#Winning: 5 Ways Doctors Can Benefit from Twitter

Note to our readers: If you’re a physician using Twitter a lot, you already know what we’re about to tell you – and we encourage you to share it with a colleague who doesn’t tweet, but should. However, if you’re new to Twitter, read on… 

Tweet KeyboardWe’ve been getting a lot of questions from our healthcare provider clients about what works, what doesn’t work, and what to expect with social media – particularly with regard to getting physicians to actively embrace it. Because social sites are not one size fits all, each platform should be addressed and approached a little differently to optimize the content physicians share and the benefits they derive from having that social presence. That’s why I’ve decided to take each social media property one at a time to discuss how physicians can benefit from “going social.” Today, let’s explore…

Top 5 Ways Physicians Can Benefit from Using Twitter:

1. Boost search engine rankings

According to research from the Pew Research Center, 77% of online healthcare searches begin at a search engine. Because sites like Google, Yahoo! or Bing are the first place internet users go for information, increasing SERPs (search engine results pages) will help patients find you. How does Twitter help achieve better results? Search engine “spiders” comb the internet for keywords, so if you frequently tweet about heart disease prevention and you’re a cardiologist, you will gain higher relevance – and ideally, more web traffic, from searches related to the topics of your tweets. Those tweets will push your name higher in search rankings.

2. “Attend” conferences on your own time

Twitter users are great at “live-tweeting,” which benefits busy people who don’t have time to attend conferences. The beauty of Twitter is that other people do, and they will live-tweet events. To attend virtually, learn the hashtags that conference attendees will use in their tweets. Usually you can find this by going to the conference’s Twitter handle or searching the conference name for the associated hashtags. Then, follow the hashtags to keep up with new developments and information imparted at the event in relative real-time. You might even be able to watch presentation videos or download slides, all without attending the conference.

3. Stay on top of innovative technology

Many medical journals or healthcare publications will publish links to research or news stories, and Twitter is a great place to stay on top of breaking news without visiting multiple news sites. Staying informed without spending lots of time is much easier with Twitter. If you find interesting content on Twitter, share it. Chances are your colleagues will enjoy it also.

Another Twitter advantage is the ability to “favorite” stories of interest. If you see an article you’d like to read but are short on time, click the star below a tweet. It will be saved under “favorites” for when you have more time to read.

4. Network

Twitter is a great tool for networking with fellow physicians who share research, advice, reviews and opinions you may find useful. You can also use Twitter as an observation tool to see conversations between colleagues and notice what competitors or other physicians are doing online. This is particularly beneficial as you’re getting used to Twitter and learning the lingo.

5. Gain visibility not tied to ad dollars

To gain visibility on Twitter, you’ll have to consistently use Twitter, share content others find valuable and spend a couple of minutes here and there engaging with other users. With greater visibility, you will gain followers and boost your SERPS without spending ad dollars. Think about it this way: sometimes, a retweet from a follower to a large audience can have a much broader reach than paid advertising.

Getting the hang of Twitter might take some time. At first, it can look like a digital land of gibberish filled with RT (that’s retweet, by the way) and symbols like @ and #. Gaining followers will also take some time. The most important thing to remember is to use Twitter at your comfort level. If you don’t have much to say, that’s fine. You can still follow hashtags that interest you and see what your colleagues are saying. Have fun and feel free to follow us @DobiesGroup.

Two Dobies Healthcare Group Clients Bring Home National Healthcare Advertising Awards

KANSAS CITY, MO – Dobies Healthcare Group and our clients competed in the 32nd Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, announced on April 24, 2015. We submitted two campaigns and each won! Not bad odds given more than 3,500 entries were submitted, making this the largest healthcare advertising competition in the United States and Canada. Winning campaigns were selected for excellence in creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design and overall impact. Many thanks to our great clients and exceptionally creative collaborators!

Hot for my Body adGOLD AWARD: ‘Hot for My Body’ Campaign for Midwest Transplant Network
Award Category: Health Promotion

This provocative campaign raised awareness of the need for organ donation in Kansas and Missouri with messaging and graphics designed to change the public’s perceptions of organ donors. As for results, the campaign exceeded industry standards and Midwest Transplant Network was pleased with the ROI.

“Our objective was to raise awareness that anyone can be a potential donor,” says Diane Morgan, Content Development Manager at Dobies Healthcare Group. “We went with eye-catching headlines and visuals to help dispel the myth that some people are too young, too old, or too unhealthy for the donor registry.” That’s an important message to spread – and spread widely – so the campaign includes posters, brochures, radio and digital ads, a unique campaign landing page, social media advertising, and more.

Update: The Midwest Transplant Network campaign was also named Judge’s Choice in this year’s Aster Awards, one of only eight campaigns to receive this recognition for excellence in healthcare marketing and advertising in 2015.

LMH_MegansJour_AD4_500x500_v2MERIT AWARD:Megan’s Journal,’ a breast cancer campaign for Lawrence Memorial Hospital
Award Category: Total Ad Campaign without TV

Megan’s Journal followed a real patient’s journey through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at LMH, detailing the struggles she overcame to become a cancer survivor. The campaign also won an Emerald Award from the Kansas Association of Health Care Communicators late last year. Campaign elements include the Megan’s Journal blog, print and digital ads, radio spots, and billboards.

“As a designer, I don’t always have the privilege of working directly with patients for ad campaigns,” says Shelly Searles, Creative Services Manager at Dobies Healthcare Group. “That wasn’t the case with this project – Megan is a real patient who shared her compelling journey to cancer survivorship with us. Putting her at the center of creative infuses more emotion and authenticity, making the campaign more powerful.”

About Dobies Healthcare Group

Since 1992, Dobies Healthcare Group has offered highly specialized expertise in healthcare marketing strategy, branding and creative communications. Our Kansas City-based company serves the marketing and branding needs of the entire healthcare industry, from hospitals, health systems and payers to medical device manufacturers, associations and certifying boards. We combine strategic marketing with creative communications to create healthier brands.

Dobies Healthcare Group: Committed to Making a Difference in Organ Donation

We are a passionate group of people at Dobies Healthcare Group. We take deep pride in our work and strive to help our clients improve the health of their communities. We know the campaigns we create, the brands we craft and the strategies we use can deeply impact the lives and health of others. After all, that’s why we come to work every day. Donate Life 2015

One healthcare cause close to our hearts is organ donation. Currently, there are more than 123,000 people on the transplant list, and each day approximately 79 people become transplant recipients. Yet, an average of 21 people die every day while waiting. Sadly, the number of those waiting far exceeds the number of donors.

We want to improve these statistics. Through our skills and talents, we’re doing what we can to support the field – through board memberships, speaking at forums and conferences, and fostering relationships with research groups. Here are some highlights of our commitment to organ donation.

Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice (DTCP) – For the last year and a half we have facilitated three strategic planning sessions for the organ donation and transplantation community of practice. DTCP members represent a highly committed group of individuals and organizations interested in improving donation and transplantation practices across the nation. Learn more about DTCP’s goal’s to increase the number of organs transplanted by 5,000 over the next five years.

NATCO, The Organization for Transplant Professionals – Dobies Healthcare Group has facilitated strategic planning and marketing advisory services for the NATCO Board.

American Board for Transplant Certification – Previously serving on its Board of Governors, Carol Dobies and team are working closely with the Board to drive new marketing and awareness strategies to help ABTC achieve its goals of creating knowledgeable, certified transplant professionals.

Research and Planning Group – Our strategic alliance with RPG extends our capabilities in the area of market research, giving us insight into consumer wants and needs related to all areas of healthcare, including organ donation.

Midwest Transplant Network – Through our marketing partnership with MTN, we have the opportunity to compel people in our market area to sign-up to donate, and in turn save the lives of our fellow Kansans and Missourians.

It’s an honor to work with these outstanding organizations, and we are thankful for the chance to lend our expertise to this cause. These organizations are at the forefront of change in the organ donation community, and without their efforts, many more candidates would not have hope and the opportunity for a second chance at life.

As the month of April ends, so does National Donate Life Month. If you haven’t signed up to be an organ donor, please take a moment to join the registry. If you live in Kansas or Missouri, please visit YesTheyWantMe.com. If you live elsewhere, DonateLife.net will direct you to your state’s registry. Through organ donation, you have the potential to save up to eight lives, and improve an additional 50 lives through tissue donation. What are you waiting for? If you have already signed up, please encourage family and friends to join the registry. Together, we can all do our part to #DonateLife.

Healthcare Marketers: Align your Marketing Budget with the Organization’s Strategic Initiatives

DHG-blog-ProTips-#4 With healthcare costs rising, hospital marketing executives must scrutinize spending more than ever. To strengthen the chances of achieving market share objectives while ensuring leadership approval of your expenditures, align your marketing budget with the organization’s business plan.

For example, if your organization has strategic pillars, allocate budget dollars to those pillars; if your organization has specific goals for growth, service line volume and other similar metrics, directly demonstrate how your budget supports those goals. Jump-start a more effective marketing budget with these two basic, but critical tips:

Set attainable goals for a stronger return on investment (ROI).
Only market services that are ready to be promoted. For hospitals, this means if an area of the hospital isn’t properly prepared to take on new patients due to manpower shortages, long wait times, faltering patient experience scores or quality disruptions, put your marketing money elsewhere. Similarly, distributors and manufacturers need to consider production and service indicators. Don’t waste your marketing dollars promoting products if back orders are present or customer service departments aren’t prepared to take on new volume. The recommendation sounds pretty basic, but how many times has the marketing dollar been spent based on the “squeaky wheel” factor – the physician who demands a billboard; the sales manager who needs to reach her quotas? Keep open channels of communication between production and sales so that you spend wisely and can attain ROI on your marketing dollars.

Communicate and collaborate.
Regularly let key stakeholders know how your marketing efforts are contributing to the organization’s overall business plan and financial health. When you keep your colleagues informed, you will a) find ways to extend your budget through other departments, b) help others gain a better understanding for proper use of the marketing dollar, and c) get better ideas and more internal support/adoption for your marketing strategies.

Coming up next: our final topic in this healthcare marketing and branding series covers the benefits of stepping outside your marketing comfort zone – unleashing new ideas to reach new audiences. Check back soon for that!

If you missed the last blog posts in our series, catch up now:

Healthcare Marketers: Listen and Engage through Social Media to Learn About Your Audience

This week in our Healthcare Branding Series, let’s concentrate on the importance of listening and engaging with your social media audience.DHG-blog-ProTips-v3

To engage healthcare consumers who visit your website, you must know what types of content they want. If you’re unsure, try engaging them in various ways on social media, and listen to their feedback and input to gain insights that can help drive your digital content strategy. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Create social posts that interest your followers. Do you have something relevant to say about a trending healthcare topic, such as the flu or a popular news story? Share tips and information on a wide range of issues – from health-related facts and warnings to health promotions and educational events. Pay attention to likes, comments or shares – people read click because they find something interesting; they share because they’re convinced others will find it interesting too. Likes and shares, then, are decent indicators of what types of content people want to see. Use that information to steer the direction of your future blog posts.
  • Ask questions. You don’t have to be hard-hitting. The questions can be light and fun. And since photos have an engagement rate of 87 percent (as opposed to four percent with links), why not share a photo with a question to get followers talking. The answers have the potential to offer great insight.
  • Generate engaging moments. Social networks are for sharing. Engage your followers by encouraging them to post something. After all, you must give to get. For example, during American Heart Month you could urge followers to share selfies of their favorite ways to exercise for heart health. You can ask for photos of their best all-pink outfits for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It could even be a simple question, such as, “What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?” Take the responses as indications of where and how to invite and inspire people into a conversation, to take part in a community forum, so to speak. Low response rates mean people don’t find it a worthwhile topic to act on.
  • Observe patient connections. Patients sharing their experiences with one another can be a very powerful thing. Not only can they receive emotional support from others with their condition, but patients can also offer word-of-mouth recommendations for physicians or services. Watch and listen to the conversations they’re having. What questions are they asking other patients? What are their concerns? This insight may provide ways to improve on and offline patient experiences.

When you engage with followers, you may at times receive very honest opinions about your organization. If  you receive praise, don’t forget to say thanks. If you get a complaint, recognize that it’s an opportunity for informed improvements driven by customer feedback. Always acknowledge patient or visitor concerns.  If there are multiple similar complaints, review how your hospital or practice is living your healthcare brand.

For more information, visit our other topics in this series:

Healthcare Marketers: Develop a Digital Content Strategy to Enhance Your Online Presence

This week in our Healthcare Branding Series, let’s focus on the importance of digital content strategies.ProTips-#2

The meteoric rise of the internet, social networks and mobile browsing has changed how healthcare consumers seek out information. For healthcare marketers to reach audiences with meaningful, helpful information when and where people are looking for it, it’s critical to have a content strategy. Besides providing information consumers want and need, your online content should aim to boost search engine optimization (SEO) and enhance the user experience by providing answers to questions people are asking.

The good news: online health information is in high demand. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 72 percent of internet users say they’ve searched for medical information online. Among them, 77 percent started with a search engine as opposed to a specific website. To boost your search rankings, make sure your website provides helpful, patient-centric information, and integrate your online content across multiple channels. While practice details and information about your services are valuable, content that answers patient questions will attract higher search engine traffic. To further enhance your online presence, create pay-per-click and other digital ad campaigns that link to topic-specific (and keyword-driven) web pages, or to campaign landing pages with clear calls to action like schedule an appointment, sign up for a class or newsletter, take a tour, or attend an event.

Online videos are also very popular in the healthcare space, so they’ve become a must-have for many successful web and social content strategies. Videos are so popular and highly regarded among consumers seeking information that YouTube is the second largest online search engine. In fact, according to Google, YouTube traffic to hospital websites increases 119 percent year over year. Simply put, videos offer a great opportunity to improve SEO and expand your reach.

In short, your content should fulfill your customers’ needs. If you’re not sure what information your customers want, check back next week when we discuss how to learn about your audience by listening and engaging with them on social media.

We encourage you to check out our other topics in this series:

Healthcare Branding Series: How to Make the Most of your Healthcare Brand in 2015

It’s a new year! If your goal is to improve your hospital or healthcare practice brand in 2015, we have several tips to get you started on a path to success. This week’s topic is what it means to live your brand.

Living your Brand: Why, How, What and Who

Live your brandWhen you communicate a brand promise, you create expectations – meaning, your brand is much more than the advertising messages you convey. For your healthcare brand to be authentic, your patients and visitors must have experiences and interactions that align with your message. For example, if you say you excel at patient satisfaction but your front-line staff sometimes delivers less-than-stellar service, your organization is not living its brand. Pay attention to how well the real patient experience aligns with your brand promise. If you find anything lacking, make the changes necessary to improve and follow through. And remember, outcomes aren’t everything, so focus on patient needs beyond clinical care as well.

Start by educating employees on what your brand stands for and how they contribute to its authenticity (or lack thereof). Use touch point mapping to guide this process, which means plotting consumer interactions or experiences with your organization to more conclusively capture and understand every opportunity for improvement. You can use this approach to identify employees who already do a good job of putting your core values on display, and designate them as brand ambassadors. They can act as role models for co-workers on how to live the brand. Ideally, when done correctly, every employee will become a brand champion in time.

Improving your hospital or practice brand is a complex undertaking, so you won’t see changes over night. These tips can get you started, but it takes some time to enhance consumer perception of your organization. We encourage you to check out our next topics in this series:

Happy Holiday Happenings at Dobies Healthcare Group

‘Tis the season for tradition, and to us that means our annual Holiday Scavenger Hunt! Each year at Dobies Healthcare Group, we team up with our friends and associates at Group 3 Solutions to celebrate the holidays with an afternoon away from the office and around our great city. While we tend to share A LOT of laughs at each celebration, we also make sure to incorporate the values we hold dear. This year, we met three main goals for our 2014 holiday scavenger hunt: unleashing our creativity, giving back to our neighbors in need, and enjoying the centennial celebration inside Kansas City’s favorite holiday destination.

And, because we love what we do and can never really get enough of it, we even themed our festivities this year around our three-part process for healthcare marketing that inspired our new logo – Discover, Connect, Promote.

Discovering our Creative Sides

Team 1

Team 1

We use our creative brains every day (after all, that’s why we work here), but this time we competed with each other for some creative bragging rights. We started off the afternoon by splitting into three teams. Each group received its own sack of items to complete the tasks at hand in the most creative ways possible.

Team 1 built a snowman from cotton, fake snow and rubber balls (and learned some practical life lessons about skin and craft glue along the way). Team 2 wrote a new holiday song using tiny musical instruments for inspiration, and Team 3 designed a gingerbread house using an array of cavity-causing sweets. In the end, judges crowned Team 1 the winner.

Team 2

Team 2

Promoting Goodwill & Cheer

We believe in giving back all year long, but we always make a point to help others in need during our scavenger hunt. Each team received money to donate to a Kansas City nonprofit organization of their choosing.

Team 1 donated to the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund to provide gifts for local children, rent and utility assistance for struggling families, food for the hungry and more. Team 2 donated to Grace and Holy Trinity Outreach, which provides a variety of programs to serve hungry Kansas Citians as well as aid children in foster care and provide diapers to low income families. Team 3 gave to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Kansas City, an organization that pairs impoverished or at-risk youth with positive role models.

Team 3

Team 3

Connecting with Christmas

Continuing our traditional holiday festivities, each team received a clue for a Kansas City landmark. This year’s clue led us to Union Station and the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center. We marveled at the beauty of our city and shared good times with our coworkers.

It was a great day capped with a white elephant gift exchange and holiday food and drinks at our annual holiday party later that evening. Check out our Facebook page to see more photos of our 2014 holiday cheer. Seasons Greetings, everyone – and here’s to a happy, healthy New Year!

Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Dobies Healthcare Group Win 2014 Emerald Awards

Healthcare Marketers Proudly Recognized for 2014 Advertising Campaigns

Janice Early at LMH accepts the 2014 Emerald Award

Janice Early (right), Vice President of Marketing and Communications at LMH with presenter Tracy Campbell (left), Director of Marketing/Public Information Officer at Coffey Health System and KAHCC President.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Last month, through its Emerald Awards program, the Kansas Association of Health Care Communicators (KAHCC) recognized the outstanding advertising achievements behind two recent campaigns from Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH). As LMH’s agency of record, Dobies Healthcare Group developed and executed the two award-winning campaigns.

Both of LMH’s 2014 Emerald achievements were awarded in the Total Advertising Campaign category for larger hospitals. One campaign, called Megan’s Journal: A Personal Journey through Breast Cancer Treatment and Triumph, highlighted LMH’s multidisciplinary and comprehensive oncology care. It featured Megan, a 38-year-old breast cancer patient at LMH, who chronicled her journey online from diagnosis to survivorship. The 13-week campaign used a diverse media mix including digital, newspaper, billboard, radio and more to reach multiple audiences.

“Our primary objective was to increase awareness of the expertise and multidisciplinary approach at LMH, and we wanted patients to know they will receive this advanced care in a comfortable setting that’s close to home,” said Carol Dobies, Founder and President of Dobies Healthcare Group.

The second campaign to receive a 2014 Emerald Award is “Smart Moms,” which was designed to promote the strengths of LMH’s Family Birthing Center. The marketing challenge for this campaign involved reaching potential maternity patients before they selected an OB-GYN provider outside the LMH network. The concept evolved around the notion that motherhood is full of tough choices, but choosing LMH’s Family Birthing Center is an easy choice to make. The integrated campaign included television, digital, newspaper, magazine, billboard, radio and more.

“It’s always exciting to win awards for our clients and be recognized for our work, but the awards themselves are never our focus at Dobies Healthcare Group,” said Dobies. “We come to work every day to exceed expectations and deliver great results that align with our clients’ strategic healthcare marketing goals.”