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October 14, 2019

How to Use Instagram Stories to Build Your Brand

By: Kayla Zamary

Since civilization began, stories have been the most important way to connect with other human beings. Almost all of our shared experiences, perceptions and biases come from stories we have heard from another person. Today, marketers can create new types of stories: Instagram Stories on the popular social media platform Instagram. This article will help…

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Since civilization began, stories have been the most important way to connect with other human beings. Almost all of our shared experiences, perceptions and biases come from stories we have heard from another person.

Today, marketers can create new types of stories: Instagram Stories on the popular social media platform Instagram.

This article will help you begin to engage with your current and potential customers through Instagram Stories. We will walk you through how to post and engage with your audience.

Engaging with your audience is crucial to the success of your brand. By interacting with your followers on a regular (if not daily) basis, you can reinforce trust and loyalty with your brand. The Instagram Story placement is perfect for building these customer relationships by providing exclusive behind-the-scenes content, current events with your business, and opportunities for audience feedback, as well as easy access to content on your website.

How to Post Instagram Stories

First things first: How do you post an Insta Story? Don’t worry, we all asked that question when we first learned too. Below you’ll find 4 steps to making your first Insta Story.

  1. Open the Instagram app.
  2. Tap the camera icon in the top-left corner.
  3. Tap the white circle at the bottom of the screen to take a picture or press and hold the white circle to take a video.
  4. If you’d rather use a photo or video you already recorded, tap the square gallery icon on the bottom left of your screen, or swipe up anywhere on the screen.

Additionally, you can TYPE, LIVE, BOOMERANG, SUPERZOOM, FOCUS, REWIND, or HANDS-FREE post by selecting one of these options before you tap the white circle.

To select them, tap or swipe over to change the capture settings. Give them a try to learn what each means.

If you take your photos outside the app to post later, be sure that you shoot your IG Stories content vertically so it will take up as much room on the screen as possible. If what you shoot feels like it could look better, simply swipe the screen left or right to add a filter on top of your photo or video. If you upload a photo or video that was captured more than 24 hours ago, a date timestamp will appear on the screen. No worries, that’s not permanent. Simply click and drag the text towards the trashcan icon in the lower middle of the screen to remove.

If you want to kick your Instagram Story content up a notch, you can have a designer create images or videos in a separate program before you post. They will just need to be in the following format:

  • Video or photo aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Video or photo size: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Max video length: 15 seconds

If you want to post a video longer than 15 seconds on Instagram Story, you have two options.

  • Record the video directly within Instagram Story, and the app will split up the video in 15-second increments and upload the videos in the correct order.
  • Use a third-party app such as CutStory to slice the video into 15-second increments.

What Should Your Insta Story be About?

Now that you know how to post, let’s talk about what to post. The most important thing to do is not overthink things or turn all of your content into an ad. Remember, you want the content on your Story to be a value-add to the content you’re already sharing in the main feed. Use this placement as an opportunity to expand your overall marketing strategy and really get to know your audience and what content they are interested in.

One of the draws of social media is getting a behind the scenes look at someone’s life or business, so you want to be authentic and genuine.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few different types of posts you can make to help you get moving on your Instagram Story implementation.

The Golden Rule: Tell a Story

People are wired for stories. It’s truly the best way to get people to engage with your brand. You can share anything, but always be authentic and vulnerable when possible. Share the journey of your team: highs and lows, or your shareable, noteworthy client moments. This is a great opportunity to share success stories and prove that your business can meet people’s needs.

The best way to do this is by taking a vertical video, which keeps you from having to write out several stories to tell the entire tale. It does help, however, to type out in a few words what your story is about to really capture the interests of your followers. 30% of Instagram Stories are viewed with the sound off, so this added text can provide context to your content, as well as provide an incentive to turn their sound on and tune in to your post.

You can also post the video you shared in your story to your feed for even more visibility.

Connect with Followers

A great way to interact with your fans is through some of the features created exclusively for the Story placement in Instagram. These features include polls, questions, location, mentions, hashtags, music, countdowns, sliding scales, quizzes, and chat. Below we will break down a description and how-to for the most popular features for engagement.

Polls on Instagram Stories

Polls are interactive stickers that allow you to get direct feedback from viewers. These can be a fun way to engage with your fans and learn a lot about them.

Steps for Creating Polls on Instagram Stories

  1. Take your photo or video.
  2. Tap the folded smiley icon at the top of the screen, which will bring up an assortment of stickers.
  3. Select the POLL sticker.
  4. Enter your question text.
  5. Tap on the default YES and NO buttons to edit them to enter your own poll responses.
  6. You can change the size and placement of it on the screen by pinching it with two fingers. Drag it anywhere you want to change the location of the poll sticker.
  7. If your poll is hard to see, use the brush tool to add a solid color behind the poll sticker to make it stand out. You can find that tool by clicking the marker next to the “Aa” option.

To check the results of your poll, click your story, go to the one with the poll, then swipe up.

You’ll see who voted for which option and get a tally of total votes for each choice. Anyone who answers your poll will be able to see how many votes each option got, but only you can see what option each user voted for.

How to Post Questions

The questions sticker can give you great material to work with for future posts. They provide your audience with an opportunity to share their opinion on a particular topic or ask a question to get to know you or your brand on a deeper level. Here’s how we recommend engaging with your audience via questions:

  1. Take your photo or video.
  2. Tap the folded smiley icon at the top of the screen, which will bring up an assortment of stickers.
  3. Select the QUESTIONS sticker.
  4. Keep the default text “Ask me a question” or tap on it to write your own text.
  5. Tap the color circle at the top of the screen to change the appearance of your questions sticker.
  6. Pinch and drag to change the size and location of the questions sticker.
  7. Once questions start to come in, you can find them by checking your Instagram Story views or by checking your post notifications.
  8. The questions will appear at the top of the list of viewers. If you like, you can tap Reply on any question to share that response (along with your answer) in a new post, or respond directly to the user by providing a response sent via direct message.

If the question asked isn’t too personal or self-identifying, it’s recommended to share these questions and your responses in a new story to show your audience that you’re actively engaged in the conversation.

Be sure to take note of what your viewers seem to respond to the most. Do they ask questions pertaining to your business, or are they more interested in getting to know the people behind the brand? For example, retailers will use the questions sticker as an opportunity to get audience feedback on an upcoming product launch or learn about shopping habits for upcoming seasons, whereas public influencers may utilize the feature to answer what they’re currently watching on Netflix.

For the questions sticker, the worst-case scenario is that no user questions are submitted on the sticker. If this occurs, you can just delete the post and try a different topic another day.

Removing Stories from Instagram

Stories disappear on their own after 24 hours, but if you make a mistake, you can always remove a story sooner than that. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Your story at the top left of the Home screen to bring up your Story.
  2. On the Story you’d like to delete, tap the three dots icon at the bottom right.
  3. Tap Delete, then Delete again.

Note: by deleting a post from your Instagram Story, you will lose all data associated with this post.

Instagram Stories in Summary

At this point, you will have noticed locations, mentions, hashtags, music, countdowns, sliding scales, quizzes, chat, and other fun stickers to add to your story, all available once you tap on the folded smiley icon. The best way to learn about these features is to experiment and see what works best for your business and your audience.

The most important thing to do when it comes to Instagram Stories is to use the feature to grow your brand and engage with your audience. Stories have much more visibility than your posts in your followers’ feed. The more they interact with you and watch your stories, the more your feed posts will be served to them.

We hope this guide helps you get started with Instagram Stories on your own!

Instagram Stories Helps You Build a Brand: We Help you Build a Great Reputation

Instagram stories may help you build a brand, but that’s only part of the online strategy you need in order to be successful.

If you run a local business, you need a great online reputation if you want to be found in local search results or acquire new business. At Binary Fountain, we’ve developed the perfect reputation management software to make it easy for business owners like you to take control of your online presence and gain the valuable insights you need to improve your business.

Download one of our e-books or watch one of our webinars today to learn more about online reputation management.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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October 10, 2019

Google Knowledge Panel

By: Kayla Zamary

As the years have gone by, Google is constantly looking for opportunities to provide the best user experience possible for searchers. One such enhancement includes Google’s Knowledge Panel, which helps users quickly digest information directly from a search result instead of having to go to a website for answers. Does your company or organization need…

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As the years have gone by, Google is constantly looking for opportunities to provide the best user experience possible for searchers. One such enhancement includes Google’s Knowledge Panel, which helps users quickly digest information directly from a search result instead of having to go to a website for answers.

Does your company or organization need a knowledge panel? It’s hard to say, but even if you do want one, it isn’t a guarantee you will be awarded one. Even worse, the information may not be accurate!

We’ll explore how knowledge panels are awarded and how you can influence what Google displays from an enhanced search result.

What is Google Knowledge Panel?

A Google Knowledge Panel is a type of rich results in Google’s search results pages that shows specific information about a business, person or other type of subject matter.

Example of a Knowledge Card

Knowledge cards can show up for a wide variety of topics including people, businesses, animals, countries etc.

These enhanced search features show up on the right-hand side of your results when you are using a desktop computer. This is all intended to make search results as comprehensive and easy to understand as possible.

How does Google do this? A little enhancement to their machine learning called Knowledge Graph.

How are Knowledge Panels Generated?

Back in 2012, Google launched the Knowledge Graph as a way to map broad connections between data points. In other words, it was created to give Google the ability to group factual points about a subject matter and present that data in an easy to understand visual representation.

Here is a video Google put out in 2012 that explains how Knowledge Graph works.

Over the years, Knowledge Graph has gotten more and more diverse with recipes, list sliders and other enhanced search results options. This has led to an increase in what is called zero click search results.

How to Get a Knowledge Panel

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee your business will get a knowledge panel result, but there are some things you can do to increase your odds if you are a local business.

The first step to getting your own knowledge panel is to claim your Google My Business account. Once you have verified your account, make sure you add as much information to your listing as possible, including:

  • Name
  • Address information
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Opening hours
  • Photos of your location

After you complete this, make sure you also verify your site on Search Console. This will allow you to better understand how Google interacts with and understands your website.

Finally, for businesses, we recommend you add the structured data markup for your business, especially if you work in a specialized field that requires its own schema. You can find out more about what schema is right for your business on Schema.org.

Doing all of this should greatly increase your chance at getting a knowledge panel for your business.

If your business is more personality or brand driven, Google ultimately decides if you have enough authority or people searching for you for a knowledge panel to appear.

Creating great content, having a great UX experience and building a trustworthy brand are your best chances of gaining a knowledge graph.

How Do You Edit a Knowledge Panel?

If you are lucky enough to win a knowledge panel, you will need to verify it in order to suggest edits to Google. Getting an edit approved on a knowledge panel can take a long time so be patient. The hoops you have to jump through for claiming a knowledge panel will vary based on several different factors.

Note: Google does not have to accept your recommended changes if they feel like the information you provided is inaccurate or if they can’t find information online to support it.

In order to have the best chances of having your edits made, make sure to provide the correct documentation and follow their guidelines. Typically, it is much harder to get a knowledge panel for a personality or brand than it is a business. If you do get one, it’s important to curate it to ensure the information presented is correct at all times to ensure the best possible user experience.

Knowledge is Power

Ultimately, knowledge panels are a great way to give users the information they are looking for quickly and efficiently.

If you own a local business, getting one is almost essential for driving the kind of results you need to grow your business.

If you are interested in further improving your search engine optimization, we recommend checking out our free e-book on how online reviews help or hurt your local rankings.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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October 03, 2019

What are Local Citations?

By: Kayla Zamary

Before the internet, local business owners would have to set up business listings in places like the Yellow Pages or in the local newspaper. Thankfully, this is no longer necessary due to the rise of online directories and listings. Tools like Google My Business, Facebook and others help businesses show up in search results when…

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Before the internet, local business owners would have to set up business listings in places like the Yellow Pages or in the local newspaper. Thankfully, this is no longer necessary due to the rise of online directories and listings. Tools like Google My Business, Facebook and others help businesses show up in search results when people are searching for services.

Many business owners want to know how to improve their position in search results and increase their chances of being found. One of the many ways to do this is to improve the quality and quantity of your local citations.

We’ll cover what local citations are, how to grow them and what impact they can have on your local business.

What are Local Citations?

A local citation is an online reference to your business that includes company name, phone number, address, zip code and website address.

Typically, the most basic forms of citation contain the name, address and phone number of a business (NAP). Citations help local people find business locations and can have an impact on your search engine rankings in your area.

Citations can be found in a variety of online spaces, including social media platforms, business directories, event websites and even on apps.

In order to get the most out of local citations, you will want to actively manage your listings to ensure accuracy. Inaccurate listing information can cause confusion for users and discredit your information for search engines.

What Information Do local Citations Contain?

In addition to NAP, local citations can contain:

  • Business categories or specializations
  • Hours of operation (including holiday hours)
  • Website address
  • Business description
  • Customer reviews
  • Location images
  • Social media links
  • Department specific phone numbers
  • Videos
  • Payment forms accepted
  • Geo-coordinates
  • Email addresses
  • Fax number

Do local Citations Always Contain Links?

While citations don’t always contain links back to your website, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t valuable. Search engines are smart enough to understand the value of a listing, even if there isn’t a direct link back to your website.

Having said that, backlinks are always valuable. Backlinks are one of the major ways that search engines determine the authority a website has and typically prioritize sites with a better backlink profile. Because a citation is a very authoritative link, citations that include links are better than citations without links.

It also gives a human visitor a chance to go directly to your site without having to look it up online.

How do Citations Impact Search Engine Rankings?

At a very basic level, online citations help search engines, like Google, verify that your business exists where you say it does. The more citations you have (and the better quality) the more legitimate your business is in the eyes of search engines.

Depending on a variety of factors, local citations can either have a positive or negative impact on your local search engine rankings.

Some of those factors include:

  • Correctness of data
  • Number of citations
  • Quality of listing

When search engines compile data, they want to make sure that the information they are displaying is accurate. This means you are less likely to rank well if you have inconsistent information in your local citations. Cleaning up citations is the first step to improving your local SEO.

The number of citations you have also matters. You will want to be listed in almost every relevant business directory or local website. Relevancy is the key here since having your business listed everywhere could confuse search engines seeking to understand what your business is about and is not helpful for a user who is less likely to interact with a listing that does not meet their initial user intent.

Finally, the quality of the citation also matters. Is the website it appears on trustworthy? Is it relevant? These are questions you should be asking before adding a citation.

Some examples of high-quality citations include:

  • Yellowpages
  • Facebook
  • BBB
  • Yelp
  • Bing Places
  • Apple Maps
  • Acxiom
  • Industry specific listings
  • Official city directories

Having all three of these factors covered (accuracy, number and quality) is an easy way to bolster your online reputation with search engines and increase the likelihood of your business appearing when people are searching for your services.

How to Build Citations for Your Business

Now that you know what citations are, it’s time to help you build a quality citation profile for your business.

To build local citations:

  • Make sure NAP is the same on every site. Consistency is key to getting the most value of your citations. There will be some variations in formatting, but don’t worry about that. Just follow the directions and fill out the information accordingly.
  • Add as much description as possible including what your business does, images, logos and even categories of what you do. Again, consistency is always preferred here.
  • Make sure to claim your listings like on Google my Business, Bing and Apple Maps. We have an entire guide on how to claim a Google My Business account if you need help.
  • Make sure you’ve covered the essential places for a citation (listed above) before trying to find new citations.

How to Find New Citations

To find new citation locations, start by looking at industry-based organizations that provide listings specific to your location.

You may want to start by searching your specific location for something like “city* business listings” or “industry* business directory.”

This should give you an idea of what kinds of local opportunities exist that will help you get the edge on your competition when it comes to owning the most citations.

Improve Your Online Reputation and Your Citations

Building quality citations will certainly help your business be found by search engines and users alike, but it is only part of a comprehensive local SEO strategy.

In order to really have a leg up on to your local competition, we encourage you to cultivate a good reputation management program in addition to citations. Having a sparkling online reputation gives you the authority search engines are looking for while also gaining your potential customers’ trust.

You need to have both to win in the game of local search!

Binary Fountain makes online reputation management and citation management easy with our reputation management software.

Are you ready to grow your business? Learn more about what our software does for businesses just like yours today. Read one of our case studies or e-books to learn more.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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September 30, 2019

Using Technology to Improve Patient Experience

By: Kayla Zamary

Healthcare providers rely on patient feedback in order to address common concerns, adjust operations accordingly and improve the patient experience as a whole. In this era of rampant information, there is no shortage of this kind of data. Patients are discussing the good, bad and ugly parts of their healthcare experiences over social media sites,…

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Healthcare providers rely on patient feedback in order to address common concerns, adjust operations accordingly and improve the patient experience as a whole. In this era of rampant information, there is no shortage of this kind of data. Patients are discussing the good, bad and ugly parts of their healthcare experiences over social media sites, review platforms, surveys and more. While this abundance of feedback is a boon for healthcare providers, it also poses a problem: there is simply too much data to efficiently store, analyze and synthesize in meaningful ways.

These data problems translate to other types of health information, too, such as prognosis and record-keeping. Providers must sort through data on each patient and analyze it to help determine diagnoses and treatment solutions. Lacking an efficient means for handling all of this data also impacts patient satisfaction, as manual processes may increase wait times and limit the number of patients a provider can accommodate. So, what can be done? How can healthcare providers efficiently manage healthcare data analytics and do so in a way that improves patient experience?

The answer is technology; more specifically, automation and artificial intelligence. Here we will explore in greater detail how healthcare providers can use technology to manage all their data and improve the patient experience.

Automate Patient Survey Intelligence

Patient satisfaction surveys remain one of the best ways for you to gain insight into every aspect of your organization, from wait times to physician thoroughness. These surveys are designed to measure patient experience on a rated scale in order to simplify analysis. However, with so many patients in your network, you might still struggle to gather and interpret all of this survey data.

By automating survey intelligence, computer algorithms can collect, read, analyze and report survey data with incredible speed and efficiency, saving an organization crucial resources. Best of all, Binary Fountain’s innovative Star Rating solution converts internal survey data into ratings and reviews that can be published on your website. This helps you build trust with current and potential patients, which is vital in implementing a successful consumer engagement plan. Just as importantly, star ratings give you a clearer view of what your patients think of you, as well as how your organization’s patient experience stacks up against the competition.

Use Algorithms and Data Analytics to Guide Patient Experience

Automated algorithms are useful in analyzing other forms of healthcare data, too, such as prognosis and patient medical history information. Sorting through patient info manually is limiting and prone to human error. As a result, you run the risk of delivering an incorrect or late diagnosis. Algorithms and data analytics can help address nuances and predict outcomes that escape human awareness so you can diagnose problems earlier and with greater accuracy, improving the lives of your patients.

Analyze Sentiment with Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Both surveys and reviews may contain longer chains of text that, in the past, could only be interpreted by a human being. Today, however, strides in artificial intelligence have made it possible for computer programs to read, interpret and summarize long-form, unstructured feedback. This technology is known as Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP can target and analyze keywords and phrases from social media, online review sites and post-care surveys, uncovering key phrases and insights that speak to your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. The algorithm can then report on areas that need attention so you can spend more time finding ways to improve patient experience and less time manually reading long reviews and scouring for useful data.

Root Cause Analysis

As you uncover patient concerns and insights, there may still be uncertainty regarding the underlying causes of certain issues. This is where Root Cause Analysis (RCA) comes in handy. RCA tools can help you diagnose the origin of organizational problems, and highlight strengths, too. For instance, if a hospital receives negative patient experience scores, RCA software can read through comments to determine specific issues, such as bedside manner, rude staff or difficulties setting up an appointment. In this way, RCA tools are often linked to NLP features, since deep text analysis is involved. By uncovering the root causes of your company’s problems, you can more effectively implement lasting changes that will improve patient experience and boost your reputation.

Benefits of Tech in Health Data Management

These emerging technologies of automation and artificial intelligence are helping healthcare organizations everywhere identify key patterns, discover exciting breakthroughs, increase patient satisfaction and reduce employee burden. On top of all that, healthcare data analytics also help organizations devise patient engagement strategies both online and offline that ultimately increase brand loyalty and helps providers maintain their reputation. Human touch is required to improve the life of each individual patient, but technology is paving the way for better patient experience and health outcomes in the broader sense.

Are you interested in using Binary Fountain’s tools to improve your organization’s patient experience? Schedule a demo with us today to learn more.

Schedule a Demo

 

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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September 26, 2019

The ABCs of Managing Online Listings

By: Kayla Zamary

Today, the vast majority of consumers use search engines and online platforms to find information on businesses, products, places, and events. It goes without saying, but in this landscape, your business simply does not have a chance if it lacks an online presence. Of course, ensuring that customers can find you depends on more than…

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Listings ManagementToday, the vast majority of consumers use search engines and online platforms to find information on businesses, products, places, and events. It goes without saying, but in this landscape, your business simply does not have a chance if it lacks an online presence. Of course, ensuring that customers can find you depends on more than just having online listings. At the very least, your listings must be accurate, consistent and optimized for search engine use. Mismanaged business listings and citations can wreak havoc across your entire organization, leading to missed revenue and decreased online consumer engagement potential.

Managing online listings can be challenging and especially for organizations with multiple locations. Attempting to maintain accurate listings manually is an uphill battle that can take resources and productivity. Fortunately, with the right approach and technology, you can keep all of your online listings up to date and easy to find. It all begins with the basics. Here we will go over the ABCs of managing online listings.

A is for Automation, Analysis, and Accuracy

Automated processes can transform the way you approach managing your online listings. Rather than waste hours manually searching for, examining and updating your various listings and citations, Binary Fountain’s Listings Management technology can automatically track this data and report it back to you. Better yet, this feature can also assist with your online reputation management, analyzing local reviews and star ratings across your organization. The Listings Management feature also helps you maintain accurate listings. If you change locations, hours or other relevant information, this tool will ensure that these changes are promptly and properly reflected in each of your listings.

B is for Boosting Visibility via Better SEO

Your listings can be as accurate as possible, but if no one can find them, you still have a major problem. A crucial component in managing your online listings effectively is ensuring they are well-optimized for search engine inquiries. You want your business to show up in both branded and unbranded relevant searches. More importantly, you want your business to appear towards the top of search results pages, where most users look and click before moving on. Binary Fountain’s Listings Management tool can increase visibility across search engines, social networks, maps applications and more so you can increase customer engagement on every digital platform.

C is for Claiming Your Listings

It may seem obvious, but if you want to control your online listings, you need to own them first. The more locations you have, the more listings you have to claim. As previously mentioned, this process can become tedious and overwhelming when done manually. With Binary Fountain’s Listings Management solution, you gain control over your listings, no matter where they are or which platform they are on. This feature allows you to accurately publish location data to 420+ directories in over 50 countries so no stone is left unturned and nothing is left up in the air.

Don’t Forget D: Duplicate Removal

When claiming and managing online listings, certain conflicts may arise. These conflicts are often due to duplicate listings, where more than one organization claims a location for one reason or another. Duplicate listings can lead to reputation management and customer engagement concerns, as consumers may get confused about where your business is located, how it has been reviewed, the services and products it offers, etc. There are various ways to solve these errors or disputes, but it can take time and experience to resolve them properly. Binary Fountain’s full-service Listings Management solution includes duplicate listing removal and ownership conflict resolution to mitigate these issues.

Binary Fountain covers both the basics and the nuances of online listing management. With our Listings Management product, you can optimize your discoverability, lock down your data to ensure accuracy on a daily basis and drive more consumers to your various locations.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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September 20, 2019

Empowering Patient Feedback: A Discussion with Cleveland Clinic

By: Kayla Zamary

Providing a quality experience for patients means accounting for every single touch-point in the care journey. From the initial phone call or online appointment scheduling, to receiving care, to the follow-up and all the transitions in between, there are countless opportunities to develop a strong provider-patient relationship and ultimately, better clinical outcomes.  In our recent…

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empowering patient feedbackProviding a quality experience for patients means accounting for every single touch-point in the care journey.

From the initial phone call or online appointment scheduling, to receiving care, to the follow-up and all the transitions in between, there are countless opportunities to develop a strong provider-patient relationship and ultimately, better clinical outcomes. 

In our recent webinar, Kate Slonaker, Vice President of Growth Initiatives at Binary Fountain, and Carol Santalucia, Director of Business Development in the Office of Patient Experience at the Cleveland Clinic, discussed initiatives taking place within their organizations that are giving providers a new perspective on patient experience and explored how to better treat patients as a partner, rather than simply a consumer.

Here are some of the key takeaways from their discussion:

3 Improvements Areas for Providers are: Communications Skills, Viewing Patients as Partners and Leadership Rounding

Carol made a point of saying that many doctors and providers already possess the empathy needed to treat their patients and create a good experience, but they may not have the communication skills or the perspective to show it properly. 

“One thing I learned early on in my career is that not everybody has these skills,” said Carol. “They can be brilliant, compassionate people but they may not have the communication skills that are necessary to demonstrate empathy.”

Carol went on to explain how the Cleveland Clinic models good behaviors for providers to use through its “Communicate with H.E.A.R.T.®” patient experience program:

“We instruct them to tell their name and role, and explain what they expect to do using active listening and providing assistance where necessary. We tell them to make sure they’re focusing on rapport and relationship building and, finally, thank the person, so those become expected service behaviors.”

She adds that these behaviors are not meant to be scripted or feel robotic, but rather to set the stage for care and provide guidelines for providers to give the best care possible. 

Cleveland Clinic has also implemented a Healthcare Partners program, in which 350 community volunteers are brought in on various projects and special-focus councils to provide outsider input on what the organization can do to improve outcomes for patients. 

Additionally, their Leadership Rounding program has been a simple yet effective solution for digging down to the root of some patient experience issues they have faced. Once a month, leadership will focus on a specific theme like Communication, then go out into the hospital and make observations. Once they’ve completed this data collection, all doctors are then brought to an auditorium to analyze the findings and provide input on what’s working or what needs improvement.

“We don’t only want to only ask patients how things are–we go to the employees as well, because we’re all part of the process,” said Carol.

Empower Employees to Deliver World-Class Care–Data Analytics Can Help Show What’s Needed Most

Carol emphasized that while measurements such as HCAHPS scores and survey results are important for tracking success, data analytics must be paired with culture changes to make an impact.

“Keep in mind that HCAHPS is simply the measurement of the work that you’re doing,” said Carol. “When people focus too much on the score and not on the culture, I think that’s when things start to crumble.”

However, when employee engagement and patient experience scores both rise, providers see other areas improve as well. Kate brought up a study featured in the Harvard Business Review that found that for every one-point increase in a hospital’s HCAHPS rating, there was a 0.2% increase in net operating profit margin. Put another way, a five-point increase in hospital rating is associated with a 1% increase in profit margin, which goes to show that patient experience and employee engagement are not only good for a provider’s reputation–it also makes good business sense.

Set the Bar High for Patient Experience and Commit to a Plan to Get There

An important distinction for the Cleveland Clinic to make when it began implementing patient experience initiatives was treating everyone in the organization as an equal contributor to the caregiving process. 

“One of the big pushes [in the beginning] was to say ‘we are all caregivers,’” said Carol. “Our organization before this time had a hierarchy of patients at the top, then doctors, then everybody else. Our leadership said no–we are all caregivers and we must look at each other as part of a team, and without any piece of that team we cannot do our work.”

Carol tied this philosophy to a folk-tale about a NASA janitor who’s contribution, however small, helped to put a man on the moon.

“If we could have employees believe in the mission and vision of the organization and know that they play a huge role in making it happen, then everything changes,” continued Carol. “That’s when culture changes.”

If you missed this webinar event or if you would like to watch it again, you can download the video on-demand here.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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September 20, 2019

3 Takeaways from the Google Review Rich Snippet Update

By: Kayla Zamary

You may not be seeing as many star ratings for local businesses appear on Google SERPs in the near future. According to Google’s Webmaster blog, Google has recently updated their algorithm to significantly limit the schema types that will trigger review rich results in a search. While goods like movies and books will still show…

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google review rich resultsYou may not be seeing as many star ratings for local businesses appear on Google SERPs in the near future. According to Google’s Webmaster blog, Google has recently updated their algorithm to significantly limit the schema types that will trigger review rich results in a search.

While goods like movies and books will still show star ratings alongside their Google Reviews, any first-party ratings for businesses and organizations will likely be removed. This is because Google believes there are too many “self-serving” first-party reviews created by businesses to artificially boost their own ratings.

The Google Webmaster further explains, “in the past, an entity like a business or an organization could add review markup about themselves to their home page or another page and often cause a review snippet to show for that page. That markup could have been added directly by the entity or embedded through the use of a third-party widget. We consider this ‘self-serving’ because the entity itself has chosen to add the markup to its own pages, about its own business or organization.”

Although first-party reviews will not be displayed on a company’s organic SERP, third-party review sites like Healthgrades or Apartments.com will continue to be allowed to display star ratings for that business.

Here’s how this will look for businesses

google review rich results

The star ratings listed for this company are being drawn directly from the company website. Google does not see these ratings as trustworthy or valid, as it would be coming from an unbiased source, so they will not appear.

google review rich results

However, the data that is being used in this next example is being pulled directly from Google Reviews. Google trusts the validity of its own product, so these ratings will remain.

google review rich results

Likewise, the star ratings for this store are being pulled from data on a third-party social media platform, which Google trusts to regulate and provide valid results.

What does this mean for my search strategy?

Although this is a change that businesses and organizations must recognize and make adjustments for, the algorithm update is not expected to have a drastic impact on their overall search strategy.

Listings and reputation management experts from Binary Fountain have identified a few areas of concern once these changes are fully implemented:

  • Search Visibility – First-party reviews often represent a low effort way to provide a constant flow of fresh, localized content for each specific business listing. Removing these ratings could diminish this benefit.
  • Click-Thru Rates (CTR) – The biggest advantage of review rich snippets is the impact on CTR from SERPs. Without the star ratings from rich snippets, companies may see a decline in click-thrus and will have to find other drivers to meet their goals.
  • Conversion Rates – On-page review content has been shown to increase conversion rates due to increased trust. The absence of the review snippet may negatively impact how a business builds trust online.

Despite these potential hiccups for Google SERPs, there are a few things that businesses should keep in mind:

  • Content is (Still) King – Content, especially when localized with landmarks and attractions frequently mentioned in reviews, can be an excellent way to improve a company’s ranking in organic search results. This benefit remains regardless of Google’s changes to rich snippets.
  • Visibility of Rich Results Doesn’t Change Rankings – Though the information within a company’s SERP may change, that ultimately does not affect where a company is ranking on Google. Businesses must still put in the same amount of time and effort on SEO and developing high-ranking content to improve search visibility. Likewise, even though first-party ratings will not be displayed, the content helps SEO overall.
  • Conversions are Influenced By Many Review Factors – In theory, businesses are already benefiting from higher conversion rates from customers that see and interact with reviews hosted on third-party widgets. But regardless of whether a review is from a first-party host or third-party host, if the content of the reviews is primarily negative, the conversion rate will still decrease. Ideally, brands would be responding to any negative reviews on all platforms anyways to demonstrate their concern for the customer experience and their willingness to improve based on constructive feedback.

While people are often quick to panic once Google announces a sweeping change to their policies, there is no need for alarm with the implementation of this new update. Many of the things that companies are already doing, like investing in listings solutions and optimizing content for the web, are things that will continue to work and avoid any pitfalls this new update may bring.

Binary Fountain is committed to monitoring this update as it is rolled out to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact our customers, and we will provide service and support if something changes for our clients.

Please submit any questions or concerns you may have about these changes to your Binary Fountain account manager and we will be happy to assist however we can.

Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can give your online reputation a boost?

Schedule a Demo

 

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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September 18, 2019

5 Mistakes That Can Seriously Damage Your Reputation – and What You Can Do to Avoid Them

By: Zargham Ghani

What should you do with a negative online review? You must respond promptly – and correctly – or the situation could get out of hand, spiraling into an unwanted public argument that can torch the provider’s online reputation and even invite legal troubles. Here are five online reputation management mistakes that can have devastating consequences,…

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online reputationWhat should you do with a negative online review? You must respond promptly – and correctly – or the situation could get out of hand, spiraling into an unwanted public argument that can torch the provider’s online reputation and even invite legal troubles.

Here are five online reputation management mistakes that can have devastating consequences, and some simple ways to avoid them.

  1. Allow the physician to respond (Don’t. Seriously, DON’T!)

If the response to a bad review comes directly from the doctor, what began as a patient relations challenge can easily turn troublesome. Having the physician discuss a complaint risks escalating a bad review into a back-and-forth public exchange. 

It’s better to 1) onboard them to how marketing can handle engaging reviews; 2) tactfully inform the physician that a bad review has appeared; 3) keep them away from the keyboard, and 4) update them as you move offline to discuss and resolve the matter with the unhappy patient.

In the long term, the best way to prevent online confrontations is to adopt a transparency initiative that actively engages physicians in the review process.

  1. Have no written policy for responding to reviews

Patient reviews and social media comments are now the norm in healthcare, so it is vital to have a written policy in place for responding to reviews, positive or negative. 

A timely, effective response depends on your staff knowing who is assigned to monitor reviews, what legal pitfalls to look for (libel, Protected Health Information, HIPAA violations, etc.), who will respond and how the response will be tailored. A thorough, well-rounded policy with response templates offers confidence that every review will receive a prompt and appropriate answer.

  1. Respond too slowly to a negative review – or ignore it altogether

Address both positive and negative reviews within two business days. If the review is negative, reach out to the patient as soon as possible and assist them in contacting a patient relations staffer instead of discussing the issue online. Waiting too long to respond will likely further frustrate the patient. A complaint that goes unanswered tells the world your practice doesn’t care about patients.

Binary Fountain provides the platform and best practices for healthcare marketers looking to engage patient reviews harvested from over 100 online sources, including social media, review sites, advocacy forums, blogs and other sources.

  1. Make a bad review worse by pursuing the conversation online or arguing with the patient

It’s tempting to come to the defense of your practice by justifying the steps that led to a complaint or dispute regarding the patient’s account. Don’t start a public conversation that could reveal Protected Health Information (PHI), or draw unwanted attention to the issue before there’s a chance to seek resolution.

  1. Allow a HIPAA violation

HIPAA privacy rule violations can occur even where the intentions are the best. Online reviews heighten the risk. One medical practice paid a fine recently when an online post describing a positive medical outcome – which didn’t name the patient – was judged to have revealed enough personal information to make their identity obvious to neighbors in the small town where the patient lived. 

For reviews that have legal implications, such as revealing PHI, develop a policy and process with your legal department that includes contacting them immediately for advice on reaching out to the patient about their issue and request that the comment is removed.

Interested in more content like this? Check out these related articles:

 

 

About the Author

Zargham Ghani
Engagement Manager

Zargham help healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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September 17, 2019

4 Great Google My Business Features to Utilize

By: Kayla Zamary

Curating your online presence is imperative for making it easier for customers to find your business and putting your best foot forward when they do. Google My Business is a fantastic tool for not only ensuring that potential customers can find your business, but also helping you communicate directly with them. This article covers some…

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Curating your online presence is imperative for making it easier for customers to find your business and putting your best foot forward when they do. Google My Business is a fantastic tool for not only ensuring that potential customers can find your business, but also helping you communicate directly with them.

This article covers some of the best features to use to enhance your profile.

What is Google My Business?  

 As we’ve discussed before, Google My Business was launched by Google in 2014 as a way to provide enhanced search results for local business, especially once search from mobile devices increased.  

From Google’s perspective, giving business owners a listing on their website gave them the ability to enhance their search results and provide the most value to the customer, ensuring they remained the kings of search, while at the same time allowing them to collect data without having to go through third parties. 

Currently, Google My Business is a free marketing tool available to any business owner or head of marketing, but one study suggests very few businesses are taking advantage of it, which means using it could give you a leg up compared to your competition.  

If you need help setting up Google My Business check out our guide on how to get started. 

Taking advantage of Google My Business features will help you attract new customers, build a community and learn how consumers interact with your business online. 

  1. My Business Insights: Data at Your Fingertips 

 In today’s data and consumer driven decision making, information is power.  

 Google’s My Business insights dashboard provides a huge array of information that can be helpful to any business, including how many people have seen your listing and some of the top searches they have used to find you.  

 For example, you are able to see if people are using branded searches to find your business or if they are using discovery-based searches like “urgent care near me.” 

You can also use Business Insights to track what kind of activities people are doing, including:  

  • Direction requests to your location 
  • Click to calls 
  • Visits to your website from your listing 
  • Reviewing and responding to online reviews 

With these kinds of insights, you can better understand consumer sentiment towards your business, and where to focus your digital marketing efforts.  

Pay particular interest to the online reviews section. Online reviews help you better understand what operational areas you could improve in to increase your star rating  

  1. FAQs 

When you are a business owner, you get a lot of questions, especially by people who are online. One of the best features of Google My Business is being able to answer questions users have publicly, so you don’t have to answer the same question multiple times. This FAQ section helps both you and your customers reduce confusion and save time getting important answers.  

Seeding common questions is recommended for businesses to get a leg up on the types of inquiries customers will likely make. Some examples of these common questions include details about business hours, parking and location info, specific services and products, and appointment reservation requirements. If you are struggling to come up with questions to answer, take note of questions you get asked over the phone and in person and include them in your Google Q&A section. If one person wants to know something, chances are that others will, too. 

 Finally, looking at the FAQ section can also help you get a better idea of what parts of your site or listing are confusing, so think about making changes if the same type of questions keep getting asked. 

  1. Google Posts

Google Posts was originally introduced in 2017, but they have since become a big part of how business owners are connecting with their audience. While its prominence has decreased since its launch, Posts is still a good way of highlighting emergency updates, new products or seasonal offers. 

In addition to helping make announcements, using Google Posts may improve your SEO by building up location authority. 

There are four different types of Google Posts: 

  • Product: posts that highlight a specific product that include a picture of the product and a CTA 
  • What’s New: general information or breaking news about your business 
  • Event: posts about upcoming events your business is involved in 
  • Special Offers: posts about promotional sales 

To learn more about Google Posts, check out Google’s guide. 

  1. Book an Appointment

 For people searching for a service-based business, there is a feature on Google My Business that allows users to book appointments or make reservations online. All you have to do is set up the feature and a user who clicks on the URL will be redirected to your website’s calendar.  

This is a specifically good feature for doctors, hairdressers and utility workers. 

Your Presence Online Matters 

These are just a couple Google My Business features you may not be taking advantage of, though it will serve you well to explore all of them to find the features that will serve your business the best. If you aren’t paying attention to your online presence or reputation, there’s no time like the present to start! 

Interested in this topic? Here are some related articles:

 

 

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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September 12, 2019

3 Ways Online Reviews and Surveys Can Help Your Practice or Hospital

By: George LaDue

Patient feedback is changing the business of healthcare. It’s playing a significant role in digital consumerism as 75% of patients today are leveraging online reviews to select a provider. Healthcare systems are also going through a shift as many now see online reviews and surveys as an asset for helping them improve patient experience —…

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online reviews and surveysPatient feedback is changing the business of healthcare. It’s playing a significant role in digital consumerism as 75% of patients today are leveraging online reviews to select a provider.

Healthcare systems are also going through a shift as many now see online reviews and surveys as an asset for helping them improve patient experience — and attract and retain patients.

The opportunities for patient feedback to impact a healthcare organization are numerous. Here are three ways you can apply online reviews and patient surveys to help your health system.

  1. Boost Appointment Requests from Physician Directory Pages

As online reviews increasingly affect consumer care choices, healthcare organizations can gain a competitive advantage by publishing them to their physician web pages. Online reviews can significantly impact your rankings in search engines, which search results get clicked on, and consumer purchasing decisions. 

Publishing verified, rich patient survey comments to your physician directory webpages can help increase SEO and attract consumers seeking a physician. Physician directory pages with online ratings and reviews typically generate more online engagement and physician appointment requests than those without them.

  1. Increase Physician, Staff and Patient Engagement

As patients increasingly embrace their role as consumers and seek out reviews before choosing a provider, it becomes ever more important for healthcare organizations to engage with patients online. Encouraging patient feedback is crucial to capturing valuable insights for your practice. Urge patients to participate in online review sites to create more reviews and use those insights to create a patient-centered culture and increase staff engagement in your practice. 

To foster friendly competition amongst physicians, benchmark their performance and share results with them. You may even consider rewarding employees recognized for receiving positive feedback from patients.

  1. Implement Patient Experience Improvements

Take advantage of the opportunity to listen, analyze and act on the plethora of feedback available as patients become increasingly vocal about their care experiences. Adopting digital surveys can provide a significant pathway to collecting patient feedback and can save time by helping healthcare professionals quickly analyze trends and comments. 

Practices can capture more meaningful feedback with digital surveys today and implement those insights to improve their practice and increase ROI tomorrow.

About the Author

George LaDue
Sales Director

George helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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