Too Much Social Media?

Yesterday, I had the priviledge of being a guest blogger on assistsocialmedia.com.  It’s run by Liz Manness, another Southern gal who loves social media.  She has just launched her new site and I feel honored to be one of the first guest bloggers on there!  I invite you to check it out below!

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Can There Be Too Much Social Media?

Facebook,  Twitter,  Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Klout, StumbleUpon,  Instagram, Did I leave one out?  Social media is everywhere.  You have no choice Facebook is a must.  You must use Twitter.  Have you filled out your LinkedIn profile yet?  Is your head spinning out of control?

Well, it doesn’t have to.  Even though it seems overwhelming, social media is one of the most effective ways to market your business.  Businesses feel they should use and  become active in everything.  That leads me to ask…is there such a thing as too much social media?

The answer? Yes and no.

I polled some of my social media colleagues today and here is how they answered…

Click here to read on…

3 Programs to Effectively Manage Twitter

Have you ever found your Twitter account overwhelming?  I know I do!  With over 1,100 followers, when I open my management program(s) it looks like a chaotic mess!

But it doesn’t have to be.

I want to share with you 3 programs that will help you effectively manage your Twitter account.  Trust me, when you get done reading this and set everything up, you will feel like you control a small army!

When I started to really work my Twitter account (@memktgservices), I gained new followers so fast I could not keep up personally responding to each of them!  Then came the dilemma of how to organize all of them and read what each had to say.  Through trial and error and some suggestions from peers, I have spent the last 2 months trying out different programs.  I have my favorites now that I call “old reliable”, so let me introduce you to…

Buffer.

I love this program!  Buffer makes it so easy to share Twitter content.

With Buffer, you can load in all your Twitter profiles (if you manage more than one) and you can input your posts and it automatically posts for you at the optimum times.

Buffer also has extensions for your internet browser so while you are reading articles across the web, you can add them to your “Buffer” with the click of a button.

Buffer has a free and a paid option ($10/month).  I suggest you try it out!

Now let’s meet…

This is a favorite program of many.  Once you really start working your Twitter, you won’t have the time to personally tweet each new follower and tell them “thank you”.  You can use Social Oomph to tweet for you, analyze your followers and send them a direct message.  I use this for that last feature.  I am on the Social Oomph “Auto DM and Follow” plan.  This is a paid feature.  For $3.97 every  other week, Social Oomph sends my new followers 1 of 6 direct messages that I have set up and automatically follows everyone who follows me.

I can see you asking, “what if I don’t want to follow everyone back?”.  I don’t either.  I periodically go into Twitter and see who I am following and just unfollow those who I do not want to follow.  There will be a lot of spam out there, so you will need to do this weekly.

After you’ve set up your list and your direct messages to your new followers, you will need to meet…

Sprout Social. 

 

Sprout Social is my favorite program to use to manage my clients’ Twitter accounts.

There are different levels to Sprout based on what you need.  They give you a 30-day trial to try the program out.  The do not have a free option.

With Sprout, you can look at each account’s feed or you can use the smart inbox, which is what I do.  It’s one big feed with every new follower, message, reply and retweet.  It’s so nice to not have to go to each account to manage it.

You can also get reports on your account and their reports are the most detailed ones I’ve seen yet.

This program makes you feel like you are in control of a small army.  Having everything in front of you makes it easier to see who you need to reply to and any list activity.

I saved the best and most important feature of Sprout for last…scheduling.  Anyone who deals with a lot of tweeting knows you don’t want everything to go every.single.minute.  With the scheduling feature, you can schedule out posts for weeks, therefore taking the daily tweeting pressure off.  Once you schedule everything, your Twitter can go on auto-pilot and all you have to do is sit back, watch and respond!

Here is a bonus 4th program I cannot live without…

ManageFlitter.

ManageFlitter is amazing!  You can see who is not following you, see if there are any fake accounts following you and search for new followers.  It’s unfollow option is great – you can see when someone last tweeted or when you followed them.

It’s a great program with both free and paid options.  I suggest you check it out.  You can click here to get started (this is my affiliate link – I love them so much I am doing affiliate marketing for them).

If you have a Twitter account, what is your favorite program to use to manage it?

Questions about Social Media and how to manage it more effectively?  Contact me and let’s talk!

Facebook and Doctor’s Offices

“Did your kids get their flu shots this year?  We got ours at the clinic last weekend.”

“No, I didn’t know they were having a flu clinic!!”

“Well, they posted the dates and times on Facebook – did you not see it?”

Welcome the entire medical community to the 21st century!  The medical community is coming online as a way to stay in touch with their patients.

I was inspired to write this post after my recent quarterly blood pressure check at my doctor’s office.  Dr. M asked how my business was going and was inquiring about what all I do.  He mentioned he was thinking of starting a Facebook page for his practice to use as an educational tool for his friends and patients.  Of course, he got one of my cards for his office manager, but I got to thinking when I left…what a great blog post idea!

Why would a doctor or dentist want to be on Facebook?  Here are some reason why any medical professional would want to be…

1.  Education
Knowledge is power.  Social media can enable a doctor’s office to educate their patients on upcoming clinics, flu prevention, common health tips and so forth.  Facebook already has their attention, why not go where they are?  It’s flu season, why not post the flu FACTS for everyone to know.  If you are a dentist, why not tell your patients/fans/followers about the latest teeth whitening products?  The education is endless.

2.  Community Service
Almost all medical offices are involved in some sort of philantropy.  Whether it’s a cancer center supporting the American Cancer Society or you cardiologist being a part of the American Heart Association, that is something you want to promote.  Believe it or not, there are those who will pick a doctor based not only on recommendation, but on how they give back.  I have a plastic surgeon as a client and he’s a part of a local breast cancer board.  We advertise that foundation’s events and education series.  You don’t want to be tacky about it, but it’s good pr.

3.  Patient Services
Is your office taking new patients?  Did you just gain a new insurance carrier?  Are your fees changing?  Are you changing your office hours?  These are all things that can be relayed to your patients through social media.  There is a local pediatrician office here on Facebook that if they take on a new insurance carrier, they post it.  Sometimes, unfortunately, insurance dictates who you can go to.  Wouldn’t that be a great way to find out you can now go to the doctor you want?

You may say, “wait, wouldn’t that violate some HIPAA rule?”

According to the article, “Social Media and HIPAA: What You Need to Know” by CareNetworks, ”

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires that a patient’s identity and personal health information be protected (also called Protected Health Information, or PHI). Health care providers who violate HIPAA can face stiff penalties, including fines up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years for knowingly misusing individually identifiable health information. As a result, many care-related organizations shy away from deploying social media, blogs, and online communities due to fear of HIPAA violations. This is unfortunate as these organizations are missing out on the many opportunities and benefits that social technologies offer.

Senior living companies, homecare agencies, skilled nursing facilities, hospitals and the like, should feel free to engage in social media – as long as mechanisms to secure PHI are employed. Information posted to blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, or online communities by health care companies should be prepared for public consumption and each organization engaging in social media should have policies and guidelines related to social media and online communications in place prior to deploying these technologies. ”

Well, can I be friends with my patients on Facebook?

Kevinmd.com mentioned on his page that, according to Washington, DC physician Katherine Chretian, ” no, doctors should not be friending their patients:

Having a so-called dual relationship with a patient — that is, a financial, social or professional relationship in addition to the therapeutic relationship — can lead to serious ethical issues and potentially impair professional judgment. We need professional boundaries to do our job well.

Furthermore, there’s the little matter of patient privacy and HIPAA. I wasn’t aware of this, but simply becoming Facebook friends with patients can infringe upon uncertain ground:

Much more serious are the potential threats to patient privacy that can occur when patients and physicians are communicating on a public platform such as Facebook.

Violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the law that protects against unauthorized disclosure of identifying health information, can result in fines up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment, besides being an ethical breach. The mere existence of a patient-physician relationship (e.g. having others suspect a Facebook friend is a patient) could be a violation of HIPAA.

Facebook pages, which many doctors and practices have — KevinMD.com is no exception — are the best way to interact with patients. Separate your personal and professional entities on Facebook.”

Even though there may be a lot to consider and as long as it is used correctly, there is definitely a plus for a medical office to be on Facebook.

Two examples to see: Statesboro Plastic Surgery and Joseph F. Griffin, DMD.

The first is a current client of mine and the second is my personal dentist, who I helped set him up.  His office does the Facebook management on it.

Questions?  Thoughts?  Let me know!

Why Social Media?

I was at a meeting with a business owner/friend this morning about two different projects I am working on for two different clients and our conversation drifted to social media and the why behind it.

We all know that social media is here to stay.  It’s changed how our lives function.  It’s changed how business is done.  To have a visual on the spanse of social media, check out this graphic:

Look at that!  What business wouldn’t want a piece of that pie?

My friend and I talked about how social media is growing.  His business does not have a presence on any of the social media networks (well, just a Facebook group he started).  I told him times have changed.  Traditional marketing and advertising has had to adapt for social media.  You want to find your customers or prospective customers?  Go where they are – Facebook, Twitter, Google+.  Bring your marketing into the 21st century.

So to answer the question, Why Social Media?  My answer, why not?  More and more companies are increasing their social media marketing budget because that is where consumers are.  In a simple click, your message can be retweeted or +1’d or shared on Facebook.  Isn’t word of mouth (or viral) marketing best?  User recommendations.  Videos.  Conversations with your followers. Times have changed indeed.  When I come across a business that isn’t on social media, I have to ask them why.  At this point, no one can afford NOT to be on it.  There are tons of widgets, apps and such for your Facebook page.  Enhance the user experience and gain a loyal customer in return.  Here’s another graphic that should convince any business owner why they should be on social media:

Impressive or what?

Still have questions about social media?  I suggest you read my previous post, “Your Social Media Questions Answered.”  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or to find out how your business can find their place on social media.

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