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Future Implications

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Future Implications.

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Future Implications

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With social media and the landscape of it always changing, it is hard for a company to try to stay ahead, if anything they are just barely getting by and keeping up with all the trends and changes.  When social media first started such as Facebook, only college students could sign up using their college email address. At the time, I rarely got on and used it. It wasn’t until after college or when I graduated back in 2008 that I started to use Facebook often. I was mainly using it to stay in touch with friends from college as well as high school to see how they have been or what they are up to. Now, Facebook is used to share photos and videos and that is all I pretty much see. Also companies have created their Facebook accounts and use it to post pictures of new products or contests that they have on giving away product and get people engaged by saying a winner who shares their post will win this new sweater. But, how do they choose? Do they close their eyes and scroll through their page and place a finger randomly on a name?  Some may not wonder as much as I do but honestly, how do they pick a winner? 

Possibly when a site announces their winner they could give an insight on how they picked and maybe if there is a secret to winning. But who knows, maybe I just really wanted to win those new boots. Some implications a company can do to help launch their brands is by one, having the free social media accounts and use all of them to reach their whole audience but they also must remember why they are posting and running their business and have their values relate to what the post. If someone opened a nutrition shop, don’t say your opening because fitness and health is in but your beliefs and values on why you want to expand and help people live a healthier lifestyle. 

Another implication for a brand to try to incorporate into their social media strategy is to post things or discuss topics other than just their business. You own a clothing line or a boutique, your fans get that but try not to overfill their page with your contests or your new item of the day. Post an interesting article about a fashion trend or a celebrity who’s style matches the clothing line you are trying to sell. You want your fans and followers to see more unique posts, this will help you stand out just a little bit more than some other boutiques and could gain more followers if your post has been shared. 

Viral Marketing Initiatives

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When you see videos about certain topics, what makes you really want to share this video or song that you heard? Do these media files mean something to you or you want to share to others the knowledge you just learned about a new feature on a car or a new cell phone that is about to come out. As social media grows and the capabilities with it, you see more videos being shared on Facebook or more short videos posted on someones Instagram account. About a year or more ago, I didn’t see that many videos being shared on my Facebook feed but now honestly that is all I really see. I don’t see posts about someones day or updates with their new job or status of where they are. People like to share commercials or short clips that are interesting to them they want to feel as if they are influencing someone with the video that just influenced them.

Companies are recognizing this and are taking action on the marketing initiative of viral marketing. The media needs to have certain characteristics for consumers to be interested and want to then share it with thier friends and peers.  Some of the characteristics are Humor, Interactivity, relevant to ones ideas and opinions and easy to share. One other characteristic that I see more often are the campaigns where the brand is needing votes or Social Commenting. The only way to recieve more votes is by sharing. With the help of social media people are able to start thier own businesses and in order to help get thier website viewed or shared, they look to Facebook or Twitter to help market their brand. A good example is a new boutique, the new owner wants to build her brand and build new customers so, what easier way can she do this? Open an account with Facebook for her new boutique, invite friends to like this page and start posting the “like and share to win this new sweater”. People like free things so people will help market this new boutique and in hopes grow brand awareness. Once this page is up and running, it is important to have the widgets on there to help link to other social media sites such as their Twitter page and if they have a Pinterest as well. Widgets are very helpful and easy, if a new consumer is on this site and sees an item they like, click on the “share” option for that specific social media site and it will post to their own profile such as Facebook. That was pretty easy to do.

In regards to other marketing initiatives, it doesn’t need to be about certain brands or products but it can be about an awareness or support to certain groups who are trying to make a difference. I see a lot of non-profit organizations moving towards viral marketing or sharing of videos to help bring awareness to the surrounding communities. People in return want to share these videos or feel a connection to the cause. There are other videos that are about people who may not be as fortunate in certain ways or be seen as they want to be seen. The below video really hits close for me in regards to my father with a disability which he has had since a young teen. These type of initiatives are to spread a good cause or view for others as some people trully don’t know some of the hardships or the smallest things can mean so much to others. 

Differentiation

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Two companies that seem to utilize their social media sites are Target and Wal-Mart. Both are a retail industry selling home good to groceries and fresh produce. They sell several different name brands that are specific to each store as well is a corporate ran industry. By comparing the two, they would seem to have close to the same number of people following them on Face book as well as Twitter. Both of their Face book pages post about their products that they sell such as special on food in their store and ideas about what people can do during the summer. Wal-Mart posts on Face book seem to be as if they shot them while in a store as the images don’t look to professionally made as compared to Target, you can tell that these images have the same concept of the store as well as their commercials. They look trendy and have a good amount of color to them and have cute ways of putting products together to have a theme, such as a burger patty cooking on a colorful grill and it is smiling because of the other vegetables on the grill.

Both sites on Face book are currently posting about products to by for the summer, either to have a fun barbecue or swim in a portable pool that you can buy at either store. Wal-Mart is a little more specific on posting about Roll Back prices on certain grocery items and promotes their store brand of products. While Target also post about their products but noticed they don’t advertise a specific dollar amount. It could be due to the fact that prices may vary across the country due to cost of living. Both sites have commented to their followers when people post on a thread that Wal-Mart or Target has posted about so it shows that they do try to listen to their consumers and to let them know that they do care. For their Twitter account, Wal-Mart does have more followers but seem to follow less people than Target. They have follow about 500 thousand while Target follows about 1.5 million people on Twitter. So it seems Target understand that following more people may get others to post about them or for people so see that Target understands that it’s the consumers that drive their business and popularity on the social media sites. Target also have several other sites such as their Cartwheel site on twitter which is their own app specific to their store to help people save money on anything that they can. They even have their app linked to face book when shoppers use this app while shopping so it can post to the persons page and their friends can see what they saved on today while shopping. There is also a site on Twitter for Target Style, I shop at Target and choose to not shop at Wal-Mart. I feel when I walk into Target that they try to take better care of their appearance of their store and it never seems as crowded either. I noticed there are more Wal-Mart stores within several miles of each other but you would think that it wouldn’t be as crowded? Yes, Wal-Mart may have some items that are less than Target but I believe the quality of the service and store win me over as far as a consumer plus the idea of using this easy Cartwheel app on my phone so I can save a few dollars here and there.

Best Practices for blogging….in non-profit organizations

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When you think of non-profit organizations what exactly is the first thing that comes to mind, a Salvation Army or perhaps or maybe a food bank? There are a lot of non-profit organizations in your city, especially if you live in a metroplex like Dallas/Fort Worth.It is very hard for a non-profit organization to start-up and run a business but it can be done and if these organizations use social media it greatly enhances their company and awareness in the community or even people who don’t live in their community. Working in this type of healthcare industry that I work in, we want to see all what non-profit organizations do for their community, how they help people and most of all if we were to give them some foundation money, how would they use the money to help others? A great way to help get their recognition across is to create blogs and get very familiar with Twitter. As Mark W. Schaefer, the author of The Tao of Twitter, he mentioned in his book how he had a follower mention to him on why he never recommended him. In response Mark asked who he was and got to know the gentlemen through Twitter. It turned out he worked for United Way and he told Mr. Schaefer that many non-profits were struggling in his tough economy. As the case unfolded in the book it talked about how he held an informative session and people who worked at United Way attended to learn tools and tactics to start using Twitter. Can any of you think of a non-profit organization that has helped so many in your community? I never really knew many before I started to work for my company but after these past few years I coordinate with these organizations when they have events in the community and all I want to do is try to ensure that someone from our company is there to help those in need who may need help with finding services that they were unaware about.

Some good practices for these non-profits to use for blogging are to have all of these on their page:

  • Superior content
  • Non-intrusive yet effective calls to action
  • Good use of multi-media such as photography and video
  • Superb use of story-telling to align with objectives
  • Attractive and functional design
  • Convenient social sharing
  • Features that involve key stakeholder

I found these examples on Business Grow’s website when they were listing the best Non-Profit blogs http://www.businessesgrow.com/2011/05/08/the-worlds-best-non-profit-blogs/

I completely agree on those examples for the same reason we look for some of the same things and I try to incorporate these when I submit the information for our Foundation Board to review.  I tried doing a simple search to get an idea of how many non-profit organizations were in the metroplex but in return I just got numerous pages of different organizations and charities so easily there has to be over 100 in the metroplex on where I live. If you think of how many food banks there are or how many churches provide services to their members and community than it can easily add up. Blogging alone is great for these organizations but they also need to utilize micro blogging such as Twitter. In the Tao of Twitter the book mentions on how Mark Schaefer was preparing his materials for his seminar for local non-profits and the information was picked up by a Twitter friend and an anchor for the local TV Station. The anchor invited the gentlemen who worked for United Way to come onto the morning show to promote the event. He got to talk about his organization and what they do. That is the power of Twitter, media wants to do coverage or stories that help their community so what better way than to invite a non-profit to talk about their organization and in return they can capture an audience who wants to help and possibly donate or get involved. Non-profits have more power than they think and since all of this is free to use then its best if they utilize it because you never know who you can reach. One organization out in Tyler, TX which is about two hours east of Dallas has a Twitter page and my marketing representative who works in this area found their page. Next thing you know she contacted them and learned what they do and eventually they were nominated to receive a Foundation Grant from our company. I learned this when I called to let them know there were receiving an award and they couldn’t have more grateful to learn about the grant as they would be happy with any amount of money.

Healthcare and Social Media….what are the risks and perks?

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When you think about Healthcare and marketing, do you mainly think of ads in magazines while waiting at the doctor’s office? Or when you may be watching television during the day you see those commercials about Medicare or home programs where you can receive your diabetes medicine? I know before I started to work in the healthcare industry that is mainly what I thought of. I mean if you work full time and receive benefits then you really don’t need to choose a healthcare company, right? Now with the Affordable Healthcare Act and will be active in 2014, healthcare companies really need to start using all their channels for marketing, especially social media. There are a lot of guidelines to follow and the risks such as with the FDA and HIPPA as you can’t reveal any current or previous member information. I am sure lately you have been hearing more ads on the radio for some major hospitals that provide their own network or other major commercial healthcare companies such as Aetna or Cigna. I did some research and I read an article talking about social media and healthcare and how some companies really prefer using You Tube over Twitter or maybe Face book. Twitter you can only post 140 characters and can’t really post videos but you can tweet a link to a video.

Working on the Medicaid side of the healthcare industry my company really wants to brand that they do care about the community and really do care and want to help people who truly need help on providing some things for their families. We partner with local non-profit organizations and sponsor large community events. A big thing for us is back to school, being out in the community almost every day, working long hours helping pass out backpacks and school supplies to families who need it for their children. I know watching a video on how a company is helping and seeing these reactions that would market to me easily. So I can see why You Tube is the most preferred social media channel to use, Twitter and Facebook is just as good as you can use those to tweet the You Tube video or share the video on Facebook. The challenges I can see if on how to get people aware of some of these videos and how to design those to catch someone’s attention as there are so many videos on You Tube, either produced from the company or just by anyone. But with creating ads for social media use, healthcare companies must not use any specific cases or member information so that can be a little tricky but a video like this is a great video for social media on You Tube

Now can you see maybe some risks associated with this video? This video was not made by the company and we don’t know if there were any releases signed for them to post this video as it does have images of the public and people who may of not wanted to be on the video or be on You Tube. Now this is not a negative video by all means but the company couldn’t use it unless knowing all these facts and having the video release forms. It can be used internally but not marketed by the company to use for social media. This following video from You Tube is a TV ad.

The video talks about the rebranding but everything about the company is still there, it doesn’t use any specifics but I feel it can still connect to a viewer who is watching it. If you go to You Tube and look up AmerigroupCorp they have several videos that have made for You Tube and talks about real life stories of members and their disabilities and with the help of Amerigroup they are able to live at home….truly a great video to watch!

Mobile Apps making it easier to get to your information

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A great mobile application is something you can open on your smart phone or even your tablet and be able to access some information you may need right away. People are always on the go, running out the door and forgetting something they may need especially for an appointment. There are so many times when I show up for my doctor visit or even my eye appointment and I don’t have the simplest information that I need to fill out my paper. If you’re a new patient it is even worse when you don’t have your member ID for your insurance and you’re struggling to remember what your numbers are or even for your children. That itself is a headache, to carry a folder around with all the correct information and then you realize it is sitting on your kitchen counter at  home. A great thing about technology, there are mobile apps even ones that can provide your insurance information for you with a simple click to open your app and what you need is right there. The app is so easy to use, you enter your member ID just once and you have an option to save it so next time you open the app you just enter your password and GO! This app you are able to look up providers in your area, check your systems and also a helpful A to Z for healthcare so while you are waiting on your doctor then you can scroll  through the information.amerigroup-mobile-1-1-s-156x156

It’s a great app to have as a member, half the time when I really need to call my insurance company I spend some time browsing through the internet site on my phone just trying to find the right number! This app already has a quick option to give them a call which is great when you want a quick answer.

Other companies have apps out there to help their consumers but for a health insurance company this is definitely a great mobile application to have to their members. People want things to be easy especially when it comes to finding a doctor in their area. If this type of app existed for my healthcare insurance company, it would make it so much easier for me! This time last year I woke up feeling sick but managed to get ready for work and headed off into the traffic, while sitting in my car in rush hour traffic I really started to regret my decision on coming into work so while driving I am trying to use my phone on the browser for the phone number to my doctor’s office. A lone that’s a bad idea but with this app you can see it is easy to search for a doctor and there you go!

If current members start using this app they can easily mention it to their family and friends who may be interested in becoming a member with our healthcare company then it can be a great tool to drive more members. Of course we market this application as well while out in the community but only if people inquire about it first. A great way to spread the word is through our social media outposts such as Facebook and Twitter, those application are highly used on a daily basis and just a simple tweet or post about this app or if new features are added will raise interest in downloading this easy to use application. Definitely a great way to make any business succesful.