5 Reasons Your Practice Needs Social Presence

5 Reasons Your Practice Needs Social Presence

Every medical practice needs a social media presence, and most can benefit from actively trying to market and generate leads on the most popular social platforms.

If your clinic or practice isn’t active on social media, competitors and others may talk about your practice and seize control of the narrative. Or, even worse, your practice is all but invisible until someone else shares content or news talking about you.

In addition to providing visibility, having a proactive social media strategy can help boost your sales performance and help you achieve your marketing goals. You can earn new customer leads, build trust and credibility, increase brand awareness, and even offer customer support through social channels.

To cover the full scope of why your medical practice needs to be on social media, consider the following five benefits and how they are an essential part of any digital marketing strategy.

Create a Highly Visible “Hub” for Your Practice’s News and Announcements

Let’s be honest. Very few people are going to religiously check your practice’s website’s “News” or “Blog” page for announcements and press releases. If most people don’t visit news sites to get news, they certainly aren’t actively going to practice’s websites to see the latest developments.

This assertion isn’t meant to discourage you from tending to your website at all, but rather to make you realize just how much more visibility being on social media adds for your practice. Sharing news and announcements on social is simple, and your followers may even share those materials for you once you release them into the wild.

In this way, your social media profiles serve as your practice’s online “hub” away from its main website. Your profile photo, the content you share, and the announcements you make all have the effect of turning your social accounts into an official mouthpiece for your brand. From here, you can help shape your public image and control the flow of information you release into the world.

Increase Your Visibility on Search Engines

The jury is still out as to whether social media engagement and content shares can raise the search engine ranking for a practice’s website pages. Hootsuite, for instance, found a small correlation but concluded that a deeper study with more data points was needed.

Even if social media can’t help raise your web page rankings, it can help you occupy a more obvious spot in the rankings altogether. Why? Because social media platforms have great domain authority, which allows them to rank highly any time a search is made.

So, if someone searches for your practice name or a related topic online, your social media page and posts talking about your practice are highly likely to appear near the top of search results. Twitter is especially good at earning top ranks, since Google features recent tweets similar to how they would news posts.

Having a social media profile and actively discussing your areas of service can therefore give you additional opportunities at ranking near the top of search engine results.

Publish Your Content and Earn Traffic for Your Marketing Campaigns

While people are more likely to check your social media pages than your homepage for news, you can encourage more traffic to your website by posting on social media.

With the right images and messaging, you can easily pull in huge amounts of traffic just from one post. The aim is to get people’s attention and to make full use of your available resources. In other words, you are going to craft great content previews for content like shared blog posts.

For campaign-related traffic, you can describe your offer in attractive terms to earn attention and traffic. A clinic can describe an upcoming stem cell seminar, for instance. Or, you can encourage people to sign up for your mailing list by posting a link to the relevant landing page.

Social media posting is particularly useful for boosting the ROI of your marketing campaigns. Without social sharing, many practices would get little traffic to their blogs. By posting on social, the practice can boost traffic and potentially up their correlated domain authority, which explains the positive effect that can be seen between social engagement and SEO rank.

Raise Brand Awareness and Earn New Patient Leads

Social media creates opportunities for countless people to discover your practice and the services you offer. Google search results for practice names spike if that practice can generate social buzz, for example.

You also have the opportunity to earn exposures through people who follow and engage with your brand on social media. For instance, someone who “likes” or comments on your post on Facebook can have those interactions appear on their friend’s newsfeeds.

Social media advertising is also another potential source of significant new impressions and customer leads. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn have powerful audience customization tools that allow you to get in front of your most valuable buyer personas with just a minimal budget.

Interact With Your Audiences and Provide Customer Support

Brands can do an excellent job of building relationships with their audiences when they can create and share content that encourages engagement.

People who interact with your practice can end up being more loyal patients, while repeating the desired positive brand associations to their friends and followers. According to one survey, 48% of people say they are more likely to make repeat purchases from a brand that engages with them, and 90% of millennials consider it “cool” when a brand responds to their questions.

But what about people who have nasty things to say about your practice on social media, or people who have a complaint? That is actually a great opportunity!

After voicing a complaint about a company on social media, 71% of people who have a positive experience and have their issue resolved say they are likely to recommend that company to others. They also say they are likely to spend 21% more than they normally would.

Don’t Ignore Social Media, Or the World Could Ignore You!

Because of all these benefits social media provides, especially for visibility, having a social media strategy is no longer optional for medical practices. Even if they do not intend to advertise or promote themselves on the major social platforms, they need a professional presence that responds actively to people looking for support and answers.

If you want help forming your own social media strategy for your practice, look no further than Grow Smart Marketing! We have experience sharing and creating content, earning followers, interacting with audiences, supporting cross-channel marketing campaigns, and creating paid social media advertising campaigns based on your goals.

Contact us today to get started!

Grow Smart Marketing Gives Back

Grow Smart Marketing Gives Back

The holiday season brings feelings of joy, wonder, thankfulness, and cheer. While reflecting on the incredible year of continued growth and success that we’ve had here at Grow Smart Marketing, we realized the importance of giving back to our community and felt compelled to take action.

We brainstormed where our donations could have the greatest impact this season. It was a tough decision; there are so many deserving people and organizations that could use our help. 

We vetted many wonderful local charities, all with great causes and great need. After much deliberation, we narrowed the beneficiaries down to two. The first was a local family who would not be able to provide 

Christmas for their children without outside aid. The second way we decided to Give back was by partnering with Foster4Love and the Georgia Department of Family and Children Service (DFACS) for their Secret Santa program. These children are a cause close to the hearts of all of us at Grow Smart Marketing, and we were thrilled to be able to contribute to them having a holiday with happy memories.

The children who take part in the Foster4Love Secret Santa program have experienced Many unfortunate events in their young lives, by no fault of their own. Due to unfortunate events, they are away from their families, pets, and familiar surroundings during this holiday season. We were grateful for the opportunity to bring them some joy and good cheer.

After shopping to fulfill each child’s wish list, we labeled and wrapped everything up in festive paper and ribbons. Then, the entire office loaded into cars and we made a caravan trip to the drop off location for the Foster4Love Program. 

We were enthusiastically greeted by Samantha Hassler, the Volunteer Resource Coordinator for DFACS and several volunteers upon our arrival.

The Foster4Love Program in Marietta works with DFACS to provide year-round resources for children and families in foster care. The number of children in foster care has continued to increase and it has become difficult to help every family that needs it. According to Ms. Hassler, “The need for help has grown and we really need other businesses and organizations to help support this program, in order to provide for the children.” Our whole team at Grow Smart Marketing is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this deserving cause.

8 Secrets of Social Media Marketing That Everyone Misses

8 Secrets of Social Media Marketing That Everyone Misses

Social media marketing sounds simple enough to many newbie business owners, but they need to recognize the difference between personal social media use and professional use.

Think about it like this: if you make a good pot of coffee to serve your family, then that’s something you can manage on your own. But if you plan on serving 1,000 cups of coffee to peers over the course of a three-day business conference, then that’s an entirely more complex matter!

Everything gets more complicated when you move from personal to professional, and the results matter more, too.

Suddenly, you aren’t just posting on your Facebook when you feel like it. Nor can you just feel good about the occasional reply and like. Instead, you’re actively trying to drive business goals and represent your brand in a likeable way.

The dramatic difference between the two approaches catches many business owners off-guard. To help them out, here are a eight secrets the pros use when it comes to social media marketing — and that many small businesses overlook.

Write Down a Policy and Style Guide

Ask them to tell you what the business’s social media policy is, and you’re just as likely to get dozens of different answers. In fact, most employees may look you back blankly in the face.

A social media policy guides the brand voice as well as the decisions a business makes when posting. So, if you were trying to pick between two image types, the social media policy could help you decide on the one that aligns better with your social goals.

Set policies for employee social media use, too. Make sure they know they represent the company! Let them know what sorts of offenses could get them in hot water, including posting extreme political opinions or offensive takes.

Creating a social media style guide can similarly help make posting easier, especially if more than one employee handles the duties. Align everything in your policy and style guide so that your social media accounts can support both your brand and your marketing goals.

Target Your Content and Conversations Towards Personas

Some small businesses get HUGE social media followings …of people who would rarely buy anything from them.

There is a big gap between mass engagement and targeted engagement.

You want your posts to speak to a highly targeted audience based on the traits of your best customers. For instance, if you pitch your services to existing IT departments, don’t be shy about using jargon. Stay current on any discussion, too, so that your ideas don’t seem dated.

But if you want to offer managed IT services to regular businesses, they may not know a CAT cable from a cat collar. Feel free to post basic how-tos, and try to keep terminology approachable.

Decide upon the segments you want to speak to in order to raise your chances of success. Imagine traits of a single person in this segment, including their typical job role, the things they value most, and broad aspects of their personality. This is your “persona” for an idealized version of a target audience group.

You can even name them! That way, before you decide on a post to share or an image to use, you can ask something like: “Would Sarah the retired optometrist care about this post?”

Strategize, Set Goals, And Ditch Vanity Metrics

Always set goals for your social media usage. It should serve a concrete purpose that ultimately benefits your business.

Common social media marketing goals include:

● Raising website visits
● Generating leads through job quotes
● Helping introduce new products to people
● Getting more participants for events, contests, and things like webinars
● Upselling existing customers
● Reminding prior customers to return again
● Promoting a specific brand value, especially through philanthropy

No matter what your goals are, ensure they actually help your business get more money or improve its brand.

For instance, having a certain number of “likes” or shares from a post promoting your content should not be a goal. These are vanity metrics. Instead, you should monitor the amount of actual visits to the content on your website. Ideally, you will also have targets for the percentage of people converted from social to content to signing up for your related offer.

Carry on Actual Conversations and Engage

Don’t just post into the void or post things you, personally, want to read.

Everything you post should be targeted towards the personas you have created and tied towards business goals.

With this in mind, you want your audiences to feel like your brand is carrying on a conversation rather than just talking at them.

Respond to certain positive comments or interesting ideas. Try to see if you can get the full perspective from people who have something negative to say. Make each response feel personal, not canned.

Give your audience opportunities to take center stage. Post a question for them, like “what are your favorite ways to save money?” Ask them if they would like to see more of certain content types, or less of certain post types.

Also, make your social media use broader than just posting on your own page. Use social listening tools to monitor brand mentions and jump in on messages when you think it’s worthy of a conversation. Find other business pages, and engage with them like you would want others to engage with you.

As Andrew Kucheriavy of web development company Intechnic writes, “make [sure] your interactions are meaningful! Networking is about adding value to a relationship.” https://www.intechnic.com/blog/10-common-social-media-marketing-mistakes-to-avoid/

Make Time for Off-Schedule Posting

Many business owners go ahead and queue up an entire month’s worth of content in advance.

This is great! Having a schedule makes the social experience more consistent and professional for your audience.

But you shouldn’t be shackled to this schedule.

New articles and ideas will pop up on your radar all the time. Maybe something interesting happened in your industry this week. Maybe you just snapped a great photo of your team at the office.

Promote Content Posts to Put Them in Front of Targeted Audiences

Promoting content on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be highly affordable. More importantly, it can grow your audience beyond people who already follow and interact with your pages.

Start experimenting with promoting certain posts and using custom audience building features. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook even offer the ability to target specific companies or hyper-local areas.

If you put just a small budget behind a few key posts a month, then you can quickly multiply the number of people who see your messages. You also generate valuable data based on who does and doesn’t interact when they see certain posts.

Give yourself the chance to actually share content during opportunities like these rather than hoarding it all until next month. If you set aside, say, an hour each week to make time for unscheduled postings, then you can flesh out your existing content and make your page feel more organic.

Just remember to stick to your policy, goals, and persona guides. Also, proofread twice!

Don’t Assume Social Media Marketing Is Easy to Do Yourself

There’s a reason “social media manager” is a full-time job at most big companies. Even for small businesses, managing it all and doing it right can be tough.

On top of that, you may not have the time to dig into your data or revisit your strategies and guiding documents.

So seek out help. Share the burden with others who are qualified and whose judgement you trust.

As Social Media Week observes: “Long gone are the days when you could rely on an intern to manage your business’s social media accounts. Either hire an in-house expert, or outsource to a social media management firm.”

Crawl Before You Walk, Walk Before You Run

As with anything in business, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Stick to one or two social networks at first. Otherwise your pages could feel like soulless cookie-cutter copies or, worse, ghost towns with nary an update in months.

But if you stay focused on your goals and your principles, then you can start out small to find gradual success. Only once you get the hang of it should you start to scale out and do more.

Affiliate Marketing on Social Media

Affiliate Marketing on Social Media

You really can improve your affiliate marketing business by using social media. Some people say you don’t even need your own website to become an affiliate marketer and in many ways, with the advent of social media this is true. Try using social media marketing in these ways to improve and boost your affiliate marketing business.

Promote Quality Products and Services

It’s imperative that you keep the trust of the people you promote to. The only way to ensure that a product is amazing is to try it. At the very least try at least one product from each creator before you promote all their stuff. You want them to have top-notch customer care and a great product. After all, you’re telling your audience and your people to go buy it from that person.

Create a Redirect

When you have an affiliate link it’s usually very ugly, and if the owner of the product changes their mind about the network they want to use you’ll have a hard time finding all the times you used the link. But, if you create a redirect you only have to change that link in one place if it should change. Find instructions on how to create a redirect on this site: https://yoast.com/cloak-affiliate-links/

Provide Quality Content

Don’t just post content for the sake of publishing. Instead, focus on quality content that has the interest of your audience. You don’t have to make everything be about the product you’re promoting, but it should all be related. It’s tempting to post videos of cats but unless you’re selling pet-oriented stuff, don’t do it. Keep it the most relevant that you can.

Grow Your Email List

On every social media page there should be a way to get people to sign up for your email lists. If you get people on your email list from social media, then you can market your affiliate products directly to them, knowing they’ve already been interested.

Set Up Your Own Facebook Page

With more than a billion people using Facebook worldwide, it offers a lot of potential for affiliate marketing. The best place is to start your own Facebook page for the offer you’re trying to promote. You can then post pictures of the product, testimonials, and more right through the page.

Be Relevant on Twitter

Twitter is a great place to promote affiliate products but the stream moves so fast, and everything is so quick that you have to be extra creative to make it work. Personalize your messages, and recommend only products you know for sure are amazing and that are relevant for your audience. Use a link shortening service but ensure that they allow affiliate links.

Pinterest Encourages Commerce

Unlike a lot of social media sites, Pinterest likes it when people conduct business on their site, so they make it relatively simple to do it with Pinterest gift pages. Just include your affiliate link within any image you share. Create a separate board for your affiliate products using your website URL, and then use the item URL for each of the pins you add to the board.

If you know that the products you’ve chosen to promote are valuable for your audience, there is no shame in promoting them the same way people promote their own products. Just follow the rules for each social media network as well as the product affiliate rules as you move forward.

How to Achieve and Sustain Business Growth

How to Achieve and Sustain Business Growth

One of the most important things you can achieve as a business owner is sustained growth. That means you’ll be secure in your business for the long haul. Luckily there are strategic ways to achieve what you want.

Know Your Why

Even though you may have been in business a while, you still need to go back to your why. Your reason for being is very important. You have to have a reason that takes into consideration the problems you’re solving for your audience, because that’s where your profit lies.

Create a Powerful Brand

How your audience perceives your business is a very important component in long-term sustainable business growth. This is because the emotions that anyone feels when they think of your business is almost as important as the product at times. When you’ve built that type of brand, you’re more protected during an economic downturn.

Form Strategic Partnerships

If you don’t want to buy new businesses to spur growth, you can do the next best thing, which is to form joint venture partnerships that help you expand your audience while maintaining your current business model.

Focus on Customer Retention

A lot of times when we think of growth we think of new customers. But, your best bet for growth is to retain the customers you already have and then encourage repeat buying. You may need to develop new and complementary products to do this, depending on your business type.

Build an Active Community

When you can relate to your audience in a personal manner, it can help with business growth in a seamless way. When you have a community around your business, the members will become raving fans that help you make more sales.

synchronize-150123_640Develop Repeatable Processes

If you do nothing else, make sure that you work on creating processes in your business. From how you onboard a new client to how you actually do the work is important, because if you can create repeatable processes, you’ll eliminate the problems with uncertainty and chance.

Get a Competitive Advantage

Get to know and understand your competitive advantage. This starts with understanding exactly who your customer is, what their problems are, and how you are especially qualified to help them solve them.

Learn to Lead Mindfully

As a business owner, you’re the leader of every aspect of your business, from creation to sales. It’s important that you’re able to be mindful of all aspects of your business so you can see through to the end results of all actions taken. That takes time and an understanding of metrics.

Achieving sustained business growth is an important part of building a business that lasts for the long term. When you know exactly what to look at in your business and how to improve each aspect, you’re on the right road to achieve and sustain business growth.

When you are seeking to grow your business, make sure you first understand the various ways that you can grow. You can get more of the market share, you can expand your offerings, and you can form alliances with or acquire other businesses.

Market Penetration

This strategy involves increasing your product’s market share. This can be done in a number of ways, from improving sales pages and conversions to offering more products to existing customers.

coconut-1597233_640Market Expansion

When you studied your target audience, you may have identified complementary audiences who may want what you have to offer. You can choose one of these audiences to start marketing your offerings to in order to expand your market. This can be risky but it can also pay off big.

Product Expansion

Creating new products is a good way to grow. But, first realize who your target audience is, create audience personas, know their demographics and then create the new product. This is going to be a way to expand your market by giving your customers more of what they want.

Diversification

Another great business growth strategy is through diversification. What this means is that you’ll look at your offerings and see if there is something you can add on, to add value to what you already offer. For example, if you have a weight loss site, you could add an app to your menu offerings.

Know Your Value Proposition

Whenever you want to grow your business, it’s important to go back to the beginning and reassess what your value proposition is. This is a combination of what makes your product better than someone else’s, what the product features mean to your audience, the points of difference between your product and the competition's, and why it’s useful to your audience.

Identify Your Ideal Customer

Anytime you want to grow it’s important to do a study about your ideal customer. In fact, studying your ideal customer periodically is imperative to your success. Why? Because while your audience may stay the same, such as “women between 23 and 33,” the group as a whole changes their ideas about what is right and wrong.

graph-41423_640Know Key Performance Indicators

For each business the key indicators are different, but knowing them will help you measure success and judge how to be even more successful. A few that you might track are conversion rates, site traffic, bounce rates, and so forth. Each activity you do to improve your business has a different KPI to track.

Acquisitions and Alliances

One really great way to grow your business is to acquire other businesses or form an alliance or joint venture with a complementary business owner. The joint venture option is a great way to grow your business fast.

If you want to grow your business, put in the work necessary to get to know your audience, and do an income stream inventory to find out where your money is coming from. Then look at where you can either add products, create more value, or develop a new audience.

Tips for Successful Business Networking

Tips for Successful Business Networking

Choose a Networking Group That Works for You

One of the most important ways to get ahead in the world is to make connections with other people. These connections can lead to opportunities and joyful situations for everyone. You might meet someone who can help you boost your business to the next level, or if you’re not married you might meet your future spouse. Here are some tips on how to choose a networking group that's right for you.

Ask Your Contacts

You already have contacts that you work with on a regular basis such as vendors, contractors and colleagues. Simply ask them if they’re part of any formal networking or mastermind groups that you can check out. Be sure to ask them what types of people are in the group, and what the goals of the group are.

Know Your Reason for Joining

Before you join any group, it’s important to figure out why you want to join a networking group. For example, do you want to find customers or do you want to find partners?

goal Set Goals

When you find a group to join, set some goals. For example, if you want to get new customers you’ll need to ensure that you talk to people who can become customers. Get them on your lists, and market to them via the list. What goals do you need to set to accomplish that?

Do Your Research

Check out the leaders of the group, what the group stands for, and as much as you can about the membership. The members are very important but so is the leadership, so leave no stone unturned.

Find out the Goals of the Group

Each networking group usually has a goal of some kind. Sometimes the goal of the group makes it impossible for you to make a name for yourself, because they don’t allow members to network freely.

Know the Costs and Fees

Many networking groups are free, but others have a cost to join. They may have membership fees up front, and then of course you may need to pay for other expenses such as travel, food, and so forth in order to fully participate in the networking group.

Try Out Some Events

When you’ve done enough research to feel that the networking group is a good one, try out some events. You might have to buy a membership in some cases in order to go to an event, but it will be worth it if you’ve done your research.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask members and leaders questions about the networking group so that you can be sure it’s the right one for you. Ask members how long they’ve been part of the group. Try to identify the movers and shakers in the group, because you want to become one.

Participate Once You Join

The biggest factor once you’ve picked a networking group or two to join is that you need to participate in the group. Volunteer, host, talk to people, and do all you can to make yourself known within the group.

Networking is a very powerful way to make your world bigger and better. You can meet all sorts of people that will help you and that you can help on your journey in business and life. But, first you must choose the right group for your needs. You might even need more than one group based on your goals.

How Often Should You Attend Networking Events?

Networking events are wonderful ways to learn more about your industry, get to know movers and shakers, and even become a mover and a shaker. There are many reasons to attend networking events that you should consider. But, if any one event doesn’t fulfill at least a couple of these factors, then there is no need to go. Attend as many events as you can afford and that you’ve researched, to fulfill at least a couple of these reasons to attend.

To Increase Visibility

The more events you can afford to attend, the more visible you and your business will become. Visibility helps your business because the more known you are, the more people trust you.

To Be the Expert

As someone who is going to a lot of events, you can be the expert for your niche at the event. Answer questions, be open, honest and transparent, and people will start to see you as the “go to” person for that niche.

To Build Relationships

Knowing people online is great, but meeting them in real life is even better. Getting to really talk to someone in person, see their face, shake their hand or hug their neck builds relationships beyond what you may have thought a business relationship would become.

statistics-1020319_640To Stay on Trend

In-person events are usually a lot more up to date on the trends than other types of events. You’re going to learn so much about what’s happening right now, what’s in the news, what’s hot right now and more.

To Connect with Key Influencers

Most key influencers attend a lot of live events. They do it because it keeps them a key influencer. You can’t be a key influencer and remain unknown or anonymous. You must meet people in person and meet them a lot.

To Learn from Others

Most networking events offer some form of learning opportunity. If you open your mind and listen to everything anyone says, as well as the speeches given, you’re going to learn so much from others about your business.

partnersTo Find Partners

One really great way to find joint venture partners is at networking events. Most of the time a person who will spend money going to a networking event isn’t a scammer, is likely pretty honest, and could even be a potential serious partner for your serious business.

To Improve Your Marketing Message

When you go to a networking event you’re forced to work on your “elevator pitch,” know your value proposition, and talk about your business. Talking it out helps you make your message even better.

Attending networking events is a really great way to build your business, learn more about your business, and make the right connections. If the events you’re choosing from fulfill some of the reasons to attend and it’s within your budget to attend, you should do it.