Have You Increased Your Ability to be Found?

be_found

Joe Arcuri, Director of Multi-Channel Services, Palio

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project eight in 10 people have gone online looking for health-related information. It seems everyone is hitting Google to research medical conditions, locate a physician, find new treatment therapies, or learn about the latest fad diet. Search is the gateway technology to other social media and inspires action. From search, people discover communities, make decisions about a prescription or treatment, increase their ability to perform self care, etc.

Beyond thinking about what someone would type into Google, getting the most from your search campaign requires understanding your target audience, knowing where they interact and gather information, and then getting them to do something, whether that’s visit your company website, make a purchase or enroll in a clinical trial.

How can companies get the most from their search campaign?

Increase digital landscape knowledge, gather information about the population you’re trying to attract and offer them something of value. The challenge is to figure out where your demographic is online and focus your communication strategy around it. Be careful not to pigeon-hole your strategy. Multichannel, multi-audience campaigns require customized SEO efforts. When you deliver value to your customers they’ll be encouraged to share their experience with others.

Create profiles on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, YouTube, and LinkedIn and take time to periodically review and update them. There are different places and opportunities to increase visibility. Search engines are just one way users find information – remember to think about other avenues such as social networks, linked data, mobile apps, social bookmarking sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and Digg, online directories, and industry publications.

Know what words and phrases your reader is searching for and craft well-written copy for every Web page. High-quality information will ensure people return to your website and share it with their network. Well-written content creates higher levels of engagement, search engine rankings and promotes the likelihood of links from other sites. Create a list of targeted keywords and use them throughout your content and in various titles. Run keyword audits on competitor sites as well, particularly if they rank higher than yours in major search engines. Titles should be interesting to read, but clearly communicate what the reader can expect to learn.

First-page SEO ranking is important and requires ongoing management and optimization. If your site is appearing at page three for a given keyword phrase, it’s time to make some changes – most people don’t look beyond the first page of search results. Because rankings fluctuate, depending on competition and changes in the Google algorithm, it’s important to monitor rankings over time, and determine if you need to make changes in order to maintain top positions.

Measure everything. Providing value and information of interest to patients, medical professionals or other targets is of primary importance. Use these criteria to build searches on your company, products, and competitors and adjust your search strategy accordingly. Beyond rankings, measure conversations, engagement, brand advocates, influence and links. Appearing at the top of organic search results is a bonus, but achieving the goal you set out to achieve in the first place is a more important measure. Your position in search results or the number of followers on Twitter is meaningless if your campaign isn’t producing intended results.

Together, search and web analytics are important precisely because they are consistently and quantitatively measurable. They should be a top priority not only because they can drive your online marketing success, but because they can be a topline indicator of how successful your offline efforts are as well.

 

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Social Media: A Structure-First Approach

By Michael Smith, Digital Strategist, Palio

Sure, you know you need consistent, effective social media for your organization – after all, it’s 2011, right? The value of online social interactions has been demonstrated across virtually every industry and customer segment.

But that begs a fundamental question that’s relevant whether you’re a startup or a multi-billion-dollar organization: How do you organize it?

Figuring out how to structure social media in your organization is the second-most important question you’ll face, right after “What do we want to accomplish?” That’s because organizations have existing processes and cultural biases, and your social media program has to exist within them in order to be successful.

What should you take into account? Consider the following:

Understand what others are doing. Social media blogger Jon Bell points to research that shows five distinct models, with a hub-and-spoke approach used by 41% of responding companies.

Understand the capabilities of your team. Your approach will be directly driven by the capabilities and bandwidth of the staff. Is everyone trained in social media or are those skills segmented in silos? And it goes beyond individual skills: Small companies benefit greatly from all employees promoting products, services and/or brands across their networks, but public companies or those in heavily regulated industries face severe risks and even legal liability in this same model.

Understand that consistency of plan starts with consistency of message. No matter your situation, content should be of one consistent voice across platforms – because that voice is the embodiment of the brand. A message that is inconsistent with what followers or customers of that client expect can be grating and off-putting, so that needs to be in place – and understandable to everyone involved with the social-media effort – from the outset.

Understand how to get others on the same page in language everyone can understand. For example, three plain-English goals that nearly any team member could understand for a social media campaign could be:
* Generate sales leads and conversions
* Get quality backlinks for SEO
* Increase brand mentions and brand awareness in social channels
The effectiveness of your social media marketing campaign should be measured against those three goals, using success beacons. Did our efforts generate leads and conversions? How many? Did we generate backlinks? How many? How strong? Were our messages spread by our targets’ social networks?

Social content should, ideally, lead to an interaction with the audience – a clicked link, a retweet, a response, a forward, a blog visit, a conversation, a sale. Composing content with forethought towards generating an interaction or engagement is social media 101; but planning ahead so your company can be fluid, consistent and true to its brand is also part of being “brilliant at the basics.”

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

© 2011 Palio.com