October 29, 2020
Social Media for Healthcare Practitioners: The Pros and Cons
There are lots of good reasons for a healthcare practice to add a social media presence. Almost 4 billion people worldwide use social media and, chances are, at least a few of them are your patients. Or potential patients.
Here's a shortlist of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly sides of social media for healthcare. And a few helpful tips on how to do it right.
Your patients are on social media. About 80 percent of adults used the internet to make a healthcare-related search last year. Over 60 percent of patients chose one provider over another because of a more substantial social media presence.
Here's your chance to build relationships with patients. Over 40 percent of adults say they would like to follow their healthcare provider on social media.
Social media can be a cost-effective tool for marketing and communication. A steady social media presence keeps your practice front of mind.
You can showcase accomplishments and activities that promote and personalize you and your office staff. Plus, it enables you to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Social media is a great way to educate your patients on the latest in healthcare and promote health and wellness.
Reach new audiences (and patients!) with your social media feed. The internet is an excellent place for people unfamiliar with your practice to get to meet you.
Lack of control. While you control your feed, you can't control people's responses.
Privacy is a big deal, especially where personal medical information is concerned. Make sure the employees using the official social media feed are trained in compliance, including HIPAA. Establish written policies to protect yourself. (We can help with that.)
Social Media can be a Time Suck. In your already busy day, it's one more demand on your time. And to be effective, consistency is critical. (We can help with that, too.)
The Ugly: Trolls. The internet is full of them. Here's how you shut ‘em down.
QR Codes are Hip — Again
QR Codes hail from 1994 when Masahiro Hara from the Japanese company Denso Wave invented them. They were a hit. You'd find them on anything that sat still long enough for a scan-- business cards, the sides of buildings, bumper stickers, farmland, and tattoos. But interest waned because consumers had to download a QR Reader app, then install. With smartphone penetration at around 30%, it was just too hard to make it work. Great concept, bad user experience.
Fast forward to 2020, when 83% of us have smartphones and all the tech to read scans is built in. So, this is the best time ever to link that barcode on your head to your LinkedIn profile.
According to a ComScore Mobilens 2019 study, 11 million U.S. households will use QR Codes to bone-up on product information (51.5%), request event information (12.5%), and download mobile apps (8.6%). By 2022, the market for mobile payments will soar from $348 billion to 1.3 trillion dollars. Unlike the early days, consumers know how to use QR codes, and they have the technology to access them.
QR Codes Applications for Medical Marketing
The use of QR Codes knows no bounds. For healthcare marketers, they're a convenient next step in the customer's buying journey.
Send a text or email messageQR Codes may also trigger an SMS text message as an opt-in registration and a request for support or product upgrades.
Download appsExtend the reach of your app by making it easier to download and install. The scan will take users to a web page that automatically downloads and installs the app.
Augment your contentIn addition to lead capture, QR Codes can amplify and further explain the static content in a print ad or brochure. A quick scan can effortlessly take a customer to more engaging content, like videos and interactive displays.
E-commerceAre you selling medical products, parts, or disposables online? A QR Code could make it easier for customers to order and reorder.
Customer supportSay so-long to lengthy manuals and hello to QR codes. QR's can cut start-up time on medical equipment installation and learning curve by offering the most relevant and concise information when and where it's needed.
QR Code Essentials
- Like everything digital, testing is critical to ensure that your QR codes work with the medical devices used by your customers.
- If you're QR Code hinges on access to the Internet, check the environment, like a trade show, to make sure you've got the bars.
- The QR world is evolving with security features and additional memory capacity on embedded codes. Don't be afraid to dream up new uses.
- There are plenty of free QR Code generators, including those that embed into everyday applications like Microsoft Word®.
- Some free and paid QR codes are ideal to create many QR codes bulk or whip-up a dynamic URL.
Biotica Alum Named Business Person of the Year
A big ol' Shout Out to Biotica friend and frequent collaborator, Thommy Long, for being named Hamilton, Ohio's Small-Business Person of the Year. Thommy and his company, LemonGrenade, have been providing top-notch creative and graphic design services for a couple of decades.
This year, in the face of the pandemic, Thommy and crew stepped up to provide free graphic design services for businesses affected by the shutdown. LemonGrenade dished up free branding assistance to 37 Hamilton businesses, including upgrading their websites, refining their marketing, and helping sexy-up their social-media outreach. When business slowed down for many folks, LemonGrenade spent about 100 design hours creating more than 100 ads. For free.
“My philosophy is, if we're slow, I'd rather my team be flexing their design muscles and working on brands that they've never had a chance to work on, just to have some fun with it,” Thommy said.
Dan Bates, President and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, said LemonGrenade helped many Hamilton companies up their social-media efforts in ways that created new sales for them at a time when physical distancing and closure of non-essential businesses across Ohio crimped companies' profits.
Thommy called his pro-bono pandemic assistance “Free Lemon-Aid.”
Well done, Thommy! We'll drink to that!
More Choices for Web Visitors Mean Fewer Clicks
In the U.S., we're all about freedom, unlimited upholstery options, ice cream flavors, and credit card debt. That's who we are. But it's not who we are when we design websites that garner clicks and form fills, drive engagement and conversions.
That brings us to Hicks Law, founded in 1952 by two psychologists, William Edmund Hick, the Brit, and Ray Hyman, the Yank. Little did they know that their tenet invented in digital's Paleolithic Era would eventually provide deep insights into how web visitors make decisions. In a nutshell, the time required to consider choices increases the time spent on a task and the likelihood that a visitor won't select anything (and leave the website).
Geek alert, here's the secret formula: RT = a + b log2 (n).
Follow Hicks for more clicks.
In the early days of the web, slow load times made us paranoid about the number of clicks it took to reach any given piece of content. The "rule" of thumb was not to exceed two clicks to find any critical content on the site. That satisfied Hicks Law because the page load time (a) extended the duration of the task.
Now, in 2020, when page loads can be nearly instantaneous, some designers still have flashbacks to the two-click rule. The focus now should be on presenting a limited number of choices that won't explode our brains. Our pages load quickly, so users will tolerate more clicks as long as the path remains logical to their mission to find information.
Consider this made-up example of an online grocery store, starting on the home page. Our task is to find Italian Oregano:
Grocery Store Home Page
Italian Herbs >
Add to cart >
That's four clicks but compare that to the effort required to review all produce options on a page. Hicks Law says you'll find dry Oregano in the spice aisle.
Required time may expand based on the importance of completing a task. But not forever. How long would you spend finding your missing wallet or digging through articles, websites, and books to find the name for your baby? Sooner or later, you'll exceed the time required. You'll replace your wallet and its contents and name your kid Rufus after your high school track coach.
Sharpen up your website to save visitors' time
- Limit your main navigation to seven to nine choices that make it easy for users to identify their path in the site.
- Create categories – Split your consumer and physician options upfront, and then present a drill-down that's meaningful to each market
- Obscure complexity – sometimes, it's challenging to avoid longer tasks, like filling out financing forms. The solution is to break up the parts of a web form into different screens. For example, the first panel may ask for name, address, phone, while the second panel might review your current employment, and so on.
Use web analytics to detect UI (User Interface) problems
Watch for a high exit rate - the number of people who enter and exit from the same page – may indicate that the user can't find the next step, or the content doesn't match her expectations.
Low page views (LPV) – compared to your site's average – is a symptom of a user getting gunked up in your navigation.
Time per visit – the time spent on the site divided by the number of pages – is one indicator of a user's engagement. Again, check this metric with the site average of similar pages.
Keep in mind that different types of pages, such as blog posts and forms, may affect these metrics. You can take this to the next level with technologies like heat mapping and eye-tracking that show how users spend their time on each page element.
Join our Hometown Snaps Collection
Show off your hometown by posting pics of your favorite neighborhood haunts and attractions on Biotica's Facebook page Here are a few more images of places that make Cincinnati special. See the rest of our collection in our Facebook Album, Hometown Snaps
Brace Yourself with these Viking Sayings
- Where you recognize evil, speak out against it, and give no truces to your enemies.
- Better to fight and fall than to live without hope.
- Wisdom is welcome wherever it comes from.
- I was once young, I was journeying alone, and lost my way; rich I thought myself, when I met another. Man is the joy of man. Gold is little comfort for the kinsman dead.
- Never break the peace which good men and true make between thee and others.
- Old friends are the last to break away.
- One's back is vulnerable, unless one has a Brother.
- There is a time for everything.
- Best it is, for man's words to seek peace when it is possible.
- A rotten branch will be found in every tree.
- A tale is but half told when only one person tells it.
- There are more things to be thought of by men than money alone.