By Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO
New web sites offer online tools to measure the effectiveness of your digital communications. Here is the how-to for using these sites.
Tools abound on the internet with their own algorithms that assign a value or “grade” to your internet communications. While not perfect, these grades can help you get a handle on how well you are attracting visitors, gaining connections and “likes” for your internet and social media real estate.Various grading systems are battling it out tobecome the standard, but for now you can play with all of them and see which is most useful to you.
Hubspot’s Websitegrader is a tool that is free and simple to use. On the Websitegrader.com home page, enter your URL with the “www” attached. You can also enter competitors’ web site URLs to do a comparison. You will be directed to a page that gives your web site a grade. This grade is based on factors that can help you have a more relevant web presence and explain which ones you have implemented. You can grade your blog on Hubspot’s Bloggrader.com, your Twitter account on twittergrader.com or twitter.com/grader, your Foursquare page on foursquaregrader.com and your Facebook page on facebookgrader.com.
Here is a picture of my Twitter grade, which tracks how many followers I have, how many I am following and how many updates I have logged on the site. It also gives me a sense of how I stack up against other similar businesses:
Compete.com offers a comparison of your web site statistics to those of up to two competitors. It can compare the similar monthly metrics between you and your competitors as Google analytics measures.
The free version will tell you how many unique visitors you receive per month, the change in volume relative to the previous month, and will compare your current stats to the previous year. I find Compete.com to be an accurate and particularly useful tool.
Here is a picture of my Compete.com profile, which shows me how my social media sites are doing month-to-month in unique visitors, visits and page views:
Last fall Google announced it would emphasize authorship as a signal in elevating content for keyword specific queries. Google now identifies people online recognized as authorities for any given search term. Authority is determined by the content they are credited with authoring. For instance, if you are the author of lots of eye-related content, Google decided that it is likely that when you write something that contains a specific keyword, it is high-level, relevant content to certain eyecare-related queries. This applies to social media in the sense that if you are out there with a Facebook page about eyecare and interacting with an audience, or tweet on Twitter about eyecare, you are viewed more as an authoritative figure on the internet. Thus, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting and writing online about eye and vision care issues elevates your position in searches for eyecare in your geographical area. Klout.com is a great tool to measure your influence online as measured by your social media interaction. Signing up for Klout is free.
Grading your sites give you a way to measure and track the effectiveness of your web site and social networking pages and then make adjustments to help your site drive more patients to your practice.
Social Media Primer
What Social Media Sites Can Do For Your Practice
Before youdecide which grading service to make use of you need to decide which social networks are right for your practice. Here are the best known social media sites andwhat theirplatforms can do for your practice.
Facebook: Allows you to easily create offers, manage events like trunk shows and market directly to people who “sign up” for your feeds.Allows you to connect with people through your business page and increase your businesses’ visibility to the friends of the people who “like” your page, a population which is most likely to patronize your business because a friend does.
Blog: Establishing your own blog allows you to build an audience and establish yourself as a thought leader, giving you the opportunity to offer information about common eye health issues that can reinforce your status as an eye health expert. It enables you to keep patients in the loop about practice goings-on. Common blog platforms that allow you to set up a blog for free include www.blogspot.com and www.wordpress.com.
Twitter: I like to refer to Twitter as “medicine” for your social media sites. Each Tweet that includes a link has a chance of directing someone to your web site, blog, YouTube channel or anywhere else you want them to be. It helps “proliferate” the messages you transmit over social media.
Foursquare: Foursquare is a location-based platform. Members “check in” when at different businesses and their followers are notified of where their friends are.When they check into your practice,all of their social media contacts become aware that you are their eye doctor and you get effective, free advertising to the most likely cohort of people to seek your services–friends of patients.
Yelp!: Yelp is a community within which “Yelpers,” or people who use Yelp, share information on local businesses. Yelpers take the reviews of other Yelpers very seriously, and it has become a destination where millions of consumers go before patronizing a local business.On Yelp, you can advertise your business or maintain a listing similar to listings in traditional marketing materials like the Yellow Pages.You also can use the feedback you receive on Yelp to gauge how good a job you are doing at keeping customers happy. You can use the information gleaned on Yelp to better your business or find people who may have had a negative experience and turn it into a positive one.
Alan N. Glazier, OD, FAAO, is the owner of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care in Rockville, Md. He also is author of “Searchial Marketing: How Social Media Drives Search Optimization in Web 3.0.” To contact him: AGlazier@youreyesite.com.