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Google+ Communities: What Healthcare Marketers Need to Know

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Are you on Google+? Does your healthcare brand have its own Google+ community?

I don’t know if it’s necessary to state the obvious. But I will.

Social media fatigue is killing healthcare marketers (well, figuratively speaking). Think about how many social networks you belong to. How much time you invest in them each day. Each week. Each month.

When a new one comes along do you look forward to jumping on board or do you dread the idea of ‘yet one more thing’ that you have to do?

Personally I don’t buy the idea that your brand’s digital footprint has to extend to every social media platform on the web. It is exhausting to your marketing team.

But I do think you should be thoughtful and strategic about the social media platform(s) you choose to engage in. Understand that they are not all created equal, and that some platforms are better at doing certain things than others. This is particularly important for healthcare marketers whose social media efforts are strictly controlled and scrutinized.

Community building

But let’s say for example you want to build a thriving community around your healthcare brand.

Quite frankly I haven’t come across any social platform that does a better job than Google+ Communities (No, not even Facebook groups!). On Google+ you can join a community as a brand. You cannot do that on Facebook.

On the downside (at least for now) there’s a bit of a gender imbalance. Google+ is heavily male-oriented but if your products or services appeal to men (e.g. strength training, muscle building exercises, treatments for hair loss etc.) then you should have no problem warming up to the crowd.

What is a Google+ Community?

A Google+ Community is an online forum where you meet and interact with people on topics that interest you. Any Google+ user can start a community on any topic they like. Communities can be public or private, and others may join by invitation or by moderator acceptance.

Leveraging Google+ Communities

In the past having a Google+ account gave brands an upper hand in terms of search and content visibility. However a brand page could not follow, link-mention or even comment on a user’s posts unless the user had that business in his or her circles in the first place. This made it a little challenging for healthcare marketers to grow their online communities.

But now with Google+ Communities brands have a greater opportunity to reach more people and extend their influence. Here’s how:

#1. Integrate and invite the world!

Anyone with a gmail account can join Google+ and your online community. So tell everyone you know through your website, email list, other social networks and offline interactions that you have a Google+ community.  Tell them them what the purpose of your community is, and invite them to join you there.

#2. Participate ‘as a brand’  in other communities

Find other Google+ communities that are relevant or complementary to yours and join them. Then become a useful contributor there by adding valuable insights and interesting ideas to their conversations. Don’t be shy about inviting them to your community as long as it’s not against their rules and not over-done.

#3. Use your Google+ community for ‘social care’.

Social care is customer service via social media. These days people are more likely to use social media rather than call a 1-800 number to get in touch with a call center.

Leverage this opportunity by handling questions about your products or services on your Google+ community and ensure that complaints are resolved promptly. Go a step further and invite experienced members to pitch in and help answer questions from other members. Heck if you find that they’re adding value to your online community, go ahead and make them a moderator!

What difference does it make?

A lot.

Google+ communities are what Facebook and Twitter would be like without their limitations. It is the ability to categorize your relationships and congregate with people who are passionate about your brand. It is both social media and communal living. For a healthcare marketer it is being able to interact directly with people who have raised their hand and said, “Yes, I want to be associated with you.”

For a step-by-step guide on starting a Google+ community, read this article.

Your turn: Do you have a Google+ community? What is your impression so far? Please share your thoughts in the box below.

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The 8 Best Free Social Media Management Tools For Bloggers

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The 8 Best Free Social Media Management Tools For Bloggers

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that lets you manage all your social media accounts in one place. With Hootsuite, you can help you save time by scheduling your posts in advance, track who’s talking about your brand, and measure your success over time. Hootsuite also has a free plan that lets you manage up to three social media accounts.

2. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is a social media management tool that helps you stay organized and on schedule. With CoSchedule, you can schedule your posts in advance, save time with bulk scheduling, and measure your success with detailed analytics. CoSchedule also has a free plan that lets you manage up to two social media accounts.

3. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a social media management platform that helps you grow your social media following. With Sprout Social, you can track your progress, engage with your audience, and measure your success. Sprout Social also has a free plan that lets you manage up to three social media accounts.

4. Sendible

Sendible is a social media management tool that helps you save time and stay organized. With Sendible, you can schedule your posts in advance, track your brand’s social media mentions, and measure your success with detailed analytics. Sendible also has a free plan that lets you manage up to three social media accounts.

5. IFTTT

IFTTT is a social media management tool that helps you automate your social media tasks. With IFTTT, you can create recipes that automate your social media tasks, such as posting your blog content to your social media accounts. IFTTT also has a free plan that lets you manage up to three social media accounts.

6. Tailwind

Tailwind is a social media management tool that helps you optimize your social media schedules. With Tailwind, you can schedule your posts in advance, find the best times to post, and measure your success with detailed analytics. Tailwind also has a free plan that lets you manage up to three social media accounts.

7. SocialBee

SocialBee is a social media management tool that helps you save time and stay organized. With SocialBee, you can schedule your posts in advance, track your social media metrics, and measure your success with detailed analytics. SocialBee also has a free plan that lets you manage up to three social media accounts.

8. MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is a social media management tool that helps you automate your social media tasks. With MeetEdgar, you can schedule your posts in advance, recycle your content, and measure your success with detailed analytics. MeetEdgar also has a free plan that lets you manage up to three social media accounts.

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The 10 Best Free Social Media Management Tools

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The 10 Best Free Social Media Management Tools

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that offers users a suite of tools for managing their social media accounts. It’s a great platform for businesses and individuals who want to boost their social media presence and engagement.

2. Buffer

Buffer is a social media management platform that helps users schedule and publish content across their social media accounts. It’s a great tool for businesses and individuals who want to better manage their social media content strategy.

3. TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a social media management platform focused on Twitter. It offers users a variety of tools for managing their Twitter account, such as scheduling tweets, creating lists, and monitoring Twitter activity.

4. SocialOomph

SocialOomph is a social media management platform that offers users a suite of tools for managing their social media accounts. It’s a great platform for businesses and individuals who want to better manage their social media presence.

5. Edgar

Edgar is a social media management platform that helps users schedule and publish content across their social media accounts. It’s a great tool for businesses and individuals who want to better manage their social media content strategy.

6. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is a social media management platform that helps users schedule and publish content across their social media accounts. It’s a great tool for businesses and individuals who want to better manage their social media content strategy.

7. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a social media management platform that offers users a suite of tools for managing their social media accounts. It’s a great platform for businesses and individuals who want to better manage their social media presence.

8. IFTTT

IFTTT is a social media management platform that helps users automate their social media tasks. It’s a great tool for businesses and individuals who want to save time on their social media management.

9. Crowdfire

Crowdfire is a social media management platform that helps users manage their social media accounts. It’s a great tool for businesses and individuals who want to better manage their social media presence.

10. MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is a social media management platform that helps users schedule and publish content across their social media accounts. It’s a great tool for businesses and individuals who want to better manage their social media content strategy.

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The 7 Best Free Social Media Management Tools For Businesses

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The 7 Best Free Social Media Management Tools For Businesses

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that gives businesses of all sizes the ability to track all their social media channels in one place. With Hootsuite, businesses can track their social media analytics, publish and schedule content, and engage with their audience – all in one place.

2. Buffer

Buffer is a social media management platform that helps businesses of all sizes to better manage their social media accounts. With Buffer, businesses can schedule and publish content, track their social media analytics, and engage with their audience – all in one place.

3. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a social media management platform that gives businesses of all sizes the ability to better track their social media analytics, publish and schedule content, and engage with their audience – all in one place.

4. SocialOomph

SocialOomph is a social media management platform that helps businesses of all sizes to better manage their social media accounts. With SocialOomph, businesses can track their social media analytics, publish and schedule content, and engage with their audience – all in one place.

5. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is a social media management platform that helps businesses of all sizes to better manage their social media accounts. With CoSchedule, businesses can track their social media analytics, publish and schedule content, and engage with their audience – all in one place.

6. Sendible

Sendible is a social media management platform that helps businesses of all sizes to better manage their social media accounts. With Sendible, businesses can track their social media analytics, publish and schedule content, and engage with their audience – all in one place.

7. AgoraPulse

AgoraPulse is a social media management platform that helps businesses of all sizes to better manage their social media accounts. With AgoraPulse, businesses can track their social media analytics, publish and schedule content, and engage with their audience – all in one place.

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