Emojis are not for every brand. Here's why.

Emojis are taking over e-mail subject lines everywhere. 

A study by Appboy finds that the volume of “active customer messaging campaigns that include emojis” grew by 609 percent in just one year (June 2015-June 2016).

And why not? Most people like emojis, according to the same research. Sixty-four percent said they like or even love emojis. But that doesn’t translate into liking/loving the brands that apply emojis liberally.

Of the 540 participants in the Appboy survey, 39 percent said brands that use emojis are fun; another 13 percent said the brands are relatable. The balance, however, found messages with emojis to be at best “normal” and at worst “childish” or “inappropriate.”

This tracks with research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science that considered how consumers react to a smiling face versus a smiley face.  What they found should give you pause before punctuating your next email campaign with an emoji.

Researchers discovered that people who smile are perceived as more competent than those who wear a neutral face—whether live and in person, or in a photo. But people who use smiley emojis are seen as less competent. 

This is especially true for work-related e-mails.

"The study also found when the participants were asked to respond to e-mails on formal matters, their answers were more detailed and they included more content-related information when the e-mail did not include a smiley,” said lead author Ella Glikson. "We found that the perceptions of low competence if a smiley is included in turn undermined information sharing" (Telegraph.co.uk, Aug. 14, 2017).

So, when is it okay for a brand to use an emoji?

Emojis aren’t made to be taken seriously. The Appboy study said as much (39 percent of respondents said brands that use them are “fun”). So, if you’re a light-hearted brand, say in the food and beverage business, travel and tourism or entertainment industry, an emoji may be just the right amount of cowbell for your campaign.

Some channels are more emoji worthy, according to the Appboy research. Survey participants were most open to receiving brand messages with emojis via text message (37 percent) or social media (28 percent) rather than through messaging apps, email or push notifications. Consider this sweet tweet from Baskin-Robbins. Now that’s fun.

Skinny websites, snackable content and more from Digital Summit Detroit.

Digital Summit Detroit 2017 delivered. In less than two days, the conference covered all means of email, content, website and mobile trends. Lots for marketers to consider and capitalize upon. A few highlights we just had to share. 

Skinny websites are in season. 

Mobile usage trends prompted responsive design, with websites being crafted to render properly across all screen sizes. It has greatly improved the mobile user experience. Instead of requiring mobile users to scroll across inches of a site from a palm-sized screen, responsive sites scale purposefully, with tools like hamburger menus to facilitate the mobile experience.  

Still, mobile users want more, according to Erik Runyon, Technical Director at the University of Notre Dame. Runyon presented a breakout session called “Improving Web Performance in a Mobile World.”

In short, they want sites to load faster. Streaming delays are stressing them out—literally.

To illustrate his point, Runyon shared a neuroscience study by Ericsson Consumer Lab that measured user reactions to network performance. The study showed that delays in loading web pages and videos lead to increased heart rates and stress levels. On average, heart rates increase 38 percent with mobile delays. Oh, and the related stress? The subjects exhibited stress levels akin to watching a horror flick or solving a math problem.

And who gets the blame? The longer the delay, the more likely it is that some of the blame will be transferred from mobile service provider to content provider. In fact, a significant delay may even drive a user to a competitor content provider.

Performance matters. Take that to your design teams, Runyon suggests. Lead and live with performance. His advice:

  1. Performance has to be part of the culture.
  2. Performance should be part of concept and design.
  3. Give your team time to focus on performance.
  4. Implement a performance budget (think ongoing maintenance and upkeep).
  5. Get competitive.

Runyon pointed to thin.npr.org and cnn.lite as examples of brands adhering to these guidelines. Both use Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to cut load time and enable mobiles users to get what they need without the wait.

Why your emails aren’t engaging or converting.

Email was a big focus of the conference, and rightly so. Every brand is doing it but only one in five emails is reaching the inbox, according to Casey Swanton of Return Path. Swanton packed a lot into her 30-minute session “Email Reimagined.”

Just like search engines want users to get the best result, mailbox writers want users to get the best mail, Swanton said. That means screening for credibility, interest and security. In-box placement is determined by sending ID (IP address, sending domain, authentication, etc.), and reputation (complaints, list quality, infrastructure, length of sending history, subscriber engagement, etc.).

“Mailbox writers care about the user experience within their space,” Swanton said. So they look for things like whether the message has been read, forwarded or replied to, marked as SPAM or deleted before reading.  Gmail is leading the industry toward better performance, Swanton said.  So, if you’re having problems with Gmail deliveries, it’s probably because that audience isn’t opening your mail.

“Relative engagement is key,” Swanton said. “Subscribers that are highly engaged with the sender are going to see that sender in their inbox at a much higher rate.  Less than 50 percent of messages are placed in email if the recipient isn’t engaged.”

She suggests these three tips to improve your Gmail results:

  1. Focus on sending to the most active subscribers first to establish a pattern of engagement to boost performance.
  2. Suppress known dead addresses. Pushing email to known inactive addresses will only hurt your engagement rate, and therefore your credibility and ultimate inbox deliverability.
  3. Don’t measure success on the size of your list. Between 50-80 percent of email is based on the quality of your list.

Work content harder.

Great content is a great brand asset. It attracts, engages and provokes action. So, work it hard, says Ursula Ringham of SAP, Inc., in a session called “Capture Your Buyer’s Attention with Innovative Content on a Community Platform.”

A video is more than a video, Ingham illustrated. It can be recast in blog, social and podcast formats. It can be worked internally to elevate employees to brand evangelists. Together, this content can be the beginning of a beautiful community platform.

Snackable assets are the new content.

Nearly every presenter talked about snackable assets. As in, “You do know what snackable assets are, right?” asked a marketer presenting on the topic of email hacks.  “Snackable assets can be used to fuel the consumer journey,” said a presenter on the subject of content marketing. “These snackable assets can also convert,” promised another expert on lead nurturing.

So if you’re tired of using the term content, use snackable asset. It’s applicable to everything from infographics to video, charts to listicles. Maybe even whitepapers, in so long as they’re not terribly filling. Think bite-sized for peckish consumers.

Why longer sales cycles make for happier consumers.

Why longer sales cycles make for happier consumers.

Impulsive buyers may seem like a marketer’s dream. They see. They want. They buy.

Forget research. Skip the comparison shopping. No need to entice them with remarketing content. Theirs is more of a buyer’s jaunt than a journey.  

But as tempting as carpe diem consumers may be, they come with a lot more buyer’s remorse, according to CEB Iconoculture research. The market trends company studied discrete consumer groups from its IconoCommunities that represent instant and delayed gratification mindsets. 

Impulsive consumers report more guilt, anxiety and fear of missing out (FOMO) when making everyday decisions than those who delay gratification. And whatever immediate pleasure they may enjoy with purchase can be overshadowed by mounting debts, late bills and concerns about making it paycheck to paycheck.

Meanwhile, consumers who delay gratification take great pride in their patience. Instead of immediacy, they revel in anticipation and control. The reward, they say, is often something bigger, better and more desirable in the end, according to CEB Iconoculture research.

“I saved money every month, and two months ago I officially bought my dream car in cash,” said IconCommunities participant Bryan, a Latino Millennial male from Colorado. “I own it outright, no bank owns me, and I paid way less than I would have with interest.”

Hudson, an African American Boomer male from urban Pennsylvania, put it this way: “I feel like a king with my choices.”

Changes in lifestage prompt changes in consumer behavior.

Impulse buyers are more likely to be single, less wealthy and younger than careful consumers. As they age and assume greater responsibilities, their spending habits tend to mature.  Major milestones like marriage, parenthood, home ownership and retirement can curb impetuous consumerism, according to CEB Iconoculture research.  

Gale, a Caucasian Gen Xer, said it all in a letter to his younger self: “Then you got married and had kids and that all changed. You were forced to change” (IconoCommunities, March 2017).

So it’s not surprising that the delayed gratification cohort shares differentiated values with older consumers.  These include thrift, wisdom, reliability and practicality.

How to tap into consumer mindsets, both impulsive and patient.

Consumer behavior is dynamic, driven by lifestage, context, emotions and other factors. So brands need to think long-term to build satisfaction and referral. Buyer’s remorse has a long tail, especially today with social media. Make sure the stories consumers share about you are good ones. Consider the following three tips from CEB Iconoculture to better manage consumer impulses.

  1. Give Seize the Moment consumers greater control and perks. Young, impulsive shoppers are wracked with anxiety and distrust. Help them grow into more considerate shoppers with products and services that satiate their impulses and teach them to be more responsible as they grow. For example, a bank may give young savers a higher interest on deposits to encourage positive personal finance behavior.

    Discover it Student Chrome card offers college kids perks like cash back for good grades. The card gives students instant gratification by making rewards instantly redeemable at Amazon.com.

  2. Feed them along their long journey. Delay the Delight consumers spend a lot of time buried in research, comparison shopping and poking around for reviews and insights. Enrich their experience with content—blogs, infographics, videos, testimonials, reviews—and trial offers to nurture them throughout their journey.  This will help build confidence and improve the likelihood that you’ll be ever in their consideration set.
  3. Appeal to both spontaneous and calculated consumers.  Sometimes even the most rigorous planner has to make a quick call, like booking a hotel on the fly. Klimpton Hotels & Restaurants helps ease some of the sting out of paying a last minute rate by offering immediate benefits and conveniences like free WiFi and a bar credit.

Get the latest insights and marketing trends delivered to your email weekly.  Sign up for the Brogan Weekly Recap now.

Healthcare Checkup - September 2017

Highlights here on how Hurricane Harvey is bringing out the best in healthcare workers, brands and doctors. Plus new healthcare social media insights, Ad Block strategies, and telltale signs of website demise.

VITAMIN B&P.

6 healthcare social media insights, with tips. Are you working in the world of healthcare social media? Here’s the perfect prescription for your digital properties. Just scan these six insights.  

5 doc training tips on patient-centered care. Did you know doctors wait an average of only 18 seconds before interrupting patients? Learn tips on understanding their mindset, physician empathy training and more to improve patient experience.

MARKETING SUPPLEMENTS.

Why the worst disasters can bring out the best in brands. While SE Texas begins its long recovery from hurricane devastation, one furniture store has transformed two of its locations into temporary housing for victims. Brands big and small can excel in a crisis, adding depth to consumer relationships.

Ad Block isn’t as scary as you think. Truth is, it’s manageable and even beneficial for marketers and consumers alike.

8 signs your website is past its prime. Time is not kind to websites. In the course of a year or even months, a high performing site can be dealt brutal blows that negatively impact results. Take a hard look at your site for telltale signs of aging.

INDUSTRY PULSE.

Hurricane Harvey and how you can help. Special message from AHA President & CEO Rick Pollack on the around-the-clock response of hospitals and health systems.

5 ways virtual doctors can help during a natural disaster. Harvey puts the importance of telemedicine in a whole new light. See it from the eyes of this Houston virtual medical physician determined to help the stranded.

Less than 1 in 10 healthcare organizations treat consumer expectation as a “high priority.” New Kaufman Hall study points to five key insights around healthcare consumer-based strategies.

MONTHLY DOSE.

Looking to market to all generations but don’t have the budget? Not a problem. There’s one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide, How to market healthcare to all generations, to learn more.

Weekly Recap - September 1, 2017

Faith in humanity restored. Here’s what brands are doing to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Sick of seeing fake news on social media? Facebook is, too. Are you guilty of email overload? Check out these stats from Adobe to see what consumers think of email promotions. Thumbnails are more important than you think. Follow this advice to help your videos get the attention they deserve.

DETAILS, Please

Here’s how brands are helping the Texas communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas last weekend, leaving thousands without food and shelter. Airbnb, AT&T, Chobani and many others stepped up to show support in different ways.

Facebook blocks pages that spread fake news from advertising. After the 2016 election, Facebook faced criticism for its part in allowing misinformation to spread. Now, pages that repeatedly share false stories will be banned from buying ads.                   

Consumers want emails from brands to be more informative and less promotional. Is your brand sending too many emails? 50% of consumers find excessive email offers annoying.

Video influencers share their best tips for creating viral content. This couple used their channel as an experiment to see what works with and against YouTube’s algorithms. Here’s their advice on video lengths, promoting content and choosing thumbnails.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

Why the worst disasters can bring out the best in brands. When tragedy strikes, many brands are quick to respond. And it’s paying off big time.

5 doc training tips on patient-centered care. In the world of healthcare marketing, doctors are a central part of the market mix. But while your Patient Experience Department is all abuzz about patient-centered care and improved patient experience, are your doctors on board with that?

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals - Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

Why the worst disasters can bring out the best in brands.

Why the worst disasters can bring out the best in brands.
Photo credit: Rick Wilking, Reuters
A man and his dog wade through the Hurricane Harvey floodwaters in Houston.

After Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, Tide’s Loads of Hope program rolled into town with a fleet of trucks filled with Whirlpool washers and dryers. The 2005 disaster left thousands homeless with little more than the clothes on their backs, but Tide provided relief and offered free laundry services for families in need.

Similarly, when residents of Flint, Michigan were unable to drink tap water for fear of lead poisoning, PUR sent scientists, faucet-mounted water purifiers and replacement cartridges to the city. "We are a company that is in a unique position to help because we have a product that does eliminate 99.0 percent of lead, and that's the PUR faucet mount system. And we thought this would be an opportunity to make sure we are able to help people in a way that only we can," said Sharon Robustell of PUR, in a prepared statement.

While southeastern Texas begins its long recovery from the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Harvey, Gallery Furniture is giving shelter to thousands of displaced residents. The Houston-based chain store has transformed two of its locations into temporary housing for victims of the historic tropical storm, offering food, beds and restrooms for anyone in need.

Brands big and small can excel in a crisis, adding depth to consumer relationships that may trump purchase barriers like price and convenience. This is particularly true when the brand cause aligns with the brand promise, product or service.

PetSmart, for example, is giving $1 million to help animal welfare agencies working to rescue, relocate and care for pets that have become homeless due to the storm. The company is also donating supplies and pet food. United Airlines is giving bonus miles to members who donate to disaster relief organizations providing aid to Texas, and FedEx has committed $1 million in cash and transportation support to deliver supplies and medical aid to victims.

Consumers expect more from brands than profitability.

Don’t wait for disaster to strike to find your brand’s corporate responsibility. Being socially responsible comes with the territory. In fact, today’s consumers expect it. 

According to a global study by Havas Worldwide and Market Probe International, 73 percent of consumers believe that brands have a responsibility to do more than just generate profits. Companies that do good may be more successful when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

In a study by Morning Consult for Fortune Magazine that tested out this theory, nearly two-thirds of the 2,000 respondents (ages 18 to 34) were at least somewhat more likely to work for a company that gave to charity than one that did not. Older generations aren’t quite as corporate-philanthropy-disposed, with 59 percent of those between the ages of 35 and 44, and 47 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 reporting values that align with Millennials.

How to find the right cause for your brand. 

There are endless ways your brand can make a difference. But what makes sense for you? CEB Iconoculture suggests the following:

Focus on the cause. Consumers will follow. Patagonia values sustainability. To prove it, they launched a campaign on Black Friday to discourage consumers from buying a popular jacket on the busiest shopping day of the year. The “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign encouraged consumers to reconsider consumption and embrace sustainability. The brand proved its sincerity by illustrating its commitment to recycling and environmentally-conscious practices. Patagonia loyalists and wannabes understood.

Do what you can with what you have. Whirlpool is more than just a manufacturer of washers and dryers. The brand gives people confidence that they’re ready for work, school or play. That’s the essence of the Whirlpool Care Counts program. Kids are more likely to skip school when they don’t have clean clothes. So, the brand is helping keep at-risk kids in school by installing washers and dryers in underprivileged schools.

Want another example of a brand that’s discovered an ideal philanthropic match? Check out Consumers Energy Generation Genius.

5 doc training tips on patient-centered care.

5 doc training tips on patient-centered care.

In the world of healthcare marketing, we all know that doctors are an important part of the market mix. But while your Patient Experience Department is all abuzz about patient-centered care and improved patient experience, are your doctors on board with that? Here are some quick tips on preparing your doctors for a patient-centered mindset.

Understand their mindset.

Doctors can be a tough audience, so first it’s vital to understand where they’re coming from. Throughout the ten to twelve years of schooling it takes to become an MD or DO, many med students are told the same thing: make a decision, it’s all on you. They are trained to be the sole decider in actual life-or-death situations, and they often block their emotions in order to get the job done. This mentality creates doctors that are confident leaders, but not always team players. Thankfully, there are now programs that are can be of immense help.

Promote empathy training.

On average, doctors wait just 18 seconds before interrupting patients’ narratives of their symptoms. Another study discovered that in over 60 percent of cases, patients misunderstood directions after a visit to their doctor’s office. Empathy training is a golden opportunity to improve doctor-patient relationships and patient ratings. While sympathy is defined as feeling sorry for someone, empathy is the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand them.

Geritalk, designed specifically for physicians who care for older adults with life-limiting illness, and Oncotalk, designed to help oncologists tackle difficult conversations, are two such breakthrough programs. As one physician explains, “Oncologists don’t truly lack empathy. What physicians may lack are skills that impart the true empathy they have-skills that can be learned and practiced…”

This knowledge is beginning to become embedded in a doctor’s training. As of 2015, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) contains questions on human behavior and psychology. Empathy courses are beginning to be offered in medical school and patient satisfaction scores are now being used to calculate Medicare reimbursement. This boost in empathy is shown to boost patient reviews, gain patient trust, decrease physician burnout and lower the rist of malpractice.

Know the power of listening.

While a cardiologist knows a myriad of information on heart disease, it’s impossible to recap all that information to her patients in one checkup.

Perhaps a patient is at risk for heart disease, like hypertension or a stroke. That’s scary stuff. And patients may not even be able to process medical information if they’re thinking about their own safety, or how this would affect their family. The patient doesn’t need to listen better, the doctor does. Part of modern training includes allowing the patient to speak for at least two minutes, uninterrupted.

Redefine the doctor-patient relationship.

The Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) did a study that found that out of 22 healthcare delivery attributes, at the top of the list for both patients and doctors was the doctor-patient relationship. These were closely followed by evidence-based medicine and care coordination. What does the doctor-patient relationship look like? Patients want doctors that care about them.

Henry Ford’s All For You branding does just that— create a mentality that healthcare is all for the individual patient. Rather than featuring doctors and high tech equipment, content is focused on everyday patient stories, based upon the uniqueness of each person.

Be respectful.

Both marketers and doctors have done extensive research in their field. It’s important to respect each other’s thoughts and preferences. What doesn’t violate HIPAA may violate copright law, Marketing 101, or vice versa. Remember not only to listen to patients, but to each other. This level-headedness and empathy for each other will result in the best marketing outcome.

We don’t skip a beat. For more on healthcare, subscribe to the Brogan Healthcare Checkup.

Marketing vasectomies with bros and beer.

Marketing vasectomies with bros and beer

Vasectomy is more effective, cheaper and safer than female sterilization. That’s why it’s the preferred choice for birth control in many countries like Canada and the U.K. But not the U.S.

In fact, female sterilization is twice as popular as vasectomies for couples in the U.S., according to a United Nations report published at brookings.edu. To put it another way, if the U.S. vasectomy rates were the same as Canada’s, there would be about four million more couples opting for vasectomy over female sterilization.

Culture likely plays a big role in the disparity. Fertility and masculinity have a long and complicated relationship. Healthcare coverage is also involved. And then there’s the matter of responsibility.

But things are starting to change, thanks to marketing.

Physicians are repackaging the procedure as a guy’s adventure—a brosectomy—complete with leather sofas, big screen TVs, Wi-Fi and top-shelf liquor. At Obsidian Men’s Health near Washington, D.C., urologists promise “… the best vasectomy experience available. Your time, dignity and privacy are paramount to us, and our Vasectomy Center offers impeccable medical care coupled with amenities usually found only at first-class resorts.”

For a premium, some clinics will even pamper patients before the snip. This rebranding has given the entire operation a sort of "spa day" feel. Some are even banding together in group outings or timing their procedures together. An Indiana clinic broadcasted radio advertisements suggesting planning vasectomies to coincide with March Madness, so that they can convalesce together over basketball and adult snacks.

“Friends who snip together "[take] fewer pain pills, [feel] better faster and [return] to work earlier than the average, go-it-alone-out-on-the-plank, tube-tied patient," said Dr. Paul Turek in a Wall Street Journal article (It’s a Vasectomy Party! Snips, Chips and Dips with Your Closest Friends,” July 23, 2017).

Interested in healthcare marketing trends? Sign up for the Brogan Healthcare Checkup.

Weekly Recap - August 11, 2017

Self-promotion is tough, but these artists are using Patreon to make it easier. You’ve heard of ad block, but it may soon find a permanent spot on the internet. Gulp, said marketers everywhere. That’s a story for later. Google is planting its own stories on the internet. Is it working? Apple has officially joined Instagram, and its “shot on an iPhone” campaign definitely is.

DETAILS, Please

Inside Patreon, the economic engine of internet culture. It’s the latest turn in the never-ending cycle of ways people have funded “free” art, from federal grants to corporate sponsorships to, most recently, impression-based advertising.

Google stars testing Chrome’s built-in ad blocker. Google is planning to introduce a built-in ad blocker for its Chrome browser next year.

Short stories are popping up in Google ads all over the internet. Each year, Matchbook asks for short story submissions and then circulates them online through Google’s Ad words program.

The flagship Apple brand has finally joined Instagram. Apple extends the “Shot on iPhone” campaign to the social media giant.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

6 healthcare social media insights, with tips. That’s why it’s important to keep a pulse on what’s happening now, and what’s expected to happen next.

Ad Block isn’t as scary as you think. Truth is, it’s manageable and even beneficial for marketers and consumers alike.

THE Topic of conversation

Instagram - Instagram. Learn how your business can use Instagram to build brand awareness and increase engagement. Download our free whitepaper "Why your business should be marketing on Instagram."

SHARING is CARING

Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

6 healthcare social media insights, with tips.

6 healthcare social media insights, with tips.

Across every industry, social media is different – and it’s always changing. Content that works well for a financial services brand? It might not perform for a hospital. And over time, it might not perform at all. That’s why it’s important to keep a pulse on what’s happening now, and what’s expected to happen next.

Are you working in the world of healthcare social media? We’ve got the perfect prescription for your digital properties. Just scan these six insights, then get some quick tips to implement. 

  1. Social can give a skewed picture to hopeful patients. Since its inception, social media has been a way for people to share their experiences and connect with those who have similar stories. For people with health issues, social media has also become a way to find solidarity—talking openly about physicians, conditions, symptoms and treatments. However, as patients turn to friends in these virtual communities, they’re often left with a sense of false hope. Because due to social media’s unregulated nature, many unverified and overly optimistic comments are made. And if it’s a solution that doesn’t work for someone, it can lead to disappointment, frustration and even bad decision-making.
    • Tip: Knowing this information, be cautious of what your brand posts to social media. Things like DIY treatments, news of new drugs and miraculous recovery stories could deflate your fans’ morale. Before you post anything, make sure you research the source, question the credibility and consult one of your healthcare experts.
       
  2. YouTube is the place for videos both fun and fundamental. Believe it or not, YouTube is now the second-largest search engine, and it’s second only to Google. Every day, people watch this channel for hundreds of millions of hours, and together, they generate billions of views. When it comes specifically to the healthcare industry, short videos are a strong concept, and they’re one of the fastest growing. Information offered in a quick snippet makes for a piece of content that’s engaging, educational and easy to share.
    • Tip: Consider a video series that can live on YouTube and be shared across other social media channels. Or, if you don’t have the resources for it, consider advertising on YouTube with video assets you already have.  
       
  3. The best employees are becoming brand advocates. No matter their role, whether house keeper or heart surgeon, every employee has the power to push your brand forward. By simply sharing a Facebook post or pressing retweet, they can help increase awareness, expand your reach and maximize your impact.
    • Tip: Encourage or incentivize employees to share your content on their social media. But just remember: You can’t force an advocacy program. Employees need to feel comfortable with their involvement, and they’ll want to make sure the content aligns with their audience. If an advocacy program is something you’re interested in pursuing, try starting with a social media guide to help employees understand what you do on each channel and how they can help. If you want to take it one step further, there’s software that can streamline the process—like Hootsuite Amplify.
       
  4. Show, don’t tell. For so long, social media was a resource to spread the word about events and experiences. But with so many advancements, it’s now a place where you can make people a part of them—even when they’re not physically there. Through 360° photos and videos, and even live video, brands can create a virtual reality for fans.
    • Tip: The next time you have a major event on the calendar, consider some social media support. Not only can you promote in advance to increase the number of people in attendance. You can also include an asset that will make others feel like they’re really there.   
       
  5. Consumers want content that’s beautiful by nature. According to Forbes, practical posts get a lot of attention. Emotional posts have a greater likelihood of going viral. But it’s the inspirational and imaginative posts that are the strongest candidates for social media success.
    • Tip: Consider a few pieces of content without any kind of company positioning. Try a few posts that are artistic and aesthetically-pleasing, with beautiful images or sentiments.
       
  6. Investments will generate impressions. Today, less than 1 percent of your Facebook fans will see the content you post, and Facebook isn’t the only channel where this is an issue. Algorithm updates are constantly reducing your reach, and even when a post makes it to a feed, it’s competing with other clutter.
    • Tip: The best way to break through and beat the algorithm is to build a social media budget. Every channel has its own ad units to choose from, and you can decide how much you’re willing to invest. Obviously, the more money you’re able to put behind a paid post, the more impressions you’ll earn. And along with impressions, you’ll also get detailed insights so you can easily analyze your ad’s performance. 

Stay up to date with all the healthcare happenings, all year long. Subscribe to our monthly Healthcare Checkup today.

Weekly Recap - August 4, 2017

Wish you could create more followers? These influencers do, and Instagram is not having it. The social network still triumphs over Snapchat, which is still finding its groove to please advertisers. Can’t beat the heat? Stay cool with expert tips to dodge the summer slump. Or snoop on the competition to learn eight stats from brands that made waves this week.

DETAILS, Please

How wannabe Instagram influencers use bots to appear popular. This cohort — whose following base typically falls in the 10,000 to 100,000 range — is most likely to turn to bots to inflate their authenticity. 

Snapchat’s ad biz has matured but is still a shiny new object for advertisers. Snapchat's ad business has matured since the start of 2016, but it has not yet proven itself as a must-buy for most marketers

Avoid the summer slump: 3 tips from growth marketing experts. No matter how skilled a marketer you are, sometimes we all get into flat-growth slumps.       

8 digital stats from last week that marketing players need to know. Check out the eight digital marketing stats this week that grabbed our attention.

Meanwhile, back at the RANCH

4 tips for tackling negative online patient reviews. What should a practice do when Negative Nancy spills her story online and threatens to damage your reputation? Here are a few tips.

A marketer’s guide to augmented reality [featuring the dancing hot dog]. There are hundreds of opportunities with this new technology, as there are with any idea. But how is AR marketable?

THE Topic of conversation

Communicating with Visuals - Visual communication. Did you know that 93 percent of communication is visual? Amplify your marketing and discover how your brand can communicate visually. Download our latest free guide, "Communicating with Visuals."

SHARING is CARING

Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

4 tips for tackling negative online patient reviews.

4 tips for tackling negative online patient reviews.

We’ve all been upset while waiting a little longer than expected in a waiting room. We’ve all had a negative experience, or two, with an office manager or billing specialist who didn’t make things right. We all know someone who questioned that doctor (you know, the one with the freezing hands) for disagreeing with a Google diagnosis and Google is always right, right?

It’s experiences like these that cause patients to take their anger out on their healthcare provider through online reviews. As of March 31, 2017, Yelp has had over 127 million reviews with 6 percent of those (about 762,000) being health-related reviews. An apparently, they’re well read.

According to Healthgrades and the Health Management Academy research 60 percent of Americans are reading online reviews about physicians. Millennials (75 percent), parents (71 percent) and highly-educated consumers (73 percent) are even more likely to consult online reviews.

If you haven’t yet, search one of your practices or practitioners on either Yelp or Google. If nothing comes up, lucky you! You can get ahead of the pack by establishing your own Yelp page for your practice. If something does come up, maybe it’s great, but sometimes… ouch.

So what should a practice do when Negative Nancy spills her story online and threatens to damage your reputation? Here are a few tips:

  1. Take them seriously. If you have multiple patients all saying the same thing, do something about it. For example, if you encounter multiple negative reviews about the front desk representative along the lines of “Jan at the front desk was rude, inconsiderate, and ignored me for 10 minutes as I stood there waiting to sign-in,” have a conversation with Jan. Re-train her to have better customer service skills. Create a new check-in process that doesn’t involve relying on one person. Your reviews are telling you where problematic areas may be, so look at them as an opportunity to improve.
     
  2. Don’t let one Negative Nancy ruin your day. Let’s say you have a high rating on Yelp/Google and lots of positive reviews. According to Yelp 17 percent of consumers pay attention to the quantity of positive reviews you have versus the amount of negative commentary. If one Negative Nancy posts a poor review, message that person privately and apologize – even if it wasn’t your fault. Choosing to apologize to the dissatisfied patient and letting her know she has been heard and acknowledged might just solve your problem. She might even give you a second chance.
     
  3. Respond when appropriate. Online reviewers just want to be heard. If Positive Polly is showing you lots of love, thank her. It can only make her image of you more positive which might influence other users. Approximately 90 percent of users on Yelp say positive reviews are their main deciding factor to influence their buying decisions, or in this case, choosing your practice. If a Negative Nancy is referencing a time of day where you know your practice was super busy and short-staffed, apologize and explain how hard your employees were working to see everyone as efficiently as possible while providing the most compassionate care. If a positive or negative review clearly states the patient’s name either in their actual review or in their profile display name, respond privately. Responding publicly may violate HIPPA and no one wants that, or to be safe, consult a legal advisor to help you determine the most appropriate response.
     
  4. Be proactive. Today’s healthcare consumers are shouldering much more of the costs associated with their care. Copays and high premiums have a way of making long waits and lack of urgency all the more excruciating. Take stock of your office operations with an eye on the patient experience. Are they being nurtured and cared for at the same level that you would demand for your own family? Work with your team to map out an efficient and thorough patient journey. Good reviews will certainly follow.

For more on managing user generated content, see Critical resource or just critical? Tips for docs to deal with Yelp’s fortified UGC.

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