© 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707 544.2501
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet





I

   t is no surprise that word of mouth is still the best w...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet





Quality Content is the Name of the Game
   The seven tools I ...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




What makes people talk?
    Ordinary information is rarely pas...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet





Start With a Great Website
   Your website serves as the hub ...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




   #1       A Buzz Piece
   What is the number one problem peo...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




Promote it widely

   Once your buzz piece is on your website,...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




   #2       Case Studies
   Who isn’t fascinated with complica...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




   #3       Articles
   It used to be that you could only deve...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




   #4       A Blog
   A blog is like having your own editorial...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




How often should you blog?

   There is no golden rule for blo...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




   #5       A Video
   Many people now prefer video to the wri...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




   #6       Question and Answer Page (Q&A)
   When it comes to...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




   #7       Social Networking
   Social networking is about bu...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




Online health care communities

   One of the best places to s...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




   If you start your own Facebook page, the challenge is to fi...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet





Final Thoughts
   I have compiled this list of seven strategi...
7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet




                About the Author
                Lisa Stockwel...
Resources




These are websites I have found helpful or interesting. Most are free resources. I have no
affiliation with ...
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7 Tools For Wordof Mouth

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Making Word of Mouth Happen on the Internet

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7 Tools For Wordof Mouth

  1. 1. © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707 544.2501
  2. 2. 7
Tools
For
Making
Word
of
Mouth
Happen
on
the
Internet
 I
 t is no surprise that word of mouth is still the best way to grow your health care practice. The majority of Americans continue to rely on personal referrals over rankings, reviews or even price when choosing a health care provider. The biggest change in health care promotion today is that a growing number of people are getting to know you online. And that change is happening quickly. This handbook provides an overview of the most effective tools to power-up a word of mouth marketing campaign on the Internet. It shows you how to reach a much broader and more targeted audience and engage in conversations with the people who really want and need your services. By using any of these seven tools consistently, you can build meaningful relationships with new prospects and nurture loyalty with the patients or clients you already have. The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing Word of mouth marketing, both offline and online, involves sharing valuable and relevant information in a way that gives people a reason to talk about you and the services and products you provide. Unlike other forms of promotion and advertising, word of mouth is based on real experiences people have with you, in person, in print or on screen. It is a powerful, ethical and affordable way to increase your business and add value to the services or products you provide. While you can’t buy good word of mouth, you can encourage and amplify it by engaging with your target audience. You have the opportunity to explore people’s concerns and respond to their questions with valuable resources and information. And you can network regularly with prospective clients as well as other health care providers who have the power to send new clients your way. Your Market is Online The majority of Americans aged 18 to 64 look for health care information on the Internet. Additionally, over 60 million consumers are sharing their health care experiences online, according to a 2009 report by the HealthCare New Media Marketing Conference. Through community forums such as WebMD and MedHelp.org, health care consumers provide support to one another and recommend the resources, services and providers they find most helpful. When you tap into these communities and provide participants with valuable information, you can build a network of advocates who will share your information with their connections across the Internet. The more often you appear on the Internet, the more familiar you become to your audience and the more you establish yourself as the go-to expert in your field. It’s natural that people would rather seek treatment or counsel from someone they’ve interacted with or heard about rather than a provider who is completely unknown to them. lisa stockwell & partners 2 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 Quality Content is the Name of the Game The seven tools I recommend in this handbook all involve content—the written or spoken word. Content is the engine that powers your word of mouth campaign. Articles, reports, blogs, videos, audios and even comments in community forums are all forms of content. When written well, good content will reinforce your reputation as an intelligent, credible and honest professional. Effective writing There are many good books and blogs on writing that can guide you, from how to create attention-grabbing headlines to how to use a semi-colon. If you feel writing isn’t your strength or don’t have time to do it, hire an editor or a professional copywriter to ensure your communications match the quality of your services or products. Keep in mind the following guidelines to develop the kind of content that gets passed around.  Focus on your target market: Whom do you want to attract? What is their age group? What is their education level? What are their concerns? What questions do they ask most frequently that you have the knowledge or experience to answer? Where do they hang out and talk? When you’re clear about your market, you can address them efficiently with information they want in a way they can understand it.  Put the care in health care: Your goal on the Internet is to build connections with your target audience in a way that encourages them to talk about you and with you. Communicate compassion so people know you care about their health and want to help them manage it.  Align your story with what you do: Relate your content to your area of expertise so that your name is associated with the services or products you provide. You don’t want to spend your time promoting someone else’s specialty, even if it may be interesting to your target audience.  Think like a journalist: Transparency and accuracy is critical to establishing a reputation for credibility and professionalism. When you use someone else’s research or data be skeptical and make sure it is factual. Whenever you have a bias, acknowledge it and include other points of view.  Create an attention-getting headline: 8 out of 10 people read headlines. Use the headline to tell the reader what value they will get when they read on.  Understand what makes people talk: When you disrupt people’s natural patterns of thinking with information that is new and surprising, they feel compelled to pass that information on. This is the real secret to word of mouth marketing. lisa stockwell & partners 3 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 What makes people talk? Ordinary information is rarely passed along. Think about your reaction to your own health care experiences. When was the last time you had a check-up and felt the need to call a friend to talk about it? How often do you share your routine blood test results? Do you often insist others try the supplements you are taking? If you get the treatment or results you expect, you probably won’t talk about it. People talk when something surprising happens. A mother will talk about the pediatrician who sat up with her all night in the ER while her baby awaited surgery. An athlete will pass on an article about a novel chiropractic treatment for tennis elbow. A pet lover will write a blog about the vet who saved his dog’s life. An insomniac will talk about the remedy a health coach prescribed that helped her sleep. People need to share information or experiences that are unexpected and novel. When things catch us by surprise or force us to think in a different way, we make sense of this new information by talking it over with other people. When you develop articles, blogs or videos, or leave comments on social networks, you need to provide your audience with unexpected solutions to their problems or a new way of looking at their health care. Disrupt their notion of the status quo with unique ideas, feelings and perspectives and they won’t wait to pass this new information along. Where to find ideas for content 
 
 There are a number of ways to discover what information people search for most often. 
 Start with a word search on one of the following websites: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal http://www.google.com/insights/search/# http://www.freekeywords.wordtracker.com Type in a word or phrase that applies to your practice. For instance, a recent search in Google Adwords using the word “canine” showed that 40,500 people searched for “canine cancer” last month while only 3,600 searched for “canine ear infections.” So, if you are a veterinarian, this tells you an article on cancer will most likely draw more readers than one on ear infections. See what topics are hot on Facebook at www.itstrending.com Search for keywords on Twitter at www.search.twitter.com. (The advanced search lets you check on local tweets.) And use www.tweetmeme.com to see the comments most frequently forwarded. Use Google Blogsearch to find top blogs on health issues. All this information gives you clear guidelines about what people want to know versus what you might want to write about. lisa stockwell & partners 4 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 Start With a Great Website Your website serves as the hub for your online marketing program—your home— the place where you have total control of your message. Over time other networking tools may change or disappear, but your website belongs to you and all the content in it stays where it is. A traditional resume-style website (one with a home page and sections that explain your services, your background and your location) is invaluable as a reference. However, most people won’t return to a static website where the content rarely changes. You want to give them a reason to return again and again until they’re ready to talk with you. How do you make your website more dynamic? Think of your website as your own publication—a rich source of health information that provides solutions to your target audience’s problems and concerns. As a publisher, your job is to ensure that this content is current and refreshed regularly. The more valuable and relevant your content, the more opportunities you create for building both your audience and your credibility. Everything else you do on the Internet is about engaging with your prospects and bringing them back to your website to learn more about you. An array of tools to get people talking I have recommended seven tools you can use to enhance your website and promote greater interaction online. There are, in fact, other effective marketing tactics, such as e-newsletters and testimonials. But these are one-way communications and don’t have the same power to stimulate conversation and keep word of mouth alive. Consider implementing one new tactic at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up before your program has time to build momentum. Then make sure you have adequate time and resources to dedicate to one tool before adding another to the mix. Get certified When you begin adding more information to your website, I recommend you get an HONcode certification from the Health on the Net Foundation, an NGO that certifies the reliability and credibility of the health information you publish. It is a free service you can access at http://www.hon.ch/home1.html. lisa stockwell & partners 5 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 #1 A Buzz Piece What is the number one problem people want solved when they come to you for treatment or information? Is it maintaining good health, curing an ailment, supporting them through a crisis or something else? The answer to that question can provide you with a direction for a 5 to 10 page free downloadable e-booklet that builds buzz for your practice or program. This buzz piece positions you as the go-to expert in your field. It can provide the same authority as a published book, but is much easier and more cost-effective to produce and distribute. In some business circles an e-booklet is becoming as important as a business card. In the health care arena, it is a relatively new concept, giving you a marketing advantage over your competition. Your buzz piece should show your audience about your unique insights and understanding of their health issues with information that addresses a common question or concern. This is not a sales brochure. However, in return for providing valuable information, you have the right to include your biography at the back of the booklet promoting the services you do provide. Select a format You can structure your e-booklet in a variety of formats, depending on the kind of information you’ll cover and what you think will be most useful to your audience. Some ideas to consider:  an educational handbook  a tip booklet that provides your audience with actions they can take to improve their health (i.e. exercises, special recipes, a skin care ritual, a diet plan, self help tips)  a research report on an emerging treatment or procedure  a chapter from a book you have written Display it on your website Give your buzz piece a strong title and an eye-catching cover. Then display an image of it prominently on the home page of your website that visitors can click on and download after providing you with some basic contact information. You can use this information to build an email list of interested prospects that you can keep in touch with through email letters, e-newsletters or announcements. You can use an autoresponder program to handle these requests. Your webmaster can install the software on your system or, if you want to handle it yourself, you can contract with an online company for a small monthly fee (see last page for resources). The autoresponder will send the buzz piece automatically and manage your email list. lisa stockwell & partners 6 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 Promote it widely Once your buzz piece is on your website, let more people know about it through:  a direct mail offer to all your existing clients and prospects  a digital press release sent through an online distribution service targeting health care journalists, bloggers and websites  notices on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WebMD  links on your email signature  title printed on the back of your business card  Google Adwords purchased on a pay per click basis so that every time someone searches for your designated keywords and clicks on the link, you pay a nominal fee Most of these promotional tips can also be used to publicize other kinds of content you create. Repurpose your buzz piece Your buzz piece will have a long shelf life as an ebooklet, requiring only minor edits to keep updated. Because it can also be broken into smaller segments and used in other formats, it is one of the most versatile and cost effective information products you can produce. Sections of your buzz piece might create a series of blog posts. If you don’t have a blog, you can break the material into short articles that you feature on your website, distribute to online magazines or print and give clients as handouts. You can turn the buzz piece into a power point presentation or record sections of it to be used as podcasts or scripts for videos. Use it in as many ways as possible and post it in a variety of venues to broaden your visibility and increase the return on your investment. lisa stockwell & partners 7 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 #2 Case Studies Who isn’t fascinated with complicated medical cases and how they were solved? The subject is so compelling it has spawned popular weekly television dramas like House, ER and Grey’s Anatomy. Case studies are very share-worthy because each one is unique. And often they elicit emotional responses that create a personal connection between you and your reader. A good case study should spend more time focusing on descriptions of specific symptoms than on presenting the diagnosis and treatment. This creates a sense of mystery that makes for a more compelling read. And for a lay audience, good story telling is key. The main objective of a case study is to illustrate the kind of attention you provide to each of your patients or clients. In some cases you may not have found a treatment but may have helped the client learn to accept the condition you have diagnosed. A case study should include:  A description of the patient or client  Symptoms and how they affected his or her lifestyle  Tools and techniques you used to diagnose the problem  What you discovered  The diagnosis  The treatment  The results Because medical case studies are personal, you need your clients’ permission to use their stories, even if you change names to protect their privacy. You can find a release form on the Internet or ask your attorney to draft something for you. Case studies are versatile. In fact, one case study can be used to create a blog, an article, a giveaway at a medical conference, a testimonial (if you pull out a sentence or two), part of a presentation, or a feature in a newsletter. lisa stockwell & partners 8 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 #3 Articles It used to be that you could only develop a readership for your articles if a newspaper or magazine agreed to publish them. Now you don’t have to wait to be discovered by the mainstream press. You can publish articles on your own website as well as on numerous online magazines that welcome new content. The more places you publish, the more visible you become. Articles can be structured in many different forms, from academic essays to human- interest stories. The needs and makeup of your specific audience will dictate the topics and style that will be most appropriate. In your search for inspiration you may discover other authors have already covered the topics your audience is most interested in. Don’t let that stop you. Communication on the Internet is generally less formal than in other media and you have the opportunity to insert your own anecdotes and insights to make your articles unique. When writing for the Internet, articles can range from 500 words (the minimum requested by many online magazines) to several thousand, depending on where it will be published. If you already have an e-booklet, case study or a blog, you may be able to edit it to create an article or even a series of articles. You can also hire a freelance writer to ghost-write articles that run under your byline. When you’re ready to publish an article, make sure it has a headline that is compelling and easy to find in a search using the same keywords your target audience will mostly likely think to use. Include a short bio at the end of the piece that includes a link to your website. You want people to be able to find and learn more about you in one click. You can find websites that accept unsolicited content by doing an online search for “where to submit health articles.” Some options include:  www.medicalnewstoday.com  http://www.articlehealthandfitness.com  www.e-healtharticles.com  www.motleyhealth.com  http://www.ayurhelp.com (Ayurvedic)  www.ezinearticles.com (all topics)  www.webarticles.com (parenting, family, eldercare)  www.wrongdiagnosis.com lisa stockwell & partners 9 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 #4 A Blog A blog is like having your own editorial column in a newspaper or magazine. It’s a tool that lets you communicate ideas, news and information and show your viewers how you solve problems. But more importantly, a blog lets your audience engage in conversations with you and others. If you say something that triggers a question or comment, they can reply under your blog post. Then others with similar interests and concerns can join in the dialogue. You can very quickly develop familiarity and credibility with your readers. Since every blog post includes the option to subscribe by email or share it with thousands of connections through email or social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it can travel around the Internet rapidly, building word of mouth as it goes. And as with the other types of content, every blog you write is picked up and listed on search engines like Google and Yahoo. The more posts you write the greater the chance that your blog will appear closer to the top of these search engine pages. A blog involves a long-term commitment. But it also provides your audience with lots of great content. Once you have a dynamic website put together, blogging may be the only thing you need to do to keep word of mouth working for you. How to structure your blog A blog is meant to be a more personal and informal style of communication, so you should select a format that feels comfortable to you. It can be educational, with a regular dose of useful health information; or it can be inspirational, with encouragement and support that enhances your patient/client service program. A few formats include:  A commentary on health news items or issues  In-depth answers to frequently asked questions  A daily meditation or words of inspiration  Tips for healthy living  Parenting tips  Short case studies  A “Dear Abby” style question and answer Blog length Blog length depends on the subject matter and audience. A recent online survey by the viral marketing company Viral Chill found that the average length of the top five health blogs posted on Twitter was 666 words. The average for the top five personal development blogs was 1,470 words. lisa stockwell & partners 10 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 How often should you blog? There is no golden rule for blogging frequency, but if you post less than weekly your audience may get bored by the silence and look for their information somewhere else. Consider your audience when deciding the frequency and length of your posts. How much time do they have to read a blog and what kind of information are they looking for? New moms, for instance, may welcome daily parenting tips from their pediatricians and the opportunity to connect with other readers as they cope with new situations. Someone considering cosmetic surgery might only visit a blog periodically to see if new content has been added. Who should write your blog? If your goal is to develop relationships with your audience, you should write your own blog, especially if you use your name in the blog’s title. If you want to start a blog but worry you’re going to run out of ideas, you can hire a consultant to do research and provide you with topics that will draw the kind of audience you want to serve. It is also common to ask your associates or other peers to write for your blog. Or go to www.bloggerlinkup.com to find guest bloggers who can fill in for you when you are away or don’t have time to write something yourself. If you don’t want the burden of publishing your own blog, you can write occasional guest posts for your peers or a local hospital or clinic. If you have a large practice or clinic and your goal is to provide health news on a regular basis, you can create a stable of blog writers. Ask other professionals to take turns and include their bylines with their posts. In this way your blog is more like a newspaper or magazine featuring several different personalities. Some people do hire professional ghostwriters to create their blogs, but this can be risky. A blog is meant to be a personal form of communication. Readers want to see the blogger’s personality come through. Ghostwritten blog posts often sound too formal, like a PR department and not an individual wrote them. The blog may provide good information but may not promote conversation or connection with your reader. If you find someone you feel understands your philosophy and writes in a similar style, working with a ghostwriter can be an effective solution. lisa stockwell & partners 11 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 #5 A Video Many people now prefer video to the written word. In fact studies have shown that people remember 70% of what they see and hear, versus 10% of what they read. So when it comes to demonstrations and education, videos can be invaluable. You can create your own video using a digital camcorder or hire a professional to help with the script and the production. While there are thousands of successful amateur videos, you want to communicate professionalism and quality in the messages you distribute. When finished, you can post a video to your website, your blog, YouTube, a Facebook page or an online article. Or post it to http://www.tubemogul.com to have it distributed automatically to your chosen video sharing sites. What to film Use the ideas on page 4 to find topic ideas. You can also use the search feature on YouTube, the second most visited website on the Internet, to see what’s popular in your area of practice. You’ll find the number of times each video has been viewed just below the viewing screen. If you have done slide show presentations for conferences or workshops, you can turn them into videos with the addition of audio narration. Or, if you give speeches, have someone videotape you speaking and break the presentation into short segments. You can also use a camcorder set on a desktop tripod or the video camera in your monitor to film yourself responding to health news stories, answering commonly asked questions, providing tips for healthy living, or presenting relevant case studies. Another option is to use a service like www.ustream.tv to create live video broadcasts. Tips to follow when producing your video:  Put the most relevant information in the first 30 seconds, before the majority of viewers tune out.  Keep the video short to maintain your audience’s attention (under 5 minutes is ideal).  Use a great title that can be found easily in a search.  If you film yourself, memorize your script so you can look into the camera and connect with your audience.  Include your logo or the name of your practice at the top or bottom of the screen.  Include a call to action at the end asking the viewer to call you for more information, visit your website or sign up for your free e-booklet or e-newsletter. You can do this with a text box on the screen or through a verbal appeal.  If you are posting your video on YouTube, where viewers can interact with you through comments, end your video with a question about what information was most useful or what other questions people want to have answered. This will give you material for more content and reinforce your desire to connect.  Embed your video on your website, with a link to it from your home page. lisa stockwell & partners 12 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 #6 Question and Answer Page (Q&A) When it comes to health care, everyone has questions. Unfortunately, you’re not always there when they want them answered. But if you add an interactive Q&A page to your website, they can ask questions anytime, anywhere and you can provide personalized answers in a timely manner that either help them manage their own health care or direct them to see a health care provider. A Q&A page is an ideal way for you to listen to your audience and find out what kind of information they are seeking. Over time it will generate a lot of content you can use to produce other materials such as blog posts or articles. It can be set up so you are the only one to answer questions. Or you can create a networking forum right on your own website that allows users to talk with each other. Your forum can be about general health or focus on a specific condition that you treat. The key to a good Q&A feature is that you respond directly to the questions being asked and don’t use the space to push your own services or products. You can enrich the page by linking to other pages on your website or other resources you think will be helpful to your audience. Disclaimer I recommend you include a disclaimer at the beginning of your Q&A page stating that the feature is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Your goal online is to help people maintain good health with generalized information, not provide specific advice for an individual patient’s condition. Setting up a Q&A page If you don’t have a webmaster who can design and install a Q&A page for you, a new online company offers a free Q&A software application you can customize and integrate on your own website. See www.qhub.com. Once the feature is in place it should be easy to maintain on your own. You might spend ten minutes to a half hour at the beginning or end of each day answering questions or moderating comments. lisa stockwell & partners 13 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 #7 Social Networking Social networking is about building connections. You’ve probably done it for years offline. The difference between networking in person at a business function and doing it on the Internet is the scale. There are hundreds of millions of people logged into social networks and many of them are interested in what you have to say or offer. Social networking in the right places can establish you as one of the most accessible experts in your field of practice, both among prospective clients and your peers. While random social networking can be a time drain, a well-designed social media program can be a powerful tool to build word of mouth. And, with discipline, you can set it up so that you don’t need to spend more than an hour a day overseeing it. How it works The most important aspect of social media is understanding why you want to be involved. Do you want to increase your visibility, improve your reputation, improve your interaction with your clients, learn new information or do all of the above? Setting goals allows you to develop effective networking strategies that give you a road map for where you want to be, what to say and how often to engage. Once you know why you are there, locate online communities where your prospects and peers congregate for the kind of information you can offer (see the next page for ideas on how to find them). Start by listening to what they are saying. When you feel you have something helpful to offer, then engage. After you’ve entered a conversation it’s important to follow up on it, returning periodically to check for new comments (often you can select to have updates sent to you by email). Social networking works when you focus on the other person’s needs and not your own. As with any honest dialogue, you’re not in control of the conversation and need to be willing to stay engaged even when it gets tough or you get busy. As with all networking, the more you engage, the more contacts you make and the more opportunities you have to develop new advocates. Online advocates can be especially helpful at spreading the word when you add new content to your website, post a new blog or make announcements about events or workshops. While your advocates may not be local, they can influence others who are. Conversation protocol Anything you say online is permanently recorded and can be seen by anyone. Before starting, set your own rules of engagement that define the kind of healthcare information you want to offer, how you will respond to misinformation someone else has posted, when to engage and when to stay silent. The FDA is currently developing a policy for drug marketing through social media and, when completed, their guidelines may prove helpful for all health care providers using social media. lisa stockwell & partners 14 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 Online health care communities One of the best places to start looking for a responsive social media community is through your local hospital or health center’s website. They may sponsor a health forum you can join. It may be small, but the participants are generally local. Many medical associations and organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association or BreastCancer.org have established online communities. Additionally, you can type in the name of a specific condition or area of care (such as health coach, nutritionist, yoga, therapy) and the word “forum” and you’ll find a variety of venues where you can add value to the discussion. The largest health websites have the largest online communities. The undisputed leader is WebMD, which covers everything from general health, special conditions and diet to mental, oral and pet health. They have expert-moderated as well as member-created exchanges where people with specific conditions congregate to share their stories and get advice. There may be an opportunity for you to become one of their health care experts. Social networks In addition to health-specific communities, you can also engage with your clients and prospects through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or a myriad of other social media platforms. Each has its specific advantages for health care providers. Before opening an account, do some research to see if you can find your target audience on each of these sites and determine how engaged they are in conversations. LinkedIn is a great platform for professional networking. It connects you with like- minded professionals who may be your best source for referrals. LinkedIn is especially effective when you join groups where you can network with others who share your interests. In a recent search I found over 8,000 groups dedicated to health topics. There were over 70 dedicated to alternative medicine, 65 to dentistry, 53 to acupuncture, 200 to veterinary, and 23 to health coaches. These groups can range from a few dozen members to tens of thousands. You can communicate with group members through the group discussions or add them to your network of connections and send direct email messages. LinkedIn is one of the only social media platforms that lets you download the contact information for everyone in your network, making it an asset you not only develop but also own. Facebook is the # 1 visited website on the Internet and the fastest growing networking tool for business. They make it easy to set up your own business networking page. To get a better idea of whether Facebook would work for your practice, visit healthcare-related pages to see what kind of conversations they’re generating. There are now over 500 hospitals with their own Facebook pages and that number increases monthly. (Search on Google for “hospital Facebook” or “[name of medical condition] Facebook” and you’ll find a long list of public Facebook pages to visit.) lisa stockwell & partners 15 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 If you start your own Facebook page, the challenge is to find a strategy that draws people to it and keeps them engaged. Consider this: People join Facebook pages to communicate with others who have similar interests or issues. What value can you provide to a group that gives them a reason to congregate in your community and not another? Your Facebook pages can be effective if you provide regular tips, resources and other valuable information that is aligned to the needs of your community. You can also attract a crowd if you offer special discounts on your services or products. (There are also applications you can add to Facebook to run contests, quizzes and coupon programs that can draw followers to your page.). This will not be appropriate for all health care businesses but could be effective if you sell products or want to provide a promotional rate for first time customers. Once you have developed a following, you can check on the demographics of the people visiting your Facebook page to see if you are attracting the kind of audience you want. You can also send direct messages to your entire list of followers, although unlike LinkedIn, you cannot download your contact list and use it for other purposes. Twitter is another top networking site that is gaining popularity with businesses. At last count, hospitals and academic centers represented over 500 Twitter accounts. Twitter lets you send abbreviated notices to your followers. Your tweets—the term for the 140 character messages you send—can be about new content you’ve written, new information or resources you’ve discovered, events, workshops and tips for the day. Some hospitals are even tweeting details of their surgeries. If you post valuable information to a few followers and one of them retweets (forwards) your message to twenty more followers, and then a few of those retweet it to a few thousand more followers… Well you can see how quickly word can spread. Additionally, anyone can search for specific topics using keywords and discover your tweets in that way. YouTube is the second most highly visited website on the Internet and also a great place for posting your own videos. But it is also a great place for listening to conversations and networking with viewers who leave comments below your videos. With thousands of health-oriented videos already posted on YouTube, you can get involved with other providers and prospective patients by engaging in any conversations that relate to the services or products you provide. Social media is still in its infancy as a business tool and the jury is still out on exactly how it will benefit health care providers and the patients and clients you serve. But I believe social media is here to stay and, as it evolves, it will drive fundamental change in the way we communicate and maybe even in the way we manage care. lisa stockwell & partners 16 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 Final Thoughts I have compiled this list of seven strategies to suit different styles and budgets. Each can be effective on its own and also leveraged for use in different formats, giving you lots of content to enrich your website and increase your presence on the Internet. Your program will be most successful if you keep things simple to start and tackle one strategy at a time. Over time you can experiment with different tools to see which give you the biggest return on your investment. Online analytics tools make it possible to evaluate the effectiveness of each piece of content you post as well as how often people visit each page of your website. If you want someone to develop and maintain your word of mouth marketing program, develop new content that matches your philosophy and style, or simply evaluate your existing materials, please consider Lisa Stockwell & Partners. I offer the following services to help you reach your marketing goals: Content Strategy: I work on a fee basis, providing 1, 3, or 5 hour consulting packages to develop objectives and strategies for your content marketing program. Topic Ideas: I will research your market to find out what your target audience wants to know. I will also review existing blogs and content to find out what already exists and will provide you with a list of relevant topics for blog posts, buzz pieces, videos or articles. Research, Writing and Production: I handle everything from researching the topics and interviewing experts to writing, designing and producing content. In the case of videos, I will outsource and manage the production. Editing: I will edit any of your written materials on a project basis. Third-party peer review: I offer an objective review of your written materials, including proofreading, grammatical editing and recommendations for improvement to the writing and design. Fees range from $300 for 5 pages to $500 for 10 pages. lisa stockwell & partners 17 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
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 About the Author Lisa Stockwell is a content marketing strategist, consultant, award- winning copywriter and the author of nine books. As a marketing communications consultant and writer with over 15 years freelance experience, she shares her expertise with companies who understand the value of well-written and targeted communications. Lisa’s success comes from listening closely to the needs of both her clients and their customers to develop information products and marketing materials that build the word of mouth referrals and loyal relationships that are key to any company's long-term success. She works from her belief that there are four elements that make health care information products valuable: reliability, relevance, accessibility and empathy. Any good writer with research skills and a marketing background can ensure the first three. It takes a special understanding and compassion to write with empathy. Lisa brings both experience and emotional intelligence to her writing. She turned her focus to health care several years ago after a long stretch coping with the medical issues of several family members and close friends. From congenital heart defects and implanted defibrillators to ALS, frontotemporal dementia, breast cancer and lung cancer, she’s learned firsthand about debilitating medical conditions and the courage it takes to deal with them. It is from this perspective that she helps health care professionals develop content that gives their clients the information they want in a form they can digest. The
 right
 word
 of
 mouth
 marketing
 strategy
 can
 help
 fill
 your
 practice
 with
 minimum
 effort
 and
 expense.
 I
 invite
 you
 to
 call
 me
 for
 a
 free
 15
 minute
 consultation
 to
 discuss
 questions
 you
 have
 about
 the
 ideas
 I’ve
 presented
 in
 this
 book.

 Please
 contact
 me
 t o
 set
 up
 your
 appointment.
 Lisa
Stockwell
&
Partners
 lisa@lisastockwell.com
 707.544.2501
 www.lisastockwell.com
 lisa stockwell & partners 18 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501
  19. 19. Resources
 These are websites I have found helpful or interesting. Most are free resources. I have no affiliation with the paid services and recommend you ask for referrals before investing in them. Topic Search Tools: Use these to discover the most popular topics on the Internet http://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordtoolExternal http://www.google.com/search/# http://www.freekeywords.wordtracker.com http://www.google.com/alerts (sends email alert when a designated word or phrase appears in a blog, news, video or group) http://tweetgrid.com/searchtips (good tips for conducting a search on Twitter) http://www.search.twitter.com http://tweetag.com/ (get email alerts when a designated keyword or phrase appears in a Twitter list) http://tweetmeme.com (shows popular tweets and how many times they’ve been retweeted) http://www.keywordspy.com (subscription keyword search tool) http://blogsearch.google.com (search for popular blogs on specific topics) Health Care Communities: Join to listen to the conversations, search for popular topics or engage with your target audience http://www.WebMed.com http://www.righthealth.com http://health.yahoo.net http://www.drugs.com http://www.medicinenet.com http://www.mayoclinic.com http://health.msn.com http://www.everydayhealth.com http://www.aolhealth.com http://www.medhelp.org Personal Health Information Management: Online healthcare information gathering software Google Health (beta version) http://www.healthvault.com Content Development Tools http://www.qhub.com (create Q&A pages) http://www.hon.ch/home1.html (medical website certification) http://www.AWeber.com (autoresponder and email management program) http://www.autoresponse.com (autoresponder and email management program) http://www.verticalresponse.com (autoresponder and email management program) http://www.bloggerlinkup.com (directory of guest bloggers) http://www.tubemogul.com (free video distribution service) http://www.ustream.tv (live video broadcast) http://www.wildfireapp.com/ (Facebook application that lets you create quizzes, coupon drives, sweepstakes, etc.) Health Care Article Distribution Services http://www.ezinearticles.com (all topics) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com http://www.articlehealthandfitness.com http://www.e-healtharticles.com http://www.motleyhealth.com http://www.ayurhelp.com (Ayurvedic) http://www.webarticles.com (parenting, family, eldercare) http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com lisa stockwell & partners 19 © 2010 Lisa Stockwell 707.544.2501

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