Yelp, YouTube and Google Plus: Ignoring these three social networks will guarantee lost business

No matter how much internet marketing you’re doing, chances are you’re missing out on a lot more business for your practice because you’re not taking advantage of certain websites and social networks.  Why?  Because no one has explained to you the value of using these online tools.

You can get a lot doing your SEO (search engine optimization), and Facebook can be a great way to drive traffic and sales, but even being visible on the top 2 websites in the nation (Facebook and Google) may not be enough, and you can still double or triple your business if you start utilizing a few websites that your competitors aren’t using or at least aren’t using right.

Yelp, YouTube, and Google+ are some of the most powerful and underutilized social networks that can bring a tremendous amount of traffic and business to your practice.  Below, we’ll break them down to explain why they are so valuable and how you can dominate the search results for your area by using these and using them well.

Yelp Tips for Aesthetic Medical Practices

Yelp for BusinessYelp, love it or hate it, is a powerful tool for a few different reasons.

  1. Active Yelp users are ready to buy and they’re ready to buy right now.
  2. Yelp is now powering GPS inside of luxury vehicles, your primary target market (and now General Motors is even looking to integrate Yelp into GPS)
  3. Yelp powers the Apple iPhone Maps app.

Looking at just these three points, you know that:

  1. Your target market is on Yelp, and
  2. They are ready to buy!

Finally, Yelp users are some of your most important customers, no matter how much they are spending with you, because they are what are called “Brand Ambassadors.”  They willingly share their experience in your practice, driving more business to your door.

Does this mean that you HAVE to advertise on Yelp? Not necessarily, though it helps.  But many business owners won’t even claim their Yelp business page (or set one up), brand it and maintain it while driving existing clients to the page to leave reviews.  By simply nurturing this online space and paying attention to it while asking patients and customers to leave reviews and check-in, you’re already ahead of the majority of your local competition.

YouTube Video Marketing Power

You Tube Video Marketing for Plastic SurgeonsYouTube is the next underutilized social network,  and it’s likely because many people think that it it requires a lot of money or time to generate good videos. While it does take a bit of planning, good videos can generate a lot of positive SEO (search engine optimization) value, as YouTube is owned by Google and is often found in search engine results pages.  YouTube videos are also tremendous sales tools as they allow people to get to know you and your practice before ever setting foot in your practice while also showing them demonstrations of different procedures. Having a well-maintained YouTube channel gives your website incredibly strong back links as well as great educational tools you can post everywhere else online including Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Best of all, not all of your videos have to be professionally filmed, cut and branded.  You can film 30 second-3 minute videos using your mobile device, a camcorder or even just using your webcam and produce a ton of useful content for your patients and potential patients.  Then, start uploading one of these videos each week, publishing all over your social media channels and your website to boost your SEO value and social media engagement.

Google+: The Misunderstood Social Network

google plusGoogle+ is under-appreciated and underutilized, largely because most people don’t understand how to use it.

Google Plus was created as a social media platform to rival Facebook; it’s for this reason that many people only see it as a social network and they fail to see the other wonderful benefits that come with having a Google+ page.

While your demographic does not necessarily use Google Plus as a social network, it’s still incredibly valuable to your business to have a well-branded Google+ presence, a verified Google+ Local listing (it’s the new Yellow Pages) and to post regularly on your Google+ page.  It gives your website tremendous value as Google favors these backlinks. Posting daily to Google+ will also help drive more traffic to your Google+ Local listing, even if potential patients are doing a simple Google search and not actively using the social network or Google maps. Finally, your Google+ page will integrate with your YouTube channel, adding even more power to your Google search results, placing you higher on the search engine results pages (SERPS).

If you need help putting together a strategy to better use Yelp, YouTube and Google+ for your aesthetic medical marketing needs, please contact Total Social Solutions for a free consultation.

What Does the New Yelp Mobile Review Feature Mean for Aesthetic Practices?

Negative Yelp Review in Progress

Angry Patients = Negative Yelp Reviews…right in your waiting room.

Yesterday, I received an email from Yelp announcing its new feature: the ability to leave reviews for a business from your smartphone.

Until today, the Yelp mobile app allowed for mobile check-ins and the drafting of reviews. However, in order to officially submit the review, you had to be on a computer logged into Yelp.

This seems rather tedious, but it had its benefits, including:

  1. Allowing customers to simmer down before clicking submit (we say a lot of things in the heat of the moment we later regret), and
  2. Ensuring that reviews were left at an IP address separate from the business, proving that the review wasn’t left by an employee.

Most people with smartphones will connect to whatever WiFi access they run into, and this includes WiFi that some businesses provide for free to their customers. With the new review feature, our team expects to see many more filtered reviews simply because the reviewer posted from their phone accessing the business’s WiFi and IP address.  Posting from the business’s IP address has long been known to trigger filtered reviews, as it appears to be a fake review left by the business and its employees, rather than a genuine customer review.

To break it down, three things could happen if Yelp doesn’t take appropriate precautions:

  1. Yelp may become further inundated with fake reviews,
  2. More honest reviews could be filtered, and
  3. More negative reviews can be left for businesses before the business has the opportunity to make it right.

We’ll specifically tackle number 3 below:

Quick Tip to Leveraging the New Yelp Mobile Review Feature:

Don’t allow your reception area to turn into a waiting room, or you’re likely to get a negative review before you ever see the patient.  This is an important change, because at least before this feature, you had a chance to make it right before the patient ever had a chance to leave a review.  With this new feature, every second counts.  If your patients are allowed to sit in a reception area long enough to write a review complaining about how long they had to wait, they’ve waited too long.

Of course, this makes it harder to run a successful practice, but if your business prides itself on timely appointments and customer service, this will give you a leg up on your competition, who may begin seeing more negative reviews due to long wait times.

For ideas on how to best leverage Yelp for your business, contact your Customer Satisfaction Manager right away and ask about our Yelp Help training for your staff.

Not a client?  Want to learn more about how to make Yelp work for your business?  Contact us for your free social media analysis and report, and we’ll send you a free copy of our e-book, No BS ROI: Social & Interactive Marketing for Medical Aesthetic Practices.

You’re Losing Business if you Ignore Yelp

In medical aesthetics, Yelp is considered a 4-letter word…in every sense.

Put simply, Yelp is the bane of the medical aesthetics industry.

…but is it really, or have we all just heard enough horror stories from the minority to make us think that Yelp is a nightmare business killer?

Either way, you can’t escape Yelp.  If you think Vitals and Real Self is driving your business, think again.  Yelp users are everywhere (and checking in at every location) and are more likely to review you on Yelp than they are to visit a medical related review site.

That aside, there are other reasons you should make sure you have control of your Yelp presence that you likely weren’t aware of.

Technology is growing quickly, and social media is rapidly replacing search engines and other time saving convenience items such as:

  1. Apple Maps:  Yelp recently partnered with Apple, making the iPhone map application Yelp driven.    What does this mean to you?  It means that iPhone users browsing the nearest location to get a  facial, hair removal or skin cancer screening will see your business on their iPhones.  If you’re not there, however, or your Yelp page is littered with negative reviews you haven’t addressed, you’ll lose that customer.
  2. GPS Systems:  Siri is now also powered by Yelp in newer models of luxury cars (think Lexus, Mercedes, Jaguar and BMW).   So when Laura feels she’s getting too old after celebrating her 30th birthday and sees the start of crows feet in the rear view mirror, she’ll shout, “Siri!  Find the nearest Botox provider!”  The results she will get are Yelp listings and reviews.  Again, if you aren’t among them or your star rating on Yelp is low, you’ll lose that potential business.

Yelp Ranks High in Google Search Results

If it weren’t enough that Yelp is now in every iPhone and luxury vehicle, Yelp business listings are also dominating Google search results as demonstrated in the screenshots below:

Botox Los Angeles Google search results are the top 2 listings.

After Google’s paid ads, Yelp listings rank in the Top 2 in the search results.

Making Yelp Work FOR You

Our clients receive special training from our Customer Satisfaction Managers that we like to call “Yelp Help” that includes instructional materials on how to respond to negative reviews, improve Yelp star ratings, and rank higher in the search results.  In addition, we do some of the leg work for them by managing their ad campaigns.

If you are a client of ours and haven’t received Yelp Help or feel that a greater focus needs to go into your Yelp presence, contact your Customer Satisfaction Manager right away to get started or get a quick refresher.

If you are currently running ads on Yelp but could use some expert assistance from our team, please let us know so we can help you squeeze every penny out of your Yelp advertising budget.

Not already a client?  Contact us right away, and we’ll show you how we can make Yelp work for your medical aesthetic practice.

 

How Negative Yelp Reviews Can Save Your Business

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Seriously – negative reviews HELP you!

No…that’s not a typo.  We’re actually serious, because despite whether you want to hear customer complaints or not, they really can save your business.

As business owners, we tend to take it personally when a client is dissatisfied with services rendered, even though the logical portion of our brains reminds us that we can’t please all of the people all of the time.

With the Internet, however, a dissatisfied customer can tell more than just her friends; she can spread the word to your entire potential customer base with a simple 2 minute written review and a mouse click on prominent websites that consumers trust to deliver valid and valuable information about who to do business with and who to avoid.

This can be detrimental to a small business if enough negative reviews are seen on such review sites.  However, most business owners take the wrong approach when investigating what to do about negative reviews when they crop up.

Learn From Your Mistakes – Turn Negative Reviews into Positive Customer Experiences

Some negative reviews are completely unwarranted.  Some people who come into your business are just never going to be satisfied no matter what you do.  Unfortunately, that’s business and that’s life.  Whether you want to accept it or not, that’s simply a risk you take when you go into business for yourself.

However, there are other clients who, no matter how much you may want to deny it, have very real concerns that should be addressed instead of responded to with further negativity or even silence.

When you see a negative review, ask yourself:

“Have any of our other clients ever had these same complaints?”

If the answer is “Yes,” then there are very real problems happening within your business that need to be addressed immediately.

For example, if enough unhappy clients posted reviews stating that “the front desk staff was very rude,” and that “my appointment was about 30 minutes before I was actually seen,” and “the practitioner was inattentive and/or rude,” then you should address these as soon as possible and correct them as well.

How do you fix it?

First, call the reviewer!  Yes, call the reviewer and thank her for bringing these flaws in the business to your attention and helping you implement real improvements to how you do business.

Invite her in for a do-over appointment, and make sure her experience is stellar.

Implement changes in how your business is run to fix the problems you’ve consistently heard from your clients.  If it was a problem with the front desk staff or a practitioner, train them to improve or replace them.  If the wait times are an issue, get to the root of the problem and solve it.

If you follow the above tips, not only will you likely turn a negative review into a positive review, you’ll have gained a client for life and improved your services for everyone who walks through your doors from that moment on.

Need more help with your online reviews?  We offer Yelp Help assistance to our interactive marketing clients.

Already a client?  Contact your Customer Satisfaction Manager and request a meeting to discuss review tactics like those above.

Not yet a client?  Contact us for a free social media evaluation and we’ll also send you a FREE e-book dedicated to social media marketing for aesthetic medical practices!

SEO and Social are finally, clearly intertwined (and converging)

People are constantly changing the way that they are using the internet. In 2010, when Facebook was only a couple of years old (but had definitively vanquished MySpace), search and SEO strategies were focused on a ‘publish or perish’ paradigm. Website owners were rewarded for prodigious content production and article marketing with high search rankings.

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SEO is joining Social Media for the ultimate Internet connectivity platform

At the time social media had very little to do with search, or with a business’ digital marketing strategy. Social media was a place for a rare few businesses and was largely occupied by individuals (most of them playing Farmville and Mafia Wars, you may recall).

Today, social and SEO are slowly growing closer together. When your clients are looking for an injector, they are likely to ask their friends on Twitter or check out Yelp. Many consumers find search rankings on Google to be a less reliable indicator for a reliable business than crowd-sourced opinion.

The search world has a new player in Facebook.  Facebook’s Graph Search now allows users to enter human language searches (like ‘spas my friends like’) to extract answers from the Facebook network.  If this catches on when it emerges to production, it will represent a massive change to how people select service providers.

As these two mediums converge, we start to see that success in social media together with success in SEO comprise your overall comprehensive digital marketing strategy. The best businesses can, and should, be successful in both.

This has changed our blogging strategy as well.  Initially our team offered syndicated blog content to be placed on client blogs, for the purpose of broadcast on social media. Our clients benefited through using a large amount of informational blog content at a very low price, with more backlinks to social media. As the year passed, and as Google evolved its search algorithm, we learned that we can offer even more value to our clients with a far smaller quantity of exclusive blog articles. We have switched our packages to support a more holistic view of the SEO/Social relationship by giving clients the OPTION of a higher quantity of syndicated content, or original and unique blog content. This has led to much better partnerships between our team and our partners’ SEO firms. In addition, we’ve made available to our clients the option of purchasing original, unique, and custom blog articles to assist their overall digital marketing goals.

In 2013 we’ll continue to see a convergence between search and social.  Your SEO vendors will continue to try to figure out social media by applying SEO principles to social.  In the meantime, here at TSS we are going to continue to focus on delivering metrics that show how social is delivering business to you.

Please contact us if you need help with your blogging and SEO strategy.

Making sure your audience sees your posts

Make sure people see your social media posts

Do your fans and followers actually see your posts?

Let’s remember the ultimate goal as we build out our social media audiences: building loyal communities that will buy more product and services, refer more new clients, and resist the temptation to buy from other vendors.

In order to encourage people to buy more products and services, it’s important to know the right way to reach our audience on each social media platform. They have to hear what we’re saying, right?

This article will focus on maximizing impressions for our messaging, particularly impressions for our promotional posts.  Each social media platform requires different standards and best practices to maximize these impressions.

Facebook, for example, allocates impressions for your posts based on your EdgeRank. Facebook essentially assigns a ranking to your posts based on:

 

  • past posts
  • your page’s history
  • the content of your posts
  • and how people engage with your post during its first several impressions.

 

You can see this in action yourself; a post with a lot of engagement (say, a funny picture) will be very visible on Facebook, where an unexciting post (e.g. a short status update with no link or picture) will often go ignored.

Twitter, on the other hand, displays every post to every follower. The challenge on this medium is to make sure that your post gets seen before it gets ‘pushed down’ in the feed by other posts.

Other networks carry with them different idiosyncrasies. Yelp and YouTube tend to be very search-based and carry strategies similar to SEO, and FourSquare is not search-based at all… promotions tend to get seen if and only if clients are already onsite.

The table below captures some best practices we’re using to make our promotions stick.  Please contact your account manager if you have questions about how we can better use your social networks to build your audience.

Network
Best practices
Caveats
FacebookUse images
Write compelling copy (keywords, images, humor)
Request for shares
Promote posts for inexpensive impressions
Don’t spam (this includes overpromoting or posting more than 3 times/day)
TwitterHashtags
Request retweets (RT)
More frequent posts (e.g. 3x Facebook)
Don’t spam (this includes too many or unrelated hashtags, or multiple identical posts)
Monitor your audience
YelpRequest checkins
Tastefully encourage reviews (contact your campaign manager for details)
Respond to negative reviews appropriatelyReview filtering

Respond to positive reviews

FoursquareMarket onsite
Rewards for frequent checkins
Google+Hashtags
Request shares
YouTubeUse keywordsTitles should be descriptive and SEO friendly
PinterestHashtagsBe careful about copyright

 

If you’re not already a client, then contact us and we’ll talk to you about how we can maximize the effectiveness of your promotions.

Why social media is the new SEO… the future of search is social.

Months ago, Total Social Solutions published this article about the advent of Google’s new ‘Search Plus Your World’ default search platform. This was the first move by a major search engine to incorporate social media into traditional search results.

Social media is stronger than SEO

Google has repeatedly stated the integration of social and search will deliver more relevant search results for users. The prevailing logic has nothing to do with social media, SEO, nor even technology. To get some perspective on this, let’s take a big-picture look.

Since the beginning of mankind, we as a species have relied upon the recommendations of other people. Family members, friends, and thought leaders have been the primary places that we turn to in order to know what to do, where to go, or what purchases to consume. The reason we trust the recommendations of friends or relatives more so than strangers is that we trust people who are close to us.

So, it should not be surprising that Google, Facebook, and other online behemoths are interested in having our online experiences mimic your real, not-online life. Their beliefs are simple: if search results can mimic your cocktail party experience, you’ll be more likely to use their platform.

Google+ Local & Yelp are more powerful than search engines

In the latter portion of the 20th century, Americans enjoyed the expert restaurant reviews of Zagat contributors. Zagat became the ultimate authority, and the one place that a traveler could turn to in order to get information on restaurants (and eventually other businesses) in another city. For years, Zagat enjoyed revenue from consumers of these reviews through sale of their print books and online subscription-based services.

With the growth of Google+ Local, Yelp, and other countless online review sites, the market for paid review results went away permanently. Recognizing a synergy, and as a direct competitive offensive towards Yelp, Google bought Zagat, and its entire database. Google then rolled Zagat into the new Google+ Local. We published this article on the topic after the launch of this new platform which will be a major competitor to Yelp. Google+ Local is already a formidable force due to its high search visibility. It will only grow. The great news for TSS clients is that we support your business’ Google+ Local listing, contact your account coordinator if you have questions on optimizing this listing.

We specialize in Google+ Local optimization

Finally, the rumors have been circulating for some time that Facebook is developing a search tool. The vision of Mr. Zuckerberg and his team is that Facebook can be a place where users can poll their friends and family members about goods, services, and experiences that they are considering buying.  Concrete evidence of this Facebook search tool has yet to surface.

What this means for you and your business:

  • Social media is the bleeding edge of search.
  • In the not-too-distant future, search will be driven by social media.
  • Traditional SEO techniques will be largely supported by social media results due to search algorithms shifting to favor social content

Think about that statement… social media is not just the cutting edge, but is ahead of the cutting edge of search. If you want to get ahead of the competition, and stay ahead of the competition, your presence on social media will give you a huge advantage over your competition. The further ahead that you can pull today; the more ground the competition will have to make up in the future.

Your TSS account representative can help you position your brand for success today, and into the future. Contact us for more information, so you stay ahead of the constantly changing competitive market.

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