10 Best Places to Find Cheap Furniture

Furniture is one of the most important things in our homes. It not only provides comfort and style but also adds personality to our space. However, buying furniture can be quite expensive, especially if you are looking for high-quality pieces.

If you are on a tight budget but still want to find stylish and well-made furniture, here are 10 of the best places to look for cheap furniture:

1. IKEA

IKEA is a popular Swedish furniture store that offers a wide range of affordable furniture, including many stylish and modern pieces.

2. Target

Target is a great place to find cheap furniture for your home. The store offers a wide range of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

3. Walmart

Walmart is another great option for finding affordable furniture. The store offers a wide selection of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

4. Amazon

Amazon is a great place to find furniture for your home. The online retailer offers a wide range of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

5. Wayfair

Wayfair is an online retailer that specializes in furniture. The store offers a wide range of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

6. Overstock

Overstock is an online retailer that specializes in furniture. The store offers a wide range of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

7. Crate & Barrel

Crate & Barrel is a high-end furniture store that offers a wide range of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

8. Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn is a high-end furniture store that offers a wide range of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

9. West Elm

West Elm is a high-end furniture store that offers a wide range of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

10. Anthropologie

Anthropologie is a high-end furniture store that offers a wide range of furniture, including both traditional and contemporary pieces.

You can find coupons for a variety of online retailers on websites like RetailMeNot, Dealnews, Bradsdeals, Dealvario or Coupons.com.

What is a Trending Twitter Hashtag and Why Should You Care?

Twitter hashtags are a great way to reach out to a specific audience. They can be used for marketing purposes and for networking with like-minded people.

Hashtags have been around on Twitter for years now and they have become an integral part of the social media platform. They help people find content that is related to their interests and it has also helped in bringing communities together. You can keep track of twitter hashtags and trending topics around the world on twitter by using website like Webprocomponents.com

Hashtags are used to categorize and search for tweets on Twitter. Hashtags can be used to find content from a specific event, location, or topic.

Twitter hashtags are a great way to get your company or product in front of potential customers. In order for these hashtags to work, you have to have an active following on Twitter and make sure that you strategically use the hashtags for your marketing campaign.

Hashtags are a great way to quickly find and engage with relevant content. They can be used for marketing, research, or just to find new people with similar interests.

Hashtags are one of the most popular features on Twitter. They are used by more than 300 million people every day. Hashtags make it easier for people to find the content that they want and also help other users find them too.

A hashtag is a word or phrase that is preceded by a hash symbol (#). They were first created in 2007 as a way to categorize messages on Twitter and now they can be found all over the internet too!

Hashtags make it easy to categorize and find relevant tweets. They are a powerful marketing tool that can be used for advertising, customer service, and more.

Twitter hashtags work by grouping tweets with a common theme together. When people click on a hashtag they see all the other tweets that have been tagged with it.

Hashtags are used for everything from marketing to customer service to organizing events and conferences.

Hashtags are a great way to identify trends and bring attention to specific topics. They allow companies to reach out to a wider audience and can help them connect with their customers.

Hashtags are used on Twitter as well as Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. They usually start off as something that is trending in the moment, but they are also used for marketing purposes. Hashtags are a great way of making sure your content reaches a wider audience, which can be beneficial for businesses who want more people to see what they have to offer.

Anytime you type in a hashtag on twitter, you are able to view the trends that are currently happening.

Trending hashtags are useful for marketing your company because it will make your company more visible to others. They also help with branding and can be used as a way to engage with customers.

How To Find Coupon Codes For Online Shopping

Finding coupon codes for online shopping can be a bit tricky at times, but with the help of these few tips and tricks you can find some pretty cool stuff.

Type: “coupons” into the search bar, and then choose between fashion, beauty, or food from the drop-down list to browse through different categories.

Take advantage of sitewide sales! Sites like Urban Outfitters often have huge one day sales that will include discounts for both clothing and home goods.

Check out your favorite stores’ Twitter feed! Most stores have a Twitter account that they post new promos on. Similarly, stores like J.Crew and Target will often send out coupons via couponvario, saving you the hassle of searching the web for them.

Choose your parameters carefully. If you want to receive all of the printable coupons, but don’t want the “coupon” to appear in search engines, type “printable” into the search bar instead of “print.” For instance, I use code “PCBSAVE” to save $10 off $100 or more on my purchase at Target with free shipping.

Shop seasonal! Sales can be super sensitive during certain months, e.g., June only carries 40% off storewide sale items during that month (Hollister). Check out the site’s calendar to get a sense of when each retailer is holding its biggest savings.

Shop from top-rated merchants! Personally, I have been using Poshmark for a while now, and have saved a lot of money off of my purchases. By watching the clothing industries’ popular brands’ social media pages, you can often find promotions that offer free shipping or coupon codes for specific items.

Using coupon codes for online shopping is not rampant, nor is it legal

Currently, using couponing for online shopping is not widespread nor is it illegal. However, the subject of coupon frauds has come to light in recent months, with individuals selling counterfeit coupons on fraudulent websites. These coupons are then reshipped to recipients that use them only once. Some sites even feature pictures of people who received the coupon “goodies” without telling them about what they were getting (e.g., free shipping). The company that markets these coupons states that they are looking into ways of making this fraudulent practice more difficult. For the time being, consumers are advised to research online retail sites for coupon-related advice before making purchases.

Know what you are buying/using

These days, consumers are more aware of internet scams. Before purchasing anything online, get to know exactly what the site is offering. Don’t get scammed by brands who ask you to provide personal details or financial information in exchange for “free” coupons or discounts.

When it comes to buying used clothing, make sure that all of the products being sold are in good condition because the company doesn’t have contact with sellers beforehand. Be especially careful when buying items from sellers in foreign countries because items may be counterfeit or damaged due to shipping accidents.

Be smart about your purchases

Similar to the “don’t get scammed” advice, watch out for people who disregard credit card statements. This is because they are often selling more of the item being purchased than what is advertised on the site. If you have issues with your credit card processing company or are having trouble receiving statements, ask them to review their records for you.

Also, do some research before purchasing products where shipping may cost more than what you initially paid for the item.

Buy from reputable websites

The law does not require that all online retailers have to list their merchant rates, but it is wise to look at each website’s policies before making a purchase. Look for a clear return policy, a “fair business practices” policy, a privacy policy, and a shipping and handling policy.

Be wary of sites that list their charges outside of the “shopping cart” area. This is especially true when the site is not well-known. In addition, be aware that even if a site is reputable, it’s possible for people to use an anonymous e-mail address to place the order while paying with a stolen credit card. It’s best to use sites that have been around for awhile and have regular customers.

If you are buying from a private seller on eBay or Craigslist, make sure you know who you are dealing with before agreeing to make a purchase. Call the seller to make sure that they are who they say they are. Get their contact information and make sure you tell them about yourself as well. If you are buying an item from someone in your community who is using Craigslist, it may be best to meet in a public place with a friend if you are uncomfortable with the transaction.

Use coupon codes online effectively

If you find a coupon code online and it’s not working, try searching for the same business with different terms: Add extra words or remove spaces, for example: “kohls” instead of “kohls.com”.

Again, if the coupon code worked on one site but not on another, there is probably no fraud involved. The company might have changed the “terms and conditions” for the coupon to entail a different purchase—meaning you have to use a different site to get the same deal. Ask for an email from the company that sent you the code to see what it says.

Access online shipping information

To check how much shipping costs, shop with delivery dates in mind, or if shipping is free, pay in full before you checkout.

If a site offers free shipping over a certain amount, store gift cards can incur fees. Also, gift cards can be a synonym for a lost purchase if they are used before being redeemed.

After my investigation, I discovered that the retail coupon industry is quite vast with many individuals who are trying to find their own niche. As a result of its evolving state, I can foresee many young businesses forming in response to this need. Coupons are undoubtedly here to stay, but the rate at which they are being accepted by consumers will depend on how quickly online businesses can adapt to this digital age.

Internet Retailer Magazine estimates it will be valued at over $1 billion by 2013

Retail coupons have been around for decades, with coupon redemption beginning in the late 1800s. In the 1990s, this form of advertising began to become more accepted by consumers who were still becoming accustomed to online shopping. Over the past few years, retail coupons have been enjoying a considerable amount of media coverage and consumer acceptance. In 2003 alone, retail coupons were estimated to have over 120 million redeemers, totalling over $250 million in sales. By 2007, it’s anticipated that this figure will rise to 1 billion in sales due to their acceptance and convenience for consumers and retailers alike. This figure is likely to increase even further in the next decade: Internet Retailer Magazine estimates it will be valued at over $1 billion by 2013.

Advance in technology

With today’s technology, it is much easier for companies to take advantage of internet marketing. Online retailers are making it easier for consumers to buy online by offering online shopping carts that can be accessed from many different sites. This increases the speed of the transaction and provides consumers with more options. For example, if a business runs out of stock, it is easy for them to place an order using the same company.

An example of how this technology benefits both businesses and consumers is Google’s offer of $75 in free coupons when they create their Google Checkout account. Wal-Mart also uses this technology by allowing customers to pick up orders at their local Wal-Mart instead of having them shipped home. This is an excellent way for businesses to create a sense of community around their specific product. The more convenient you can make your online business, the better.

Convenience for consumers

Online shopping provides consumers with a wide variety of legal products. It is much easier to compare prices and read reviews of each product, as well as make purchases from the comfort of one’s home. Consumers also have more options when making purchases online through retail coupons because they can be applied at their discretion and do not expire after a certain period of time. Buying from an online retailer saves them from having to drive to different stores or even from having to leave their house at all.

The main reason why consumers use retail coupons is because they believe that the retail price has been inflated and that they are getting a better deal. Even though there is no legal definition of what constitutes a “deal,” the majority of consumers feel certain products and services need to be marked down in order for them to be considered a deal.

In addition, when people use coupons, they tend to spend more money than they would have otherwise. In fact, according to the June 2003 edition of “Newsweek,” 70 percent of people who use coupons also buy unnecessary items to make up for what they save on their purchase. This percentage could increase in online shopping because there are more irrelevant yet tempting offers available on websites.

Disadvantages of using coupons online

Buyer beware with online coupons

Usually, the only people who are able to see retail coupons are the manufacturers. Therefore, it’s important that sellers provide complete disclosure on their websites and not exaggerate what the product actually does. This type of behavior would hurt both online retailers and potential consumers as nobody would be able to trust those sites any longer. The best way to avoid these issues is to only buy from reputable sellers that have been in business for a long time and allow you to contact them if you have any questions about their products.

Since online retailers are often viewed as discount merchants, they are often the first ones that consumers try when they want to save money. However, discounts are not always available on everything under the sun, so one must be careful when applying retail coupons. Once again, check out reviews on various sites before buying products online to ensure you are not getting scammed.

Patience is key in finding deals

Although there are many positive aspects of using retail coupons in your everyday life, they can be time consuming and difficult to use. To begin with, it can be difficult to find the coupons that you’re looking for because of how many sites there are. Additionally, you must make sure that the site provides a secure transaction and protects your private information. If you take your time and do your research, however, online shopping with coupons is a relatively easy process; simply check out the retailer’s website, find a coupon for the item you want to purchase and enter it into the appropriate field.

Industry Issues

Despite the many opportunities that retail coupons provide to businesses and consumers alike, there are also many issues that can affect them both. One of these issues revolves around consumer privacy: Companies may offer consumers discounts if they allow them to view their personal information such as age and address. This information is then used for direct mail marketing purposes. Consumers may also receive coupons that are not relevant to their lifestyle or preferences.

Risk to the consumer

Because online retailers are relatively new, there are still many laws that have yet to be passed regarding what is legal and what is not. For example, there are no laws about the expiration dates of retail coupons or whether businesses can take advantage of consumers by charging them different prices based on where they live. The only piece of legislation regarding online retailing so far has been passed by Congress in 1998 which prevents states from taxing out-of-state companies that do not have a physical presence within their borders.

Furthermore, since online retailing is a relatively new phenomenon, there are more chances for consumers to get scammed and less resources to protect them. Therefore, consumers should never give out their social security number or financial information. It is also important to make sure that the website you are using is secure by looking for the lock in the bottom left-hand corner of your browser window when shopping online.

4 Quick Tips to Get Your Social Media Team Started

Social media teams are becoming more common according to Exact Target’s State of Marketing 2014 Report.

Out of 2,500 marketers surveyed for their study,  57% of respondents said they have a dedicated team to strategize, execute and steward social media initiatives.

Most brands understand that having a dedicated team is key to social marketing success. It’s also clear from the report that “one-person social media teams” are the most common (probably due to small budgets or lack of buy-in from upper management).

Of course, having a social media team of more than one person would be great. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the budget to make it happen. There are always things you can do to create social media success. However, you also have to adjust your expectations to match the level of investment in your budget and team. Whether your team is comprised of one person or more, here are 4 quick tips to get them started:

#1. Begin with a strategy

Know what you want to accomplish from social media and choose your social networks wisely. Hint: You don’t have to have a presence on ALL social networks just because that’s what everyone is doing. However you do have to be where your customers and your target audience are.

#2. Create a workflow process

Schedule some time each day for routine social media activities (e.g., listening and monitoring, posting updates, networking and so on). The more you repeat these tasks, the better you’ll get at them.

#3. Develop quality content

You’ll need to create original content on a regular basis (e.g., blog posts, images, videos, graphics, etc.). Even with a small budget, you can get other people to create high-quality content for you by using a service like Fiverr. You can also get free images from Flickr, Photopin, or Wikimedia Commons.

#4. Get the word out

Let your co-workers and customers know that you have a Facebook page or a Twitter profile. Encourage them to engage with the company on these channels.

It’s also a good idea to join an online community where you can tactfully get the word out to others (without spamming them). The more value you add to their conversations, the more receptive they will be to discovering and engaging with your online brand.

What did I miss? What other tips can you share with social media teams that are just starting out?

The Ultimate Guide to Using Twitter For Your Dermatology Practice

Are you interested in learning how to promote your dermatology practice on Twitter?

Compared to other social networks, Twitter is one of the simplest and most straightforward platforms you could ever use. The interface is simple and there are no privacy settings or new changes to deal with every few months.

In fact Twitter is perceived by physicians to be a more relevant platform for medical conversations than say, Facebook. Even with a limitation of 140 characters per tweet, Twitter is a great place for dermatologists to amplify your voice, accrue more influence, and extend your reach simply by leveraging this platform a few minutes each day. Here’s how to get started on Twitter.

Planning Phase

  1. Define your Goals – Decide what you are trying to achieve with Twitter. Your objectives should be specific, timely and measurable e.g. to grow your email list by 10% each month.
  2. Define your target audience – Apart from mere demographics you should have an in-depth understanding of your prospective patients’ health needs, challenges, frustrations, life-style goals and even their content preferences. This knowledge (gained through research) will help you to develop interesting content that draws them to you as a trusted source of relevant content.
  3. Understand how Hashtags work – A hashtag is a word or phrase prefixed by the pound symbol (#) e.g. #melanoma or #acne. It is a form of metadata tag used to group Twitter conversations into specific categories. Hashtags are becoming increasingly popular on Twitter as evidenced by the creation of the Healthcare Hashtag Project.

Create Your Account

  1. Create a Twitter account using the name of your business domain e.g. if your domain is skindoctor.com, your Twitter profile should be @skindoctor.
  2. Write up a short bio or description of your profile using keywords that are both ‘Google-friendly’ and consistent with your practice e.g. skin care, etc.
  3. Include your location
  4. Add a link to your website
  5. Upload a logo or photo that is consistent with the branding of your practice
  6. Include an appealing Twitter background that complements your branding

Develop Your Tactics

  1. Follow selectively – focus on people and brands that add value to your business. Use tools such as Twellow or Tweepi to help you find relevant followers on Twitter.
  2. Use Twitter lists – A twitter list is a curated group of Twitter users that is based on specific characteristics. You may create your own list or subscribe to lists created by others. Here’s a step-by-step guide for using Twitter lists.
  3. Use time saving tools – Tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer are complementary to Twitter because they help you manage your account and save time.
  4. Budget your time – allocate about 30 minutes each day to Twitter marketing. Within that time use your favorite tool (see #3) to schedule tweets, monitor conversations and ‘listen’ to what others are saying about you.
  5. Stay on-topic – It’s easy to get distracted on Twitter if you’re not focused. Stay on topic and ignore any conversations that are irrelevant to your practice. Lists and hashtags are effective in helping you stay on topic.
  6. Engage in conversations with others by asking or answering questions, recognizing and thanking people who share your content and so on.
  7. Add  “Follow me on Twitter” buttons in the top-right corner of your website, newsletter, email signature lines and all other digital marketing properties.
  8. Create great content that engages your target audience. And don’t forget to share other people’s content too, particularly when it is consistent with your own brand’s messaging.

Monitor your Progress

  1. Regularly check your mentions (@mentions) to see what people are saying about you
  2. Use Google analytics to see how much traffic is coming to your website from Twitter.
  3. Learn, Adjust, Repeat – be prepared to experiment with new tactics to learn what works for your practice and what doesn’t. If something isn’t working, be prepared to let it go, modify your strategy and keep testing for new opportunities.

What do you think? Twitter has become quite an impressive platform for promoting healthcare and medical brands. As a dermatologist what has been your experience so far?

6 Content Curation Tips for Delivering Maximum Value to Your Audience

Do you curate content from other sites on your own blog?

If so, you’re probably doing it one of two ways. Either you’re just posting excerpts (not the whole thing!) of other people’s articles and including a link back to the original source (this is actually called content aggregation).

Or you’re posting excerpts of other people’s articles and adding your own commentary to provide additional insights and context to the article (true content curation).

The first method offers some value to your audience in the sense that you’re doing a lot of the heavy lifting on their behalf thus giving them a quick resource for keeping up to date with relevant content. In exchange they rely on you to point them in the right direction for content on a particular topic(s). See Alltop.com as an example.

The second method offers even more value (to your audience and to you!) because adding your voice and unique perspective to the curated article tells people why the topic is important and also positions you as a trusted thought leader and expert in that area.

If you’re curating content on your website, here are 6 best practices to ensure that you’re delivering maximum value to your audience:

  • Make sure the excerpt from the original source is not too long
  • Include your own commentary to give insight and guidance to your audience
  • Turn off your ‘no-follows’ – the no follow attribute on hyperlinks tells search engines not to give SEO credit to the site you have linked to. Don’t use no-follows on links to the original publisher.
  • Make your commentary longer than the excerpt because it reduces the amount of duplicated content and is thus better for SEO value.
  • Re-title the article so that you’re not competing for the same title on search engines.
  • Share only the thumbnail size of the original image unless you have permission to share the full-size image

For more content curation tips check out Curata’s blog.

Freepik Promo Code – The Best Way To Use Beneficial Services

The services provided by freepik are really useful for many people, they are one of the best to give you the best vectors, PSDs, Icons, and photos. There are also many premium things available with them, but if you think that this is out of your budget then your problem is almost solved because of the freepik promo code offers that offer premium discounts whenever you pay for anything. We will tell all about these promo codes such as why they are offered to you, how to use them and how does it work?

What Is Freepik?

Freepik is a platform where you easily find vector images, PSDs and other graphic resources. They offer premium services as well as free services. But it is good to go and buy their premium graphics. They are considered if not best, one of the best for providing these services. Their services are truly worth buying, they have graphic designs in four main categories which are vectors, PSDs, icons, and stock. Their graphic designs are also sub categorized so that you can easily find the one you are looking for.

Why The Promo Codes Are Offered

You might be thinking about what is the reasons behind giving you services at cheaper prices when they could have charged the same amount. But there are so many reasons like every business,

  1. To get more consumers, many consumers hesitate to buy products because of a little higher price thus company as promotional offers to give premium discounts on the use of promo codes. This attracts a lot of new consumers. as the price becomes cheaper the demand gets higher.
  2. Fighting competition, some time for promotions many competitors offers their services at the cheaper prices thus to face the competition this promo code is offered to you.
  3. To maintain consumer’s interest, every business wants to retain its consumers and so does the freepik, it offers the premium offers on this promo codes to encourage more purchases from the people who have already done it once.
  4. A beneficial promotion, the promo code is a type of promotion that is beneficial for both consumers and sellers as the consumer gets premium benefits and the seller gets sales.
  5. Helps to target a specific group of consumers, promo code offers can only be used by those consumers who are eligible for that. Thus it helps in giving these premium offers only to the people, the company wants to target.

Promo code offers are really beneficial for the sellers in the sense of getting more people to buy the services.

How Does Promo Code Offers Work

These offers help you to have the premium offers when you apply the promo codes while making payment for any service that you want to use. For example, if you want to buy some premium graphic designs from the freepik you can buy things on a benefit if you are eligible for the promo code offer. You just need to enter the promo code when asked while making payment and if you are eligible for that offer then you can easily get the discount or any other benefit while making a payment. The question that comes in mind is how someone becomes eligible for a promo code offer. You can easily check whether you are eligible or not, the promo code offers also mentions the requirement. For example, if a promo code mentions that it can be used over the first payment with a business, then you become eligible for promo code if you are making the payment for the first time.

How Do We Get To Know What Are Promo codes?

You can find the promo codes that you can use over the website of the seller. This is a promotion whose objective is to increase the sales of their product so they would clearly want more consumers to know what promo codes they can use so that the consumer proceeds to make payment. Maximum sales automatically cover the cost and even earns a profit despite the low price charged for the service. Promo codes like freepik promo code offer reduce the price for services to the targetted consumers so if you are eligible for that offer then you will also know about these offers.

Sum up

Promo codes are really a beneficial way to buy any services that are offered by companies like freepik. It also helps in generating more consumers for the company so it’s a win-win deal for both of the parties. You can easily earn the promo code benefits if you are eligible and businesses can earn you as their consumer. So if you are being offered one of this promo code offers and you really need the services then you should consider using these offers for making the purchase.

6 Tips for Using Content Marketing & Social Media for Any Doctor

Are you a doctor who’s interested in learning how content and social media marketing can help grow your practice?

For decades doctors were able to get away without investing too much money in advertising or marketing. Then when the Internet changed everything, many of you started to use (and are still using) costly methods of online advertising to market your practices e.g. banner ads.

The problem is patients have completely tuned out to some these tactics and developed chronic cases such as banner blindness.

According to Pew Research, today’s patients are increasingly turning towards the Internet to find information (not advertisements) about symptoms, treatment and support. That means if you want patients to find you when they go online, you need to be involved in content marketing and social media.

And in case you’re wondering how social media and content marketing are related here’s what you should know…

Both are about educating people, answering their questions, and sharing interesting news about your practice. When you do this primarily on your blog it is content marketing

But there’s more.

Social media promotion is critical to online content marketing success. Because there are millions of users on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social sites, it is very likely that people who need your medical expertise (yet don’t know that your blog exists!) are hanging out there.

The best way to reach them is by taking the stories that you’ve posted on your blog and placing them in these sites.

It’s that easy?

Well, yes and no.  Yes, because once you have all your content ready, all you have to do is promote it on your social media networks. But preparation is key.

Social media is a very active space. There are a lot of interesting conversations taking place at the same time and since your target audience has a short attention span, they can get distracted very easily.

The challenge for you as a doctor using social media, is that you have to be more interesting and more creative than the other people or brands in your target audience’s network!

How do you that?

Here are 6 content marketing and social media success tips for your medical practice.

#1. Blog Regularly

If you don’t already have one, develop an editorial calendar to help you blog regularly and consistently. Remember too that social media content benefits from planning and regular updating.

You need to plan for the interesting stories that you will share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. Of course many of these stories will be inspired from your blog, but once in a while you may also need to add other content (photos, video, podcasts etc.) to engage audiences within those specific networks.

#2. Tell Awesome Stories

Use your blog to tell stories about your industry, practice, people and events. Each story should be unique and interesting enough to create appeal and draw new audiences on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites that you use.

Human-interest stories are very popular on social media. As a doctor, you have no shortage of such stories although you have to be careful not to violate patient privacy. Patient stories help to illustrate how your practice is impacting people’s lives, and thus generates more interest from other online audiences.

#3. Execute well

Even though 99% of patient stories are interesting by default, how you execute them on social media is very important.

For example on Facebook and Pinterest, posting visually appealing and well-edited photos will go much farther than posting links to your blog. On Twitter you will need different executions skills such as how to craft a compelling tweet with 140 characters, or how to use relevant hashtags to make it easy for people to find your content.

Every social media platform is different. It’s important for you to learn those environments and leverage their unique features to reach a wider audience with your message.

#4. Include location

One of your primary marketing goals is to attract more patients to your practice. So start by creating or updating your Facebook page, Twitter profile and Pinterest account and adding your physical location and your contact information.

When patients come in for their appointment, encourage them to ‘check-in’ to your location using Facebook Places.

Checking-in on Facebook has the same effect as word-of-mouth marketing. When a Facebook user sees (on her Newsfeed) that her friend (your patient) has checked into your location, she’ll be curious to learn more about your practice and will probably click through to your Facebook Page for more information.

#5. Work on your ‘About’ section

The ‘About’ section of your Facebook page should be optimized with keyword rich names, categories and descriptions. The words you use to describe your practice should reflect the natural conversational language that your audience uses. This will increase the likelihood of appearing on Facebook’s Graph Search results.

Similarly, the ‘About’ page of your website should not just focus on keywords that match the medical conditions you treat, but also on answering questions that typical patients would ask. Think about some of the common questions that your patients have asked in the past and update your About page with content that provides those answers.

#6. Consider contests, promotions & giveaways

Contests, promotions and giveaways are very effective ways of acquiring new clients via social media. Because contests can produce outstanding results, it’s important that you make yours stand out by offering a prize that will create excitement and enthusiasm among your audience. Giving away a free iPad has nothing to do with your practice, so don’t bother.

You can give away a relevant product with a ‘limited time only’ message to create a sense of urgency and interest. Avoid giving away free services as this might encourage people not to buy until they find out if they’ve won. To ensure high participation encourage Facebook fans to submit photos of themselves, or share stories for a chance to win.

Your Turn:

Which of these content and social media tips have you used to market your medical practice? Please share your experience in the comment box below.

Social Listening: Consumers Don’t Like It and What Your Brand Should Do About It

It’s common for companies to listen to conversations on social media. This way, they can understand consumer opinion about brands, products, and services.

The problem is consumers don’t like it.

A 2012 study by JD Power and NetBase shows that 40% of consumers think social listening intrudes on privacy, even though this is “social media.”

False Expectations?

The question is should users even expect to have online privacy in the first place?

Last summer Google basically told a federal court that people who care about privacy should not use their service and as Molly Wood, executive editor at CNET subsequently pointed out:

“Google reads your e-mail, knows what’s in your calendar, looks at your photos, and knows who your friends are, and that’s just via its in-house services. When you include the breadth of its search, Google knows everything about you that’s public information, from your address to all your online profiles, to your marital status and much, much more.”

I think part of the misunderstanding between consumers and marketers is that they look at privacy differently. Marketers spend a lot of time online – researching, studying and trying to understand how vast amounts of online data can be used to improve services.

But consumers aren’t as informed (no disrespect) about online data and how it’s used. Most of the time, they’re just afraid that their personal information is being used for something “covert” and they don’t like it.

But I want to have my cake and eat it too!

What’s interesting is that consumers want it both ways. They don’t necessarily want brands listening to their conversations, but they definitely expect them [brands] to respond if a consumer has a complaint!

There is no magic formula to help brands figure out what to do. What’s clear though is that marketers have to act in such a way that consumers are persuaded about the benefits of social listening.

What’s a brand to do…?

At the end of the day it’s all about respecting the customer, always getting their permission and going out of your way to explain why you need specific personal information from them. Here’s what social listening should look like:

  • Don’t just listen; understand the full picture before you respond.
  • Consider the context of online updates and conversations – your response should always satisfy consumers’ expectations.
  • Engage with the intention of delivering mutual value i.e. better experience and incredible customer service.
  • Demonstrate how listening builds relationships, rather than simply ‘intruding’ on consumers’ conversations.

The benefits that come from social listening end up flowing through to consumers as well. Marketers should therefore be bold about educating their customers and explaining how online conversations are used. This not only builds consumer trust, it also alleviates fears based on lack of knowledge.

What do you think? How should marketers behave in order to leverage the benefits of social listening? Please leave your feedback in the comment box below.

The Key to Success with Sponsored Content

The use of sponsored content (also known as native advertising**) is on the rise, though not many brands understand exactly what it is, how it works, or who is currently using it.

Sponsored content is content (e.g. blog posts, articles, Facebook posts, videos, tweets and Infographics) written (or co-written) by a brand (say SAP) and published on a publisher’s domain (say Forbes.com) for the purpose of acquiring new audiences.

Sponsored content is interesting, engaging, quality content NOT a marketing message. It should add value to the user’s experience (i.e. entertain, educate, enhance communication etc.), and always, always line up with the reader’s expectations on the publisher’s site.

It should also be labeled clearly as originating from the brand or sponsor and not the editorial team of the publisher. Here’s a great example of sponsored content on Forbes.

Why use Sponsored Content – The challenge

In recent years consumers have developed a severe case of “banner blindness.” The banner ads we’re used to seeing alongside regular website content are suffering from consumer suspicion, doubt and even contempt.

Hence marketers have been forced to reconsider the way they advertise since they’re not reaching the audiences they want to.

The opportunity

Sponsored content is more aligned with the media that today’s consumers are used to. It provides brands with an opportunity to engage with consumers using a more relevant message and without losing credibility.

According to the State of Native Advertising 2014 report authored by Hexagram and Spada, the most popular reasons why brands and marketers use sponsored content are:

  • To provide a more relevant message to audiences (67%);
  • To increase consumer engagement (63%);
  • To generate awareness or buzz (62%);
  • To create word of mouth advertising (48%);
  • To combat “banner blindness” (43%).

Who uses Sponsored Content?

The Hexagram report indicates that 62% of publishers offer sponsored content opportunities to advertisers; 41% of brands use sponsored content, and 34% of agencies work on sponsored content campaigns.

Done right sponsored content can benefit both the publisher and the brand. However there’s one rule that should be followed to ensure an effective campaign.

The Rule

Brands must put the needs of their audience first and avoid pitching at all costs.

This forces them to think of creative ways of relaying a brand message without resorting to old advertising tactics that consumers hate and don’t interact with anyway.

When sponsored content is done right it tells a fluent story that is highly appropriate and useful to consumers. Somewhere within the story, a brand message is “tucked in” so tactfully that the reader’s experience is not disrupted with a pitch – like this IBM article published on Forbes.

If this can be achieved then consumers will receive and engage with relevant messages, and brands will invest more with publishers.

Some Final thoughts…

Some brands are not comfortable with the concept of sponsored content – they worry about blurring the lines between editorial and paid content, which could jeopardize consumer trust. This is understandable.

But at the end of the day, as long as readers are getting the kind of content they want and not complaining like in this case, and as long as there’s transparency about the origin of content (e.g. ‘Sponsored Content’ or ‘Brought to you by…” or something similar) then brands have nothing to worry about.

What do you think? I’m interested to hear your views or experiences (both good and bad) about sponsored content.