In my new column, "Beyond the Buzz," learn not only how to use social media in healthcare, but how to do it exceptionally well.
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Marie Ennis-O’Connor is a social media consultant, award-winning health blogger, and author of Beyond The Buzz: Healthcare Social Media Have you noticed how visual and colourful social media have become? Platforms that focus on visuals (like photos) such as Pinterest have grown in p...
Note: May 27th, 2015 I wrote this post at the end of 2012. I was frustrated. My doctors, hospitals and healthcare providers don’t understand “social me”. Convinced recognizing my links, likes and loves in social media is an important part of helping me feel better I wrote Martin’s Hug for Healthcare – the 1,000 wordRead More
Boasting over 1 billion active users, Facebook is one of the most popular social networks today. Businesses have been active on the platform since the beginning, but with more than 18 million business pages competing for space on Facebook, it has become harder to get noticed. Combine these numbers with a decline in organic reach (the number of people who saw any content about your Page in their News Feed) and it adds up to a rising trend in paid promotion. So should you “pay to play”? The answer is “it depends”. If your audience are on Facebook and you have noticed a decline in reach, it may make sense for you to invest in Facebook advertising to drive more engagement. If you are not sure where to start, then this week’s Beyond The Buzz is for you. I will take you step-by-step through the process of creating a winning Facebook ad campaign that maximises your spend.
There are two options for creating ads on Facebook – the Ads Creation interface, or the more advancedPower Editor, a free browser plugin which offers advanced features. If you are serious about advertising on Facebook, you will want to use its Power Editor tool, but for now let’s start with the basic ads creator tool.
Step #1 Set Up Your Account
Open Ads Manager and click on Settings. You can access this directly from your Facebook page or from your Insights page. You will see a unique Account ID number has already been created for you but you also have the option of adding a name to your account (like the name of your business) which can be useful if you are managing multiple accounts. Fill in the required information and hit Save.
Next open the Billing Information tab and add your preferred payment method – either a PayPal account or credit card - designating a primary and secondary source of payment. From here you can also manage your account spend limit (which limits the total amount of money that can be spent for your account). Finally, click on Account Settings to decide on the frequency of email notifications you wish to receive on your advertising campaigns.
You are now ready to create your first Facebook Ad campaign!
Step #2 Determine Your Advertising Objective
Before you create an advertising campaign, you need to determine your objective. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Do you want more people to visit a specific landing page, buy a product, or sign up for an offer? Do you want people to make an appointment at your office? Or are you simply aiming to increase the number of likes and engagement on your Facebook page? Choose a goal from the list below that matches your advertising goal.
What happens if you have more than one advertising goal? You may have several objectives, from driving more traffic to your website, to promoting special offers. In this instance you’ll create a campaign for each objective. In 2014 Facebook rolled out a new campaign structure (illustrated below) consisting of three levels: campaigns, ad sets and ads.
Campaigns correspond to each of your advertising objectives, like building brand awareness or driving web traffic. They’re designed to help you optimize and measure your results for each objective across multiple ad sets and ads. Each campaign can feature multiple ad sets, each of which has its own budget and schedule. You can also organize each ad set to represent audience segments. Within each ad set, you can have multiple ads, each of which can feature different images, links, video or text.
Step #3 Design Your Ad
You now need to write your ad copy (the words you’ll use in your ad) and choose a set of suitable images to accompany the text (you can choose up to six images). Upload visually appealing, eye catching images, either from your own picture library, or by taking advantage of the partnership between Facebook and Shutterstock which allows you to access stock images for free.
The following image from Facebook’s Official Ads Guide guide is a helpful illustration of how a fully optimized ad looks.
Writing your ad copy
Keep your copy short, clear and catchy; You are allowed only 25 characters for your headline so be clear and direct;Write compelling text that lets people know exactly what you are promoting;Add a clear Call-To-Action to encourage people to click on your ad now;Test different versions of your ad to see which works best.
Now click Advanced Options to choose a Facebook tab or a landing page on your website where people will be directed to when they click on your ad. You have three choices when it comes to where your ads will appear on Facebook - the News Feed, Mobile, and right-hand side of a user’s Facebook News Feed.
Although ads in the News Feed are likely to get higher engagement metrics, right-hand column ads are cheaper and may well work for you. The key is to test for yourslef to find out.
Step #4 Which Ad?
Facebook offers a wide range of ad formats and at first glance it may seem confusing to know which type to choose. The golden rule is to match your ad to your objective, so for example if you want to increase Facebook page likes, you would choose Page Like which directly links to your Facebook page. The following chart will help you differentiate between the different types of ads and choose the right one for your specific marketing goal.
You also have another option to “boost” a post so that it can be shown to more friends. Boosting a post is very easy to do directly from your page’s timeline, but it’s worth taking the time to explore the advanced targeting options through Ad Manager. The key difference between Boosted Posts and Page Post Ads is that the former can only be shown to your existing fans and their friends, while Page Post Ads can also reach fans outside your page.
Step #4 Identify Your Target Audience
Knowing who to target is a critical step in creating a successful campaign. With over 1 billion Facebook users you need to know which target group are most likely to be interested in your product or service. The key to getting the most out of social media promotion is to target audiences as specifically as possible. The most powerful way to do this is through Facebook’s Custom Audience feature.
If you have a list of email addresses or Facebook user IDs of people you already know are interested in your brand, you can upload this list to Facebook who can turn it into your very own custom audience. You can target people by location, age, gender, interest, relationship status, language, education and even workplace. In Power Editor you have more targetted options, such as Lookalike Audiences, which let you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they're similar to customers you care about; and Saved Audience, an option that allows you to reuse targeting groups that you have already created.
Step #5 Determine Your Budget
Finding the right balance between cost and reach is key to getting the most out of your marketing budget. You can specify either a daily budget or a total budget you want to spend. Ads can run continuously or have a start and end date. You should limit the date range if you have ads for events or other time sensitive items.
Tip: Check out this tool to help you decide on your budget.
You can also decide how you want to pay - either for specific actions (such as Likes or website purchases), or per thousand impressions. Facebook will help you choose the best one. Pricing varies according to the competition in the demographic you're targeting. The following chart provides a guide to cost options.For a more detailed guide, read this article.
Step #6 Review And Submit Your Ad
Once you are happy with how your Ad looks, click Submit.
Step #7 Track And Measure Your Ad Campaign
Facebook provide you with detailed metrics to track and measure your campaign’s performance. You can see which ads are performing best and make any adjustments necessary. If your goal is to increase conversions (e.g. sales) on your website, Facebook's tracking and optimization tools can help. By placing a conversion pixel on your website and then adding it to your ad, you'll know exactly which ads led to your conversions.
At first glance, Facebook advertising may look complicated, but if you take things step-by-step in the begining, set a small budget and test out different ad types, copy, and images, you will soon learn if advertising is right for your healthcare marketing strategy. Facebook advertising offers the ability to target your customers and expand your reach. Paid promotion is here to stay; so if you want to make an impression on Facebook, you need to be prepared to "pay to play".
Via Plus91, PharmaForce USA
A new study that was released by UC Merced has shown that using social media can significantly impact health, and have a huge impact on the health care industry. The results of this study were presented at Cleveland Clinic’s sixth annual Patient Experience: Empathy + Innovation Summit.
“ "E-Patient" is a term used to describe individuals who use the Internet and other tools to seek out, share and sometimes create information about health and wellness. Common words used to describe E-Patients: 1.e-patient, 2. internet patient, 3. health seeker, 4. cyberchondriac. As EHR implementation and adoption becomes more commonplace across the health care environment, providers are beginning to focus more on maximizing the value from their investment. Stakeholder engagement is a critical success factor for the effective use of EHRs and other health IT and patients are one of the last, and most important, groups to get involved in this process. While EHRs continue to evolve and technologies like patient portals become more common, providers have the opportunity to drive improvements in quality by encouraging patients to become an active participant in their own care.”
Via Plus91, Stephen Dunn, Alfonso López
A full nine days before Ebola was even recognized by the World Health Organizations as an epidemic there was something else. HealthMap, a software that mines government websites, social networks and local news reports, identified a “mystery hemorrhagic fever” that was going around.
This raised the question: What potential do the vast amounts of data shared through social media hold in identifying outbreaks and controlling the disease?
A San Diego State University professor recently authored a study that shows the connection between predicting potential outbreaks (specifically pertussis and influenza) and social media and data from mobile phones.
Ming-Hsiang Tsou believes that algorithms that may be applied to tweets and information stored in mobile phones can be used to predict and track outbreaks.
“Traditional methods of collecting patient data, reporting to health officials and compiling reports are costly and time consuming,” said Tsou. “In recent years, syndromic surveillance tools have expanded and researchers are able to exploit the vast amount of data available in real time on the Internet at minimal cost.”
Given the popularity of social media, infectious disease surveillance systems that use data-sharing technologies to accurately track social media data could potentially inform early warning systems and outbreak response, and facilitate communication between health-care providers and local, national and international health authorities.
Social media tracking: Then and now
Currently there are no official national programs for disease surveillance via social media, but several systems are being used as complementary sources of information.
For example, disease detection app Flu Near You helps predict outbreaks of the flu in real time. Users self-report symptoms in a weekly survey, which the app then analyzes and maps to show where pockets of influenza-like illness are located. Flu Near You is administered by HealthMap in partnership with the American Public Health Association and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. The effort is supported with private funds to demonstrate its utility for multiple sectors that work together on pandemic preparedness. The information on the site is available to public health officials, researchers, disaster planning organizations and anyone else who may find the information useful.
“There are real opportunities for using this data that is scattered across the Web in news, blogs, chat rooms and social media,” John Brownstein, HealthMap co-founder and associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, told Emergency Management in a recent interview. “We’re focused on collecting all that information using data scraping, machine learning and other processes and combining it into one platform that will enable clinicians, public health practitioners and consumers to see what’s happening.”
Understanding the accuracy of such information is also important, said Tsou, whose recent study explored the interaction between cyberspace message activity (measured by keyword-specific tweets) and real-world occurrences of influenza and pertussis. Tweets were collected within a 17-mile radius of 11 U.S. cities chosen on the basis of population and the availability of disease data. Tweets were then aggregated by week and compared to weekly influenza-like illness and pertussis incidence. The correlation coefficients between tweets or subgroups of tweets and disease occurrence were then calculated and trends were presented graphically.
“The correlation between the weekly flu tweets versus the national flu data was almost 86 percent,” said Tsou. “It was a very high correlation. Even more interesting is that when we compared our data to data from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, who we partner with, we received even more precise data on weekly flu cases reported through their lab testing. The correlation was 93 percent — even higher than the national level. That was a very encouraging finding.”
But utilizing social media data in this manner also presents challenges, such as correlating a social media post with a specific disease or condition.
“A lot of people tweet that they have a fever or have the flu, but sometimes that information isn’t specific enough for us to connect it with a disease like whooping cough,” Tsou said. “That’s one of the limitations we are dealing with.”
“There’s both a blessing and a curse to using social media in that it’s super rapid, but it also generates huge amounts of noise,” Brownstein said. “Dealing with all the noise and trying to pick out the signals that have meaning is definitely a challenge.”
A world of possibilities for public health
Some public health agencies are already beginning to rely on social media data to investigate health issues.
For example, last year the Chicago Department of Public Health began using Twitter to identify cases of foodborne outbreaks. The department teamed up with a group called Smart Chicago to develop an app that analyzes tweets that reference food poisoning, leading the city to step up inspections and enforcement on offending establishments.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is taking a similar approach. It recently worked with Columbia University and Yelp on a pilot to prospectively identify restaurant reviews on Yelp that referred to foodborne illness.
“These systems are operational, and they are being used by government entities to provide situational awareness,” Brownstein said. “They’re not necessarily the only sources of information, but they are an important source of information.”
But it may still be a while before public health departments officially adopt social media data as a significant element of their regular investigations.
Via Plus91, John Mark Bwanika
According to a study by the American Academy of Family Physicians, 70% of primary care physicians use social media marketing at least once a month. So, if you run a medical practice, social media is not something that you can afford to ignore. After all, if your competitors are doing it, you should be doing it too. But just how can you use social media to grow your medical practice? Here, Best Edge Medical Marketing provide some tips.
1. Have a Purpose
Before you start using social media, you need to have a purpose for what you are doing. For a medical practice, you will ideally want to build your follower count, and increase the level of trust that people have for you. But what is your main purpose? Do you want to inform your community about pressing health issues, or do you want to attract baby boomers to your practice? Once you have a purpose, you can work out who your demographic is, and then sign up to the relevant platforms.
2. Post Relevant Content Regularly
Videos of cats may be cute, but they’re not the best thing to publish on your social media platforms if you want to gain the trust of your followers. With most homeowners now having the internet, it’s easier than ever to self diagnose. Unfortunately, many of these diagnoses are wrong, which can lead to many patients feeling anxious. Your social media platforms could be a place for people to go to obtain reassurance and real advice. So make a point to post content regularly, interact with your followers, and engage your community. Keep your social media pages active, and post relevant information that can help those in your area.
3. Remain Professional
Whilst it’s vital to engage with your community on social media, it is also incredibly important to remain professional. Before pressing the ‘submit’ or ‘post’ button, read back what you have written and see if you are happy with it. A good rule of thumb is to see whether your mother would be happy with what you have written. Whilst you don’t want your posts to come across as boring, they always need to be professional and should follow the same etiquette rules that you would use in real life. Remember, you are representing your company on social media, and anything you say can and will impact your reputation.
4. Don’t Overshare
You might find it cathartic to share information about a specific problem patient, but it won’t do your reputation any favors. It could even land you in court if the patient can identify themselves from what you have posted. You really should never, ever post anything about a patient online. Even if you think you are anonymously talking about a condition one of your patients is facing, you shouldn’t do it without their permission. Another thing you should avoid doing is answering any specific medical questions. Instead, advise them to visit your practice so that you can perform a proper diagnosis.
Social media marketing is a great way to engage your community, but you should take the time to do it correctly. Otherwise, you may end up harming your reputation.
Via Plus91, John Mark Bwanika
Good doctor blogging is a lot like good doctoring: Listen to patients and try to meet their needs. Extra points for being funny, warm, thoughtful and, most of all, engaging. Try some or all of these patient-friendly content types on your medical practice blog:
1. Answer frequently asked questions
Howard J. Luks, an orthopedic surgeon in Westchester and Dutchess Counties, New York, bases his blog on questions his patients ask in office, writing posts such as “Why Does the Front of My Knee Hurt?” and “You Have Torn Your Meniscus: What’s Next?” He explains how he comes up with blog post ideas in “Great Medical Blog Content: Think Like a Patient”.
2. Give health tips (with numbers)
For some reason, titles with numbers do well on the internet, probably because they promise the reader quick, concise information delivery. Take a look at “Atrial Flutter — 15 facts you may want to know” from the blog of cardiologist John Mandrola in Louisville, Kentucky.
3. Shoot video
Las Vegas internist Zubin Damania’s blog is a collection of parody music videos starring his alter ego ZDoggMD—they’re a little bit educational and a lot funny. That’s him in the image above, explaining Obamacare. Watch Damania do Taylor Swift as a doctor-shopping pill addict in “Blank Script” and Garth Brooks in “Friends with Low Platelets”. If you don’t have his singing and acting talent, a simple explanatory video like “What is Plantar Fasciitis?” by Philadelphia sports podiatrist Lee S. Cohen is fine. Just don’t expect to get ZDogg’s hundreds of thousands of video views on YouTube.
4. Chronicle the silly side of daily life as a doc
The author of the Dr. Grumpy in the House blog is anonymous, and a good thing too because the blog is all about the inane things his or her patients do or say, mostly told in verbatim dialogue, like this phone call:
Mrs. Call: “My husband is having a seizure. He sees Dr. Nerve for epilepsy.”
Dr. Grumpy: “Okay, do you have a medication to give him for seizures?”
Mrs. Call: “It’s in the bathroom. Can’t I just hold the phone next to him and you tell him to stop?”
5. Explore the doctor-patient relationship
Dr. Val Jones runs health education company Better Health and her blog posts at GetBetterHealth.com like “Why Do Patients Lie to Doctors?” go to the heart of the doctor-patient relationship and are equally readable by those on both sides of the stethoscope. She suggests some blog post topics for doctors in this list.
6. Filter the news
Patients need a guide to point out what’s important in the mountain of health news and information on the internet. That could be you. Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s The Chart blog on CNN.com is a good example of creating a news feed by highlighting a few of the many medical studies that get published.
7. Pick a niche, be an authority and do it with a distinctive voice
Greenville, South Carolina, pediatrician Chad Hayes blogs on “demystifying parenting and pediatrics” in a straight-talking style, like the post “Just Call It ‘Colic’: The Diagnosis That Isn’t”, a refreshing admission that doctors don’t really know much about a common condition. Colin E. Champ, a Pittsburgh radiation oncologist, blogs atCavemanDoctor.com, advocating for the “caveman diet” and critiquing conventional wisdom in medicine, diet and exercise.
And watch this blog for more tips and inspiration…
Pioneering doctor blogger Kevin Pho, a primary care doc in Nashua, New Hampshire, gives hands-on advice on running a blog and links to the latest posts from hundreds of other doctor blogs at KevinMD.com.
Via Plus91, Rémy TESTON