Best Practices of Social Media’s Top 3: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Posted by Karen Taylor

Nov 6, 2018 3:21:00 PM

Ever since social media platforms took over our lives, they have moved forward with a continuous evolution. In the beginning, long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) providers just posted marketing content and crossed their fingers. Today each platform offers a range of strategic marketing tools to help businesses promote their products, services, and brands, while also helping to attract prospects and customers.

Here are some of the many ways that the big three leading social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — have advanced their marketing opportunities over the years.

Facebook — Leading Social Media Platform

Promote-Your-Brand-On-Social-Media

Facebook continues to be the reigning champ of social media sites. More than just a meeting place for friends, Facebook has grown into a venue for businesses to market themselves through interaction with customers and self-promotion. In 2016, over 93% of marketers were using Facebook to promote their companies. It’s become the platform of choice for LTPAC solution providers that want to showcase their technology expertise, for example.

Here are just some of the many ways marketers are using Facebook to promote their businesses and brands today.

  1.  Business Pages: These pages let businesses identify themselves, not just through listing product offerings and services, but also by sharing links, images, and posts on a customizable page.
  2. Classic Ads: Facebook offers its own form of advertising with Facebook ads (also called Marketplace Ads), which appear in the side columns. They include text, images, and click-through links.
  3. Promoted Posts: These let page owners pay a flat rate to have their individual Facebook posts reach a certain number of users, thereby, increasing a post’s reach and impressions.
  4. Sponsored Stories: These are a type of Facebook ad that shows a user’s interactions, such as a Facebook “like.” They seek to capitalize on the word of mouth marketing concept.
  5. Facebook Exchange (FBX): This tool lets advertisers take advantage of ad retargeting through real-time bidding. Advertisers can target audiences based on their web history data.

Twitter — Highest Number of Users

As one of the main social media platforms in number of users, Twitter is highly leveraged by ma

rketers. In 2016, about 76% of marketers worldwide started using Twitter to market their business. It’s an ideal platform for LTPAC solution providers to engage industry-related conversations.

Here are just some of the many ways marketers are using Twitter to promote their businesses and brands today.

  1. Ads Campaigns: Twitter Ads let you build a tailored campaign around your goals, audiences, and budget to promote Tweets, drive traffic to your website, and attract new account followers.
  2. Promote Mode: This monthly subscription service automatically promotes your company’s tweets with the aim of attracting a larger audience each month.
  3. Ads for Agencies: This tool allows agencies to create, manage, and realize the best results out of multiple campaigns using dedicated Twitter support and resources.
  4. Twitter Cards: Allows companies to attach rich photos, videos, and media experiences to Tweets, which help drive traffic to a website.
  5. Twitter Lists: These are a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others to reach highly targeted groups in the LTPAC segment.
  6. Twitter Chat (Tweetchat): A scheduled, organized topical conversation on Twitter centralized around a specific hashtag, which provides a way to acquire more followers.

LinkedIn — All Business All the Time

With over 562 million users, LinkedIn is all about building networks and connections, increasingly through promotions. In fact, over 91% of marketing executives list LinkedIn as the top place to find quality content. Also, LinkedIn makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs.

Here are just some of the many ways marketers are using LinkedIn to promote their businesses and brands today.

  1. Company Pages: Pages help others learn more about your business, brand, products and services, and job opportunities using your unique URL.
  2. Showcase Pages: These function like sub-domains of your company page, allowing you to spotlight specific areas of your business, such as your quality scores, your antibiotic resistance program or other ongoing initiatives.
  3. Sponsored Content: The content appears in the feeds of LinkedIn members who follow your company, and may also be shown to members who fit your audience criteria.
  4. Ad Campaigns: LinkedIn offers two advertising options: self-service ads and managed campaigns. Both options let you target a unique audience among the site’s members by job title, function, industry, and more.
  5. Sales Navigator: An advanced sales tool that aids sales teams, organizations, and individuals in building and nurturing customer relationships.

While Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn began as simplistic social media platforms, today they are anything but. Now they offer marketers an array of sophisticated opportunities to promote their services, products, and brands. Such promotion takes time and effort. Social media is no longer just a “five-minute job.” But executing a consistent, well managed social plan will help you achieve your marketing and sales goals.

Read More

SEO: Old-School Tactic or Leading-Edge Strategy?

Posted by Karen Taylor

Oct 26, 2018 2:59:00 PM

Are you confused about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? If so, you’re not alone. Some believe SEO is history and no longer important. Others say it’s more important than ever. But what’s the reality? Is it obsolete or is it essential to successful marketing programs? We’ll break it down for you in this post.

First of all, SEO is not obsolete. It’s more important than ever. However, outdated SEO methods are obsolete and need to be replace with new SEO tactics.

The ongoing updates and changes to Google’s search algorithms are the very source of confusion for many of us. But the changes aren’t arbitrary. They are created both to improve search and to close loopholes that spammers are exploiting. It’s our job to keep up.

ultimate-seo-guide

SEO spammers work diligently to abuse SEO to their own advantage. They break all of the rules. As a result, they ruin SEO tactics for the rest of us. For example, if your long-term care residence has an excellent reputation and receives frequent referrals, a “black hat marketer” might attempt to mimic your brand with similar words or phrases—all in an attempt to draw consumers to their sites instead of yours. Perhaps an app marketer might bid for paid GoogleAds with the name of your app just to scoop up your customers behind your back.

Fortunately, Google is smarter than the black-hat fraudsters and is constantly evolving its methods to thwart them. But it’s important to keep an eye on your social media and report any black hat activity directly to Google.

Here are three examples of SEO tactics that have evolved from old-school to new-school methods.

1. Aim for High-Quality Link Building

In the old days, companies could guest post on other websites all over the internet, dropping their site link along the way like breadcrumbs. The more links they had, the higher they would rise on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Back then, there was no regard for the quality of the sites to which companies would hitch their wagons. More was always better, and that was the point. That was then. Now, you can still benefit from link building. But you need to link to legitimate, high-quality websites.

Here are a few tips to stay on the right side of Google:

  • Aim for quality over quantity. Today, one great link is better than 100 low-quality links.
  • Link to relevant websites. For example, do they rank for keywords that are important to your company?
  • Link to authority sites. The more authority a website has, the more link juice it can pass on to other sites.
  • Create reciprocal links. These are links that are both from your website to a quality site, and from the quality site to your site.

2. Create Useful, Quality Content

Gone are the days of generating tons of low-quality, “content-farm” copy — a common practice in the past. Today, content has to be excellent, add value, and engage visitors.

Google has made it abundantly clear that providing quality content that answers users’ questions is the way to get rankings and engaged traffic. In fact, Google saves the first SERP page for companies that provide their visitors with quality experiences.

As a result, the content of a site is crucial when it comes to ranking now. Here are a few tips:

  • Create Newsworthy Content. Google has developed algorithms that rank companies with the best content higher. Content that inspires real engagement gets a significant boost on search engine results, as well.
  • Make Your Content Credible. Use original links, research, reviews, citations, and testimonials to build authority.
  • Compose Useful Content. B2B and B2C customers go online to learn things about your strengths, your solutions or your quality rankings. So give them information they can use. Build content that’s instructional and helps solve problems.

3. Keywords

Keyword “stuffing” used to be de rigeur for ranking. Now it will just get you demoted on Google. You can thank black-hat users who abused the search tactic. This doesn’t mean keywords aren’t important. They are. But it’s how you use them that matters. Stuffing has been replaced with proximity, density, frequency, and prominence.

  • Keyword Proximity. Place your keywords in prominent areas of your web pages. Also, keep them a reasonable distance apart.
  • Keyword Density. Manage the proportion of keywords to the total number of words on a webpage. A basic rule of thumb is anywhere from 2% to 8%. Hint: place them where they sound natural and make sense
  • Keyword Frequency. Monitor the frequency with which specific keywords appear in your text.
  • Keyword Prominence. Keyword prominence refers to how close to the beginning of the web page, sentence, title, H tag, and meta description your keywords are placed. They should be placed as high as possible.

In a nutshell, SEO is not dying, but it is just getting smarter. And so should all of us. It’s important to dedicate the time, effort and resources required to optimize your SEO strategy.

Read More

Content Confusion? Consider These Options for Modern Content Marketers

Posted by Karen Taylor

Oct 8, 2018 2:49:00 PM

Options for promoting organizations used to be simple: print ads, brochures, and press releases were the mainstays. Today the content marketing landscape is much more diverse and has expanded far beyond merely old-school methods. Now, to conduct content marketing campaigns that work, marketers need to create a wide range of content. What’s more, they need to use their content tools in the right order to move prospects through the buyers’ journey (the marketing funnel) — including attracting, nurturing, and converting.

So, what are the options and where do they fit into your marketing strategy? Here’s an overview of a number of content tools organized according to the three basic stages of the buyers’ journey.

Stage 1: Top of the Funnel

Goal: Attract Prospects

This is the widest end of the funnel, because your goal is to attract all potential future customers. This is often called the “discovery phase,” because the first goal is to help likely prospects discover your organization.

Because they know nothing about your company or even, perhaps, why they need your solution, educational content is the cornerstone at the top of the funnel. Going hand-in-hand with education is generating interest, so they’ll reach out to learn more about you.

In long-term and post-acute care, this stage is all about introducing yourself to the local community. Choose content that will showcase your brand’s vitality, activities and, of course, photos of happy, engaged residents. Don’t limit your choices only to older adults—also provide content that reaches out to their adult children, who often play crucial roles in choosing care providers for their loved ones.

To reach the vast universe of potential prospects at this first stage, you need educational content. Here are some examples:

  • Blog posts — educate, entertain, and enlighten from your own company website
  • Enewsletters — similar to blog posts in their purpose, but containing more bits of information and delivered on a regular schedule
  • Social media posts — regularly posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., provides an opportunity to educate, entertain, and enlighten people who aren’t aware of your brand
  • Short, entertaining videos — videos are among the most effective marketing tools to build awareness
  • Webinars — a great way to educate prospects about how your strengths or solutions make their lives better
  • eBooks — provides an opportunity to communicate a new idea to ideal prospects in an easy to read format
  • Guides — people love learning about innovative ways to improve their business processes

Stage 2: Middle of the Funnel

Goal: Nurture Leads

At the middle of the funnel — called “the consideration phase” — the goal is to turn newly acquired prospects into actual leads. Leads are potential customers who have taken a definitive step into your sales funnel by sharing their personal information (name and email addresses) with your company in exchange for some piece of valuable content.

Valuable content at this stage includes more detailed information about solutions to their problems. Think: evaluation and building trust versus hard sells.

At this stage, your sales funnel narrows down to those who have shown specific interest in your brand. Now, you’ll be speaking directly to the people who think your business might be able to help them. Create content that informs, nurtures, and clearly differentiates you from your competitors.

For example, post-acute care providers, especially skilled nursing and rehabilitation, need to reach out to both consumers and potential referral partners at this stage. Create consumer and B2B marketing content that shows why you are the best choice for ongoing health and wellness and the best place for hospitals to refer their discharged patients.

ContentMarketing810

To reach the universe of prospects at this stage, you need nurturing content. Here are some examples:

  • Case studies — create use cases of your strengths or solutions showing how they solve customers’ problems
  • How-to — detail how your products or services work
  • Demo videos — showcase how your products or services work visually
  • Product descriptions/data sheets — share all of the features and benefits succinctly

Stage 3: Bottom of the Funnel

Goal: Convert Customers

This is the narrowest part of the funnel. It’s where leads are turned into customers. At this point, leads remaining in the funnel are interested in what you have to offer. The job is to convince them you’re worth it, so they’ll become customers. Also, they need to feel confident that you’re the right fit fo

Long-term and post-acute care is a deeply personal service industry. When it’s time to convert, choose content that highlights your quality, safety, five-star ratings—anything that puts you ahead of local competitors. To clinch the deal with B2B partners, your data will speak volumes—show them why you’re the most qualified and least risk to a hospital’s quality ratings..

To convert your prospects at this stage, you need sales content. Here are some examples:

  • Testimonials — your potential customers care about what your current customers say about your strengths and solutions
  • Reviews — positive industry reviews will relieve any lingering fears about pulling the trigger
  • Comparison Charts — show how what you offer is different from what your competitors offer

At first glance, it may seem overwhelming to face the prospect of producing so much content to run a well-orchestrated content marketing program. But once your organization begins to see the results in attracting more prospects, nurturing more leads, and converting more customers, you’ll wonder how you ever marketed without a wide range of quality content.

 

Read More

Why and How You Should Align Your Company with Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Sep 27, 2018 12:25:49 PM

 

An effective way for a company to get its marketing messages to its target industry or profession is to become a corporate sponsor or partner of the trade or professional association or associations that represents those companies or individuals.

 

Sponsoring or partnering with an association has four key advantages:

 

1. The power of affinity: While sponsoring or partnering is not an endorsement by the association, there are advantages of being identified to the membership as a “sponsor” or “partner.”

 

2. Brand exposure/differentiation: Most associations have many dozens or hundreds of business firm members. By being one of a very small number of corporate sponsors or partners, companies will be more distinctive and will stand out in a crowd.

· Promotes a positive brand awareness, strengthens a brand and distinguishes the brand from competitors’ brands

· Enhances credibility and reputation by being affiliated with the association

resources-blog

· Fulfills the company’s philanthropic goals

· Fulfills the company’s social responsibility goals

· Improves consumer confidence

 

3. Thought leadership/business intelligence: Many companies affiliated with an association have information that is of value to members. Some associations allow only corporate sponsors and partners to disseminate this type of content to their members.

· Positions the company as a knowledge leader

· Identifies opportunities to educate members

· Identifies opportunities to provide strategic guidance to the association

· Provides access to data about the association’s industry/field

· Provides access to data about the association’s members

· Provides access to information on the needs of members so the company can provide targeted content

 

4. Business development/growth: The three advantages above all contribute to business development opportunities for corporate sponsors and partners.

· Provides access to a targeted group of key clients and prospects

· Creates potential for a more enhanced customer experience

· Affords a way to reinforce advertising with the association

· Generates stronger leads

· Increases the likelihood of referrals and recommendations as a result of having an “inside track” with the association, its board and its staff

 

There are many ways in which companies can collaborate with associations as corporate sponsors or partners to achieve the goals of the company and the association.

 

Content and Information

· Guidance for association members in the form of white papers, case studies, how-to guides, research, interpretations of regulations, etc.

· Thought leadership to inform the association and its board of directors regarding strategic planning for the association

· Information and data that can support the association’s public policy

· Data from the company about members and non-members in the industry/field/profession

· Information about trends in the association’s industry/field/profession

 

The Power of Affinity

· Support for the association’s vision and mission

· Opportunities for the association to influence corporate partners on issues affecting embers, public policy issues, etc.

· Corporate partner participation in disseminating the association’s messages to various audiences

Access

· Provides the association’s staff access to senior-level executives in sponsor and partner companies whom they might not otherwise meet

· Provides the association’s members access to senior-level executives in sponsor and partner companies whom they might not otherwise meet

 

Membership/Corporate Partner Prospecting

· Opportunities for membership recruitment of prospective members who are the company’s clients

· Introductions by the sponsor or partner company to other companies that might be interested in affiliating with the association

Corporate sponsorship or partnership of an association can be an important part of a company’s communications and marketing strategy. Sponsorship and partnership offers advantages unavailable to companies that aren’t aligned with associations in this way.

Quantum Age has extensive experience working with healthcare and aging services associations. To learn how to identify associations that would be a good match, negotiate corporate sponsorship and partnership agreements and effectively manage partnerships and sponsorships, contact us.

Read More

Recruiting for the future? Find your ‘why’ first

Posted by Meg LaPorte

Sep 4, 2018 12:06:00 PM

How are you going to attract future generations to join your workforce? Experts recommend these best practices:

 

  • Be purpose- or mission- driven
  • Listen to your staff
  • Empower workers with some level of autonomy
  • Be a diverse and inclusive organization.

 

Blogger Alaina Love, chief operating officer and president of Purpose Linked Consulting, in a recent post on Smartbrief.com, outlines what Generation Z—individuals born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s—is looking for in their work and their careers.

 

According to Love, research backs her assertion that Gen Zers are “among the most purpose-, passion- and values-driven talent cohort in the workforce.” This is evident in how they make purchasing decisions, what they seek in their employers and the direction of their career trajectories.startwithwhy

In fact, a recent Deloitte study of Gen Zers and millennials—those born in the early 1980s through the mid-1990s—found that both generations want business leaders “to take the lead in solving the world’s problems, to shift organizations’ motives from inordinately focusing on making profit to balancing social concerns, and to be more diverse, flexible, nurturing of and generous with its employees.”

In other words, organizations that meet these criteria will attract and retain the best of both generations and be better for it. How so? Love cites yet another recent survey of Gen Zers, in which half of the respondents are influenced in their purchasing by “a brand showing dedication to social impact, by giving proceeds to charity, being environmentally conscious, having strong values, or projecting an impact-driven image.”

Find your why

The evidence for becoming a purpose-driven organization is more overwhelming today than ever before. And one proven way to make purpose a priority is to discover your organization’s “why”—as in, why your company exists and why it does what it does. Known for delivering one of the business community’s most popular TED Talks, Simon Sinek has helped thousands of companies and millions of people identify their whys.

As a senior living provider, whether you are for-profit or not-for-profit, finding your why is an imperative that yields many benefits. In most cases, your why is not your official mission statement. Rather, it’s a simple, yet compelling statement that stimulates buy-in from others. An authentic why helps you maintain perspective, build a positive corporate culture and create a trustworthy organization that is connected to a purpose-driven business.

What’s more, living that why will help you attract others who are driven by purpose, inclusiveness, diversity and empowerment. As Love notes, next year, Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the population, surpassing millennials as the most populous generation. How prepared is your organization?

To learn more about how Quantum Age can help you identify, cultivate and execute your why, contact us.

Read More

Adopting New Media Without Abandoning Traditional Media Relations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Jul 27, 2018 11:23:00 AM

Embracing new media formats and communications platforms is smart, but abandoning traditional media relations altogether can carry big risks.

The Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein explored the shifting corporate views on media relations and reporters. When he and other business reporters contact companies to write profiles about the company or the company’s industry, they are often rebuffed, Pearlstein notes in the column, “’No comment’: The Death of Business Reporting”. Sometimes the corporate communications director simply responds that the company’s executives are too busy to be interviewed for the article.

“Such is the sorry state of corporate media relations these days,” Pearlstein writes. “Even the prospect of a positive story can’t crack open the door to the executive suite.”

There are two reasons for this new approach by corporate communications departments, suggests Alan Murray, head of Fortune magazine, in the Post article: “One, they don’t trust us. And, two, they don’t need us.”

The reference to “trust” is a reflection of what is happening in politics and the media. The reference to “need” relates to the increasing reliance on “owned media” – such as websites, Internet search engines and social media – instead of “earned media.” Pearlstein cites a Corporate Executive Board study that reported corporate communications officers no longer report to the chief executive; they report to the head of marketing or the chief financial officer—a telltale shift.

Even public relations agency guru Richard Edelman promotes the need for corporations to “set up corporate news operations to communicate directly to employees, customers, investors and the public,” Pearlstein notes.

Traditional-Media-vs-New-Media-Which-is-Beneficial

Savvy companies employ several strategies to leverage today’s media forms without losing the value of traditional media relations.

· Adapt to the many and varied types of new media to convey corporate messages to internal audiences like employees and investors, customer audiences and consumer audiences. Websites, social media and search engine optimization (SEO) all have a role in a company’s “toolbox” of communications strategies.

· Focus on messaging and content—they’re still paramount. Not too many years ago, companies could adequately convey their messages with a press release or a media interview. However, the whole media world has changed. Effective communications now necessitates a strategy that focuses on website postings, Tweets, Facebook postings and LinkedIn articles. But it’s not that easy: the same message that was disseminated a few years ago in a two-page press release cannot be as easily conveyed in a 280-character Tweet or a two-paragraph Facebook post.

· Don’t ditch traditional media relations. Pearlstein talked with some corporate executives wh

 o said they fear negative stories, so they believe it is too risky to engage with reporters. One executive told Pearlstein “What [company executives] don’t realize is that by not responding, by not engaging, that is communicating a message that [the media is] not worth their time. And when the time comes that they need the media to explain something important and complex, they will have no credibility.”

As an agency focused on healthcare and aging services, Quantum Age is uniquely positioned to help companies adapt to many types of media, develop quality messaging and content and create a media relations strategy. Please contact Quantum Age for more information.

Read More

Topics: media

How to be a Better Corporate Partner to Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Jul 6, 2018 12:01:36 PM

A 2018 report from New Philanthropy Capital in London, England includes findings that can lead to better partnerships between post-acute companies and industry associations. Although the report is based on company partnerships with charities, the same concepts apply to relationships with associations.

 

According to the report, research finds that “more and more charities and corporations want to move away from a transactional relationship that often does not add much to one that is based on impact.” Developing relationships that are mutually beneficial is key, the report notes.

 

The report identifies two key challenges:

  • Partnerships often are imbalanced. Corporations and organizations “are both looking to get something out of their partnerships.” But it can seem like corporations hold all the cards because they are providing the funding. The organizations may hesitate to speak up “for fear of jeopardizing the relationship and the funding.”
  • Partnered parties often lack a clear understanding of what their relationship can provide. Organizations tapped in the report say they need to “work harder to understand corporations and what they offer. Without this understanding there cannot be a level playing field for developing partnership ideas.”

 

Based on these two challenges, the report states the obvious: “More open and honest conversations are clearly needed.”

smiling-business-people-shaking-hands-smiling-colleague-beh-them-background-31098953

 

For associations and their corporate partners to avoid being at loggerheads, the report asserts “developing a more equal partnership that recognizes each other’s strengths should allow the partnership to have more impact.”

 

The report included a three-point wish list that serves as a helpful guide for discussions between companies and associations:

  • Associations must be “candid and clear about what they can and cannot offer.”
  • Corporations must ensure that they fully understand the association and its needs, “rather than relying on myths or assumptions.”
  • Both potential partners must “invest time to understand what the other has to offer, gaining a better understanding of how they can help each other.”

 

The end result, the report asserts, is to improve partnerships between corporations and organizations “to make partnerships less about PR or having a ‘warm glow’ and more about making an impact.”

 

In the report’s conclusion, the authors say they hope the report will “inspire others to think about how they could improve their partnerships. This requires having the creativity to think of new ways of working and the courage to change and improve relationships.”

 

Corporations and the associations they partner with have much to gain by taking advantage of what each can bring to the table. For information and ideas on how your company can improve its relationship with associations, please contact Quantum Age.

 

Read More

The Hidden Cost of DIY Events

Posted by Tanya Hartsoe

Jun 18, 2018 3:22:00 PM

As the popularity of dozens of TV programs illustrate, the “Do It Yourself” trend is more popular than ever. While the DIY approach is great for home remodeling, using the solo strategy for your corporate event planning might not be your best bet. For those with the event planning “gene,” the basics seem pretty straightforward, so the temptation to take on the project is natural. Even if you don’t have the knack, the temptation to save money might drive you to take on the job or delegate it to another member of your team. But before you take the plunge, consider these five reasons why hiring a professional could be the wiser strategy.

1. The Devil is in the Details

Successful event planning requires a complete knowledge of all the moving parts – logistics, contract negotiations, food & beverage, entertainment, content/speaker management, registration, marketing, and more. If you lack experience (or sufficient time), it’s easy to overlook important details—perhaps even larger chunks—of the planning. You may also be tempted to take shortcuts. Shortcuts are risky. They can seem to save you some time, but often come back to bite you, sometimes jeopardizing the success of a carefully planned event.

2. Time is Money

Organizing and managing an event takes a great deal of time and effort—much more than most people realize. If you attempt the DIY approach, be sure to calculate the time you’re spending into the cost of the event planning. In the end, even if you succeed at planning a successful event, the cost could be great. Consider the opportunity costs associated with repurposing internal resources to event planning. What areas of the business will be impacted by diverting human resources from their regular day job—customer service, sales and marketing, product support, revenue cycle management?

download (2)

 

3. Stress Reduction

Event planning has multiple phases. First, the preparation stage and all its intricacies can be overwhelming. Missing a detail up front can result in big costs down the line. The live-event phase is wrought with stress for amateur event planners –dealing simultaneously with onsite logistics, vendors, participants, missing materials/people—and inevitable complications that arise. A professional brings years of experience, contingency plans, and a level of calm that is essential to a positive participant experience and solid impression of your brand. Finally, the follow-up stage is crucial, but often mismanaged by inexperienced planners. Dropping the ball on post-event feedback opportunities or being slow out of the gate with follow up can send a lasting negative message to attendees.

4. A Fresh, Engaging Approach

In the DIY approach, the tendency is to replicate the previous event, yet that is seldom your best option. A professional planner can provide unique and creative suggestions that wouldn’t otherwise occur to you. A professional team will offer more than just time and energy to complete the necessities—they will help you identify and achieve your goals for the event (business development, education, reputation, goodwill, or others), suggesting ways to make each event a memorable experience for key stakeholders. Fresh content and activities will provide an engaging experience for your attendees, distinguishing your company’s event from competing event

5. Happy Budget = Happy Client

Don’t think you have the budget for the event you really want? This is where the experience of a professional can make all the difference. A professional planner is dedicated to successful budget management, while being a trained negotiator. Planners know what concessions are easy/not-so-easy to get—and know what to leverage and when. They may also suggest alternative ideas that achieve your goals at a lower cost.

 

Event planning is not easy – and even the smallest event takes more time than you think. Unless you have a team member with considerable experience and a great deal of bandwidth, hiring a professional is likely the way to go. You’ll benefit from a dedicated person/team to offer fresh ideas, handle all of the details, save you time and money, and reduce your stress levels –all while producing a unique and memorable event within your budget.

To learn more about how Quantum Age can help you plan a cost-effective and memorable event, contact us.

Read More

How to Keep Content Efforts from Slipping Through the Cracks

Posted by Pamela Tabar

May 15, 2018 3:04:00 PM

Every post-acute care organization has been there:

  • Someone took a great video at the last event, but no one is sure where it is.
  • The activities director posted a great photo on Facebook of residents engaging in the new memory care program, but the photo was never used in other marketing materials.
  • A well-meaning technology company has posted tons of educational information on its website but has never promoted them over time online.
  • Someone spent hours creating an awesome case study, but it never went anywhere beyond the organization’s website.

Are your content marketing and customer engagement efforts falling through the cracks? Are you leveraging every outreach opportunity to its fullest potential? The following tips can help your organization maximize marking efforts and keep your brand top of mind year-round.

Content is Content. The old differentiations between “print content,” “website content,” “e-mail content” and other types have been leveled in the Web-based world. So, stop thinking in terms of a “print article” or a “web site news item.” These days, ALL content needs to be used in ALL ways.

Write For the Long Haul. Content that is about a specific moment or context becomes “dated” quickly. Strive for content that feels fresh, yet has the stamina to be used in multiple ways over weeks or 

leads_slip_through_cracks

months without becoming outdated.

Think in Multiple Media Dimensions. Use that photo or resident experience quote on as many platforms as possible. Post it on social media, use it on a local postcard, harvest it for a print brochure and incorporate it into your next tour event or user conference. In many cases, creating copy in sections is an easy way to multi-level dissemination—each piece can be part of the whole and use separately on various media channels. For example, the technology section in your how-to or your case study could be used separately to engage technology partners or IT professionals in what you’ve accomplished, even across other healthcare sectors.

Stretch Beyond Your Street. Many organizations create really interesting and successful pilot projects locally, but never really get the word out to the national audience. Train your man

agers to recognize your “gem projects” and consider entering them in competitions and submitting case study write-ups to relevant journals. Doing this takes time, but the marketing harvests can be considerable—especially since national industry publications are always looking for companies that are pushing the status quo and trying something new.

Link, Link, Link. Every print marketing brochure, online product how-to, media press release and targeted e-blast should contain a link back to the product’s home base on your website. It’s all ab

out getting consumers to your website Mother Ship, where they can learn everything they want to know about your offerings.

Use Every Item You Capture At Least Twice. Don’t let that great photo live its shor

t lifespan on Twitter and then disappear from your portfolio of marketable materials. This includes promoting an asset in “rounds,” such as weekly or quarterly, to keep interest alive.

Revive Your History. Often, something will come up in the news that an organization can relate to something positive it has done in the past. This is a prime opportunity for a fresh round of content marketing—to show consumers you were already doing that topic, or have already found a solution to that issue, or have enacted a safer way to prepare, etc.

Gate Premium Content. Optimize your content investment by leveraging it for lead generation. High-interest content (even if not lengthy) is valuable and visitors will be willing to provide some basics about themselves (name and email address for example) in exchange for that download. With even the most basic

 of marketing automation tools, you are now able to track that visitor in future interactions with your digital platforms and even “drip” suggested content to nurture that lead.

Use Social Media Wisely and Often. Remember, Twitter postings quickly disappear from the initial screen as other postings are placed above them in a feed. Facebook postings (especially those including videos or images) are very engaging, but they may not appear for people who are not active followers of your page. On social media, tagging is everything: If your organization is not social media-savvy, get the help of someone who is a master at digital strategy to gain the biggest impact on your postings.

To learn more about maximizing your content marketing efforts, contact Quantum Age to start a better conversation.

 

Read More

Taking Innovation from Mysterious to Magnificent

Posted by CC Andrews

Apr 20, 2018 12:37:00 PM

Innovation. Does the very idea excite and terrify you at the same time? After all, innovation can lead to tremendous growth and success. It can take you in exciting new directions or help you make forward progress on your current path. At the same time, however, coming up with innovative ideas can be intimidating. Brainstorming often is accompanied by stress, anxiety, and blank stares. But here’s the good news: you already have a diamond mine of opportunities and ideas; you just need to learn to mine them.

Let’s start by taking the mystery out of innovation. This is simply a practical translation of ideas into new or improved products, services, systems, or social interactions. You may think of innovation as new ideas, but it’s more about a fresh way to look at situations, problems, products, and programs. It’s about how to turn challenges into opportunities and remain agile in a longevity economy where the ground is constantly moving under your feet.

Want innovative ideas? Look around. The ideas are everywhere—even in places you might not expect. For instance, Henry Ford didn’t invent the production line. He saw it working in a meat packing plant and adapted it for the automobile industry. The result—more efficient assembly and lower costs. Elsewhere, Starbucks looked around and saw an opportunity to provide coffee drinks with a high-end experience; and DeBeers produced industrial diamonds but saw a new market in engagement rings.

Watch Customers for Innovative Ideas

One approach to innovation is watching your customers. For instance, Avanti Senior Living saw the growing popularity of boutique hotels among older populations. These customers were attracted by the clean, bright, comfortable, convenient spaces; customized and easy-to-access service; and upscale attention to dining and other details. Avanti took this concept and applied it to senior housing. They established artfully designed spaces with thoughtfully provided health services, discreetly delivered on cue. Setting the scene for empowered, ageless, and heathy living, the dining hall resembles an elegant café, the exercise space an upscale gym.

Elsewhere, Latitude Margaritaville was inspired by the popularity of singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett among baby boomers and other older Americans. The result is a number of planned communities featuring recreation, dining, and live entertainment with a tropical theme aimed at boomers.

What’s Your Cronut?

A few years ago, people were standing in block-long lines to buy a cronut—a combination of croissant and a donut. Bringing things together that people want and need can result in big innovation. For instance, consider The Pickens Center in Dallas, TX. It combines the best of hospice, home care, nursing care, and palliative care in one elegant setting spanning 9 acres. The center includes lake-facing patient care suites with balconies, family support areas, and more. And it also happens to be a destination educational resource and training center for best practices in hospice care. Another idea growing in popularity is combining the convenience and popularity of the local fitness center with the need for rehabilitation. Across the country, physical therapy and other rehab services are being offered right in the neighborhood gym—a more familiar and comfortable setting for many patients.

Everything Old Is New Again

Women often hold on to clothes or shoes for years because they know that old styles often become new trends. At the same time, ‘retro’ ideas, styles, and concepts from the past are more popular than ever. You can look to the past for ideas that might be ripe for a fresh look. For example, physician house calls were common in the 1950s and 1960s, but—due to time and cost restraints—they eventually disappeared. However, they are becoming popular again as technologies like Uber have emerged, family dynamics have changed, more homes have two working parents, and it has gotten more difficult for people to travel for care.

Another growing trend also takes from the past popularity of the home visit and combines it with cutting-edge technology. Increasingly, telemedicine services enable patients—especially those in rural locations—to receive personal ‘visits’ from physicians and other practitioners. As ideas such as this grow in popularity and their effectiveness and efficiency are documented, payors and others start to see the value. For instance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services pay for certain telemedicine services and private insurers are following suit as well.

Elsewhere, the popularity of communes—which popped up across the country back in the ‘60s—is returning in the form of senior and inter-generational cohousing communities. These intentional communities offer closer connections for residents and, in most cases, require them to contribute to the greater community.

Eliminate Something

While seeking innovations, consider the concept of ‘less is more.’ Is there a part of your product or service offering you might eliminate that would result in success? In recent years, some Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have identified that the average move-in age is trending upward and that a growing number of seniors aren’t as interested in leveraging their private home in favor of the campus lifestyle. Yet these consumers still need supportive services to remain in their homes. Thus evolved the concept of CCRCs without walls. These are care communities that provide the services of a CCRC without requiring that you move in to receive them. Staff and family to remotely monitor and coordinate healthcare and other sorts of support for residents in their own homes. This concept enables seamless care coordination, home health care service opportunities, remote assisted living and nursing care, touch-screen-based wellness programs, medication management, social engagement, and more. CCRCs without walls combine home- and community-base services with cutting-edge technology to make care convenient and accessible for seniors. In 2016, there were about 30 of these types of programs nationwide, with more in the works (https://seniorhousingnews.com/2016/06/02/3-keys-successful-ccrc-without-walls-program/).

Ready, Set, Innovate

Now that you realize you don’t have to start from scratch, you can stop stressing and start strategizing your innovations. Need more ideas? Check out these ‘hacks’ to innovation (LINK TO HACKS LIST), ideas you can use to take a fresh approach to older issues, revive tired products or services, or take your business in a new direction.

Start today. Build a culture of innovation. Make it part of what you and your team do; and provide incentives to come up with fresh ideas. Go beyond the usual, the same old, and what everyone else is doing. Just be sure to have a clear definition of what success looks like. Follow your innovations—test, measure, and adjust as needed.

Not every idea or innovation—even what may seem like a really good one—will be a hit. Be prepared to embrace failure and identify it before—and definitely IF—you get there. Recognize failures without blame or finger-pointing and celebrate successes. Your diamond mine is waiting; get your tools and start cultivating it.

To learn how Quantum Age can help you innovate successfully, request a consult.




Read More

Connect with QA