Many businesses have implemented short-term contingency plans to continue serving customers during these challenging times.  Though temporary adaptations may have helped businesses bring in some revenue these past few months, neglecting to devise a long-term strategy will make it challenging for companies to function under “the new way of doing business” and may close some businesses permanently.

The digitalization of business content and services is one invariable shift companies have made to stay in front of customers during widespread shutdowns.  This illustrates how it is that much more important for businesses to create a strategy that fosters brand awareness and generates organic leads through their digital footprint.

We interviewed Emy Flament, Social Media Specialist for PC40 Interactive, about online branding strategies medical organizations may consider integrating to amply their online presence.  Read on to learn which approaches have yielded an increase in content engagement and prospect conversions

Disclaimer: Interview questions have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question:

What is online branding?  Why is it important in today’s business landscape, and what are some examples?

Emy:

“I would say that online branding, simplified, is the way that you position your business, your mission, and the value that you bring into your customers or clients lives digitally.  Online branding is important now more than ever because people want to connect with people and social media.  At its core, is all about the human connection.

When we think about businesses and sales, it all really comes down to psychology. And nowadays, people really are craving that connection to one another. And we are starting to understand that these little things, like saying hi to our favorite receptionist at the doctor’s office, had a huge impact on our lives. Now, we understand what it is like to live without that. So, it is a business’s responsibility to bring those same experiences online.

A great example of this is when businesses show up every day or a few times a week on Instagram stories, and they are not necessarily concerned about providing a caption or a video that is overly polished and produced. Instead, they are showing clips of their company culture, showing everybody, this is how we are doing our best to come to you… It is reaffirming that they are here for us. And they are showing up regardless of what the current atmosphere is.”

Question:

How can organizations best determine which online branding strategies will benefit their company the most?

Emy:

“I think it all comes down to data. Yes, right now, we are in a completely different environment than and world that we have ever been in before in recent years. However, I do believe that if you take a look at what has always worked for your brand, the answers are there.

If you take a look at your data, your analytics, your customer profiles, you know who you serve.  If you really take the time to think about your clients and how you can appeal to them at this current juncture, [you will be able to tell] how you can serve them. More importantly, at this time, I really believe that the answers are there.

If people are always saying that they found you through referrals or friends, now might be a really good time to look at brand reputation management and looking at what people are saying about you online and really focusing on things like business directories and answering reviews. That is going to help you be discoverable from an SEO perspective. You are reaffirming your brand’s testimonials and what people love about you. You’re just receiving it differently.”

Question:

What have you seen “work” with online branding, in terms of generating more engagement and organic leads?

Emy:

“What I think really consistently works is having a strategy. And I know that strategy is a very vague term. But I would say having a big picture strategy is always what is going to help you.

Specifically, when we talk about generating organic leads, whether it is selling tickets to a virtual event or pre-booking reservations, things like having a long-term outlook and almost like a launch campaign. If you want to start selling things, four months from now, you need to be thinking about that strategy strategically creating content today. That is going to lead up to what your ultimate goal is, which is to start selling by December, January. So that means showing up on social media.

Now, that means reaffirming what products and services you have now, empathizing and appealing to people, especially with what is currently happening in the atmosphere now. Your customers are online more than ever. So, now is the time to, every week, think long term. If [an organization] wants to start selling something later, what does [the organization] need to start talking about now?”

Question:

Which is more important to brand: the organization a physician works for, or the physician?

Emy:

“It [would be] important to brand yourself, being the medical professional, as a subject matter expert. There is an importance to that because it will help you in some respects like generating leads organic traffic, and it will help you in the way of public relationships.

[If] it is keynote speaking, or [you are] showing up on the news and talking about the latest and greatest in your field… you are always the face of the brand, and you are the expert.

If you position yourself as an expert, and you really position the things that differentiate you forward, there is going to be an immense value. Branding is something that can add a lot to your bottom line. And people buy a brand more than they buy into just a building or a place of business.”

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