Infographic: Rising Use of Social and Mobile in Healthcare

Hospitals, doctors, and patients are increasingly using social media and mobile technology to obtain healthcare information. How quickly is digital healthcare growing? This infographic from Demi and Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group has the answer.

HealthcareInfographic

About: Steve Vargo, O.D., M.B.A. frequently writes and lectures on using technology and digital media for marketing eye care practices.  He also practices optometry in St. John, In., where he lives with his wife and 2 sons.

Too Busy for Social Media Marketing? Hire an Agency.

Too busy to handle your social media marketing?  Or just not sure what to post or how to effectively engage your audience through social networking?  This week we spoke with Jim Shumate, founder of OD Social Net – a social networking agency that works with optometric practices.

New Media OD:  Tell us about your company, OD Social Net, and what type of services you provide.

Jim:  We think that physicians of all types need help marketing their practices. Social Net is starting with Optometrists and has plans to reach dentists and other specialties.  I have over 20 years of eye care marketing plus small business coaching and was a partner in a software development and web marketing firm.  So starting with Optometrists is a natural.iStock_000017867861XSmall

We take a holistic approach to solving the marketing riddle for a practice.  It is important to identify your target audience and build a plan around connecting with them.  If the physician lacks providers, then we supply staff training, web marketing, and social networking as needed. We have a great new service for building online reviews that we are very excited about bringing to Optometry.

New Media OD:  From a marketing perspective, what type of posts typically elicits the greatest response from previous or potential patients?Continue reading

Add the Eye Health News Feed to Your Facebook Page

You have a Facebook page, but you can’t seem to find the time to post regularly.  To encourage repeat visits and practice loyalty, your practice Facebook page should provide frequent updates that are up to date and informative.  The Eye Health News Feed offered by AllAboutVision.com automatically updates your Facebook page with reliable, interesting and educational information… without any effort or cost.

How it works:

The Eye Health News Feed is designed to help keep Facebook pages up-to-date and informative for eye care practitioners. Doctors sign up for the feed here, and have the choice of a feed that posts once a week, or one that posts 2-3 times a week. There is also an international news feed for practices outside the U.S.  They recommend that practices have a member of their staff add the feed for them, but doctors do have the option of adding it themselves. Once it is added to a Facebook page, the Eye Health News Feed will update automatically with weekly posts.

Type of content:

The feed only posts eye health and vision news. It does not include any product news, so there’s never a conflict between the products a doctor uses in his or her office. You can see a feed-enabled Facebook page here for a reference of their recent posts.  It is a great way to educate patients and build Facebook traffic.

Added benefits:

The feed is completely free and can be paused at any time. The automatic updates of relevant news allow eye care professionals to focus on their own practice-related posts and promotions.

Steve Vargo, OD, MBA is president of iMobile Communications, a digital media marketing service.  He also writes and lectures on ways to improve practice efficiency and profitibility through technology and social media.

Power Practice: Dr. Gary Gerber Chats with New Media OD

Dr. Gary Gerber is president and founder of the Power Practice, an optometric consulting firm that specializes in making optometrists more profitable.  His own optometry practice was among the top 1% of practices in the world, and he has given lectures and presentations across the globe (and he also does magic)!

We recently had a chance to pick Gary’s brain on some of the ways technology and social media are changing the ways we market our practices.

New Media OD:  For those unfamiliar with Power Practice, please give us an overview of your services and business philosophy.

Dr. Gerber:  We provide customized, premium practice building services that are laser centered on powering a doctor’s personal and professional dreams.  Unlike some of our competitors, our programs are individually tailored to each practitioner’s personal goals and business aspirations.  Our philosophy and mantra is simple:  Our doctor’s have to succeed!  Ensuring our doctors succeed isn’t a task.  It’s our purpose.  And working with our doctors isn’t a job – it’s a relationship.  One that we take VERY seriously!

New Media OD:  From a business and marketing standpoint, how has technology and social media changed the marketing landscape for optometric practices?Continue reading

Viddy: Promote Your Practice in 15 Seconds or Less

Ever considered using video to connect with your patients?  Don’t have enough time, you say?  Got 15 seconds?  Viddy is one of the hottest video sharing apps available for mobile phones.

What is Viddy?

Viddy is a relatively new social network centered on creating and sharing 15-second video clips.  Since your video uploads are limited to 15-seconds or less, it’s a similar experience to Twitter’s 140-character limit.  You can start by downloading the app in the Apple iTunes store.   It will ask if you want to add Viddy to your Facebook timeline, which you can accept or decline.  Videos are either shot with your iPhone camera (the recently released Android version is called ViddyMe) or selected from your photo library.  You can easily edit your videos with special effects, color filters and music soundtracks.  When you post a video to the Viddy network, it will invite you to post it to your other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr.

Viddy has a user base of 26 million people, and is used mostly on smartphones and mobile devices.  Americans spend 2.7 hours a day socializing on mobile, and video streaming increased 93% from 2010 to 2011.  The rise of mobile users makes this a great tool to connect with on-the-go patients.

Here are a few ways to use 15 second videos to promote your practice:Continue reading

Video Marketing – Demystified

So I had this great marketing idea…create video of yourself demonstrating all the great services your practice has to offer, and offer patients a way to sign up to receive this free, compelling eye information.  For example, you’re trying to grow a vision therapy specialty – create video showing how VT/DV can improve learning and sports performance.  What parent or high-school athlete wouldn’t be intrigued?  Invite patients to opt-in on their phone to receive these videos, and occasionally send out the videos to everyone on your list.

Video Production : Cameraman in a computer monitor. Isolated on whiteI recently pitched this idea to a management consultant.  We’ll call her Megan, because that was her name.  Not her exact words, but she basically informed me that most ODs would crawl into the fetal position at the thought of having to produce videos.  And you know what..she’s probably right!

Why Video? 

Video marketing is not new, but its importance as a powerful marketing tool is becoming increasingly clear. YouTube is now the second most used search engine to Google. According to comScore’s May 2011 U.S. Online Video Rankings, 83 percent of the U.S. Internet audience (176 million people) viewed online video in May, averaging 15.9 hours worth of video in one month.

Visuals are typically more appealing than written text or even pictures. Video creates a much more personal connection with your patients.  Video gives people a chance to get to know you personally and a great way to establish your authority.  Investing in online video can have a great impact on your marketing and improve visibility and brand identity for your practice. Continue reading

5 Ways to Attract New Patients with Mobile Marketing

In today’s fast-paced and mobile world, mobile marketing must be considered as a viable addition to the marketing mix.  By placing truly relevant and targeted marketing messages where the most eyeballs are focused, a message is sure to be read and responded to. And nowhere are there more eyeballs than on the screens of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

According to a recent poll by Web.com, 84% of small businesses it surveyed that had a mobile presence saw new business activity as a direct result of their mobile marketing activities

Attracting and retaining patients with mobile marketing typically involves either pulling people toward your messages or pushing your messages out. Here are 5 mobile-marketing channels that’ll help your efforts:

  1. Text-messaging (SMS).  Pull patients to your SMS messages by asking them to opt-in to your text-messaging list. This is typically most effective when combined with an incentive like a discount or promotion.  Once the patients has signed-up to join your list, their contact info is captured for future marketing campaigns. SMS text promotions should be relevant, not too frequent (we’re selling eyewear, not pizzas), and should respect your patients privacy.
  2. Multi-media messaging (MMS).  MMS messages are like SMS messages, but they can contain pictures, sound and a lot more text. Pull customers in with the same opt-in process as SMS, and then push out multi-media content like video or content-rich promotional offers. Continue reading

Use YouTube to Convert Prospects to Patients

Youtube : youtube Logo on a laptop screen Stock PhotoWhen it comes to marketing, we tend to rely on words and pictures to get our message across. Whether its direct mail, print ads, email, or our Facebook page; often times our advertising comes across as static and impersonal.  Visuals are typically more appealing than written text or even pictures.  Is there something interesting about your practice that differentiates you from the competition?  Consider using video to show people what makes you great.

Here are 5 tips for using YouTube to attract patients:

  1. Provide value.  Your videos must provide real value to the end-user.  Educational or how-to videos are a great way to deepen relationships with current patients and convert prospects into new patients.
  2. Be remarkable.  Using your “right-brain marketing approach”, create content that’s engaging, entertaining and separates you from the rest.  The biggest sin in marketing is to be boring.  Remarkable videos get remembered. Continue reading

How to Run a Social Media Contest for Your Practice

Looking for a great way to leverage social media to grow your brand and attract patients?  Run a social media contest.  This can be an engaging and effective way to increase followers on social media sites.

Here are 5 tips for integrating this strategy:

  1. Advertise a Facebook contest.  Give people a reason to “Like” your Facebook page, and then to keep coming back.  70% of people who “like” a business’s Facebook page never return.  Some brands have seen a dramatic jump in fans with Facebook contests.
  2. Offer a special product as a prize.  Promotions and incentives can range from small discounts on future exams to free designer eye wear.  Obviously the greater the incentive, the greater the level of customer engagement.
  3. Consider different strategies.  Filling out a form involves little work and may generate more participants, but at a lower quality.  In contrast, a contest that involves submitting pictures or video is much more authentic and highlights a positive consumer association with your practice.Continue reading

Rise to the Top of Google Listings: Interview with Dr. Alan Glazier, author of Searchial Marketing

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Alan Glazier, author of Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization in Web 3.0.  In this interview we discuss methods of interacting within the world of social media and how interacting with this strange new world can elevate your profile in internet searches for the products and services you offer.

Product DetailsNew Media OD: “Searchial” is an interesting term.  Could you elaborate on the meaning?

Dr. Glazier:  “searchial” is a chimera of “social” and “search”; many people have questions about how social media can help drive new business; by creating content and posting in social media, search engines recognize the keywords your “conversations” revolve around, thus place you higher in searches for those keywords in your geographic region.  Being “Searchial” means interacting in social media in such a way that your actions help raise your listings profile in google.

New Media OD:  How have social media and the Internet changed the way we search for products and services?

Dr. Glazier:  For one, they’ve virtually eliminated the big yellow books that used to take up cupboard space; there have been positive changes, such as ease of access of information, and there have been negative changes, as when you use an engine to search they control the information that is found and can steer you where they want to .  A very positive way is we can use these tools to find products and services that others have rated and reviewed, and newer tools enable us to find ratings and reviews from people who we have real life relationships.  These types of ratings and reviews carry much more weight than those of, say a stranger on Yelp.

Continue reading