Social media for pharmacies: let Optimize Business guide you

Optimize Business understands pharmacyCommunities
As your business pushes through the scripts, orders the retail and behind the counter stock, balances the cash, pays the bills, drops off the banking and tries to spend time with talking with every customer….  should you be embarking on a new marketing strategy to embrace social media in your pharmacy?

Social media for pharmacies
Social media can be overwhelming at times: content (photographs, images and text), online communities, tone of voice, moderation, legal considerations, time management, public verses personal posts, timely responses to customers… Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter… a blog? Where should you start? Do you even need to start using social media?

We understand social media
Pharmacy is a unique business and every pharmacy is unique. Don’t jump into social media with out carefully selecting what best suits your needs. Nothing is worse than a business that started Facebook or Tweeting but has not done an update in the last year or two. It is part of a pharmacy’s public face, just like a shop window, it is either neat and tidy, or run-down and tired. Even worse perhaps, there is no shop window for your Pharmacy! We have great experience with social media, let us help you!

Let us guide you through the process
Pharmacists are called on to do a lot of things. Let Optimize Business help you assess your business needs for social media. We’ll sit down with you to understand your customers, your opportunities for social and then we either train up you and/or your staff or you can hand it all over to Optimize Business for a complete outsourced solution.

Our approach
We are flexible and will work to meet your individual needs. We will also tell you straight out if we think social media is not right for you. We will also talk to you about social media advertising, it is constantly changing but provides direct access to local customers you choose to communicate with.

  • Needs analysis
  • Strategy development
  • Initial account configuration
  • Content creation
  • Outsource 100% or in-house training
  • Build & engage your community
  • Social advertising
  • Grow your business!

To take advantage of current promotional offers, enter your details below and we will contact you:

What is Global Entrepreneurship Week? #GEW

#GEWNovember 18 – 24 is an exciting time each year for the start-up, innovation, education, entrepreneur and broader communities of the world: it is Global Entrepreneurship Week (#GEW). And it is really “global” in every sense of the word.

The growing popularity of these events is partly due to the global connectivity of social media networks. Never before have so many buddy entrepreneurs had so much opportunity to use ‘free’ global communications tools to inspire, share and make connections, experiences and ideas. Twitter is buzzing with the hashtag #GEW, #GEW2013 and other country specific hashtags and LinkedIn provides opportunities for targeted networking: social media helps develop international relationships, introduced through #GEW, that many innovators will find as they pursue their goals.

So what is #GEN? Perhaps the best way for me, as a social media strategist, is to use social media (YouTube) and let the international organisers explain for themselves:

#GEW is here. Jump on, jump in or take that first step – it may just change your life! If nothing else, you will find following all the tweets and other social media posts and events an inspiring spectacle in its own right! So, enjoy and feel free to contact Optimize Business if you have any questions or queries. Here is the Australian GEW page link:

#GEW

Storify: the Telstra 2013 Australian Digital Summit

On Tuesday Telstra hosted the 2013 Australian Digital Summit in Melbourne, social media and the #DigitalSummit hashtag went into overdrive.

Tools, strategies, innovations and techniques are constantly evolving in the digital space.

Storify.com

If you have not seen Storify before, please take a look at what it does here and also check out our story as a resource to catch up on what you may have missed at the Digital Summit!Today we spent about an hour using “Storify” to create a record of the #socialmedia chatter that surrounded the hashtag #DigitalSummit this week.

Minor CBA system upgrade leads to bank meltdown and social media backlash

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has taken a beating overnight on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook. What started as a ‘minor upgrade’ to NetBank ended in a social media and literal spat for cash. By 3am the issue had not been resolved, with CBA customers at the end of their tether.

Read the posts on Storify.

It all started with a small Facebook post on the CBA page on Sunday 27, 2013. It was not dissimilar to the outage notice of the night before (1am – 7am), about a minor upgrades, except this notice was of an earlier start to a 6 hour upgrade may impact some accounts from 6pm-12midnight on Sunday evening:

“We’re upgrading NetBank tonight, making several minor enhancements to Australia’s #1 online bank. NetBank, mobile, tablet and CommBank Kaching apps will be online, however some accounts and features will be unavailable 6pm-12midnight (AEDT) on Sunday 27 October. You can stay up-to-date commbank.com.au/update
 

cba tweets A

The post from the Saturday outage from 1am caused no ripples, with 56 people liking that update and about 25 comments. Sunday’s post, however, turned into something of a social media storm with 85 likes and nearly 500 Facebook comments on the post and over 100 comments directly on the Commonwealth Bank’s Facebook Page. The @NetBank Twitter account also did a short innocuous tweet about the same time, then seemed to go to sleep for two hours before it responded to the tweets for updates, cash and help. Initially mild queries and complaints came in of inconvenience came in:

  • small business owners lamented the timing for their Australian Taxation Office Business Activity Statement due on Monday;
  • some asked “is netbank not working at the moment?”

Then some more desperation started to appear in the posts, like from Angela on Facebook over a 2 hour period:

  • What is going on?? I tried to make a purchase from a store and my card was declined…I went to an ATM and i kept getting error messages…I have tried calling …no response…..NOT HAPPY
  • I’m pissed off…i’ve been a customer since forever..paid THOUSANDS in interest and this is the service I get????
  • And what is wrong with the call centre…why cant I get through to anybody ..it even hangs up on me!! Very frustrsting. Feel sorry for the person at my local branch in the morning

After several hours, the impact of the “minor up-grade” became more apparent, with CBA customers almost crying out for help:

  • unable to pay for dinner or takeaway
  • spending hours shopping then being unable to pay
  • “humiliation” and “embarrassment” at having their cards declined
  • people trapped at petrol stations with a full tank but unable to pay
  • others frantic to transfer money, pay rent or withdraw cash
  • customers unable to pay for flights and facing the possibility of losing flights
  • employers unable to pay their staff 

And so the list of individual dramas, tension and frustration continued. Several CBA employees jumped in to defend the corporate giant and leading to with a tongue in cheek poke at impatient customers, led to them being identified as employees and images of their full name, work role and other details being taken as screen shots and posted online. CommBank posted a warning directed at several individuals, deleted several customer posts that identified an employee and reminded the customers of the Facebook Community Guidelines.

At 2:15 am CBA updated their web page with “We’ve had an unexpected issue that we’re working hard to resolve. We still have more investigation and testing to do before we bring our systems back up.”

At 2:30am the CBA posted on Facebook “Hi everyone, we apologies that NetBank still isn’t available right now. We’ve had an unexpected issue that we’re working hard to resolve. We still have more investigation and testing to do before we bring our systems back up. This is all the information we have at present, our next update will be later this morning. Again, we apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

And that brings us to 3am when this writer will cease monitoring the situation. I became involved while trying to phone the CBA tonight to advise of overseas transactions on my account, only to eventually get the message “we have encountered a technical problem” and the call was terminated by the CBA.

LinkedIn Company Pages 101

It is not often you get things for free, but Company Pages from LinkedIn give small business owners, managers, NFP and NGOs a chance to showcase their organisation for no cost (at the time of this blog!). Linked in Company Pages currently have four sections:

  1. Home page
  2. Products and services
  3. Careers
  4. Insights (including views)

Will creating a company page on LinkedIn really make any difference? Well, have you noticed how when you are searching for a local business or person on Google, LinkedIn profiles typically rank very high in the ‘natural search’ results.

  • Natural search is what Google finds based on its proprietary search algorithms and ranks the results for you to review.
  • Paid search are results that appear (usually at the top or side of your search engine results page) that are only there based on advertisers paying for you to seem them based on your key words and phrases used in your search.

Adding a company page to LinkedIn strengthens the natural search result rankings of your business. You can create a Home page and Product / Service descriptions with links to your other websites and social media accounts. While not only providing a free way to showcase your business, it also provides a structured way to think through your products and service offerings.

You can link individual LinkedIn profiles of your management team and key staff to each product or service. You also have the option to ‘pay’ for your job listings in the “Careers” section of your Company Pages. This paid service targets your job vacancies to those meeting your requirements and will cost about $200 AUD for a 30 day local posting in Melbourne (Australia).

Check out the attached guide for more information on LinkedIn Company Pages above. You can create a Company Page from the links here at LinkedIn FAQ.

LinkedIn Company Pages: a great way to showcase your organisation, for free!

Free Guide: LinkedIn Company Pages

It is not often you get things for free, but Company Pages from LinkedIn give small business owners, managers, NFP and NGOs a chance to showcase their organisation for no cost (at the time of this blog!). Linked in Company Pages currently have four sections:

  1. Home page
  2. Products and services
  3. Careers
  4. Insights (including views)

Will creating a company page on LinkedIn really make any difference? Well, have you noticed how when you are searching for a local business or person on Google, LinkedIn profiles typically rank very high in the ‘natural search’ results.

  • Natural search is what Google finds based on its proprietary search algorithms and ranks the results for you to review.
  • Paid search are results that appear (usually at the top or side of your search engine results page) that are only there based on advertisers paying for you to seem them based on your key words and phrases used in your search.

Adding a company page to LinkedIn strengthens the natural search result rankings of your business. You can create a Home page and Product / Service descriptions with links to your other websites and social media accounts. While not only providing a free way to showcase your business, it also provides a structured way to think through your products and service offerings.

You can link individual LinkedIn profiles of your management team and key staff to each product or service. You also have the option to ‘pay’ for your job listings in the “Careers” section of your Company Pages. This paid service targets your job vacancies to those meeting your requirements and will cost about $200 AUD for a 30 day local posting in Melbourne (Australia).

Check out the attached guide for more information on LinkedIn Company Pages above. You can create a Company Page from the links here at LinkedIn FAQ.

Ever thought you would love preparing invoices? Here’s how

Video

Having worked with many accounting and invoicing systems over the last 20 years, Optimize Business knows a good billing solution when we see one. That is why Optimize Business uses and recommends Freshbooks. It offers the convenience of cloud accounting and an easy of use and efficiency you have to see to believe.

  • Forget about backing up your invoices: it is done in the cloud
  • Stop fussing with an email or envelope: it is delivered in the click of a button
  • Convert that estimate to an invoice and email: done in seconds

Visit our Optimize Business Bookshop for the latest books, DVD’s and resources to optimize your business performance

It is great for small business start-ups who can use it free for three or less clients and even better for bigger businesses who can streamline their invoicing process with the click of a button. And the best part? Clients pay quicker because of the paper-less email delivery and the easy of payment!

This is why Optimize Business is pleased make Freshbooks available to Australian and New Zealand business through our relationship with Freshbooks. In fact, Freshbooks can be used by any business, anywhere! From Deli to Denver, over 5 million businesses are using Freshbooks.

So why not test drive this great product? We did, and we were so impressed with the customer service, support and user experience, that we can’t help but recommend it! Try it for free:

FreshBooks

© 2012 Andrew McIntosh CPA, Optimize Business. As a Freshbooks partner, Optimize Business may receive a commission for referring satisfied customers.

Twitter for small business


Is your small business on Twitter? Do you understand how Twitter works and why so many small businesses have jumped onto Twitter?

The above two minute video from Twitter gives a basic understanding of how you might use this social media for your organisation or business. Optimize Business uses Twitter as the main form of social media to engage, communicate ideas, develop business relationships and keep abreast of the latest news or trends in business.

Social media is an investment in our brand. Five years ago, people would use a search engine like Google to find your website, learn about your business and assess if they want to do business with you. Today, consumers and businesses also look at your social media presence to gauge “who you are”: YouTube is now one of the most popular search platforms and Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media are also being used to find businesses.

Unlike Google and Yahoo!, if you are not ‘present’ in Twitter (for example), you will not appear in the results of a search that is done within Twitter. Your business will be Missing in Action in the Twitterspere, this is unless your customers are talking about you (good or bad!), or worse, your competitors are filling your void.

The absence of “your voice” from social media platforms, like Twitter, says something to the world about your business. For those who have used social media to find you, or to talk to you, your absence from their preferred channel will be noted and probably not in a good way.

It is important not to just jump into social media. You should speak to other businesses that use social media, and make sure it is done in a planned way, as part of a social media strategy that suits your brand, your business and your customers. A failed social media presence is perhaps even worse that no social media at all.

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn and other forms of social media, each “Tweet” is limited to only a 140 characters.  Other forms of social media have larger word limits. Tweets therefore need to be short, engaging and easy to understand. The 140 character limit is quite helpful in helping you take the ‘padding’ out of your business communications.

So back to Twitter. It is a great tool for start-ups, small and large businesses alike. You can easily share (tweet) links to videos, blogs, webpages and photos to provide richer content with your short Twitter ‘broadcasts.’ If you content is engaging, you will probably find each tweet brings in additional new followers and people may share your communications by retweeting (RT) your message.

Twitter is a free social media tool that provides an incredible networking and communication channel into the hands of even the tiniest business, NGO or NFP. You can do a lot of targeted ‘campaigns’ yourself for free:

Twitter can provide almost perfect customer targeting, for free! Just search for a topic relevant to your organisation on Twitter.com and look at the people that are engaging in discussions or following others on that topic. Then search through the “followers” of relevant people and you will find people, businesses and organisations that are interested in the topic. These people will therefore be likely to follow you back if you follow them. Be a little selective in who you follow (avoid those who you would not really want following you) and you can easily build up your own followers by simply following those with common interests to your own.

Businesses, large and small, can also pay to have their products or services promoted on Twitter, via promoted “accounts” and promoted “tweets”. This video gives you a good sense of how you can pay to promote your organisation, but most new Twitter users would initially try the free approach outlined in the paragraph above.

For more information, Twitter publishes a great guide to get your organisation started on this exciting social media platform: Twitter for Small Business.

FreshBooks 2012 Andrew McIntosh CPA Optimize Business @Optimize_Biz

Twitter for Business: link your tweets to appear on Facebook!

Get your Tweets posted on your Facebook page automatically! It is easy to set-up, go to the Twitter Help Center to learn more.

The Facebook Settings page (when you are logged in as a profile Administrator in Facebook) has a “Link to Twitter” button.  This is a good way to post onto Twitter if your primary social media tool is Facebook.

But remember the most Twitter users will see of your Facebook post is 140 characters.  This means you need to fashion your opening Facebook wording carefully to still make sense once it posts on Twitter. The link to your Facebook post in the Tweet will also decrease your available characters.

FreshBooksOptimize Business suggests doing the reverse: log into your Twitter account and then have your Tweets automatically post onto your Facebook page. This will mean that you have more control over the final text outcome that is communicated on both social media platforms. You can carefully craft your Tweet to 140 characters and this will then look and ‘feel’ better across both mediums.

You will probably find you end up doing more Facebook entries as well, because avid tweeters often end up tweeting more from their mobile devices…. so why not communicate to your Facebook crowd too!

If you want big, attention grabbing photographs or links to interesting articles, simply post direct to Facebook to ensure you do not get a thumbnail of the Twitter photograph.

© 2013 Andrew McIntosh CPA Optimize Business @Optimize_Biz

Facebook for Business: allow subscribers!

For the sake of business, don’t for get to “Allow Subscribers”!

If you are running a business page on Facebook, don’t forget to go into your Facebook Settings (found on the top right of your page) and tick the “Allow Subscribers” check box.

This means Facebook users will be able to find you on Facebook, via public search engines and connect… which is probably why your business is on Facebook, so people can find out about your business!  Your customers and the public can subscribe without becoming a “friend” also.
FreshBooks
© 2012 Andrew McIntosh CPA Optimize Business @Optimize_Biz