Posted on | August 19, 2014 | No Comments
In my business, working with social media is like second nature. I do it every day, so it seems simple. Sometimes when I think about teaching social media to others, I feel like I need to teach the advanced concepts – cutting edge strategies and techniques.
What people in my industry easily forget, myself included, is that everyone needs to start at the beginning. We may assume our clients, students or followers have a certain level of knowledge already, so we tend to skip the basics. The result may be small business owners trying to jump in, but fumbling around on the dock, still trying to figure out how to get their feet in the water – while we’re busy trying to teach them how to swim the butterfly.
As part of my services, I help my clients publish their blog posts and share them on their social media channels. I recently had a client try to share a blog post herself, and it just wasn’t coming out like mine, so she asked me to teach her how to do it. I know other people could benefit from these guidelines too, so here we go.
How to Share Your Blog Post On Facebook
When you share a link on Facebook, it will automatically pull in some information from the page you’re sharing, so you actually need to start by making sure that information is there, on your blog. The details of how to do this could be an entire post so I won’t go into them here, but I’ll show you what information is being pulled from the blog post:
In the link preview that Facebook generates, they’ll pull the title from your blog post title. This isn’t necessarily the title on your page, but the SEO Title that shows up in the tab in the browser. Below that you’ll see your domain name. It’s not the full url link to the post, but the top level domain name. Below that, you’ll see a description from your blog post’s meta description field. If you don’t have a meta description, Facebook may pull this from the beginning of your post, or they may just leave it blank. If you use WordPress for your blog, WordPress will usually fill these fields in with default content from your post if you don’t enter them manually through an SEO plugin.
You may have noticed I didn’t point out the text that comes before the link profile. This is where you get to customize your link shares. You write this when you post the link. Sometimes you’ll see the post title repeated here, or nothing at all. It’s really better to write a short comment when you share a post. You want to write something that introduces what the post is about and grabs the reader’s attention so they’ll want to click and read more. That’s your goal, right?
The image also comes from your post. If you have a featured image, usually that will be selected. The nice thing about Facebook is it will allow you to scroll through your image options, or even upload another image! Did you notice how this image is small and to the left of the post information? Undoubtedly you’ve seen other links where the image fills the whole width of the post.
In order to have your image displayed in large format like the example from Dr. Lamberton’s page, you’ll need it to be big enough, and the right dimensions. I usually make my images 625 px wide x 327 high, which follows Facebooks aspect ratio recommendation of 1.91:1. This will make a nice heading on your blog post, and will also be the right proportion to show up in the larger format when you share the post on Facebook. If your image is taller than this ratio, or even square, but still at least 600 px wide, the center part of your image will be shown, with the top and bottom cropped off in equal amounts. Here is what Facebook has published in their ‘best practices‘ guidelines:
Use images that are at least 1200 x 630 pixels for the best display on high resolution devices. At the minimum, you should use images that are 600 x 315 pixels to display link page posts with larger images.
How To Post Your Link
- Go to your Facebook Page and make sure the top of your screen says, “Posting as [Your Page Name],” rather than posting as yourself. If it says you’re posting as yourself, there should be an option that says, “Change to [Your Page Name].” If you don’t see either, you may not be an admin of your Page.
- At the top of the feed, where it says, “What have you been up to?,” click your cursor and star typing your introduction.
- After your comments, paste the link – your blog post url. *IMPORTANT* Make sure you are posting the link to the actual page, not your blog’s homepage! To do this, go to your blog, find the post you want to share, then click on the post title. With most blog platforms, this will take you to the page just for this post. Go to the address bar of your web browser, highlight the url, and copy it. Then go back to your Facebook status update and paste in the url.
- Once the link has been pasted, you’ll see the preview show up. If there are arrows over the image, you can scroll through different image options to select the image you’d like to use, or you can upload a new one.
- Before you publish your link, you can go back to the update portion where you pasted the url and delete the link from the text area. The link will remain below your post, and your comment will look cleaner, shorter and easier to read.
- Make sure you’re happy with the result, then click the Post button.
Posted on | March 5, 2013 | 1 Comment
QR codes can be incredibly effective when used well, but many businesses haphazardly publish QR codes without really thinking through their strategy. While I love seeing QR codes incorporated into creative designs, what really determines their effectiveness are three factors:
- Where the consumers physically are when they access the code
- What value they get from the resulting link at that moment
- What immediate action they take next
This part is key: at that moment.
QR codes are instant links, and should serve an instant purpose. Just tracking how many people scan your code doesn’t tell you much. What happens next? Do they carry out the action you’re targeting with your landing page?
An article published last year by Entrepreneur Magazine discusses three ways businesses are using QR codes, but they don’t really address the effectiveness of each one.
One company tracks the number of visitors who come to their website via QR codes at trade shows, but do they track whether they’re converting those visitors to leads?
In another example, a gardening business handed out bumper stickers to their Facebook fans. The bumper stickers had a QR code linking to a YouTube video. While bumper stickers may be a good way to get a lot of local visibility, it’s probably not the best place for a QR code. People see bumper stickers while they’re driving. Are they expected to not only scan the code, but watch a video, while they are driving a car?!
Remember that your QR code is a form of mobile marketing. You want your QR code to provide instant value, right then and there, for the person who scans it.
As a consumer, I appreciate QR codes in stores when I’m considering a large purchase. Last year when I was shopping for a dryer, Best Buy had a QR code on each model that lead straight to their website where I could find all the specifications as well as customer reviews. Great! I could make a decision without writing down the model numbers then going back home to do more research.
On the other hand, I really wished there had been QR codes when I was shopping a few days ago for a new TV. We were at Walmart and, while they may have the best prices, they aren’t known for much else. The tags on each TV had no specs outside of the price and model number. I actually hunted for a QR code to bring the information up on my phone. I was hopeful when I found one on a box, but it turned out to be just the stand. I ended up typing the model numbers into Google. I got the specs I was looking for, but I also found other stores that carried the same TVs, as well as other search results such as problems people had had with particular models. Good for my husband and me in the end. Not so good for Walmart.
One of my first experiences with a really effective QR code was, surprisingly enough, through the State of California. Despite all the complaints of bloated, ineffective government, some people are doing things right.
The California Dept. of Motor Vehicles has an appointment system to minimize the wait time at their offices, but people aren’t always quick to adopt new systems. Many people still show up and take a number, then sit down for an hour or more to wait. I went once first thing in the morning, thinking it would be quicker that way. When I got to the counter and found out they were already estimating a 45-minute wait, they handed me a card and suggested I schedule an appointment to come back. The card was the size of a standard business card, but had a QR code to the appointment scheduling page on their website, as well as a brief ‘step 1, 2, 3’ explanation of the process. I scanned it, found out I could schedule an appointment for the next day (I had thought I would need to schedule much further in advance), and was on my way. When I came back for at my appointment time, I was in and out in 10 minutes.
Another QR code I’ve encountered that I found particularly effective was at Linda’s Pizzeria, a local pizza place. They were in the running for, “The Best of Sacramento.” Customers typically wait awhile for these homemade deep-dish pizzas. There was a table tent on the table asking people to vote for them, with a QR code that went straight to the voting page.
I was just sitting there waiting with my family, so I read whatever was in front of me. We’re regular customers and we love their pizza, so I was happy to vote for them. And they made it so easy – almost fun, even.
The other thing that made this work was that the voting system was mobile-friendly and very simple – no logging in, no creating an account – just click once and vote. Done.
QR codes can be very effective, as long as their use is well thought-out. If you’re planning a QR campaign, think about your goal and make sure you carefully plan out your strategy. Be sure to avoid the most common pitfalls, and answer the four questions below to create an effective campaign.
Avoid these common QR code mistakes:
- Link goes to a site or page that is not optimized for mobile viewing.
- Landing page content is not relevant to viewer’s immediate location or circumstance.
- Consumers aren’t given enough information about what to expect if they scan the code.
- Landing page asks viewer for something before giving them value (i.e. sign up, or buy now).
Four questions to ask yourself when planning your QR campaign:
- Where will your customers physically be when they scan the code?
- What immediate action do you want them to take next?
- How will the landing page you send them to give them value and lead them to your desired action?
- How will you track your results?
Taking the time to think through these four questions will help you create a effective QR code campaign. Or, you may determine that a QR code is not be the best solution for the goal you have in mind. When you do launch your campaign, you’ll be able to monitor its success because you’ll have a specific conversion metric and a way to track it.
Have you used QR codes? Have they been effective?
Please share your experiences in the comments either about your own success or failure, or a personal interaction with someone else’s QR code. I’d love to hear from you!
Posted on | November 21, 2012 | 1 Comment
by Kristin Singhasemanon
First published in the Nugget by the Sacramento District Dental Society November 2012
As a dentist, you sometimes have no choice but to make your patients uncomfortable. You poke and prod in their mouths, often giving shots, drilling, maybe cutting. They may leave your office feeling numb, sore and unable to eat.
The nature of the job makes some dentists feel uncomfortable about allowing, let alone encouraging, their patients to share their stories online, for the whole world to see.
Like it or not, online reviews are here to stay. Whether you run a restaurant, an automotive repair shop, or a dental practice, your business is fair game. A patient can snap a picture of his swollen jaw as he leaves your office, then post it immediately to Facebook with a note of how much pain he’s in. But he can also come back and rave about how great it was that the doctor called that night to make sure he was doing alright. And again in the morning. And then took action right away when he had a reaction to his medication.
Rather than shy away and hope for the best, embrace the world of immediate public feedback as an opportunity to bring new patients to your practice.
If you worry about the effect of negative reviews, positive reviews can be your best defense. Your satisfied patients far outnumber those who are discontent. You want your online reviews to portray that story. When people read your reviews, they are mentally evaluating the reviewers as much as they are the reviewee. Is this someone who’s opinion I trust? Are their claims too outrageous to be true? Are they upset about something that’s important to me?
When one bad review shows up after ten or twenty good ones, readers may be skeptical of the patient’s story. If you only have one or two reviews, they’re not sure who to believe.
Sooner or later you are likely to be faced with negative online feedback. So how do you handle it?
You can use the same principles you would if you were facing the patient in your own office, except your actions are on public display. If you handle it well, you can turn your patient, and the readers, into raving fans. If you handle it poorly, you may do more damage than the feedback itself.
Here are six ways you might consider handling online criticism:
1. Resolve the Issue Directly with the Patient
If you are able to identify the patient, you may be able to contact them directly to resolve the issue, then ask them to remove or at least update their review. Most review sites and social media platforms will let contributors remove their own post if they are willing to do so, but don’t ask them to take down the review until you have addressed their concerns first.
2. Respond Publicly to the Patient
Most platforms let you leave a response, and this is often the best course of action. It allows you to show off your exceptional customer service skills and to display a bit of class. According to Yelp, “Reviewers are usually thrilled to get a well-meaning response.”
First, make sure you acknowledge the patient’s concerns. Step back, calm down, and ask yourself if there was something you or your staff really could have done better. Admitting this publicly shows you are willing to accept and address mistakes. Think in terms of potential patients, and make them feel secure they won’t face the same problem. Say what you have done and what you are still willing to do to resolve the issue. Apologize if it’s appropriate.
You can encourage the patient to follow up with you privately (by asking them to email, call or message you), but be careful not to look like you’re just trying to hide the conversation from the public. If you feel the complaint is invalid, you can explain your side of the story, but be careful not to come across as defensive or confrontational. Keeping your response short and sweet without too many details is generally a good rule of thumb.
3. Delete the Post
On most platforms, only the author can delete a post. However, if a patient posts on your business Facebook Page or comments on your blog, you do have the ability to hide or delete it. Be careful with this though, because some people will have already seen the negative comment. They will wonder what you’re trying to hide, and suspicious minds have a way of making things seem worse than they actually are. Furthermore, the original author will likely be angered by your actions, and may come back to let everyone know you deleted their post, and even spread out to other platforms where you don’t have so much control. (NOTE: This applies to feedback from legitimate patients, not spam. It is perfectly acceptable to delete and report any spam posted on your Facebook Page or blog.)
When you respond publicly and treat social media as a customer service platform, you will have the opportunity to shine, to turn a bad story into a good one. Other Facebook fans or Twitter followers will be able to comment as well, and you may find them coming to your defense. Sometimes even complete strangers will repost your comment to compliment you on how you handled the situation.
If there is an actual error with the review, for instance it was intended for a different doctor, you should follow up with the platform it is posted on. While most platforms won’t delete a review just because you don’t agree with it, you should be able to get errors resolved. This may take some time, however, so it’s still a good idea to leave a polite response, showing empathy for the person’s bad experience, but explaining you aren’t the doctor they saw.
4. Ignore the Post
While some consultants recommend this, ignoring a problem won’t make it go away.
Some platforms only allow for one response from each side, while others may allow for an on-going conversation back and forth. Platforms with open community discussion such as Facebook, Twitter, forums or blogs pose the greatest risk, and the greatest opportunity. If you don’t respond where other people can, readers may publicly start to validate the patient’s complaints. Others may feel empowered to step up with negative experiences of their own that they had previously kept to themselves. The discussion could grow and spread to other platforms, virtually “taking on legs of its own.” On the other hand, your gracious response will help readers better understand the situation, and could help rally your supporters to stand up for you as well. Understand the platform you’re working with, as this may affect your decision as to how to respond.
If you feel there is really nothing you can say to make the situation better, or that any response on your part will further enrage the unhappy patient, you may be tempted to leave the comment alone. Usually a simple, polite response is better than nothing at all.
Think about this in a real-life context. If a patient comes to the front desk and starts complaining, do you and your staff duck out the back door, leaving her to rant at an empty chair, possibly with patients in the waiting room listening? Of course not.
Try to simulate your real-life response online. You don’t want to get defensive and start a loud debate, but even if you were to sit quietly and listen to her concerns, thank her for her patronage, then let her walk out the door, that is still a response. You can do the same thing online. Acknowledge that you’ve heard them. Thank them for being your patient, and kindly say good-bye. Sometimes that’s all you need to do.
5. Spotlight the Post
Some companies have taken an extreme approach to negative feedback and found ways to turn it into positive marketing. If you went above and beyond to resolve a patient’s concern, you may want to show that off. If you corrected something in your office in response to negative feedback, again, showcasing your responsiveness can be a plus. You could publicly thank the patient for pointing out your shortcomings and helping you to improve your practice. On the other hand, some comments lend themselves to lightening the mood with a bit of humor (as long as it’s not offensive).
6. Get More Positive Reviews
Following a negative review, the fastest way to get it pushed down the page, and out of site, is to get more reviews. Put a button on your website linking to the review site. Hand out a card with a scanable QR code that takes your patients to the review page right on their smartphones. Hold a contest where you offer awards for patients who write reviews for you online. Provide an iPad in your waiting room where the homepage has links directly to the review submission page.
While you can encourage your patients to write reviews, you still want them to be legitimate. Don’t have your family members write a bunch of reviews. Don’t hire anyone to write you a positive review. Don’t post fake reviews under made-up names. Aside from the obvious point that it’s unethical, you may even get caught. Now that would be legitimate negative feedback!keep looking »