?

Humor and wit took the lead on this question.  Many people felt that the site would be more interesting if it included unusual facts, or light hearted and fun dialogue.  You could easily inject unusual facts about a procedure at the end of your core content on the subject matter.  Whereas a light hearted and fun dialogue could be developed as the voice you use on your website blog.  Remember, blogs are more casual and while there is a time and place for serious, professional posts a fun light hearted post on the latest celebrity plastic surgery or trend might just bring your visitors back for more.

If you actually perform a search for a plastic surgery procedure (e.g. breast augmentation, facelift, liposuction, etc.), do you find any results that you REALLY like? Please share them below!

Only a handful of survey takers responded to this question, but the one’s that did had some great feedback.  One person pointed out http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck.html as being, “Really informative with videos and helpful explanations. Nice layout.”  Others were less than impressed with their findings and one went as far as saying, “to me they all suck”, but perhaps the most thoughtful and proactive response was from a user that said, “Glad you asked. I am post gastric bypass surgery and am very unimpressed with the available post-surgery websites. This market is growing and this could be lucrative.”

In Conclusion

While the answers to the survey were definitely varied, and in many instances we didn’t touch on some of the more obscure requests found in the feedback, the core of what people want in a plastic surgery website are consistent.  Users want to see your work in before and after photos, not just ‘a flatter stomach’, but see the contour and what the doctor did to improve it.

They also want to find information about the procedure they are considering and understand all of their options up front.  Are there different techniques? What are their options? What are the risks?  These are the things they are going to be seriously considering and want to know more about before they even consider scheduling a consultation with you or any other doctor in the area.

Finally, who are you?  It’s great that you are a plastic surgeon that offers the procedure they are considering, but what sets you apart from the thousands of other surgeons in the region? Why do you do what you do? Where are you located? What do your past patients have to say about you? Are you human?  Does your website or blog convey your personality or is it just another marketing ploy to drive patients to your practice.  People want to get a feeling  for the kind of person you and and sense that you have soul, compassion, and even a sense of humor.

To build a better plastic surgery website, you need to build a website for your patients.  Listen to your patients and the questions they ask.  These are the kinds of things your website should highlight.  Plastic Surgery Studios has taken the data from this study and is applying our findings to our plastic surgery website designs.

Reputation Management: It’s About Fixing the Problem, Not Hiding It

May 16th, 2011

At Plastic Surgery Studios we get a lot of questions about bad reviews online and reputation management.  It seems that the aesthetic industry is a huge target for disgruntled patients who are unhappy with their results or how they are treated.  In most cases doctors approach us looking for help burying the problem, when really they should be looking for ways to fix it.  As a business getting a negative review removed can be a daunting time consuming task, here are some tips on how you can better spend your time with reputation management and some insight into why negative reviews aren’t always that bad.

Start At The Source

Nobody likes to be wrong, but when you come across a negative review it’s always a good idea to take a step back and identify if there is any merit in what the person is saying.  If there is, apologize and invite them to connect with your practice offline to try and make things right.

If the negative review is not warranted, then provide the facts and ask for the person to review their statement.  When dealing with concerns of this nature it is vital to be as honest and transparent as possible, but it’s also important to listen.  Sometimes the issue on the surface isn’t where the true concern lies.  If you can identify the source of the problem your chances of correcting the issue are far greater.

Remember, getting a negative review removed as a business is not an easy task.  If you can resolve the issue with the patient, you create the opportunity for them to go in and remove the review themselves, without needing to get a third party involved.  Even if they don’t, future visitors will see that you publicly tried to make amends.

Recognize When To React

Not all negative reviews are worth worrying over.  When my wife and I were researching toys and furniture before our twins were born we scoured the internet for ratings and reviews on all of the latest baby products.  There were plenty of negative comments out there, about a number of the items we wound up buying, but we were smart enough to recognize when it was someone just being nitpicky over a legitimate concern.  Doctor reviews are the same way, potential patients can generally identify if a review has merit or if it’s just someone letting off steam.

It’s best to respond if:

  • You recognize you were in the wrong
  • They’ve misstated the facts
  • The review gains momentum from other patients
  • Someone on the outside is offended on your behalf

Not All Negative Reviews Are Bad

Just as in my story about baby products, people expect to find negative reviews when they are researching a product, a service, and even a doctor.  It’s more worrisome to consumers when they see high marks across the board, it just doesn’t seem natural.  By having negative reviews you create a balance within your review channels and might potentially gain more trust amongst potential patients over a doctor with stellar reviews across the board.

Conclusion

It’s my belief that the only time a doctor or business should try and reach out to have a review deleted is when the review is slanderous, or tied to a larger legal matter.  By actively engaging negative reviews where appropriate you show that you care about your practice and your patients.  But remember, never attack the poster or get defensive. Always take the high road, be transparent, be honest, and LISTEN.

Introducing Google +1

March 31st, 2011

Yesterday Google announced +1, a new social layer being rolled out to select Google users and to those who opt in to the latest Google experiment. +1 integrates a new feature similar to a Facebook “Like”, which can be clicked on in the search results and will later be able to be implemented on individual websites, similar to a Facebook “Like” button.

 

Much like Facebook’s “Like” feature the +1 button allows signed in Google users to recommend content in Google’s search results to people in their social network. This information is then shared on your Google profile and in your search results for your Google social network to see. The Google social network is currently made up of your Google contacts from various Google services such as GTalk, Buzz, and Gmail. Users can view their social circle on their social connections page.

+1’s Impact on Search

Like Google’s Social Search, +1 adds one more social layer to the search results of users who are logged in. With social search you get content related to your query that has been shared by friends in your social circle on Twitter, Flickr, FriendFeed and the like. With +1 you not only get these results, but an added dose of recommended pages that have been +1’d. This added layer changes the order of your search results and how they appear. What you see when logged in may differ completely from a user who is not logged in to Google. Additionally, it makes your results potentially more trusted since much of the content presented comes from people you already know.

+1’s Impact on SEO

While the verdict is still out on the overall impact this new feature will have, one thing is for sure, Google will be using this data in some medium. Whether or not this data will be integrated as a ranking signal is still to be determined, but the likelihood is there, especially since Google doesn’t have access to Facebook “Like” data.

At this stage in the game, it is much too soon to tell what impact if any +1 will have on internet marketing and Google search, but there is definitely a ton of buzz surrounding it both good and bad. What are your thoughts on +1? Is this the social networking element Google needed to get into the social game, or is it another Google social product destined for failure?