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January 2013

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Social Media

The Ultimate Social Media Guide to Facebook

It’s the end of our Social Media Guide Series, and we decided to save the best for last.  When it comes to competition, Facebook is unrivaled.  It remains the largest social network with over 901 million active users who are each estimated to use the network for a minimum of 20 minutes per day.  Of its 901 million users, 488 million also access the social network on their mobile device, making Facebook the most popular social network – period.  This popularity can benefit your practice by creating a huge referral network for you to interact with and attract new patients, while communicating with your current patients as well!

Here are some astounding Facebook statistics:

• 80% of social networkers prefer to connect with brands via Facebook.

• Facebook is the most visited website on the Internet.

• 77% of companies with a social media presence say they regularly acquire new customers through Facebook.

• Facebook has the most website traffic referrals of any social networking site.

It’s clear: when used as your primary social media marketing tactic, you can surely take Facebook to the bank.

Click here to download the Ultimate Social Media Guide to Facebook, and start growing your network among current and prospective patients!

Search Marketing

What is Black, White, and Grey All Over?

The answer: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO has been a buzz topic in Internet marketing for the past few years.  Using various techniques to help your website appear in the top of the search engine results, SEO analysts spend hours trying to prove to search engines that your website is more authoritative than the next doctor’s.

So what makes SEO black, white, and grey? Within the realm of search engine optimization, analysts refer to the different tactics they use as being “black hat”, “white hat”, or the grey area in between the two.  The difference is:

Black Hat SEO – cheats search engines into giving a website more authority over competitors by using techniques that they consider tricky, misleading, or unethical and can result in your website being blacklisted; blacklisted websites no longer appear within search engine results pages.  Examples of black hat techniques include disreputable backlinks, keyword stuffing, and creating ghost pages.

White Hat SEO – implements permitted optimization techniques outlined by major search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.   White hat SEO does not put your website at risk of being blacklisted.  Examples of white hat techniques include optimizing page content, creating relevant page titles, and claiming and optimizing business listings.

Of course, some SEO companies straddle the grey area between the two, using various techniques that are both white and black hat, thereby increasing the risk a website may be banned.

What to Look for in a Trustworthy SEO Company

When searching for a search engine optimization professional, it’s easy to get confused or duped into a con, because the world of SEO is so complicated and some disreputable SEO companies unfortunately prey on their clients’ naivety. To avoid hiring a SEO firm that employs black hat techniques, ensure they engage in the following practices:

• Sets realistic goals and expectations – Honest SEO firms will not make any promises regarding the outcome of your optimization package.  SEO changes constantly; and as you’re optimizing your website, others are doing the same, making your shot at achieving page-one results more complex.  If a company offers you page-one results off the bat, queue the red flag; they may be using black hat techniques to improve your search engine ranking.

• Explains the steps involved in optimizing your site – Because your brand image and website are affected by the actions of the optimization company you hire, you want to be sure you understand the types of techniques they use.  If you’re hiring a firm that is solely engaging in white-hat optimization methods, they will have no problem explaining their process. 

• Communicates with you throughout the optimization process – Whether you’re conversing via phone or email, a reputable SEO firm will be open to your needs and will promptly answer your questions or concerns.  SEO professionals that are difficult to get ahold of are not only giving you poor customer service but may be afraid to explain their dishonest techniques.

• Provides you with analytics or reporting to show your progress – Reputable SEO firms will be proud to show you the results that their efforts have achieved and will automatically send you a full analysis of the positive effects their services have provided.  If your SEO professional claims they don’t provide clients with analytics or makes an excuse to hide them from you, be suspicious of the product they’re selling.

SEO continues to be a successful and worthwhile investment, provided you do your research and hire a reputable optimization professional.  When implemented correctly, SEO can have a positive impact on the success of your website, delivering new patients and improving your visibility on search engines. Keep these guidelines in mind when inquiring about optimization services. 

ProSites implements proven, white hat SEO techniques that deliver long-lasting, measurable results for your practice. If you’re interested in learning more about ProSites SEO services, please call (888) 932-3644 for a free consultation.

Social Media

The Ultimate Social Media Guide to Instagram

The most anticipated social networking platform this year is none other than Instagram – an outlet for all your photography ambitions and practice photos.  Millions of mobile users flocked to the photo-sharing network last year, as it opened itself up to the Android market and was acquired by social media giant, Facebook.

Sharing the simplicity of Twitter while entertaining users visually like Pinterest, Instagram now has over 100 million users and grew faster than any other social network this past year.  With even more anticipated success in 2013, Instagram can help you easily reach and engage more patients in your network:

• Instagram boasts more mobile users daily than nearly any other social network, and their numbers continue to rise.  As 2013 is anticipated to be the year of mobile, Instagram opens you up to an average of 7.3 million mobile users daily.

• Instagram allows your posts to be simultaneously shared on your other social networks, streamlining your social media marketing initiatives.

• Social networking posts with images show a 58% higher interaction rate than text posts, meaning Instagram provides a clear advantage in increasing user interest because it is a network that only allows the sharing of images.

As more users become intrigued by visual social networking, opening your practice up to marketing on Instagram could improve your marketing reach. 

Click here to download The Ultimate Social Media Guide to Instagram, part 4 of the 5 part series. Stay tuned for the final installment of our Social Media Guide Series – The Ultimate Guide to Facebook. 

Practice Marketing

Make the Most of Your Advertising Dollar

Gartner, Inc. (the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company) predicts that 2013 will be the year that mobile Internet usage will surpass PC Internet usage, which comes as no surprise being that the most influential products of 2012 were the iPad, Windows 8, Android, and the Amazon Kindle. 

Mobile is pervasive and continues to redefine the way we live.  In 2013, research indicated that one of the wisest ways to spend your marketing money is by advertising on mobile devices.  As mobile usage continues to skyrocket, it is estimated that marketers will begin to shift ad spending to accommodate this growing medium.  Being that very few have taken advantage of the growing market thus far, advertising on mobile is still “new”, allowing you to get ahead of the curve.

Mobile advertising methods you should consider:

Google Mobile Ads – Similar to Google’s AdWords pay-per-click advertising, Google Mobile Ads allows you to purchase ad space solely on mobile devices.

Facebook Mobile Ads – Facebook integrates mobile ads directly into users’ news feed, making your ad discrete but directly in their sight lines.

Twitter Mobile Ads – Nearly identical to Facebook’s mobile ads, Twitter also incorporates ads directly within users’ news feeds, making your ad front and center.

Advertising Agencies – There are numerous agencies that allow you to purchase ad space within popular mobile apps such as Angry Birds or Words With Friends, or help you develop your own mobile phone app that directs users to your website.  Most ad pricing is auction-style bidding with options for Cost Per Click ads (CPC), Cost Per Action ads (CPA), and Cost Per 1000 Impression ads (CPM).  Some of the well-known mobile advertising agencies include InMobi, adBrite, and Chitika.

What mobile ads should contain:

Coupons or Special Offers – 2/3rds of mobile users prefer mobile ads that contain coupons or deals rather than a simple, monotonous commercial.  Whether you’re marketing dental or veterinary services, consider advertising discounts that current and prospective patients will find valuable.

Think Beyond Mobile Search Engines – Mobile users spend over an hour and a half per day using mobile gaming and social networking apps, making these mobile marketing mediums prime real estate to advertise your practice.

Keep Your Message Simple – Wherever and however you advertise (i.e. text, video, image), make sure it relates to the services you offer, giving mobile users a clear vision of what you are marketing.  Convoluted and overly-complicated messages are not suited for mobile audiences who want their information fast.

Include Your Location – Most mobile users have GPS within their phone that tailors search results, ads, coupons, etc. to their exact location.  If they are using their mobile phone to search for your services, including your practice location is critical.

Regardless of where you decide to market your practice on mobile devices, one thing is certain: it is vital that you direct mobile users from your ad to your mobile website.  Doing so provides an optimal viewing experience for your mobile users each step of the way and will increase their likelihood of contacting your practice to schedule an appointment.

Whether your target audience is using an iPad or Kindle, Android or iPhone, undoubtedly, your prospective patients are using mobile devices now more than ever. To inquire about our innovative mobile website solutions, contact us at (888) 932-3644.

Social Media

10 Commandments of Posting on Social Sites

Social networking has its own unwritten etiquette rules – the “do’s” and “don’ts” of social media.  If you’re new to social networking, simply following these conventions can help increase your “likes” and “follows”, improving your engagement with current and prospective patients.

1. Thou shalt offer fans and followers valuable information – Posts and tweets should extend beyond sharing information about your education or your practice’s accolades.   Try to offer entertaining facts or current news stories.  Remember, everything doesn’t need to be a sales pitch!

2. Thou shalt not post negative comments – The comments you post online stick – forever.  That being said, be professional and courteous regardless of what others are saying or doing.

3. Thou shalt acknowledge fans and followers – Respond to current and prospective patients’ comments or questions.  Even if someone has left a negative comment, a respectful reply lets others know that you care about your reputation and want to ensure complete patient satisfaction.

4. Thou shalt separate personal profiles from professional pages – As a professional, it’s important to keep your personal profiles just that – personal. Use your personal pages to connect with family, friends, and post about anything you’d like. But be sure to keep your professional pages separate and post items that will only enhance your practice’s online image.

5. Thou shalt not speak to strangers – Remember when you were a little kid, and your mom told you not to talk to strangers?  Well, asking people you don’t know to “like” or “follow” you makes you the stranger and is one of the largest complaints among social network members.  If you don’t know someone, don’t approach them about following your brand.  If they’re interested, they’ll come around.

6. Thou shalt spell check – and grammar check, and proofread multiple times.  Nothing sticks out more than a tweet or post ridden with poor grammar and spelling.  It is recommended that you write posts within a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Word Perfect, then copy and paste the post into your social media profile to share it, error free.

7. Thou shalt share details about thy practice within thy profile – People definitely want to know information about your education, services, location, and hours.  When creating your social profile, fill out every field possible that will help Internet searchers learn more about your practice.

8. Thou shalt engage only in productive activities – Posting promotions or informative posts and responding to comments or praise is thoroughly productive.  Inviting patients to play games or chat with you online is not – and can actually be seen as an invasion of their personal space.  Brands engaging in such unprofessional activities on social networking sites are actually one of the most common reasons that users “unfollow” or “dislike”.

9. Thou shalt be consistent – Everyone loves something they can rely on.  If you are consistent in your posts and can be relied upon to post around  the same time every day, current and prospective  patients will be more likely to engage and interact with your social networking activity.  With that being said, people become more likely to unfollow or ignore those who post excessively; so, limit your social media activity to 2-3 posts per day, tops.

10. Thou shalt promote others – Great brands recognize greatness in others.  Sure it’s smart to perform a little self-promotion every now and then, but it’s also wise to promote other products that your practice utilizes.  By occasionally promoting these brands, they may return the favor and recognize you, which can increase your exposure among their audience.

After you begin adopting the 10 commandments for communicating on social media, check out our blog post: 15 Ways to Generate More Likes on Facebook!

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