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April 01, 2020

Survey: Local Healthcare Experts Are Most Trusted Coronavirus Information Sources

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Even in the best of times, hospitals and health systems are community leaders. During this public health crisis brought on by the coronavirus, communities need them even more. To support frontline medical workers, healthcare marketing and communication teams need to provide expert information, tools and resources to keep patients and communities connected, informed and healthy….

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Even in the best of times, hospitals and health systems are community leaders. During this public health crisis brought on by the coronavirus, communities need them even more.

To support frontline medical workers, healthcare marketing and communication teams need to provide expert information, tools and resources to keep patients and communities connected, informed and healthy.

ReviveHealth has published a new survey that offers data on what consumers expect from health systems right now and where they’re looking for information.

Here are some of the key statistics:

coronavirus-consumer-survey-concern
Credit: ReviveHealth, “Consumer Survey Findings – COVID-19”

In this vulnerable situation, healthcare communicators can guide their efforts based on public concern levels. People are concerned about many threats, even beyond preventative measures and treatment.

The survey reports that physical health of families is the top concern, followed by access to food, access to health services, personal finances and employment, being infected and mental health.

While many consumers might be inundated with information, over half of survey respondents want to hear from their local hospital daily.

National and worldwide coronavirus information sources are useful to consumers, but people are more focused on how the spread of the disease affects their community at the local level. With no shortage of experts and experience, health systems are uniquely positioned to speak to local concerns as they arise.

Local healthcare experts are trusted by 86% of respondents, according to the survey, making them the most trustworthy coronavirus information sources. They are followed by national healthcare experts, local government agencies and news organizations.

Even with that trust in healthcare providers, most consumers don’t have sufficient information on how to get tested. About 65% of those surveyed said they don’t have enough or any information on the COVID-19 testing process, while 30% know where to go.

Testing availability is one of many pieces of information consumers want to receive from local hospitals and health systems related to the coronavirus. Two-thirds are looking for community updates on the disease, and more than half are looking for information about accessing health services aside from testing.

coronavirus-consumer-survey-hospital
Credit: ReviveHealth, “Consumer Survey Findings – COVID-19”

As far as facility-free treatment options, there’s a long way to go before all consumers consider telemedicine an option, the survey reports. Nearly half of respondents hadn’t ever heard of telemedicine; however, the majority of consumers said they are interested or willing to try.

So, what does it all mean?

In times like these, healthcare marketers are responsible for meeting the consumer need for information in a unique and scalable way.

We hope these statistics help to guide your strategy through this increasingly difficult situation. Here are some of our key takeaways:

  • Access to food and access to health services concern people nearly as much as the physical health of their families. Publish information and other content that includes concerns beyond just symptoms, testing and treatment.
  • Don’t assume that consumers know how to get tested for COVID-19: About two-thirds say they don’t have enough information.
  • Use your authority as trusted healthcare experts to control the narrative about your brand, inform the public about coronavirus at large and in your local communities, and fight misinformation.

The COVID-19 Consumer Survey by ReviveHealth included 700 respondents across the U.S. who are 25 years and older, with a margin of error of 4%.

 

Note: View our on-demand webinar for insights on the online conversation surrounding COVID-19 and how healthcare organizations can respond.

Read more on managing your online reputation during the COVID-19 crisis:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 30, 2020

COVID-19: Updates to Local Listings and Reviews on Google, Yelp

By: Kieran McQuilkin

As COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions in business, it’s more essential than ever to keep your community informed with local listings that reflect current service suspensions, closures and updates to day-to-day operations. Search engines and online directories are struggling alongside brick-and-mortar businesses to manage the influx of changes to facility locations, hours, appointment availability and…

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covid-19-listingsAs COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions in business, it’s more essential than ever to keep your community informed with local listings that reflect current service suspensions, closures and updates to day-to-day operations.

Search engines and online directories are struggling alongside brick-and-mortar businesses to manage the influx of changes to facility locations, hours, appointment availability and more. To help you stay up-to-date in local search, we compiled recent updates to local listings and third-party directories that you should monitor.

In this article, we’ll cover recent coronavirus-related updates to local listings, including:

  • Google My Business suspensions of local reviews and Q&A
  • Yelp updating review guidelines for COVID-19 mentions
  • A new COVID-19 Google Post type
  • A new GMB “temporarily closed” feature
  • Delays in listings updates for non-healthcare businesses

Can businesses still receive and reply to reviews? Is Google Q&A Down?

Google temporarily suspended accepting and posting new reviews, along with posting responses, due to limitations in staff. However, that suspension has been lifted – new reviews and responses are displaying on Google My Business profiles, and Google Q&A has started coming back online.

Does Yelp still allow reviews and review responses?

Yelp is still allowing for reviews and responses, for now, and took the extra step of protecting local businesses by only allowing trusted content. Yelp recently announced, “We have zero tolerance for any claims in reviews of contracting COVID-19 from a business or its employees, or negative reviews about a business being closed during what would be their regular open hours in normal circumstances.” It’s taking steps to identify and remove those types of reviews, according to the company.

Yelp also added a COVID-19 Advisory Alert banner to the top of all Yelp Business Pages, where you can share a custom message with specific updates during this pandemic. This can be used to offer services by phone or text, provide takeout and delivery updates, disclose changed hours and other updates.

 

What are COVID-19 Google Posts?

Businesses can now publish COVID-19 Google Posts for any important information regarding their services or other updates. COVID-19 Posts will appear more prominently on your business page, allowing customers to easily understand the current status of your business and your operations during this time.

covid-19-google-post-display
Example of a COVID-19 Google Post.

Is a COVID-19 Google Post different from a regular Google Post?

COVID-19 Google Posts allow for only a description and a URL to be shared – no images – which make it a quick purely informational method for your business to keep consumers informed. These post types will be available for 14 days starting March 25, but Google says it may extend that timeline.

Can you explain the recent update for chains related to COVID-19 Posts?

Google recently announced, “Posts related to COVID-19 are now temporarily permitted for chains.” This lifts the previous 10-location limit, so enterprise businesses and multi-location brands now can more easily push coronavirus-related updates across all their locations.

Should we mark our business as temporarily closed on GMB?

Google introduced a new option in GMB to mark a location temporarily closed; however, enterprise brands generally should not use this functionality unless the location will be closed longer than two-four weeks. Marking a business as temporarily closed is a manual, time-intensive process, so you can alternatively consider leveraging special hours on GMB. Using special hours, you can submit your updated hours via bulk API for faster, easier publishing.

Can we update our business name in GMB to add special services?

Google has slightly relaxed their guidelines for COVID-19-related listings, temporarily allowing for small edits to your business name where it’s applicable. Many businesses are adding unique services after their business names and descriptions, such as virtual visits, appointments only, drive-thru or curbside pickup. According to the search engine, businesses will need to revert back to their standard names after the COVID-19 crisis.

Why are we experiencing publishing delays?

Google is operating with reduced support staff, which has led to delays in posting new listings, special hours, open/close status, descriptions and attributes. However, the company says it is prioritizing listing updates deemed critical for health-related businesses. For now, you can add special service availabilities or operational changes by adding them to your business name, description and services/amenities.

Read more on managing your online presence during the COVID-19 crisis:

For a full list of Binary Fountain resources related to the coronavirus, click here.

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 27, 2020

Podcast: COVID-19 Updates to Google and Yelp Listings

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Healthcare marketers are seeing several updates to online listings like Google and Yelp in response to the spread of COVID-19. To prepare for the fast changes ahead, Aaron Clifford, Vice President of Marketing at Binary Fountain, joined Reed Smith, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, to talk about updates to those and…

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Aaron Clifford
Aaron Clifford

Healthcare marketers are seeing several updates to online listings like Google and Yelp in response to the spread of COVID-19.

To prepare for the fast changes ahead, Aaron Clifford, Vice President of Marketing at Binary Fountain, joined Reed Smith, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, to talk about updates to those and other platforms, and how can you optimize your listings during this unique time.

In a new podcast episode from Touch Point Media, Clifford and Smith discuss the opportunity to use Google Posts and other communication tools to update consumers on policies and processes, along with the most important pieces of online listings to monitor and update.

They talk about how Google has temporarily suspended its local reviews and Q&A features due to the influx of reviews – especially coronavirus-related reviews – and nationwide staff shortages. At the same time, Google has prioritized listings updates for critical health-related businesses, added a COVID-19 Google Post type, and added a “temporarily closed” listings feature.

Meanwhile, Yelp implemented new approaches to reviews related to coronavirus in order to protect companies from reputational harm, including the removal of claims about contracting the disease from a business or its employees.

Listen to the podcast here.

Read more on managing your online reputation during the COVID-19 crisis:

For a full list of Binary Fountain resources related to the coronavirus, click here.

 

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 27, 2020

The Complete Guide to Content Marketing in Healthcare

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Just two decades ago, when people had a sore throat or a lump on their body, they visited the doctor, got a diagnosis, got some medicine and went on their way. Today, the internet is the first stop for patients seeking medical information. Though many people still visit their doctor for help, most people don’t think twice…

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content-marketing-healthcare

Just two decades ago, when people had a sore throat or a lump on their body, they visited the doctor, got a diagnosis, got some medicine and went on their way.

Today, the internet is the first stop for patients seeking medical information. Though many people still visit their doctor for help, most people don’t think twice before Googling their symptoms and finding causes.

While it’s great to see people interested in their health, the internet has raised two problems:

  • Sometimes search results replace a doctor’s advice with questionable medical advice websites
  • Some of the medical advice out there is totally inaccurate

That’s disappointing, as people shouldn’t publish false medical advice. On the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for you to set your healthcare practice apart through content marketing. Unlike many of these questionable websites, you are medical experts, and you can use your expertise to help people and influence them in a positive way.

Today, we dive into what content marketing is in healthcare, explain how you can create a content strategy for your practice, and answer frequently asked questions about content marketing.

  • What is content marketing?
  • What’s the purpose of content marketing in healthcare?
  • Does healthcare content need to be HIPAA compliant?
  • How can you create a content marketing strategy for healthcare?

What is content marketing in healthcare?

Simply put, content marketing for healthcare is the creation of educational materials that help patients understand their health or medical problems. Everything from a blog article about cardiology to a social media post about skin cancer to a video about a lung procedure can be a part of content marketing.

What’s the purpose of content marketing?

Content marketing is a long-term content strategy, and when done well, establishes your practice as an authority in the space. Google prefers sites with rich, unique content and ultimately wants to see that you are taking the time to invest in showing why you are a subject matter expert.

Through this content, you are also able to create a strong bond with your readers – so strong that they choose you as their healthcare provider.

Does Healthcare Content Need to Be HIPAA Compliant?

Yes, you want your content to be compliant with HIPAA guidelines, especially if you plan on using customer stories. If you break HIPAA compliance, you may get fined or lose your license.

You can still create excellent content that’s HIPAA compliant. In fact, these guidelines were created to fend off bad content. Follow these three steps and your content will be HIPAA compliant:

1. Respect your patient

Don’t share protected health information (PHI) about patients, even if you have their consent.

2. Advise but don’t diagnose

Never diagnose or promise to treat an illness. You can talk about symptoms and treatment, but you should never make it sound like the content is a stand-in for you, the healthcare provider. Always recommend the reader should schedule an appointment at your practice.

3. Source information correctly

Be aware that everything you write will carry the weight of a medical expert. So be clear about what expert sources you are referencing.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Healthcare

Now that we have definitions and compliance out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff—creating your content marketing strategy. Depending on your expertise and the size of your organization, your strategy will vary, but these seven guidelines are applicable to any content marketing strategy.

1. Focus on your expertise

You don’t need to write about every topic in the healthcare industry. In fact, you will gain authority faster if you constantly speak on one topic, whether it’s cardiology or child psychology.

Be as specific as you can. For example, you may be an ophthalmologist but if you know eye diseases better than anyone else, then write about eyelid twitching or cataracts. The more you establish yourself as an expert on a specific topic, the more you’ll stand out.

Since you are the expert, be sure to stay up-to-date with medical news, especially new studies and breakthroughs in your field. When something big happens within the scope of your business, you want to be the first to report it to your audience. Nothing establishes your authority more than simplifying complicated medical articles and jargon-filled reports.

2. Understand your target audience

Imagine the patients you’ve helped (or want to help). What age group are they? What problems do they have? Why did they choose you over another similar provider?

The answers to these questions point to your target audience. 

Your target audience is not the “general public.” Your target audience is a specific group who have symptoms and problems that you can solve. When it comes to content strategy, your goal is to connect to the heart of this audience.

To connect to the heart, learn everything about your audience. Talk with your patients and empathize with their pains. What are their biggest concerns? What keeps them up at night? Then, create content that gives them peace of mind.

You can even ask them what content they prefer. Does reading help them understand their symptoms or watching videos? Do they like content that’s simple or do they want to go more in-depth, with stats and graphs?

Speaking directly to your patients’ problems in a language they understand is the best way to lift your content strategy off the ground.

3. Figure out what kinds of content you’ll create

Once you identify your target audience, it’s time to create content that will reach them. Again, your audience should determine what kinds of content you create. But, in general, most patients will consume the following three.

  • Blog Articles: Yes, there is still demand for articles on healthcare and medicine. But if you’re going to write a blog article, make sure it focuses on one idea (or answers one question). Sure, your area of expertise is massive, and it may be tempting to stuff everything you know into a couple articles. This usually results in scattered or unfocused writing. Tighten up your articles with one idea, and you’ll keep readers engaged with consistent, consumable content.
  • Videos: Even if you’re not a great videographer, you can tell a compelling story with video content. Think deeply about what your video could be: Don’t be the healthcare provider who puts out another boring, monotonous video. Show us your doctors, your patients, your clerks. Tell us success stories and recoveries. Explain something complicated in a simple and engaging way.
  • Social Media: The point of content marketing is to establish trust between you and potential patients. What better way to do that than to connect with them on social media? Not only will this make your patients feel secure, knowing they can reach out to you with questions, but it also allows them to connect with you on a deeper level. They can see you’re more than a healthcare provider: you’re human. And it’s that shared sense of humanity that makes your practice more welcoming.

You don’t have to limit yourself to just these three, especially if your patients prefer multiple forms of content. Here’s a quick list of other pieces of content you could create.

  • transparency-ebookE-books
  • Email sequences
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Testimonials
  • Quizzes or symptom assessments
  • Newsletters
  • FAQs
  • Case studies
  • Trend analyses
  • Webinars

4. Create Content That is Simple

This is where you can really stand out. Many healthcare organizations write content like, well, a healthcare provider. In other words, they use stuffy, high-brow medical language that fails to connect emotionally with their patients.

When readers can’t understand what you’re trying to say, they’ll find someone who can explain it better.

So, how can you write simply? We recommend using shorter paragraphs, shorter sentences and shorter words. You should always be reviewing your content from the perspective of a non-expert, which helps you see how accessible your content is. Here are some questions to help you step outside your perspective:

  • Have I clearly explained my main points?
  • Am I expecting the reader to know more than they do?
  • Do I use language that most people understand clearly?
  • Have I answered the question or addressed the problem for which the reader came?

5. Avoid self-promotion

Content marketing is not advertising. Mentioning your practice or services over and over will not create trust with your potential patients, nor will it be engaging. Always uphold the golden rule of content marketing: It’s never about you; it’s always about your reader.

As you write your content, ask yourself: what will the reader take away from this? How will it be beneficial for them? Am I being salesy or pushy?

CTAs to book an appointment and call the office are fine, but make sure you aren’t spamming those important asks.

6. Stay Organized with a Content Calendar

When you write a blog article that helps someone, make a video that gives someone peace of mind, or teach someone about a medical condition over a free webinar, you become an influence in their lives. But this influence won’t happen overnight: You must spend months, sometimes years, building it.

This is where most healthcare companies fall off the map. That’s good news for you, because it means you can beat competing healthcare providers simply by continuing to post content.

Most marketing departments post infrequently not because they’re lazy, but because they haven’t created a content calendar, or a schedule of what they’ll publish and when they’ll publish it.

A content calendar helps you find a rhythm that works. You don’t have to post content every day, nor do you have to post every week. You just need to find that sweetspot between what you have time to create and what your audience has time to consume.

7. Learn from your mistakes

Lastly, once you’ve published content and have an audience who loves what you’re creating, don’t neglect reflection. Always ask yourself: What’s working? What’s not working? Are we overlooking any of our patient’s problems?

A great way to keep your content marketing strategy from drying up is to give your patients a chance to leave you a review, which, in turn, gives you a chance to respond. People love when you listen to their feedback, and you’ll gain more trust as you interact with your audience.

Reputation Management Doesn’t Have to be Hard

Now that you know how to use content marketing to grow your practice, it’s time to take a look at the big picture: reputation management. You can’t post articles and monitor reviews on your social media accounts, your blog, your website and other sites and still run your practice.

The good news is that you don’t have to.

At Binary Fountain, we’ve created reputation management software that makes it easy for you to monitor and respond to reviews across all your social media platforms and website listings. You can demo our reputation management software for free here.

Read more about best practices for healthcare marketing:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 26, 2020

Webinar Recap: Tracking the COVID-19​ Conversation Online

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Is the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. impacting your healthcare organization’s online reputation? As a consumer feedback platform, we know questions are coming quickly and from many directions. Healthcare marketers are scrambling to organize and respond to comments from patients and community members about the disease; and the need for timely, accurate information is at…

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binary-fountain-coronavirus-webinarIs the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. impacting your healthcare organization’s online reputation?

As a consumer feedback platform, we know questions are coming quickly and from many directions. Healthcare marketers are scrambling to organize and respond to comments from patients and community members about the disease; and the need for timely, accurate information is at an all-time high.

To break down the online conversation about coronavirus and how best to optimize your listings and review response strategy, we brought together Binary Fountain’s Solutions Engineer, Shruti Mehta and Senior Account Director, Bridget Cardell.

In our latest webinar, they discussed our findings about the online conversation surrounding COVID-19 and answered questions about managing healthcare brand reputations during this fast-moving health crisis.

Here are some of the topics they covered:

  • The volume of online reviews and brand mentions related to COVID-19, and which platforms consumers are using for information.
  • What patients, consumers, and caregivers are saying online and how healthcare organizations can respond.
  • Managing third-party listings, local pages and reputation management programs to navigate this health crisis.

Here are some key takeaways:

Where are consumers receiving information and posting about COVID-19?

People are directly contacting healthcare providers frequently for information, but they’re doing so less often than checking online sources. Healthcare organizations should anticipate those questions and post answers on local landing pages, social media profiles and other online directories.

Usage of Google My Business is way up worldwide, leading to delays for posting new listings, hours and address updates. However, GMB added a COVID-19 Google Post type that will display prominently on your profile.

Some platforms are adding features and changing policies during the crisis, including Google and Yelp. Google temporarily disabled local reviews and Google Q&A, and Yelp is reviewing comments to protect businesses from reputational harm related to COVID-19.

The online conversation about coronavirus

The major coronavirus-related concerns mentioned online are physical health of family, access to food, access to health services, personal finances and employment. Further down the list, but still important to look out for, are mental/emotional health of family, following containment guidelines and physical/mental health unrelated to the disease.

Twitter is (by far and away) the most-used platform for coronavirus comments related to brands, according to Binary Fountain’s platform data. Following that in popularity are Facebook and Yelp. First-party healthcare organization surveys make up less than 1% of COVID-19 mentions tracked by our platform. About 50% of people are looking at social media several times a day, and close to 75% are looking daily, according to a recent ReviveHealth survey.

With that in mind, marketers and patient experience professionals should focus on disseminating information through multiple platforms, not just Google. Make sure your healthcare organization has a consistent, prominent message across its local landing pages, Facebook posts, tweets and third-party directories, because that’s where most consumers are getting information.

Adjusting your marketing strategy and responding to reviews

You can use social media, website landing pages, and Google Posts to engage consumers in short, frequent communications; and also to humanize your business operations. Include recent announcements and relevant information, such as local testing availability and links to CDC and WHO information about coronavirus.

Be prepared to respond to negative reviews or comments, and stay consistent with your messaging across all social media platforms. With the temporary shutdown of Google Q&A and Google Reviews, marketers should focus first on requesting and responding to reviews on other third-party sites like Healthgrades and Facebook.

In industries like healthcare, where you can’t respond to some reviews online without breaching patient confidentiality, create a strategy to take the conversation offline. You may also need to prioritize your review responses based on informational value. If you don’t have the bandwidth to respond to every comment, mention or review, prioritize responses that will offer concrete, helpful information to consumers.

Managing your listings and leveraging Google My Business for COVID-19 information

If you need to close locations, temporarily suspend specific services or make other changes, you should update your facilities’ listings data as soon as possible. This includes hours of operation, services (like coronavirus testing), contact information for different departments and services, and editing your business description to include COVID-19-related capabilities.

For healthcare organizations, make sure to update your physician profile pages and website landing pages to make sure searchers are aware of your providers’ specialties, services and hours. The best way to control the narrative and inform your community is to anticipate questions and post the answers across your online presence.

For more insights and advice, click here to watch the on-demand webinar.

For more on reputation management during the coronavirus health crisis, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page and read these articles:

 

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 25, 2020

How to Add a COVID-19 Google Post to Your Google My Business Listing

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Google is now making it easier for businesses to publish coronavirus-specific information on their listings by adding a COVID-19 Google Post option. The posts, made available on Wednesday, March 25, will appear more prominently on your business page, allowing customers to more easily understand the current status of your business and how you operate during…

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Google is now making it easier for businesses to publish coronavirus-specific information on their listings by adding a COVID-19 Google Post option.

The posts, made available on Wednesday, March 25, will appear more prominently on your business page, allowing customers to more easily understand the current status of your business and how you operate during this time.

When published, COVID-19 Google Posts will immediately appear on the post carousel and “Updates” tab on Google My Business profiles. Here is an example of how the posts are displayed:

covid-19-google-post-display

The COVID-19 post type will be available for 14 days, according to Google, however that timeline is subject to change based on the ongoing status of the virus and its effect on companies. It appears that these posts are available for all listings – even those that were recently verified in 2020.

How to Create a COVID-19 Google Post

To create a COVID-19 Google Post, click “Create Post” in your GMB dashboard, then click the “COVID-19 update” tab near the top of the panel. The panel will look like this:

covid-19-google-post

From there, you can write your update in the text box and (optionally) add a CTA button.

Be sure to preview your post, and then click publish to add it to the top of your Google Posts panel. Users can now see a preview of your message on your Google listing, and can click to reveal the full post.

As of now, these posts are meant to be highly informational and do not allow for images, but Google says it is monitoring support for additional use cases.

The search engine says it is still working to make coronavirus content appear in an even more relevant way to consumers. We will update this article as more details arise concerning these special post types, and will update our COVID-19 Resources page with other Google- and SEO-related developments.

Read more on managing your online reputation during the COVID-19 crisis:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 20, 2020

Checklist for Managing Your Online Reputation During the COVID-19 Crisis

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Even though fear and misinformation can spread quickly online – particularly quickly with COVID-19 – there are steps you can take to effectively manage your online presence and defend your business’s reputation. As coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S., it’s more important than ever for you to be the source of truth for concerned customers. The quicker you respond to any problems under your control, the better positioned you…

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coronavirus-covid19-online-reputationEven though fear and misinformation can spread quickly online – particularly quickly with COVID-19 – there are steps you can take to effectively manage your online presence and defend your business’s reputation.

As coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S., it’s more important than ever for you to be the source of truth for concerned customers. The quicker you respond to any problems under your control, the better positioned you will be to contain this crisis.

Here are five steps you can take to manage your online reputation during this health emergency, by informing your customers and protecting your brand.

1. Update Your Listings and Hours

Take the time to check on your listings across Google, social media, review sites and other platforms. Across almost all industries, the four main Google ranking signals remain consistent: name, categories, website URL and Google reviews.

Keep your listings updated with any changed hours, service suspensions or revised contact information for each department or location. To assist on listings with business closures and revised hours, Google CEO Sandar Pichai recently announced Google Search and Maps will show if a place or a business is temporarily closed.

Check your Google My Business dashboard to make sure customers are clicking through to the correct website or landing page, depending on your products or services. It’s also important during this crisis to remove inaccurate business listings wherever they arise, to avoid any confusion and to establish your brand as an authority for information or treatment.

For a full breakdown of steps toward managing your listings during the COVID-19 health crisis, read this checklist.

2. Monitor Reviews About COVID-19 and Respond with Empathy

Even during times of crisis, your customers are talking about your business online. This valuable feedback can offer insights into the consumer’s point of view and can reveal adjustments needed for your business operations as you navigate this challenging time.

To stay informed of what customers are saying across all your locations, it is best to implement a comprehensive review response strategy, if you do not have one in place. Adjust your response techniques as needed, remembering to reply calmly and transparently during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensure your team has corporate-approved, templated responses that they can adjust quickly as circumstances change while ensuring brand continuity across your communications.

If you neglect to respond to your reviews in a timely manner, you risk hurting your brand’s credibility and damaging trust, which comes at a premium during an emergency. In industries like healthcare, where you can’t respond to some reviews online without breaching patient confidentiality, create a strategy to take the conversation offline.

Take the opportunity to guide commenters to the correct department or point of contact – doing so will help resolve their problem and inform future consumers with similar inquiries.

In a recent blog post, we dive into what consumers and caregivers are saying online, and how organizations can respond.

3. Engage Customers Across Platforms

Amid constant concerns and questions surrounding COVID-19, businesses of all kinds are receiving an influx of questions on the local level.

Prepare to answer these questions on Google Q&A and other platforms with the timely and accurate information that consumers are looking for. If you don’t have too many locations to keep track of, you can set up email alerts for new questions on Google Q&A. If you have dozens of locations, you might consider using a listings management vendor or software solution.

In addition to FAQs on third-party directories, make sure to update your physician profile pages to make sure searchers are aware of your providers’ specialties, services and hours.

4. Join the Social Media Conversation Around COVID-19

Does your social media policy include a crisis communications component? Marketing departments should outline roles and responsibilities, steps to follow, communication channels, emergency contacts and social media log-in details to stay prepared.

It’s crucial to understand your audience and the social media platforms they are using to communicate about COVID-19. Be prepared to respond to negative reviews or comments, and stay consistent with your messaging across all social media platforms. Organizations should also consider pinning a coronavirus announcement or link to the top of their profiles.

You can use social media to engage consumers in short, frequent communications, and also to humanize your business operations. Before engaging, make sure to update and optimize business pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms.

5. Publish Educational, Informative Content

Control the online narrative by publishing hyperlocal, informative content to your website and third-party listings. Your local landing pages are valuable resources for customers to learn important information regarding each location. They should be updated frequently as circumstances change throughout the crisis response.

Your business should also consider publishing Google Posts and other short content with recent announcements and relevant information, such as links to CDC and WHO information about coronavirus. These posts may include corporate messaging, limited product availability, or special services that are of critical importance to the public.

Here are some tips on keeping Google fed with content that educates and informs your communities, which in turn builds your online reputation during the COVID-19 crisis.

We wish you and your teams the best during this critical moment for the healthcare industry. We are here to help your customer experience teams and marketing operations with anything you need, so please reach out with any questions or concerns.

 

Note: Join our upcoming webinar on Thursday, March 26 for information on the online conversation surrounding COVID-19 and how healthcare organizations can respond. Register here.

Read more on managing your online reputation during the COVID-19 crisis:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 20, 2020

How to Optimize Facebook Business Pages for Healthcare Providers

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Facebook is one of the most powerful marketing platforms out there. Hundreds of thousands of businesses across the world use their Facebook business page to connect with potential customers and show up in local search results. Unfortunately, many great healthcare providers have Facebook business pages that are inactive, incomplete, or inaccurate. This can be frustrating…

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binary-fountain-facebook-social-mediaFacebook is one of the most powerful marketing platforms out there. Hundreds of thousands of businesses across the world use their Facebook business page to connect with potential customers and show up in local search results.

Unfortunately, many great healthcare providers have Facebook business pages that are inactive, incomplete, or inaccurate. This can be frustrating for patients who find incorrect hours on your Facebook page, or worse, can lead potential patients to choose another healthcare provider, simply because their social media profiles were more helpful.

If you have a Facebook page for your practice but are disappointed with it, or find it’s not working for you, don’t worry. We’re going to show you how to optimize a healthcare provider Facebook business page so your practice’s profile stands out from the others and correctly informs consumers.

In this post, you’ll learn how to:

  • Make sure your Facebook page information is correct
  • Create and organize multiple location pages
  • Post trustworthy content
  • Show your practice is more than just a business
  • Monitor and respond to reviews on Facebook

1. Make sure your Facebook information is correct

First, check that your information is up-to-date and accurate, especially your practice’s name, address, phone number, website and hours of operation. You’d be surprised how many businesses have posted wrong hours or misnamed their practice, simply because they didn’t check carefully.

Next, make sure your Facebook is complete, which means you should have all the following:

  • Profile picture (at least 180 x 180 pixels)
  • Cover photo (at least 820 x 312 pixels)
  • Custom URL (facebook.com/yourpractice)
  • A link to your website
  • Your company’s NAP: name, address and phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • A detailed business description
  • Your other social media accounts

2. Make pages for your locations

While your practice should have one primary Facebook page (your “parent” page), if you have multiple locations, don’t lump them into one Facebook business page. Each facility may have different hours or services, they probably have different addresses, and for the sake of reviews, you’re better off separating them.

Besides, Facebook makes creating location pages easy. When you’re setting up page for the first time, Facebook will recognize you have multiple sites and a warning message will pop up. You’ll then have the chance to create individual pages for each of your locations.

Just like your primary page, your location pages should have the following:

  • Business name (include location name, too)
  • NAP: name, address, phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Profile picture (at least 180 x 180 pixels)
  • Cover photo (at least 820 x 312 pixels)
  • Custom URL (facebook.com/yourpractice-location)
  • A link to the location’s website or your main website
  • Email address
  • A detailed business description
  • Your other social media accounts

It can be tempting to copy and paste descriptions from your parent page to all the location pages. Don’t do this! Keep your pages fresh and distinguishable by writing original descriptions for each location.

3. Post content that builds trust

Once you have a Facebook business page that represents your practice, you need to populate it with content that’s relevant and helpful to your patients.

The key here is relevant and helpful, not self-promotional and sales-y. Your patients aren’t checking Facebook for advertisements. In fact, they pretty much hate them. If your content doesn’t engage them in the first few seconds, it will get lost in their newsfeed.

So how do you create content that’s engaging?

Here are some things you could post:

  • Articles, especially ones that you’ve written on topics that interest your patients.
  • Answers to your patients’ frequently asked questions.
  • Health advice, such as how to avoid seasonal allergies or how to prevent certain injuries.
  • Open-ended questions that invite consumers into a larger discussion.
  • Posts about community events or fundraisers that you’re sponsoring or participating in.
  • Inspiring stories from patients who have recovered, or their families (be sure to get the patient’s consent before posting).

4. Show people you’re not just a business

Your practice has more stories floating around than a bookstore, and when you share these on Facebook, you and your audience will connect emotionally.

To do this, post photos of your non-medical facilities, your staff and (with their consent) your patients. These don’t have to be serious, nor does your staff have to look stoic. Show your audience what you do after work hours and the community events you participate in, or give shout-outs to employees who are performing well.

Another great way to humanize your practice (and impress Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm) is by posting videos. These don’t have to be professional videos: You can use your smartphone for a walk-through of your practice, for example. The key to video is to make your practice look inviting: You want potential patients to know what your staff and facilities are like before they walk into the building.

5. Respond to reviews on your Facebook page

Facebook isn’t meant to be a one-sided conversation: If you’re doing it right, your patients will respond to your posts. Sometimes, they’ll respond positively; other times they’ll give you a piece of their mind. No matter what responses you get, always respond to them.

Yes, that means you’ll have to respond to negative reviews. Conflict is tough, but when you empathize with your customer’s concerns and offer solutions, you build trust, which will help you attract new patients.

Binary Fountain can help you manage Facebook reviews

The conversation on Facebook and other social media significantly impacts your practice’s online reputation, for better or for worse. At Binary Fountain, we have a solution that helps practices monitor their mentions on major social media platforms and publish messages across them simultaneously. Control the narrative – check out our Social Media Management tools or click below to schedule a quick demo.

Here are some related posts you might want to check out:

Schedule a Demo

 

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 19, 2020

Webinar Recap: 5 Updates to Google My Business Impacting Digital Marketers

By: Kieran McQuilkin

How are the latest Google My Business updates impacting your business? It’s not easy for digital marketers to stay informed on SEO trends shaping their reputation in the eyes of the world’s largest search engine. To break down the current Google landscape and how best to optimize your listings, we brought together Hannah Borchik, customer…

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Google My Business logoHow are the latest Google My Business updates impacting your business?

It’s not easy for digital marketers to stay informed on SEO trends shaping their reputation in the eyes of the world’s largest search engine.

To break down the current Google landscape and how best to optimize your listings, we brought together Hannah Borchik, customer success manager at Binary Fountain; Joy Hawkins, owner of Sterling Sky Inc.; and Emma Cook, digital media manager at Gene B. Glick Company.

For our latest webinar, they gathered for a discussion about the attributes of Google search and Google My Business that digital marketers should focus on heavily in 2020.

Here are some of the topics they covered:

  • How to optimize Google My Business features, including zero-click searches, local 3-packs and the Google Knowledge Panel.
  • Using other attributes of Google My Business and Google search that are gaining importance in 2020.
  • Finding opportunities for online reputation growth through local search and SEO.

Here are some key takeaways:

On Google My Business Trends and No-Click Searches

Over 50% of searches result in a zero-click search, meaning consumers use the information provided on the search engine results page (SERP) instead of clicking through to a website. This means having your information listed on Google My Business, in addition to your business website, is essential to your search strategy.

Google My Business (GMB) has been launching many features to give users more information directly in the search results. Although we still see the website and backlinks as the main factors for ranking, the first impression someone gets about your business is incredibly important.

Your GMB listings are meant for customers early in the sales cycle, and should be used to create awareness, increase exposure and share information that will impact prospects during their research phase.

On Crucial Information for Your Google My Business Profile

Across almost all industries, the four main ranking signals remain consistent: name, categories, website URL and Google reviews (both the volume of reviews and their content).

The most important part of establishing or optimizing your GMB profile is the categories you pick. Focus on choosing the most accurate primary category and add additional categories to build out your profile – this is the main factor deciding where you rank. Categories attract users and provide general information, then CTA buttons nudge them in the right direction to take action. Provide the clearest CTA possible, such as “get this offer” or “sign up,” instead of vague directions like “learn more.”

Publishing photos on GMB varies in importance depending on your industry – Gene B. Glick’s photos of multifamily properties get thousands of views, but the same won’t apply for insurance companies or lawyers. Upload high-resolution photos of your business from both the corporate and local levels, along with other hyperlocal content like Google Posts. When your company has multiple locations, like property managers or restaurant chains, users want to know what the local facility looks like, not the logo or corporate headquarters.

On Monitoring Your Local Search Rankings and Ongoing SEO Management

Monitoring Google Q&A is very important to any company, and it’s a missed opportunity if someone posts a question that goes unanswered. If you don’t have too many accounts to keep track of, you can set up email alerts for new questions on Google Q&A. If you have dozens of locations, you might consider using a listings management vendor or software solution.

All three panelists recommend responding to every Google review, unless there is no comment attached to it. Users that leave reviews get an email alert when you post a response, making it a useful tool for retention and service recovery. In industries like healthcare, where you can’t respond to some reviews online without breaching patient confidentiality, create a strategy to take the conversation offline. Generally, having more reviews will boost your click-through rate over time and increase your local search rankings.

For ongoing management of your GMB profile, pay close attention to the Actions section of your GMB dashboard. These statistics track when someone calls, gets directions to your facility or clicks to your website, giving you insight into how customers engage with your business listings and which CTAs lead to conversions.

For more insights and advice, click here to watch the on-demand webinar.

For more on Google My Business updates, check out these resources:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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March 17, 2020

Coronavirus and Your Listings Management Program: A 5 Item Checklist

By: Kieran McQuilkin

In a few short weeks, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created significant concern as it continues to spread throughout the U.S. The health crisis is causing disruptions for people in their personal lives and in their companies, with illnesses, remote work policies, closures and changes in day-to-day operations. How can your enterprise business effectively navigate…

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listings-managementIn a few short weeks, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has created significant concern as it continues to spread throughout the U.S. The health crisis is causing disruptions for people in their personal lives and in their companies, with illnesses, remote work policies, closures and changes in day-to-day operations.

How can your enterprise business effectively navigate this emergency and tailor your local marketing efforts in an unpredictable environment? To stay ahead in local search and inform consumers, your business must properly manage its local listings.

Proper listings management starts with ensuring your Google My Business (GMB) profile provides accurate, updated information to your customers. The updates you make to your GMB profile will display on your business profile on Google Search and Maps.

To help you manage the arrival of this health crisis, we’ve compiled a list of five tips to ensure you’re providing consumers with accurate information – which grows more valuable by the minute.

1. Update Your Facility Hours

When a health emergency occurs in a community, such as COVID-19, it’s not uncommon for office hours or service areas to be affected in the impacted region. Your business may be closed down completely or you may have to adjust hours of operation. If you don’t communicate these updates to potential consumers, you risk not only losing their business, but potentially adding to the spread of misinformation and confusion that already poses a threat. In fact, 93% of consumers say they are frustrated by incorrect information they find in online directories. Provide the most relevant, up-to-date information and avoid tarnishing your business’ credibility by keeping your facility’s hours updated in your GMB listings, especially during times of crisis.

2. Revise Your Phone Number

As COVID-19 continues to sweep across the globe, many businesses have temporarily shut down some of their operations. For these businesses, like healthcare organizations and property managers, simply revising their office hours on GMB is not sufficient. If the business hasn’t updated their phone number to redirect to a home or mobile number when part of the business has suspended services, consumers who try to contact the number listed on Google will be surprised to find they aren’t able to reach anyone. Update your phone numbers if they’ve changed to ensure customers are able to get in touch with your business and to further crisis-proof your local listings.

3. Update Your Business Description

In situations where a natural disaster or health crisis is potentially impacting businesses across the globe, Google recommends explaining whether your business operations are affected by the emergency or not. Additionally, Google recommends “sharing information about any extra precautions” your business is taking, such as providing any extra services to the community or if you’re experiencing delays. More information on how to edit your business description can be found here.

4. Create a Google Post

Google Posts allow you to share detailed and timely updates about what’s going on with your business, which may be beneficial when patients, tenants or other consumers need current information. You may want to add more information about the services you have available, and link to other resources. Google Posts should be updated on a regular basis as your business changes. To get the most out of your Google Posts, we recommend reading our guide to useful Google My Business features.

5. Monitor Your Google Q&A

Customers use the questions and answers section on your Google Maps listings to communicate with you. During times of crisis, they turn to Google Q&A more than ever to ask if your business will be open, if hours are affected, or if certain services are available. Be sure to proactively monitor and quickly respond to these questions. However, Google Q&A (along with Google Reviews) has been temporarily suspended due to staff shortages, according to the company.

It’s important to keep your customers up-to-date with accurate, timely information to ensure they’re aware of any changes in your business operations, whether you’re impacted by a health crisis, like COVID-19, or simply updating your holiday hours. This is especially important if your hours of operation or wait times are affected, you have an update to available services, or change your phone number. If any of the aforementioned are affected, Google wants you to make your customers aware of these changes. By doing so, you build trust with your customers, become the voice of authority, and strengthen your relationship with your customers, all of which encourage loyalty.

Additionally, due to a large number of businesses affected by COVID-19, Google recently released a new help document that describes how businesses can update their local listings.

Customers expect updated information on your business at all times and want to know they can trust the information they receive. With the average consumer conducting between 3-4 Google searches a day, it is now more important than ever to crisis-proof your local listings to be the source of truth for your business.

For more on what consumers are saying online about the coronavirus outbreak and how Binary Fountain can help, check out this blog post.

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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