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Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Portent’s Content Idea Tool

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This week’s cool tool recommendation is Portent’s Content Idea Generator tool.

This tool allows you to generate headline ideas with just one keyword. Be prepared that the tool can throw up some quirky suggestions, but don’t let that put you off. Keep playing around with it until you find one you can work with. I also really like how it shows you best practice tips, such as using metaphors in your writing.

For more tools like this read  7 Tools To Find Inspiration For Your Headlines

Posted in #HCSM

10 Tips To Create More Engaging Content For Your Medical Practice Facebook Page

Worldwide, there are over 2.23 billion monthly active Facebook users and 1.47 billion people on average log onto Facebook daily (Source: Facebook 07/25/18). Statistically speaking, Facebook is too big to ignore but when it comes to social media marketing, is it actually delivering the results you’d hope to see?

Over 80 million businesses have a presence on the social network which makes it a crowded and competitive landscape. And at a time when organic Facebook Reach is estimated to currently be as low as 1–3%, succeeding on the platform is more difficult than ever.

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If you’re struggling to make an impact on Facebook, then this article is for you. In it, I will share some best practice tips to help you increase your organic reach and boost engagement.

So let’s get started with Tip #1

1. Grab attention with a compelling visual

Study after study confirms that how you create and share content matters — with visual content leading the way. According to research by Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. Facebook recommends each post you create should include some type of creative, like images, GIFs or videos.

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Make sure these creative assets are of high quality. Avoid using blurry images or videos or creative that doesn’t accurately reflect your brand or message. If you post any pictures of your patients, be sure to obtain their permission.

2. Keep things simple

Facebook advises that “simple posts with clean creative are best at capturing an audience’s attention” and recommends the following tips:

· Keep your color scheme clean and consistent

· Include images that are recognizable

· Use minimal, concise and impactful text

3. Share a behind-the-scenes photo of your office

People love to see behind the scenes of your practice – so bring your camera to your next staff meeting, lunch or event. Sharing pictures of your employees (with their permission, of course) makes your practice so much more relatable.

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4. Post about cause awareness events

Whether it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month or Healthy Weight Week, there is a cause awareness month you can write about at least once a month.

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5. Create holiday-themed posts

Christmas, Hanukah, Thanksgiving — they all provide an opportunity to share holiday themed advice or send best wishes to your followers.  You could also join in fun holidays like National Donut Day. Check out this calendar to keep you right up to date with ideas.

6. Post news and updates from your practice

Are you rolling out a new program, product or service? Have you acquired a new piece of equipment that affords better care? Let your followers know about it. Patients will appreciate you keeping them informed.

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7. Share videos

Video has become the predominant way we consume information. The average video post generates 135% greater organic reach when compared to photo posts according to research from Social Bakers.

Here are some tips to use video more effectively on Facebook

8. Go Live

Facebook Live videos get three times the engagement of traditional videos shared on the platform and it draws 10 times as many comments as regular video. Facebook actively prioritizes live video by placing it at the top of the News Feed, as well as sending notifications to potentially interested audience members.

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9. Create Facebook Stories

Facebook Stories — user-generated slideshows and video collections — are short (around 20-seconds) pieces of content created on your smartphone and available for up to 24 hours. After this time your story automatically deletes itself, although there is an option to save your content.

10. Post When Your Followers Are Online

To optimize your engagement and reach, you want to share content when your audience is online. If you search for optimal posting times, you will find many guides online. You can follow these recommendations as a starting point, but it’s best to do your own testing to see which days and times work best for your own audience.

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Facebook makes it easy to find out your optimal posting times by navigating to the Insights Tab and selecting Posts. Here you will get data about when your Facebook Page fans are online for each day of the week.  Once you’ve determined your optimal posting times, make use of Facebook’s post scheduling feature to post at just the right time.

To Wrap Up

While I have focussed on increasing organic reach on Facebook, the reality is that Facebook is a pay-to-play environment now. You will need to include paid strategies for a successful Facebook marketing plan. Use organic content to analyze and test to see what works best with your audience. You can then use these insights for paid ads. Your top-performing posts are proven content. With the right ad targeting, these posts can continue to reach and engage more people.

 

Posted in #HCSM

Six Tips To Get The Most From Google Search

The Internet is changing the nature and speed of healthcare interaction between individuals and health organizations. Nowadays one in every 20 Google searches is related to health. A basic Google search will usually help you find what you are looking for; but for those times when it falls short, you will need to turn to some advanced search techniques. Here are six tips to help you zone in on the exact information you need next time you turn to Google.

Tip #1 Use The Exact Phrase

Using “quotation” marks around a phrase or name allows you to search for those exact words in that exact order, thereby excluding more common but less relevant results. This is especially useful if you’re trying to find results containing a specific phrase.

Tip #2 Exclude A Particular Term

Try expanding your search parameters by excluding certain words using the minus (-) symbol. This is useful when your search generates a lot of results that aren’t relevant to you. Re-run the search excluding the words that you don’t want to be included.

Tip #3 Search Using “OR”

By using the OR term you can search for web pages that might use one of several words.

E.g. competition OR match

Tip #4 Use An Asterix

The asterisk symbol works as a wildcard within searches. It can be used in place of a missing word or part of a word when you are not sure what the entire phrase is.

Tip #5 Search Between Two Values

By using (..) in between a set of values you can search for results that include numbers within a range.

Tip #6 Search Related Sites

Find sites that are similar to a web address you already know.

Using these Google tricks will lead you to more focused searches in the future.

You might also like to read Dr. Google Turns 20: How Has It Changed Healthcare?

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Quuu

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I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Quuu, a hand-curated content suggestion platform that connects to your Buffer queue.

How It Works 

Select from over 300 interest categories to receive suggestions that matter to you and your audience. With the free account, you can choose up to 5 interest categories, get suggestions automatically sent to your connected accounts two times a day (six for a paid account).  Relevant suggestions will be queued to your Buffer where you can choose to manually curate posts yourself or Quuu will post for you.

Check it out at http://www.quuu.co

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator 

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This week’s cool tool recommendation is HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator tool.

HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator tool lets you input up to three different nouns and returns five blog topic ideas.

Here are the suggestions generated for me when I input the terms “social media” and “marketing” into the tool.

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For more tools like this read  7 Tools To Find Inspiration For Your Headlines

Posted in #HCSM

As Google Turns 20, What’s Next For Health Information Searching Online?

Twenty years ago, two Stanford Ph.D. students launched a new search engine with a bold mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Now two decades later, at the first sign of a symptom, patients instinctively turn first to “Dr. Google” to find answers to their health questions.

One in every 20 Google searches is related to health. 

The Internet age has dramatically changed how people seek out and find medical information. In a recent article, Susannah Fox, former CTO for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, points out that 87 percent of 14- to 22-year-olds report that they research health questions online.

According to the most recent Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, thirty-five percent of U.S. adults say that at one time or another they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have. 63 percent of online health seekers were looking for information about specific diseases or medical problems. 47 percent were looking for information about a specific treatment or medical procedure. Additionally, 44 percent searched diet information, and 36 percent were looking for information about exercise and fitness.

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Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project

Why A Mobile-First Strategy Is A Must

Most people aren’t looking searching for information on a desktop or laptop anymore. They are looking at it on a phone or tablet. Recent studies show 52% of smartphone users gather health-related information on their phones. This means that your website needs to be easy to read no matter where your patient may access it.

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Just over a year ago, Google announced a major change to the way its search index will rank sites: it will go mobile-first. As the company explained at the time, Google’s algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank its pages.

Having a mobile-responsive site (ie one that automatically changes its layout and placements of certain menus and buttons automatically) is important because firstly, not only are over half of patients searching online for health information on their smartphone, but secondly, Google now gives ranking priority to those sites that are mobile friendly.  In fact, Google has stated that it will penalize websites that aren’t mobile-responsive, so if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’ll likely lose out significantly in the organic search rankings.  To check if your site’s design is responsive, enter its URL into this Google tool.

Optimize Your Content For Google Search

If you want more people to find you online, you need to optimize your website through good search engine optimization practices. SEO (the ability to optimize your site for search engines),  is a detailed and sometimes confusing process, and you may want to hire an SEO expert to do it for you. If you don’t want to hire someone, there are search engine optimization tools available to help you do your own SEO — and many of them are free. I’ve put together this list of the best free SEO tools out there to help you instantly improve your online marketing.

Optimize Your Content For Voice Search

The majority of patients searching for information on the web still trust search engines but the way people search for information online is changing. Increasingly, people are using voice search on their smartphones, tablets or voice assistants (like the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices) to search for information on the internet (yet another compelling reason to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile).  According to comScore’s forecasting, 50 percent of searches will be performed through voice functions in 2020 and the majority will be done without even looking at a screen.

In essence, voice searches are largely about answering questions, not about focusing on individual keywords. SEO is fast becoming AEO (Answer Engine Optimisation).  To quote NewsCred, “If you’re a marketer, “What’s the Alexa strategy?” will be a question you’ll be expected to answer.”

Optimise Your Website For Local Search

If you want more people to find you online, you need to optimize your website through good search engine optimization practices. And if you want to attract new patients, your website also needs to be optimized for your local area. When someone uses the internet to locate a Medical Practice nearby, it’s critical that your website appears in those results (searches on mobile devices containing the phrase “near me” has skyrocketed in recent years).

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Recommended Reading:  Why and How You Should Optimise Your Medical Website For Local Search

In a relatively short space of time, Google has fulfilled its mission to make information universally accessible and useful. We know of course, that not all of the information on the Internet is useful, and some of it is downright dangerous. All the more reason, therefore, to make sure that the information you provide to patients is accurate, useful and easily accessible. Why not set your own ambitious goal to be at the top of Google’s Search Page when patients google health information. Following the tips in this post will help you achieve this goal over the coming months and years.

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Inbound’s Title Generator

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This week’s cool tool recommendation is Inbound Now’s Blog Title Idea Generator tool. 

Sometimes all you need to get those creative juices flowing again is a title and this is where Inbound Now’s Blog Title Idea Generator comes in. You don’t even need to input a keyword — keep clicking on the generate title button until you find the inspiration you need.

For more tools like this read  7 Tools To Find Inspiration For Your Headlines

Posted in #HCSM

YouTube: A Missed Opportunity For Patient Education

People around the world are now watching a billion hours of YouTube’s content every single day.  That’s a huge amount of time spent watching diverse content on the channel.  Here are some more staggering stats to consider.

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YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with added SEO potential due to its Google connection. YouTube also has live-streaming options and social tools, which it’s expanding as it works to keep in line with evolving consumer trends.

Mobile devices now account for 70% of all time spent on YouTube by adults in the US, according to research from comScore. Audience reach is bigger on mobile than on desktop for 99 of the top 100 YouTube channels in the United States.

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Mobile viewing is especially popular with younger adults (age 18-34) and women, the analysis found. YouTube mobile viewers tend to watch shorter-form videos than desktop viewers do. However, mobile viewers watch nearly three times as many videos per month, on average.

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As a form of patient education and health promotion, YouTube has great potential but recent studies show it is not being used to its full potential. A 2013 study which examined the effectiveness of YouTube as a source of medical information on heart transplantation found it time-consuming to find high-quality videos and recommended that more authoritative videos by trusted sources should be posted for the dissemination of reliable information. Similarly, a 2015 study found that in YouTube videos related to skin cancer, there was a missed opportunity for cancer prevention and control.

These findings notwithstanding, there are some good examples of medical organizations who are already using YouTube to communicate health information. Mayo Clinic, in particular, stands out, with 50,917 subscribers to its channel and over 31,000,000 video views. 

If you don’t already have a YouTube channel for your practice, perhaps now is the time to consider it. Check out this article by Sendible which has some useful tips on how to optimise your YouTube channel for success.

Related Reading

Posted in #HCSM

New Google Page Speed Ranking For Mobile Searches: What You Should Know

Although speed has been used in Google ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Earlier this year Google announced that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches too. This marks an important shift in Google’s approach to measuring page speed while stressing the importance of mobile user experiences.

Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, Google recommends the following resources can be used to evaluate a page’s performance.

  • Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions
  • Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages
  • PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations

Related Reading 

Digital Health Checkup: 10 Signs It’s Time To Redesign Your Medical Practice Website

Posted in #HCSM, SlideShare

Healthcare Innovation: Made With Patients

This week I was in Basel, Switzerland, to deliver a keynote presentation at the DayOne Conference, Shaping The Future of Health.  It was a great experience and heartening to meet so many start-up companies with a real interest in working with patients in codesigning healthcare solutions.

I believe that a genuine partnership model with patients and their families and carers, will not just improve outcomes for patients but can transform the healthcare industry.  I urged the audience to go beyond the patient label and engage with patients as people with valuable lived experience and expertise that they can learn from.

But even with the best intentions, it’s easy to get it wrong. So I shared a model of patient engagement based on a true partnership model that does justice to people as unique, multi-dimensional individuals who want to live the best lives they can.

As always I posted my presentation on SlideShare so please feel free to flip through the deck and if you have any questions or comments to make, I’d love to hear them.

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

This week’s cool tool recommendation is the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) Headline Analyzer.

This headline analyzer is a free tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute that you can use to calculate the EMV of your own headlines. It scores the EMV of your headline with a breakdown of why it scored that value. A perfect score would be 100%, but don’t despair if yours doesn’t match up. According to the Institute, “most professional copywriters’ headlines will have 30%-40% EMV Words in their headlines, while the most gifted copywriters will have 50%-75% EMV words in headlines.”

Here’s how it works. 

Enter your headline in the space provided and choose the industry you are targeting your message to.

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Click Submit. 

Here’s my score:

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While the score is low on EMV, I am still happy with it, as it fulfills my aim of arousing curiosity in the reader.

Your headline carries words that predominantly appeal to most people’s intellectual sphere. Intellectual impact words are especially effective when your goal is to arouse curiosity.

For more headline tools like this, read: 7 Tools To Find Inspiration For Your Headlines

Posted in Infographics

How To Handle Comments On Social Media [Infographic]

Salesforce do super infographics – here’s one on handling different types of comments on social media. 

First up, a flow-chart for dealing with positive, negative or neutral comments.

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Source: Jeff Bullas

Positive and neutral comments are easily dealt with, but negative comments require a considered approach. If it’s a genuine complaint, acknowledge the complaint, but move it to private communication as quickly as possible.

Trolls are more challenging.  Received wisdom is don’t feed the trolls. Ignore them, but do not attract their attention further by deleting their comment – this only fuels their fire. However, it’s perfectly ok to remove offensive or spam comments, and comments with legal or criminal implications  should be reported to  the relevant authorities.

Finally, some general advice. You should  always personalise your interactions online. Reach out to and engage with your followers regularly.

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Related

How Should You Handle Trolls On Social Media?

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Freerange

download-24This week’s cool tool recommendation is Freerange which provides free high res stock photos for commercial and non-commercial use.

The photos either come directly from in-house photographers and archives or they are contributed by a growing community of photographers. Images provided directly (in-house) by Freerange Stock originate one of two ways. They are either digitally photographed on Canon DSLR cameras or they are a high resolution (4000 dpi) Nikon scan of an original 35mm slide. Once the image is acquired, the photo is sharpened, color corrected, cropped and keyworded. Some images are manipulated in Photoshop to make them more effective. Then the original is archived and a 2400×1600 version is optimized and output, then posted on the live site.

It’s certainly one of the best sources of stock photos I’ve come across – and it’s free! Try it today.

 

 

Posted in #HCSM, Infographics

The 11 Most Common Website SEO Issues [Infographic]

SEO (the acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization) is the process of getting traffic from “organic” listings on search engines in order to improve your website’s search engine ranking.

Did you know that 39% of total global web traffic comes from search, with Google receiving over 63,000 searches per second on any given day?

But 75% of users never click past the first page of search results.

In this infographic, you can see at a glance some of the most common on-site SEO issues, with duplicate content being the worst offender.

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Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Infogram

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I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week I’m recommending Infogram, a free infographic and data visualization tool.

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Infogram’s Basic (free) plan is intended only for non-commercial use, such as personal projects, blogs and presentations, within the limits of fair use. Its Business plan allows you to remove Infogram’s branding and add your own logo (it offers a reduced price for nonprofit and educational organizations.) The Basic plan includes 37 chart templates and allows users to generate up to 10 three-page projects based on their data.

Visit https://infogram.com and try it for yourself.

 

Posted in #HCSM

How NOT To Do Blogger Outreach

I received this email today and it made me mad.

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I run several blogs and get emailed pitches on a daily basis. The majority of these pitches are ill-thought-out and go straight into the Junk folder without ever being read. It’s clear from the first line that these emails are generic –  the writers haven’t taken any time to actually read the content of my blog to see if their pitch is a good fit. In the example above, the pitcher didn’t even bother to specify a blog – just “wordpress.com”! (According to the latest WordPress stats, there are 76.5 million blogs on WordPress so I am not sure which of the 76.5 million blogs hosted by WP she is even referring to.)

I don’t normally single out a bad pitch like this, but this is one is so woefully lazy and spammy, it actually made me angry. This person is writing to me representing an addiction clinic and is doing damage to that clinic’s reputation by reaching out in this poorly-executed way.  This is what happens when you “do” social media the wrong way. This is why I say to clients if you aren’t going to approach social media as you would any other aspect of your business (ie in a professional manner). then it’s better to stay right away from social media.

How To Do Blogger Outreach The Right Way

Ok, rant over!

For those who are serious about their social media outreach here’s a checklist for reaching out to bloggers.

  1. Identifying the right bloggers is the first step in your outreach strategy. Use a blog directory tool like Alltop or Technorati to help you search by topic for blogs related to your topic or niche.
  2. Always address the blogger by their first name.
  3. Reference something from the blog that makes it clear you actually read it.
  4. Become familiar with the blog’s readership and how it matches your offer. If it’s not a natural fit, then please don’t waste the blogger’s time.
  5. Introduce yourself in a personal and friendly way. Provide a brief background on you and your brand, client, product or service.
  6. Explain how exactly you would like to work with the blogger. Make your pitch as concise and clear as possible.
  7. Provide hyperlinks to your website, product or service, so the blogger doesn’t have to search for you online.

Over To You

I’m curious to know if blogger outreach is part of your social media strategy and if so, do you have any best practice tips to share with us? Or do you think we should be over this kind of strategy? Is it a practice that has had its day?

Featured Image: Gratistography

Recommended Reading: 4 Steps to Create Enviable Guest Blogging Success

 

 

Posted in #HCSM

How To Better Manage Social Media With Hootsuite

Juggling several social media accounts across multiple platforms can be quite the challenge. I rely on a variety of digital marketing tools to streamline my social media activity, and top of the list is Hootsuite.

What Is Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a very useful application for managing all your social media channels in one place.   The basic Hootsuite plan is free. It enables you to view and monitor multiple streams in a single dashboard and allows you to keep tabs on key phrases, terms, keywords, brand mentions, etc.

What are the Benefits of Using Hootsuite?

Among the many benefits of using Hootsuite (either as part of a team or as an individual) is the ability to save time by scheduling your social updates in advance. Simply pick a day and time of your own choosing. This enables you to create a social media schedule that includes optimal times when your audience is online – even when you aren’t.

How To Use Hootsuite.

In today’s post, I am going to take you step-by-step through the process of setting up a Hootsuite account, and how to get the most from it.

Step 1: Create a Hootsuite account

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Go to https://hootsuite.com and click Sign Up in the top-right corner.

Click to select the plan type that fits your needs.  If you’re looking for a free plan, scroll down the page until you come to this:

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A free plan is perfect for an individual just getting started.

Enter your information.

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Once you set up an account and log in, Hootsuite will guide you through the basics of connecting networks and organizing streams.

Step 2: Add social networks

Hootsuite is optimized for managing Twitter accounts, but you can also post to your personal Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, as well as to pages and groups of which you’re a member or administrator. You can manage up to three social networks with Hootsuite Free.

In the Hootsuite dashboard, select Streams  from the launch menu.

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Click Add Social Network

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Select a social network from the list.

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Click Connect – you will then be asked to authorize your accounts to connect to the Hootsuite dashboard.

Step 3: Set up tabs and streams

Now that you’ve added social networks to your dashboard, set up streams for each one to monitor conversations and engage with your followers.

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Select Streams  from the launch menu.

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Click Add Tab  in the top-left corner, give it a name, and then press ENTER.

Inside each tab, click Add Stream.

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Click the streams you want to add for that profile.

Below is a screenshot of how my own Hootsuite dashboard looks with just three streams added.

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You can add more streams and you can drag and drop the order of each stream to suit you.

Add a Search Stream

Search streams are especially valuable for finding social activity around specific users, locations, hashtags or keywords.

To add a search stream

Select Streams  from the launch menu.

Select a social network from the list on the left, and then select a profile from the drop-down list. I’ve chosen to search for keywords on Twitter in this example.

Enter a search term. You can enter up to 3 words or phrases you would like to track.
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Twitter searches can include more complex queries. Click Show examples to see how to format search queries. (It’s not essential to include this step unless you want to do a  more robust search.)

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Click Add Stream when you are done.

This will create a real-time stream of people who are tweeting using that keyword.

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For more detailed information on adding Search Streams, visit Hootsuite’s Guide. 

Step 4: Publish messages

When you want to publish an update, follow these steps. Click New Post New_post.png in the top-right corner of the dashboard.

This brings up a full-screen Composer window which lets you preview your posts on each social network before you send or schedule them.

Click Select social networks, and then select the social profiles to post your message to. You can search by social network or profile name to surface the right profile.

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In the Text field, enter the content of your message. The character count for each social network selected will display above the Text field.  To mention a Twitter user, enter @ followed by their username, and then select the correct user from the list that populates.

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Enter or paste links right into the Text field. You will also be given the option to shorten your link.  

A link preview will appear on the right of the Composer screen.

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To upload an image, drag and drop files into the Media box or click select a file to upload to attach your own images or a video to your post. Hootsuite will also suggest images it has found in your post to you.

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Or, you can click Open Media Library to search free stock images or GIFs to include in your message. Click an image to attach it to your post (you can choose up to 4 images).

download (85)Click Close Media Library in the top-right corner when you’ve chosen an image.

On any attached image, you have the ability to edit, crop, add overlays and text, or make other adjustments to it by clicking on Edit with Creative Cloud.

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Click Save when you are done editing.

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Find more details about posting images click here.

To post the message right away, click Send Now in the bottom-right corner.

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To schedule the message, click Schedule for later, select a date and time to publish the post, click Done, and then click Schedule.

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You can view your scheduled posts in an easy-to-read calendar format.

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Other Features To Try

Hootsuite on Mobile

You can manage your social media on the go with the Hootsuite mobile apps for Android and iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch. These can be downloaded from your device’s app store.

Advanced Hootsuite

The Hootsuite App Directory is a library of free and paid third-party apps developed to extend the functionality of the Hootsuite dashboard.

  1. Select App Directory App_Directory.png from the launch menu.
  2. Click Install App beside the app.
  3. Click Finish.

See Install Apps for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in #HCSM

10 Places To Find The Best Free Images For Your Healthcare Marketing

Do you want your content to stand out in today’s crowded social media landscape? Then it’s time to get visual with social media.

You probably don’t need me to tell you that great visuals make for great marketing. Visual content can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, one that increases message association, brand awareness, and encourages engagement and shares.

The continuing growth of visual platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram, confirm that incorporating visual content into your social media strategy is a must. Not only do these platforms drive more traffic and shares, research has shown that tweets and Facebook posts with images encourage more engagement.  You should also add an image to every single blog post you write and use images to break up the tedium of text.

But when it comes to using images don’t be tempted to reach for the nearest stock photo.

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These days there’s no excuse for using boring stock images you can find all over the web. In this article, you’ll learn my favorite recommendations for sourcing images you can use to enhance your social media posts – and best of all they’re free!

1. Freepik offers users, high-quality graphic designs: exclusive illustrations and graphics resources. It operates on a freemium business model which means, the majority of the resources offered at Freepik can be used for free, only having to credit the author of the illustration to Freepik. In addition, for a small fee, you can subscribe to the Premium plan and use the illustrations without any accreditation whatsoever.

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2. Gratisography is a collection of free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects, free of copyright restrictions.

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Image Source: Gratistography

What I really like about this site is many of the images are quirky and fun — no cheesy stock images here!

3. ISO Republic provides over 3,000 images under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for personal or commercial purposes with no attribution required.

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Image Source: ISO Republic

4. Life of Pix is a collection of free high resolution stock images donated to the public domain by the Leeroy Advertising Agency in Montreal.

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Image Source: Life of Pix

Their sister site Life of Vids offers royalty-free videos, clips, and loops for you to use to your heart’s content.

5. Morguefile is a free photo archive “for creatives, by creatives.” The photos have been contributed by a wide range of creatives from around the world, ranging from amateur photo hobbyists to professionals.

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Image Source: Morgue File

6. Pexels provides over 3,800 high-resolution photos, collated from other free image sites — making it one of the largest free image directories.

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Image Source: Pexels

Pexels has also added a large library of stock videos to its site under Creative Commons license. Use the site’s list of popular searches to find the most in-demand stock videos.

7.  Picjumbo is free stock photo site created by designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek in 2013.

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Image Source: PicJumbo

Users can click through the different categories of over 600 free high-resolution photos, with the option of upgrading to Premium for new unpublished images to power your social media marketing. No attribution is required.

8. Pixabay hosts over 650,000 free stock photos, vectors, and art illustrations free of copyrights under Creative Commons. On the home page, you’ll find a small, curated collection of images and a search bar for more targeted results.

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Image Source: Pixabay

Pixabay also has a collection of stock videos for use in your marketing.

9. Rawpixel prides itself on having the most diverse collection of stock photos on the web. It wants to change the face of stock photography by creating design resources that reflect today’s society as it really is. To this end, it has started the (one) world face project with the ultimate goal of photographing people from every nation in the world.

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Image Source: Rawpixel

10. Unsplash gives you access to a bank of 50,000+ free-to-use photos. You can subscribe to receive ten new images every ten days directly into your inbox.

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Image Source: Unsplash

Creating compelling visual content can be a powerful way to connect with your audience. People connect more emotionally with images than text, and in an increasingly crowded digital landscape, when our minds are attracted more readily to content that draws our eye, images can break through the online content clutter to quickly communicate your marketing messages.

Spend some time this week perusing these sites and download a selection of your favorite images to your desktop. Then get creative with the help of an image editing tool such as Canva and edit your chosen images into something more interesting for your brand. Save these images to a Dropbox folder so you now have your own library of unique images to draw on each time you write a new piece of content or post something to social media.

For more image editing tools check out my weekly cool tool recommendations.

You might also like to read How to Add Visual Appeal to Your Social Media Campaign

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Fotor

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I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week I’m recommending Fotor, a free image editing tool.

Fotor is quick and easy to use (A paid version is available that contains more features and is ad-free.)  You can use it to create a variety of images, including photo collages for social media, making as many edits as you need from an extensive menu of edits. Fotor even provides an area where you can experiment to the side of your canvas. It includes ready to go graphics, icons and studio-quality video templates.

Visit www.Fotor.com and try it for yourself.

 

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Photofunio

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I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week I’m recommending Photofunio an image editing tool.

With PhotoFunia you can edit photos online for free in a matter of seconds resulting in high quality photo collages. As the name suggests, this tool is a lot of fun to use. It helps you make a mark with your photos by incorporating your photos into mock-ups of background images including billboards, magazine covers, and movie posters.

Here I am as a magic playing card  🙂

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Visit http://photofunia.com and try it for yourself.

 

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Iconosquare

 

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I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Iconosquare, a smartphone app for managing your Facebook and Instagram presence.

Features Include:

Instagram analytics: visualize how your community is growing, see how many followers you gained and lost, identify your most engaging media and more.  For Business profiles, get also access to Stories insights, to community demographics and to reach and impressions data.

Facebook analytics: see how your number of fans is growing and how many fans you gained and lost, access demographics of your community, visualize the reach and impressions of your posts, see your most engaging publications etc.


Instagram Post Scheduler: plan ahead and schedule all your Instagram posts in advance from your computer. Upload photos and videos, type captions and get notified on your smartphone when it’s time to post.


Instagram Comment tracker: monitor comments received on your Instagram posts. Reply to them, mark them as read and delete inappropriate ones.

Multi-Account Management: schedule and manage for all your Instagram accounts and Facebook pages from within the app.

Get On: App Store | Google Play

Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

How Does A Health Care Twitter Chat Work? #Twitter101

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It’s no secret that I love Twitter. In fact, I am quite the Twitterholic when it comes to using it.  I joined it nine years ago – that’s eons ago in social media years, which as we all know we measure in dog years.

Since then I have seen Twitter become a far less friendly, far noisier place. That said, there are still incredible ways to use Twitter to learn and to connect with other like-minded people. One of those ways is a Twitter chat.

What is a Twitter Chat?

For those who may be unfamiliar with Twitter chats, they are a public chat, moderated by a host that happens live on Twitter. To filter all the conversations a specific hashtag is used. This hashtag allows you to follow the discussion and participate in it.  Most Twitter chats are recurring and focus on specific topics introduced by a moderator.  The chats usually last one hour and a transcript of tweets is often made available after the chat has ended.

Twitter chats can be fun and lively, and they’re a great place to learn and network. They are also a super place to meet new people. When you attend a Twitter chat regularly, people will get to know you and in this way, you can develop your network and grow your followers

What Is The Impact Of Twitter Chats On Healthcare?

For patients who participate in health-related Twitter chats, there is tremendous potential to motivate participants and encourage change. Much of this change comes from peer-to-peer support which has been shown to be highly effective in motivating change. Many participants share conversational and informational knowledge that they believe is valuable both to themselves and others.

The trailblazer in this area is the Breast Cancer Social Media chat (#BCSM). The first #BCSM chat took place in 2011. Moderated by two breast cancer patients, Alicia Staley and Jody Schoger, the goal was to provide credible, evidence-based information and support for anyone affected by breast cancer.

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Alicia and Jody were soon joined by breast surgeon, Dr. Deanna Attai who saw immense value in taking part in these conversations. From this inside peek into the world of patients, Dr. Attai surmised that while doctors were providing information, patients, overwhelmed by their diagnosis,  were not necessarily hearing it.

In 2015, BCSM published a study which demonstrated that breast cancer patients’ perceived knowledge increases and their anxiety decreases by participation in Twitter chats like #BCSM. In a separate paper published in 2016, the use of social media was linked to more patient confidence in cancer treatment choices.

Dr. Matthew Katz, a radiation oncologist based in the US, agrees that Twitter chats provide valuable insight into patient concerns and credits them with making him a better listener.

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I love what Elin Silveous says about Twitter chats being the best of social media. It’s about all healthcare stakeholders coming together to learn from and with each other.

Where To Find Healthcare Twitter Chats

Symplur is doing an impressive job of compiling all of the healthcare hashtags and providing chat transcripts in The Healthcare Hashtag Project. The goal of the project is to make the use of healthcare social media and Twitter more accessible for the healthcare community as a whole (a full list and a tweet chat calendar of meeting times can be found on the Symplur website).

How To Take Part In A Twitter Chat

1. Find a chat you’d like to join using Symplur or another tool like Twubs.

2. When it’s time to join the chat, you can join in straight from your Twitter account. Simply search for the relevant hashtag at the designated time.  TweetChat is a great tool to use to make participation easier. Simply log in with your Twitter handle, enter the hashtag of the event, and TweetChat will pull up all the related messages so you can follow the conversation.

3. Take a breath and jump right into the chat. Twitter chats move fast, which is why using a third-party tool like TweetChat is so useful. Don’t worry if the pace is so fast that you feel you’re missing out on some of the tweets. The host will often provide a transcript after the chat so you to pick up on what you might have missed.

4. If you are new to Twitter chats, you might like to listen at first to get a better sense of how it works before you join in.  However, even if all you do is listen rather than participate, take a moment at the start to introduce yourself when the host asks for introductions. You can let participants know this is your first chat – you will often find that “newbies” receive a lot of encouragement from the group.

5. Remember to use the hashtag associated with the chat for all tweets and retweets during the chat. Again, this is where the TweetChat tool is useful because it will automatically add the hashtag to your tweets, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.

6. The host will introduce their questions with Q (for question) or T (for topic) followed by the number of the question, for example T1, T2, etc. When you want to respond to a question, use A (for answer) and the corresponding number, for example, A1, A2, etc.

7. A good tip is to find out in advance what the topic will be so you have time to prepare some tweets in advance. Whether it’s a question or comment relevant to the topic,  a link to some research you have seen, or an article you’ve written, being prepared in this way gives you more confidence to take part.

8. Follow Twitter etiquette. Let your Twitter followers know before the tweet chat that they’ll be seeing a lot of tweets from you for the next hour. You could even invite them to the tweet chat if you think they may be interested in the topic.

9. Enjoy! As I said at the start Twitter chats are super places to learn and find new people to connect with. If you haven’t yet tried a chat, then try one out this week and do let me know how you get on.

How do YOU get the most out of Twitter chats?

Any Twitter chats you’d recommend? What tips and tricks have you learned by participating in Twitter chats?


You might also like to read Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Hashtags in Healthcare…But Were Afraid To Ask!

 

Posted in #HCSM

#ThursdayTip: How To Pin A Tweet

Pinning a Tweet allows you to showcase your best content at the top of your profile page for as long as you’d like.

In the past Twitter typically only allowed viewers to see posts in as a sequential timeline which meant that your most important or relevant content quickly got lost in the fast-moving Twitter stream.

To solve this issue Twitter now allows you to pin a tweet or keep it placed at the top of the newsfeed giving you more editorial control as to what a viewer will see first when visiting your page.

How To Pin A Tweet

It’s super quick and easy to do. Follow the steps below to pin your first tweet.

1. Open up your Twitter Profile Page.

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2. Choose a Tweet you would like to Pin. Select “Pin to your profile page”.

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3. The Tweet will now automatically appear at the top of Page.

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4. To remove a pinned tweet, simply click on the “unpin” option. 

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It’s a good idea to review your pinned tweets regularly to make sure you are sharing up-to-date posts. Out-dated pins will make your profile look out-dated too.  To refresh your Twitter profile simply choose another tweet to pin. Twitter will ask you to confirm if you want to replace your current pinned tweet.

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It couldn’t be easier to follow these steps and it’s something you should certainly do to highlight your accomplishments, share your latest news, and bring your viewers attention to the posts you want them to see first.

Here’s to your tweeting success!

 

 

 

 

Posted in #HCSM

How To Set SMART Goals For Your Healthcare Marketing

It’s no secret that goal setting increases your likelihood of social media success, yet it never ceases to amaze me how many businesses have given scant thought to creating their social media goals.

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Source: Finances Online

When working with clients to create an online marketing strategy, one of my first questions to them is simply “what are you hoping to achieve with social media?” So many times I see businesses jump on board the latest social network without any thought as to what they actually want to achieve there.

Strategy Without Goals Is Putting The Cart Before The Horse

Without goals, it’s hard to know exactly how well your social media strategy is performing. Clear goals will not only propel your strategy forward, but they will also serve as defined metrics when it comes to measuring your progress.

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Common Social Media Marketing Goals

Below you will find a list of some common social media marketing goals — decide which of these are most aligned with your business goals.

  • Attract more patients to your practice
  • Improve the quality of health information online
  • Drive traffic to your  website
  • Run a disease awareness campaign
  • Establish online authority and credibility

Research shows that writing down your goals increases the completion rate of goals.

How To Set SMART Social Media Goals

For a goal to become a reality, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic, as well as time specific — these are often called SMART goals. SMART goals are one of the longest-lasting, most popular goal-setting frameworks for business.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes a goal SMART

Specific — the more specific you can be with defining a goal, the easier it will be to clearly see what it is you are trying to achieve. Let’s take as an example a goal to grow your Twitter followers.

Measurable — how will you measure your success? For example — double the number of your existing Twitter followers.

Attainable — is your goal attainable? Can you realistically double the number of your Twitter followers?

Relevant — a relevant goal is aligned closely to your business objectives. Does this goal support your business’s objectives, vision, or values?

Time Specific — give your goal a deadline. Double Twitter follower numbers in three months.

Wrapping Up

Setting SMART goals to which you can align your social media activity is a good guarantee of online marketing success. Once you have a clear set of goals, you can track your key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics more accurately. Make sure to revisit your goals on a regular basis to determine if you are still on track or if something needs adjusting. A winning formula is to measure, adjust and then rinse and repeat.

 

Posted in Cool Tool, Infographics, Visual Marketing

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Landscape

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I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Landscape, a super-cool image resizing tool from Sprout Social. 

Landscape allows you to crop images for any social profile and resize your images with always up-to-date dimensions for every network.

Here’s how it works

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You don’t have to consult a running list of network and post type dimensions anymore—let Landscape do it for you. How cool is that!

Posted in #HCSM

Stuck For What To Post On Twitter? This Might Be The Solution!

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Maintaining a consistent posting schedule on social media – whether it’s writing blog posts, or sharing updates on social media channels – can be a challenge.  When I teach social media classes, I always recommend creating an editorial calendar so you can map out in advance upcoming holidays and cause awareness days.   By doing this, you will have a ready supply of things to share on social media.

To help you plan your content in advance, Hubspot has released a super-helpful social media calendar for the remainder of 2018.  It’s downloadable, so you have an instant editorial calendar complete with hashtags to use on Twitter. Take a look at it and see which days you could build engagement around. Have some fun with it, but do make sure it fits with your brand.

I’ve already spotted some fun awareness days I wish I had known about earlier in the year but there’s still plenty of time to plan out the rest of the year. Get ready to polish off your best joke for National Tell A Joke Day  coming up next month.

Enjoy!

Related Reading

Posted in #HCSM, SEO

Why and How You Should Optimise Your Medical Website For Local Search

Your website is the hub of your digital efforts. You want your site to be optimized for search keywords, usability, and content. Doing so will help your website appear further up Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for the services you offer, and help increase the likelihood that users will remain on your site and get to know you better.

If you want more people to find you online, you need to optimize your website through good search engine optimization practices. And if you want to attract new patients, your website also needs to be optimized for your local area. When someone uses the internet to locate a Medical Practice nearby, it’s critical that your website appears in those results (searches on mobile devices containing the phrase “near me” has skyrocketed in recent years).

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In recent research carried out by BrightLocal, consumers were asked how they used voice assistants and voice search for local business. The top three most demanded voice search functions involve finding restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery, with clothing, accommodation, and medicine following closely behind.

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The Voice Search for Local Business Study also revealed that 46% of voice search users use voice search to find local businesses daily.

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To get to the top of Google’s local SERP (Search Engine Results Page) follow these steps:

  • Claim Your Google My Business Listing
  • Add exterior and interior photos of your location, your logo and location details to your Google Business Listing.
  • Encourage your patients to leave a review for you. Google reviews appear on your Google My Business profile, with a one- to five-star rating based on the number of positive ratings you receive.
  • On your website, make sure your meta descriptions and keywords include location information.
  • Create content relevant to your patients’ needs.
  • Include your location information on every page of your website, either in the header, footer, or elsewhere on the page.
  • If you have more than one office location, have a separate webpage for each site and include the address and location for each.
    Include Google maps and/or directions to your office

Your website is pivotal to your digital marketing strategy. And with more patients than ever searching online for you via mobile devices, it’s imperative that your website is optimized for them to find you.  It takes time and resources to optimize your site to deliver the best experience possible, but if you are serious about how your business performs, you need to get serious about the performance of your website too.

Sign up for our mailing list to get helpful tips for growing your practice.

Posted in #HCSM, Twitter

What To Post on Twitter: A Cheat Sheet For Healthcare Tweeters

Have you recently joined Twitter and are wondering what you should tweet beyond “This is my first Tweet”? Or have you been on Twitter for a while now but are running out of things to post? 

If your tweeting needs a fresh injection of ideas, check out the following list of tweets you can adapt and post to your followers.

  1. Link to a new post on your blog – ok this is one of the most obvious tweets to send, but if you haven’t blogged in a while, why not see this as an opportunity to revisit your website and identify your most popular posts. Pull out a quote, or a statistic or turn your headline into a question before tweeting a fresh link to your chosen post.
  2. Share an inspiring or motivational quote – tag it with #MondayMotivation for more traction.
  3. Post a behind-the-scenes photo of your office.  People love to see behind the scenes stuff – so bring your camera to your next staff meeting, lunch or event. Sharing pictures of your employees (with their permission, of course) makes your practice so much more relatable. Furthermore, it helps to build a sense of camaraderie
  4. Participate in Follow Friday – #FollowFriday or #FF on Twitter is a tradition in which people send tweets recommending other Twitter users they think are interesting to follow. The tweets are sent on Fridays and contain the hashtag #ff or #FollowFriday.
  5. Use Hashtags strategically. Use hashtags to identify real-time opportunities for engagement in news and events, identify current trends and key influencers. Find trending hashtags with tools like TwitonomyHashtagify.me and RiteTag.
  6. Thank a new follower – thank someone by name when they follow you. People love to be acknowledged by name.
  7. Share a health care tip. Share a quick seasonal wellness or preventative care tip with your followers.
  8. Tweet a “Did you know?” or “True or False” style tweet. These kinds of tweets are popular for encouraging interactions among your followers.
  9. Conduct a poll. Ask your followers a question using Twitter’s Poll Feature. Use it to get a snapshot of readers’ attitudes on health topics like vaccination, screening, complementary therapy, mental health – the list is endless. Share the results in a follow-up tweet.
  10. Live tweet. Live tweeting is a great way to share valuable information at conferences and events.
  11. Post a “fill-in-the-blank” prompt. This is a fun way to engage your audience. Here’s an example:  Fill in the blank: ________________ always makes me smile.
  12. Tweet about cause awareness events. It could be Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month or Healthy Weight Week. Join in using the relevant hashtag on Twitter.
  13. Post holiday-themed tweets (Christmas, Hanukah, 4th July, etc.) You could also join in fun holidays like National Donut Day. Check out this calendar to keep you right up to day with ideas.
  14. Share news and updates from your practice. Are you rolling out a new program, product or service? Let your followers know about it in a tweet. You can highlight when someone on your team achieves a new certification level or when you acquire a new piece of equipment that affords better care. Patients will appreciate you keeping them informed.
  15. Share your thoughts on an industry trend. Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. Can you predict or comment on the latest healthcare trend? Set up Google Alerts to keep updated on emerging trends in your industry to provide the latest information for your readers.
  16. Create a Twitter Moment. Twitter gives you the ability to create “Moments,” which  allows you to curate a series, or gallery, of tweets revolving around a particular theme. Follow this step-by-step guide to create your first Twitter Moment.
  17. Engage with your patients around relevant conversations. Join a health-related Twitter chat – you’ll find a comprehensive list at Symplur.com.

So there you have it, some suggestions for things to post on Twitter when you have run out of ideas. Of course the most important thing about Twitter, indeed any social network, is that it’s just that.. social. Don’t just engage in one-way tweeting. Twitter is a two-way communication tool.  Make sure you are also taking the time to be sociable – like and respond to others tweets, retweet and comment often.

You might also like to read Stuck For What To Post On Twitter? This Might Be The Solution You’ve Been Looking For!

https://hcsmmonitor.com/2018/07/29/stuck-for-what-to-post-on-social-media-heres-the-solution/


Want more tips like these? 

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to be in the know. 

Posted in Cool Tool, Infographics, Visual Marketing

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Biteable

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I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is  Biteable – a desktop video creation tool which bills itself as “The World’s Simplest Video Maker.”

You can choose from a selection of pre-designed Templates or you can build your video from scratch yourself. Biteable hosts a large collection of video clips and images (many of these clips are included with the free plan) to add to your templates.  It also provides simple animation and claymation sequences to help you produce engaging explainer videos in just a few hours.

Biteable’s free plan allows you to create five projects per month and publish HD-quality video to YouTube and Facebook. The paid plan ($29/month) offers unlimited videos, 85,000 stock footage clips, and no watermark.

 

 

Posted in #HCSM

How to Care for the Millennial Patient

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With the consumer power and share of the patient population millennials will occupy in years to come, it is likely social media will occupy at least an ancillary role in healthcare communications considering its popularity among that generation. Healthcare Finance

2012 study from ZocDoc and Harris Interactive found that millennials believe seeing a doctor is too much of a “pain.” Their frustration with the healthcare system has resulted in over half of respondents delaying seeking medical attention. Perhaps even more troubling was the fact 79% of those millennials surveyed believe it is easier to evaluate a new tech gadget than a doctor, and 76% feel it’s easier to find information about a hotel than a medical provider. download (1).png

In an age of immediate, personalized interactions, building communications channels that reflect millennials’ wants and needs will be ever-more important. If you are wondering how you can attract and care for millennial patients, this CuredMD guide provides some answers – not surprisingly understanding the Millennials’ love of technology and embracing social media top the list.  And this MNI article recommends a millennial marketing strategy should feature more conversation and real people telling meaningful stories so that your brand can resonate with millennial values.

Finally, some research from the University of Southern California’s online master of science in applied psychology found that the younger demographic values authenticity and their peers’ opinions. 84 percent of millennials say that user-generated content influences what they buy and 82 percent are comfortable enough with brands to interact directly with them.

Related Reading

Millennials: From Social Media in Healthcare to Rich Patient Relationships with Cutting-Edge Communications

7 Ways to Connect with Millennial Patients

Posted in #HCSM

3 Digital Trends Making An Impact on Healthcare Marketing Today

Although digital marketing has been making waves in the online world of medical practices for quite some time, the last two years has really seen some dynamic changes. Digital marketing has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have for patient acquisition and retention. These changes are driven by trends in patient behavior and preferences, mainly by Gen Z and millennials.

Bottom line, if you don’t have a solid online presence, you’re missing out on many patients.

Here are three of the most important digital trends that have been making the biggest impact in the online marketing world.  How many have you integrated into your medical marketing?

1. The Shift To Video Content

Video is booming. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with added SEO potential due to its Google connection.  By 2020, Cisco predicts that video will make up 82% of the content we consume online

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Video has become the predominant way people want to consume information and this goes for patients too. Information delivered via video vs. print equates to a much higher retention rate. In addition, patients who watch videos featuring a physician feel a greater level of trust. The type of video content you can create includes Q&As with physicians, patient testimonials, explainer videos, and live streaming.

Live streaming is a powerful medium because it gives your audience a chance to interact directly with you.  All the major platforms are either running and encouraging live video or soon will be. Its power lies in the fact that it is more than just a one-way flow of information. Rather, viewers can pose questions and provide feedback in real time. You can use it to reach beyond the clinic and engage with patients and caregivers wherever they are and whenever they watch to watch. Additionally, live videos on Facebook and Instagram can be saved and used later, which is perfect for repurposing your videos and getting the most traction out of them.

Viewer engagement levels for live videos are ten times more than regular video by social media metrics such as likes, comments, and shares. Facebook is now putting a greater emphasis on videos. Their algorithm prioritizes live video while they are being broadcast allowing the content to appear at the top of a  user’s News Feed. Additionally, Facebook Live videos are archived on Facebook and can be viewed and shared after the live broadcast.

The format is easy to use, can be low cost or professionally produced, and enjoys extremely high engagement levels. Thanks to the rise of Facebook LiveTwitter Live, and Instagram Stories’ “Live” mode you now not only have the ability to communicate with your audience via social media, you can also do so in real time. And with Millennials’ love for dynamic, real-time, interactive digital experience, Live is one of the best ways to reach them.

Recommended Reading: Hubspot’s Guide To Getting Started on Facebook Live

2. Mobile Responsive Websites Are A Must

Just over a year ago, Google announced a major change to the way its search index will rank sites: it will go mobile-first. As the company explained at the time, Google’s algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank its pages. Without a mobile responsive site, not only are you losing out significantly in the organic search rankings, but Google has made it very clear that it will penalize sites that are not mobile responsive.

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In March 2017, comScore released its “2017 US Cross-Platform Future in Focus” report, which tracks consumer usage patterns across digital media channels and platforms. The measurement firm found that mobile now accounts for 69 percent of digital media time spent. By comparison, the desktop has fallen to less than one-third of total digital media time. Mobile viewing is especially popular with younger adults (age 18-34) and women, the analysis found.

3. Voice Search Is On The Rise

The majority of patients searching for information on the web still trust search engines but the way people search for information online is changing. Increasingly, people are using voice search on their smartphones, tablets or voice assistants (like the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices) to search for information on the internet (yet another compelling reason to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile).  According to comScore’s forecasting, 50 percent of searches will be performed through voice functions in 2020 and the majority will be done without even looking at a screen.

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Source: Our Social Times

In essence, voice searches are largely about answering questions, not about focusing on individual keywords. SEO is fast becoming AEO (Answer Engine Optimisation).  To quote NewsCred, “If you’re a marketer, “What’s the Alexa strategy?” will be a question you’ll be expected to answer.”

Recommended Reading

Wrapping Up

Social media is constantly evolving, and while you need to stay abreast of trends, you don’t necessarily need to jump on each and every one of them at once. To stay competitive in the social space, we need to be open to new technology and ready to experiment with new tools, but we shouldn’t fall for the proverbial “shiny object syndrome.”

Keep your sights on the bigger picture — ask yourself how this new technology fits with your overall strategy. The challenge as always is keeping ahead of evolving social media trends, but equally staying true to your mission and vision.

Related: Check-in: Were We Right About Our 2018 Social Trends?


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Sign up for our weekly newsletter to be in the know. 

 

Posted in #HCSM

Digital Health Checkup: 10 Signs It’s Time To Redesign Your Medical Practice Website

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When was the last time you took a close look at your medical practice website?

Websites are meant to be living entities that grow along with your business. A website is not a “set it and forget it” type investment.  Just like fashion, technology changes with the times. What once looked fresh and modern may now look old and outdated, giving your patients the impression that your practice is the same.

Your website has seven seconds to make an impression and your patients are making snap judgments based on what they see and read. Research Gate reports 94 percent of people are more apt to trust websites that boast good designs. Gaining trust is particularly important for medical practices, and you could lose it in a single glance with an outdated site.

Take some time this week to look at your website with fresh eyes and ask yourself the following questions.

1. How does your website stack up against my competitors?

If your competitors’ websites are more streamlined, functional and fresher than yours, they may be drawing in more patients with a stronger online presence.  Make a list of their sites and critically evaluate them in terms of look, design, and functionality. Do they include a blog? Helpful checklists? Pre-registration forms patients can fill out to save time before their appointment? An online appointment system? Screenshot the design features you think work well and think about how you might incorporate them into your website. Look also at what your competitor might be missing. Do you have a key differentiator that sets you apart from the competition? Highlight that difference on your website.

2. Can visitors easily find what they are looking for when they visit your site?

When visitors land on your medical practice website, they’re typically looking for something specific. Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and ask yourself how easy it is to find key information on your site. How many clicks does a visitor have to make to get to the information they are looking for?  Think about the information someone is searching for when they visit your site—and make it easy for them to find it.

Here are some details your patients are likely looking for on your website.

  • The services you provide
  • The insurance plans you accept
  • A location map
  • Emergency/after hours contact details

3. Does your medical website communicate value?

Is your website nothing more than a glorified brochure? To attract patients to your website, you should be prepared to add more value in the form of information. Identify the most frequently asked questions in your practice and create blogs, videos, and FAQs for your website to answer those questions.

4. How well is your website performing?

The most common mistake I encounter when I work with clients, is they have no idea if their website is even attracting any visitors.  Unless you regularly track your website performance, you will have no idea whether it’s producing results or not.

Use a tool like Google Analytics to monitor your site’s performance. Has it declined over time? Are there fewer people coming to your site? Do they stick around or “bounce” off your site too quickly? Bounce rate is a contributor to your site’s search rankings, and it refers to the amount of time someone is on your site before “bouncing” off to another site. If you have a lot of people who look and quickly click away, it tells search engines you don’t have useful information on your site.

5. Is your website design mobile responsive?

Most people aren’t looking at your website on a desktop or laptop anymore. They are looking at it on a phone or tablet.

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Recent studies show 52% of smartphone users gather health-related information on their phonesThis means that your website needs to be easy to read no matter where your patient may access it.

Check how your website looks on a mobile device. If you need a magnifying glass to read it then your website is most likely not mobile responsive (a site that adapts to the size of the device is mobile responsive).  Having a mobile-responsive site (ie one that automatically changes its layout and placements of certain menus and buttons automatically) is important because firstly, over half of patients search online for health information on their smartphone, and secondly, Google now gives ranking priority to those sites that are mobile friendly.  In fact, Google has stated that it will penalize websites that aren’t mobile-responsive, so if your site isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’ll likely lose out significantly in the organic search rankings.  To check if your site’s design is responsive, enter its URL into this Google tool.

Recommended Reading: What Is Mobile Responsive and Why Should You Care?

6. Is your medical website optimized for search engines?

Eight-in-ten online health seekers say they began at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. If you want more people to find you online, you need to optimize your website through good search engine optimization practices.

SEO (the ability to optimize your site for search engines),  is a detailed and sometimes confusing process, and you may want to hire an SEO expert to do it for you. If you don’t want to hire someone, there are search engine optimization tools available to help you do your own SEO — and many of them are free. I’ve put together this list of the best free SEO tools out there to help you instantly improve your online marketing.

A Note on SEO and Redesigning Your Website. 

One of the biggest misconceptions among website owners is that SEO only needs to be done once.  Numerous fractions are altered during redesign including code and pages. If they are not properly handled, it can negatively impact the website’s SEO and affect the long-term growth of the site. To find how to redesign your website without affecting SEO, read this guide.

7. Does your website take time to load content and images?

How fast your website loads is critical – a good site will load in 2 seconds. If your site is taking longer than that, consider that around 40% of people will leave a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds. Google announced that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches too.

Recommended Reading: Four of the Best Tools to Increase Website Speed

8. Does your site still use Flash?

There was a time when Flash was a key element of every new website, but nowadays Flash is seen an embarrassing relic of the past. It is no longer a matter of IF browsers will stop supporting Flash in the future, it is now a matter of WHEN they will do so, which means you need to take steps now if you want your site to be usable for the widest range of people in the future.

9. Have you included relevant imagery on your site?

High-resolution images are an important component of any website and require care and attention to make the best impression. If you are already using images, are they relevant to what you do? Or are you relying too heavily on generic stock images you can find in many other places on the web? These days there’s no excuse for using boring stock images. In this article, you’ll learn about my best recommendations for sourcing images you can use for free to enhance your medical marketing.

Including photos of your the interior and exterior of your building, your logo, and your employees creates a welcoming and professional impression on prospective patients  Patients want a relationship with the people who will be caring for them.

10. Have you incorporated social media?

Not only are patients seeking health information online, they are also using social media to research health information. Ask yourself if it’s easy for visitors to share your content on social media? Have you included prominent social sharing buttons? Your average reader might never share your content unless you make it seamlessly easy to do so.

To Wrap Up

Your website is pivotal to your digital marketing strategy. And with more patients than ever searching online for you, it’s imperative that your website is optimized for them to find you.  It takes time and resources to optimize your site to deliver the best experience possible, but if you are serious about how your business performs, you need to get serious about the performance of your website too.

Related: 10 Healthcare Website Design Tips that Deliver Patients

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Posted in Cool Tool, Infographics, Visual Marketing

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Ripl

I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Ripl is a mobile app (iOS and Android) that lets you create short animated videos with professionally designed templates.

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Ripl was created to empower every small business owner to build an amazing brand. We made the Ripl app simple, quick and intuitive because business tools should do the work for you, not make more work for you.

You can choose from 200+ animated designs to easily create posts that fit your unique brand. You can add your photo(s) and text, choose a design template, customize the post for your business, and share in one tap to your social media accounts.

Ripl is integrated with the major social media platforms, so sharing your final video is easy. Once you’ve connected your social profiles to Ripl, you can post directly to Facebook, Facebook groups, YouTube, LinkedIn, and more. You can export your videos if you want to use them outside of your social media platforms.

Ripl is free to download and includes an assortment of free designs. Additionally, we offer Ripl Pro—a paid subscription that offers more designs, more music options, logo and brand customizations, scheduling features and more.

 

Posted in Twitter

How To Analyze Your Twitter Followers

Who do you want to reach on Twitter? What are the best times to reach them?  You can find the answers to these questions and more by using a tool like Followerwonk –  a freemium Twitter audience analysis tool.

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Followerwonk segments followers into a number of psychographic segments: including gender, location, Twitter activity, and more.

Here’s how it works.

  • Visit Followerwonk and enter your brand or company’s Twitter handle.
  • Select the option to Analyze Their Followers

Below is an overview of the data tracked by Followerwonk, using my own Twitter account as an example.

1. Mapped Location of Followers

Using the location field in Twitter accounts, Followerwonk will approximate the geographic location of up to 5,000 users and map them for you.

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2. Most Active Hours of Followers

This chart breaks down the hourly Twitter activity of your followers and the data can help you determine the best time to tweet to reach them.

 

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3. Social Authority Score

Continue reading “How To Analyze Your Twitter Followers”

Posted in #HCSM

The Evolution of Social Media [Infographic]

I’m a real geek when it comes to social media particularly when it comes to its evolution.  It still blows my mind how relatively recent a phenomenon social media is in our lives – relative that is to our age. If like me you are of the Gen X generation than you can easily remember a time when “social networking” was just something you did at parties. For later generations, social media is not so revolutionary.

Social media as an industry is continually evolving, with new networks, updates, and features constantly developing. This continually-changing landscape challenges us to keep up with trends and be ever-more creative in capturing the attention of audiences.

Here’s a cool infographic which charts the rise and rise of social media since the first social network launched in 2002. As you can see LinkedIn preceded Facebook by two years.   I can’t wait to see what the next decade holds for social media!

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Infographic by Digitalinformationworld

Posted in Cool Tool, Infographics, Visual Marketing

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Visme

I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Visme – another free design tool that allows you to create interactive presentations, infographics, banner ads, animations, customer layouts, and more.

You can search through hundreds of custom templates and fully customize each of them to fit your specific needs.

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Insert text using Visme’s shapes and icons, images as well as widgets to visualize your data into graphs and tables. You can even add video or record audio.

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Visme offers three types of accounts, one of which is free. You don’t get everything with a free account, but you get more than enough to start creating content. A Basic account is also a great way to test drive the solution before you buy.

Go to http://www.visme.co to get creating. 

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: ColorZilla

I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is ColorZilla.

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With ColorZilla you can get a color reading from any point in your browser, quickly adjust this color and paste it into another program. Colorzilla allows you to get the color of any pixel on the page. You can also pick a color from a palette and get the CSS code for each color.

ColorZilla is available as both Firefox and Google Chrome extensions.

Posted in #HCSM

10 Keys To Find, Grow & Nurture Your Social Media Community

What is a social media community and why should we care about creating one?

A  social media community is a group of people who share a strong common interest, form relationships and interact online. It’s important we draw a difference between a “social following” and a “social community” because sometimes people confuse the two.  Whereas a following is an audience that interacts with you, a community is an audience that interacts with you – but even more importantly with each other.

According to Meltwater, “If you don’t have a community, you don’t have anyone listening to you, and if there’s no one listening to you, it’s difficult to build brand awareness and deliver ROI.”

Want to learn more? My slide-deck from a recent talk on this topic is now available to view on SlideShare

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Stencil

I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is Stencil, a quick and easy tool to design visuals.

Right within the dashboard you have access to 860,000+ background images. You can add whatever text and/or graphics to these and directly share them on social media. They have 200,000+ graphics and icons. If you like sharing quotes on social media you can take advantage of their ready to add quotes feature. It will save you a lot of time. They also have a browser extension that makes it easy to instantly upload any image from a webpage, modify it and then share it.

You can save, download or share up to 10 images per month, for free. You can upgrade to 500 images per month and unlimited plans after that.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Picovico

I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some of my favourite tools with you at the start of each week. This week I’ve been having fun trying out Picovico, an online tool which converts your photos into videos. There are three different pricing structures – for now, I’ve gone with the free option to test things out – this comes with water-marked logo and a lower resolution, but it gives you an idea of how it works. Here’s a link to the video I created to show you. It was a really quick and simple process.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

Posted in #HCSM

Need a topic for your healthcare blog? Here are 16 ideas to get you going

Healthcare blogs vary in content and style; they range from commentary on a topical issue to patients sharing the lived experience of a disease and healthcare professionals educating patients on the management of an illness.

Blogs written by doctors, nurses, health researchers, patients, and healthcare and digital marketers and innovators add much to the richness and diversity of the online healthcare conversation. Creating a blog is relatively easy; the challenge lies in consistently updating the content. If you are struggling to come up with new ideas on a regular basis for your blog, then this list of 16 content ideas should help get you going again.

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What kind of questions do your patients most frequently ask about a specific medical condition? Compile a list of these frequently asked questions and answer them on your blog.

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Creating original content is time and resource intensive.  Curation helps you provide your audience with relevant, high quality information on a regular basis without sacrificing your time and resources. Don’t rely on curation alone; curated content is designed to complement your content creation plan—not replace it.

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Are you rolling out a new program, product or service? Write a blog post to introduce it and highlight its features and benefits.

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Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. Can you predict or comment on the latest healthcare trend? Readers will enjoy learning about it through your blog, particularly if you share your own unique perspective. Set up Google Alerts to keep updated on emerging trends in your industry to provide the latest information for your readers.

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There are several online tools you can use to create a readers’ poll. If you have a WordPress.com site, then you’ve got Polldaddy polls already built in. You can create, manage, and see results for all of your polls directly in your WordPress.com dashboard. If you use a WordPress.org install on your self-hosted site, install the Polldaddy WordPress.org plugin. Use it to get a snapshot of readers’ attitudes to health topics like vaccination, screening, complementary therapy, mental health – the list is endless. Publish a follow-on post with your findings.

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Write about a typical day in your working life as a healthcare professional. Be careful not to write about specific patients or to commit any breaches of privacy or confidentiality.

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Use an editorial calendar to track seasonal, cultural and industry events and write a blog post which fits the theme, for example, “How To Eat Healthily During The Holiday Season”.  Check out Twitter’s #ownthemoment tool for inspiration.

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Have you been to a conference recently where you learned about new medical research? Or read about the latest research in a medical journal?  Let your readers know about it through your blog. Make sure you provide full references and link to online publications.

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A screencast is a video screen capture with audio narration. Create a screencast to demonstrate a how-to tutorial for your patients.

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Whether you are running an event, speaking, or exhibiting at it, use your blog to build pre-event interest. Can you offer readers a special code for purchasing tickets at a reduced rate via your blog?

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After a speaking event, embed a slidedeck of your presentation on your blog using SlideShare.

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Ask a colleague to write a guest blog on an area of their expertise.

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Choose a respected healthcare professional and interview them for your blog. Alternatively, contact several experts in your field and have them answer a question: Take all the answers and turn them into one big blog post.

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Provide your unique perspective on a trending topic. Find out what’s “hot right now” online by using Google Trends, Twitter.com/Search and Reddit.com.

twitter_8e7a678b95.jpgMix things up by recording a podcast relevant to your blog’s themes.

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Gather the week’s healthcare news into a round-up post. Provide links, attribute sources and add your own commentary.

Over To You!

Have you any other suggestions you can add to this list?

Related Reading

Posted in #HCSM

Beyond Technology: A Human Experience #HIMSSEurope18

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I’ve just returned from beautiful Sitges, just outside Barcelona, Spain where I gave the joint opening keynote with Fabian Bolin, Founder of War on Cancer, at the HIMSS Europe Conference.

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I speak at and attend many, many conferences across the globe, but this was a stand-out experience for me. It wasn’t just because there were interesting sessions  – let’s be honest, we could get a lot of this information from watching a webinar – it was those conversations that happen outside the main auditorium that interest me the most.

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With Pablo Barredo, founder, La Fundación Diario De Un Cuidador and Erik Gerritsen,  Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (note: you cannot replicate the charisma and dynamism of these two online!)

I met some amazing people who are passionate about digital transformation. I arrived with no great expectations – a little conferenced out even this early in the year – but I returned with renewed energy and hope for the future of healthcare.  I made some really great connections in terms of future work collaborations, but more importantly to me, they are people whose vision for a better future for patients I share.

The location this year in Sitges was stunning. It’s a beautiful coastal town and I am already planning a return visit to explore it some more.

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Sitges By Night

The fact that the conference took place in a purpose-built hotel was unique to me and it worked really well in making the experience more relaxed and intimate.  Congregating in the delightful garden made it feel more like a gathering of friends than a sterile conference hall ever could. More conferences should do this and if I ruled the conference planning world, they would!

A shout-out to Pascal Lardier and Kim Mancha for being so accessible and approachable to new ideas throughout the planning process. Consummate professionals, I  loved working with them and their hard-working behind the scenes team.

Finally, at the risk of this sounding like some kind of cheesy Oscars acceptance speech, I also want to send out a special mention to the wonderful patient advisory board, Shane, Pierre-Mikael, Mitch, Dee, Emilie, Victor, Fabian, and my two co-conspirators Mitch and Pablo.

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With My Wonderful Patient Advisory Team Members

I arrived at HIMSS to attend a conference, but I left with so much more. Here’s to new friendships, fruitful collaborations, and renewing acquaintances again next year.

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See you in Helsinki!

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Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Pexels

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I love learning about new tools to make social media marketing more creative and effective, so I’ve decided to share some recommended tools with you at the start of each week. This week’s cool tool recommendation is stock image site Pexels.

Pexels provides over 3,800 high-resolution photos, collated from other free image sites — making it one of the largest free image directories. Pexels has also added a large library of stock videos to its site also under the CC0 license. Use the site’s list of popular searches to find the most in-demand stock video.

 

Posted in #HCSM

Social Media And Ethical Concerns For Healthcare Professionals

Social media offers innovative ways to enhance health communication, collegiality, and clinical care, but the tenets of professionalism should always guide online interactions.

Professional standards do not change in social media; rather social media proposes new circumstances to which the established ethical and professional principles can still apply. Upholding public trust in the healthcare profession is fundamental to successfully incorporating social media in clinical care.

Posted in Cool Tool

Monday Morning Cool Tool: Quora

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This week’s cool tool recommendation is Quora.

Quora is a question and answer platform where you can either ask a question about your topic or simply do a search using your topic keyword to find what people are asking about that topic. It’s a super place for market research. Make a list of those questions which you feel you could write about.

You have the option to follow chosen topics in your niche. Once you do so you’ll keep seeing the ‘Top Stories’ (questions) in your Quora newsfeed. You can also check out the ‘New Questions’ option to see the latest questions. When you have written an article or blog post on the topic, go back into Quora and answer a question related to the topic. You can include a link to your post in your answer.