Presented by Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS
Google my Business is another way Google has made it easy for us to let prospective patients know about the level of care we offer. It complements your website by giving your practice an identity and presence on Google. If you previously used Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages Dashboard, you may not have noticed it, but your account has already been automatically upgraded to Google My Business. The information you provide about your practice in Google My Business will appear on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ to those searching for an orthodontist. And if you had multiple Google+ Pages they will all show up on the Google My Business Dashboard as long as they are associated with the same email address.
The Google My Business Dashboard makes it easy to manage multiple locations from one central webpage. All you have to do it go to https://www.google.com/business/ and sign in using your email address and password associated with your previous Google+ Pages. From your Dashboard, you will be able to do a number of things.
For each of your locations, you can add, edit, and verify your practice information. This includes your practice name, phone number, website, and hours. When you do so, it will automatically update as well in Google Search and Google Maps. For each of your locations, you can easily add pictures of yourselves, your logo, the exterior of your office, the interior of your office, and any other photos you feel will help others learn about your practice. When people search Google, they can learn a lot about you before even going to your website. From your Dashboard, you can also post directly to your Google+ Pages.
In the Reviews section, you can see all the reviews patients have posted about your practice. The best part of this is that you can respond to those reviews. Experts in this arena recommended that we respond to at least three reviews a week. This can be to thank patients for especially kind compliments, but more importantly, we should promptly respond to any reviews that are less than stellar. Since negative reviews may inaccurately reflect the level of care you give, it’s important to attempt to set the record straight. In doing so it’s important to thank the reviewer for their feedback and respond in a way that is generic without referring directly to that patient’s experience in your office and their treatment details. Author Helen Overland stated “Respond to reviews, don’t let them sit. If someone sat outside your store telling people about your bad service, you would address it, right? So don’t let people sit outside your virtual door on Google Maps telling people about your bad service without addressing it. Addressing complaints is just good business.” And Google My Business makes it easy to do so.
In the section called Insights, you can learn how people are finding out about you, from what type of device they are viewing your profile, their demographics, and much more insightful information that may help in your marketing efforts. You can also see viewer activity trends such as how many people call your office from your Google profile, how many click to your website, and how many are asking for directions to your office.
No longer do you have to log in separately to Google Analytics to see viewing trends on your practice website. This is now right there within Google My Business. Google Analytics will tell you a lot of useful information such as how many new viewers, how they found your website, viewer demographics, length of their visit, and page views. Having this information on hand can help you in tweaking your website for the most effective and useful visits for prospective patients.
Like many things Google, Google My Business is free to use. If you choose to make Google ads however, that’s a paid function. These are the ads that show up on the top or right side of a Google search. And Google My Business allows you to manage your Ads from your Dashboard since they should be under the same email.
From your Google My Business Dashboard, you are able to learn about how to incorporate a Virtual 3D tour of your office onto your Google listing. These can also be placed directly onto your practice website.
By downloading the Google My Business app, you can perform most of these functions right from your mobile phone.
I have personally found Google My Business to be a great tool in my efforts to monitor and improve our practice’s online presence. It has consolidated many functions into one place, saving time and energy. I encourage you to look into it and see how it can help you.
The AAO’s complimentary lecture for February 2015 is an online reputation presentation given at the 2014 AAO Annual Session by frequent blog contributor Dr. Greg Jorgensen. Click here to begin watching.
By Dr. Ron Jacobson
|Photo courtesy of Dr. Ron Jacobson
Video media can be an extremely powerful and easy-to-use communication tool for patient education, staff training, and marketing applications. In a busy practice, finding time to train new members is always a challenge. And let’s face it, sometimes staff members need to see a procedure several times before it sticks. When we recently hired our newest staff member, I asked her to use a simple Flip video camera to film our more seasoned assistants as they demonstrated sterilization, lab techniques, and other clinical procedures. We then edited this footage into a series of short training videos and saved them on our server for viewing from any workstation in the office. This can be an efficient way to create custom training films that contain tips on everything from proper camera settings for clinical photography to avoiding bubbles in impressions and model pour ups.
One of the most beneficial uses of video technology in our practice has been helping patients prepare for their orthognathic surgery. Many patients are so apprehensive about the procedure and the post-operative healing that they opt out before the date actually arrives. We recently started filming our patients one week post-surgery and then at regular intervals during the healing process until their braces were removed. We ask them about the level of pain they experienced and the amount of time it took before they were able to return to school (work). We ask them to describe their swelling and numbness and their diet early in the healing process. We also ask them the most important question, “Knowing what you know now, would you go through it again?” Our patients have been eager to share their experiences and are frank in their discussions. These unscripted, heart-felt interviews are truly inspiring and much more helpful than a doctor’s description of what to expect post-surgically.
Videos can easily be created without a major investment in equipment or software. Although they do take some planning and time, especially early on, the investment is well worth the effort.
Here are some tips for shooting your own videos:
- Invest in a small tripod or desk stand – your videos will be of much higher quality if you can prevent movement.
- If you are producing a video for patient education, you may want to invest in a high quality video camera with an external microphone. A camera-mounted directional microphone will improve the audio quality dramatically. For staff training videos, Flip cameras and smart phones will suffice.
- The photographer must remain quiet during filming, especially if using a Flip camera or smart phone. Remember that you are much closer to the microphone than your subjects. If you make comments while interviewing, you will find that you will be much louder than your subject and the video will be much more difficult to edit. If you need the interviewer’s questions to be heard in the final product, position the camera equal distance from both parties, even if it is focused on only one of you.
- While professional lighting is preferred for marketing and practice website videos, natural lighting is usually sufficient for staff and patient education. Just film in a brightly lit room and make sure there is enough light on your subject’s face.
- Make sure to have your interviewee or one of their parents sign a photo/video release form giving you permission to use the video you just shot. It also doesn’t hurt to ask the subject you are videotaping if they consent to you using this footage while you are recording.
Tips for editing your videos include:
- Mac Software: iMovie ($14.99) provides all of the editing, storage and organizational tools that you will need in an easy to use interface. Final Cut Pro ($299) is a more powerful version of the software with more themes and special effects.
- Windows Software: Windows Live Movie Maker is a free download from the Microsoft website. Abode Premier Elements ($99) is easy to use and more powerful.
- If you are new to the video production, watching online tutorials is a quick way to get up to speed. They don’t take very long and you will be amazed by how simple and user friendly editing software has become.
- Organize your video clips as you copy them from the camera. Labeling and grouping them together into events will speed up your review and edit process later on.
- Back up your data! Digital media is not safe until is it stored in at least three locations
How can you know when someone is “talking” about you online? Google is the biggest and most widely used search engine available online today. Seven out of ten Internet searches are conducted using Google. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could ask Google to notify you every time someone mentions you or your business online? Google will do that for you, and they’ll do it for free. Their service is called Google Alerts.
Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for any search word that you choose. In other words, if you want to be notified every time someone online mentions Apple Orthodontics, you could create a Google Alert for the phase “Apple Orthodontics,” indicate where you want Google to look (i.e. blogs, news feeds, etc.), how often you want to be notified, the volume of alerts you want to receive, and to which email address you want the results sent. Then imagine that your practice then has a candy buy-back and the local newspaper mentions Apple Orthodontics in a story. When Google sees that reference, it will immediately send you an email with a link to the story in which you are mentioned. Nice!
It goes without saying that every orthodontist should have Google Alerts set up for his own name and the name of his business. You may also want to set up alerts for your colleagues too (just to see what they’re up to J ). Some other great uses of Google Alerts are monitoring developing news stories, keeping current on specific products or technologies, or keeping tabs on your favorite sports team. The ability to have Google keeps its eye on the web for you is amazing… besides being easy and free!
To set up your first Google Alert, just search for “Google Alerts” in where else… Google!