Would It Kill Facebook to be Secure?

FB commits another egregious breach of privacy

So Facebook once again proved that your data is disposable to them, and that an enormous internet company can’t follow basic security protocols. I don’t generally quote so much directly, but the folks at Technology Review posted the most concise account of Facebook’s latest security breach, and I wanted my subscribers to have the best version of this information.

So what happened?

The news: A security researcher discovered a database pulled from Facebook that contained over 419 million phone numbers. The data included Facebook IDs and in some cases names, genders, and countries. Because the server hosting the database wasn’t password-protected, anyone could find and access it… It’s unclear who pulled the information from Facebook’s systems or why, but presumably it must have been an employee to have that level of access.

Who was affected? The exposed server included 133 million records from US-based Facebook users and 18 million UK users. Another had over 50 million records from users in Vietnam. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to check if your data was among the leaked records”.

History repeats itself: Facebook has been involved in so many data leaks it’s almost hard to keep count. In March this year, it turned out the company had been storing up to 600 million users’ passwords insecurely since 2012. Days later, we discovered that half a billion Facebook records had been left exposed on the public internet. 

The granddaddy of them all: The Cambridge Analytica scandal led to a $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission in July, along with a stipulation that top executives will have to attest that the company has protected privacy. We will see what action, if any, is taken in light of this latest leak.”- Technology Review

I am always talking to practices about making sure they have 2 factor authentication and secure, varied passwords. I regularly recommend a service like LastPass as a password vault. When companies as big and ubiquitous as FB can’t keep your date safe, you need to be extra vigilant.

Stay safe out there!

Don’t Get Demoted by Facebook!

FB like icons

Facebook Tactics to Avoid

Although Facebook lags behind its acquisition, Instagram, for engagement, it still has the largest number of monthly users by far.  It’s the one platform every practice I speak to is using even if they’re just getting started.  It makes sense.  People are familiar with it, so it feels comfortable.  Just like the statistic that most car accidents happen within a mile of our homes,  it’s this comfort that can get us into unexpected trouble.  Let’s review some no-no’s in the land of FB posting:

Don’t Post Engagement Bait

So what is engagement bait? Per FB itself: “Engagement bait is a tactic to create Facebook posts that goad people into interacting, through likes, shares, comments, and other actions, in order to artificially boost engagement and get greater reach on News Feed. Posts and Pages that use this tactic will be demoted.”  Let’s look at 3 types of posts that FB can consider engagement baiting

  • React baiting: Asking people to react specifically to the post (includes like, love, haha, wow, sad, and angry).
  • Comment baiting: Asking people to comment with specific answers (words, numbers, phrases, or emojis).
  • Tag baiting: Asking people to tag their friends.

Is engagement bait all bad?

Definitely not. While lots of posts that use engagement bait tactics try to boost content that isn’t relevant or meaningful (e.g. “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!”), other examples can provide benefit to people. For example, posts that raise money for a cause, or ask for travel tips. These posts drive authentic engagement and FB says it takes precautions not to impact them with their machine learning model.

Is all engagement bait demoted equally?

No. Pages that repeatedly and systematically use engagement bait as a tactic will be demoted more than individual posts from people and Pages that use it.  So a few now and then won’t hurt.  This means you can still run those seasonal contests (think: How many jellybeans in the jar?) without facing the wrath of FB

How can I ask my patients to engage, if I don’t use engagement bait?

You can get your patients to engage by creating relevant and meaningful stories. Unlike engagement bait, these kinds of posts will foster authentic engagement.

Engagement is the key tactic that will keep your business page in someone’s feed(rather than the old-school “like us” approach), but we need to be sure that we’re doing it by the rules.  This shouldn’t shy anyone away from posting or asking for comments – that’s engagement.  A good guide to keep in mind is your own reactions to posts you see in your feed that seem smarmy- you know the kind.  Always ask yourself before you post: Would I want to receive this message?  Remember, patients are people just like us.

To learn more about using Facebook and other platforms in your marketing strategy, hit the Talk tab at the top of the page.  We look forward to connecting!

Spring Cleaning Your Social Feeds

Clear Away the Hurdles and Get Marketing

Spring flowers
It may have started a month ago, but it really feels like it now

Spring is very much in bloom here in New York.  I notice that as the daylight hours grow longer I am so much more productive.  That said, I am THE WORST procrastinator – especially when there are so many distractions literally growing outside my window.

This is when I most need to take my own advice.  I spend hours each week teaching offices about the benefits of having a plan for their social marketing. Having a calendar that spells out your plan for each month and quarter means that we don’t get to April 30th and say, “Oh shoot!  I haven’t posted all month!”

Spring (Q3 specifically) is a great time to clear out the cobwebs and get that calendar sorted out. There are so many things to focus on:

spring flowers
I just love this quote

  • Easter
  • Mothers Day
  • Fathers Day
  • Weddings
  • Graduations

April alone gives us Hygienist’s Week and Administrative Professionals Day. (You Docs and CDA’s got March)

Besides the obvious days that salute our teams, Spring has great events to which we can tie our services. Weddings are great opportunities for cosmetic services – and remember, it’s not just the bride who wants to look great.  This is a great time of year to promote whitening, so as you plan your posts remember to include your services among the fun.  Make at least one blog post this quarter about whitening.  Have whoever in your practice teaches your patients how to load their trays make a video about it for YouTube.  Then make sure to link to that blog and video on your social platforms.  This ensures consistent messaging and that no matter where patients interact with you, they will hear what you have to say.  Think about what other services you offer that fit this model, and add those to your calendar.  Tidying up your plan truly does make it easier.

Remember, having a plan is the first step toward being successful.

To learn more about managing your social marketing, click on “Talk” to connect with us here at Working Cat.

It’s Spring – Can You Hear All the Tweeting?

More Reasons to Use the “Other” Social Platform

It’s easy to lose site of Twitter in your social marketing mix.

  • It doesn’t have the 2.32 Billion monthly active users of Facebook (Facebook 1/30/19)
  • It doesn’t have all the curated images and catchy #hashtags of Instagram
  • It’s not conveniently linked like those two – post once, see it twice!

twitter birds on a phone line
All the little birdies agree – You can say it on Twitter

Twitter also got a tough rap over the last couple of years as a place for “movements” and politics, which made some businesses think it wasn’t the place to market.  I’m here to tell you that Twitter is alive and well, and a necessary part of your social marketing mix.  Here’s the latest data from the folks at Twitter and Pew to see how well used the platform is every day:

  •  Twitter had 321 million monthly active users as of the end of 2018. (source: Twitter)
  •  21% of Twitter’s monthly active users are in the United States – that’s almost 70 million (source: Twitter)
  •  73% of Twitter users also use Instagram. (source: Pew Research Center)
  •  Approximately 46% of Twitter users are on the platform every day. (source: Pew Research Center)
  •  Twitter’s global average time per visit is just over 9 minutes.
  •  Tweets that include hashtags can result in as much as a 1,065% increase in engagement compared to a similar tweet without hashtags.
  •  The 😂 emoji is the most frequently used emoji on Twitter, having been used 2.3 billion times since 2013. Coming in 2nd is ❤️

Pictures Aren’t Just for Instagram

Yes, you only have 280 characters to be witty and wonderful, but what you also have is the ability to supplement your thoughts with images.  Tweets accompanied by a photo receive 89% more likes, and 35% of retweets come with a photo. Posts with photos stand out in a feed, so be sure that you don’t simply share from Instagram which only creates a link to your Insta account.  Either post separately with the image, or use a program like IfThisThenThat so that images are native in your feed.  When sharing a graph, statistic or table, the image can speak for you so that 280 character limit doesn’t cramp your message.

Remember, if it’s good enough for Instagram and Facebook, it should be on Twitter too!

To stay up to date on what’s happening in online marketing, subscribe to this blog.  It’s quick, free and painless.

For more personalized help with your practice marketing, reach out to WorkingCat by clicking on “Talk”.

 

 

Oops! They Did It Again

Facebook blows it on security – again!

Yesterday Facebook announced that it has improperly stored millions of user account passwords.  They were stored as “plain text” and were readable by more than 20,000 FB employees.

Once again, Facebook betrays users’ trust

Although FB claims they have seen no evidence of abuse, they have proven several times in the past year that they cannot be trusted with our data despite publicly claiming that protecting it is their first priority. An audit of FB records revealed that 2000 engineers and developers at FB had made 9 MILLION queries that included plain-text user passwords.

Here’s what you need to know and do.

  • There is no easy way to know if someone had access to your account
  • Change you password – including on any sites where you use “login with FB”
  • Set up your FB account to receive alerts when an unrecognized device logs into your account: go to Settings, Security and Login, Get Alerts
  • From that same Login page you can access “Where you’re logged in” to verify any devices that are logged in and their locations – if one isn’t you, hit “remove”

We tech nerds say it all the time, but please, make sure you use different passwords for different accounts.  If you don’t, the scary example is that anyone who could read your plain text password could then use it to log in to any other account where you used it – because let’s face it, FB knows what you like and where you spend your time.

Consider using a password manager like LastPass to store, generate, and most importantly, encrypt your passwords.  If LastPass is right for you, you can use WorkingCat’s link to get your first month free by clicking to here:  https://lastpass.com/f?955046

Stay safe out there!

Uh-Oh! The Big 4-0!

Guess who’s turning 40.

For years I have asked clients and course attendees to describe their perfect patient.  Besides, “one who pays”, the biggest qualifier is age.  Typically practices are looking for someone between 35 and 55, which makes sense – someone who likely needs work and can pay for it.  Well guess what: that now includes a demographic we used to ignore as “too young” – Millennials!!

That’s right, defined as being born from 1980 to 1994, next year the oldest ones turn 40!  That means they are already our “ideal” patients, we just haven’t been marketing to them.

Let’s talk about what makes these folks, who I prefer to call Digital Natives, different from the prior generations.

I assume that if you’re reading this article you have already added digital and social marketing to your practice.  Let’s make sure that what you’re doing in those paces speaks to these folks.

  • 90% state that they trust recommendations over claims made by a business – How do your reviews look? Do you have more than 30? They need user generated “proof”
  • They are 3 times more likely to be influenced by blogs and social media sites – Are you keeping these up to date?
  • They make up 37% of adult consumers – this makes them a HUGE buying block!

It may seem crazy to still have to say this in 2019, but make sure your website is responsive across all devices and operating systems. Just because it looks good on YOUR iPhone, doesn’t mean it looks good on THEIR newer and way cooler Google Pixel.  And if they can’t see who you are and what you’re about on their favorite device (checked an average of 43 times per day), they’re never going to come see you.

Once they do call  – or text if you’re set up for that – get them in quickly.  They’re busy and used to “now”.  Remember that if they found you on line, and you can’t accommodate them, they’re one click away from finding your competition.

Still think you don’t need to worry about them?  Here’s the most compelling argument yet:  They spend.  In fact, it is estimated they will spend 1.4 trillion (with a T!) a year by 2020.

That’s one big 40th birthday bash!

To learn more about digital marketing and how to use the internet to advance your practice, click on “Talk”.  We’d love to hear from you.

Update to Google+ Sundown

Google+, we hardly used thee

Hey, Marketing Friends!

Just wanted to post a quick update to a previous article about Google’s decision to end Google+.  Back in October they told us to get our affairs in order because they would be ending the service for private users in October of 2019.

Well, those crazy kids issued a press release on January 30th to tell us “time’s up”.  Google+ will cease to be (outside of corporate environments) on April 2nd.

My guess is that most of you will never notice because really, a lack of users is what prompted the move. Do make sure though that you no longer have links on your site to your Google+ profile.  Also be aware that on February 7th they will cease to support links to reviews on the platform, so again – if your site has them, now’s the time to have your “web guy” clean that up.

As ever, if you have questions about this, or any of your practice marketing needs, WorkingCat is here to help.  Just click on “Talk”.

 

Does Your Blog Sing?

Are You Writing Music?

I know, I know – writing a blog every week or two can be a drag.

  • What to write about?
  • Who’s going to write it?
  • Who’s even reading it? (Is this thing on??)

As healthcare professionals we often think the main purpose of our blog is to educate.  I’ll give you that educating patients is a noble pursuit and definitely in the top 2-3 things your blog should do. But it’s main purpose is to engage.  I could have copied the text of this image and explained all the fun out of it, but Gary’s right, and music is better experienced first hand.

So yeah, MY word count is only 159, but Gary played for you so you could work to improve your writing, and engage your patients.  That’s good stuff.

If you need help with your blog or any area of practice marketing we’d love to hear from you.  Hailing frequencies open.

See you on the internet!

Less Artificial, More Intelligent, Please

I am a huge fan of working smarter not harder, but sometimes “intelligent” solutions leave me cold.  I’d like to talk about two places where automation is taking a strong hold in dental practices.  Having spent some time at the Autumn trade shows I got to interview a number of these service providers both old and new, and came away with a few thoughts and recommendations.

artificial intelligence

Patient Communication

This is one of the places where automation first took hold in our industry and it’s here to stay.  A number of studies have even suggested that patients prefer to get reminders via text or email rather than with a phone call – regardless of age.  We also know this frees up a huge amount of time spent by your admin team making those calls.

The good news is that most of these services are “plug and play” and the better ones fully integrate with your practice management software.  Were it my practice, I would definitely utilize one of these, with a few requirements:

  • The ability to customize my messages rather than some of the stock texts that are out there.
  • Anytime access to my schedule in case a patient contacts me
  • Excellent customer care and training for my team.

WorkingCat is happy to connect you with some of our preferred providers who have passed our tests and take care of our clients

Social Media

Here is where artificial gets in the way of intelligence.  Let’s first remember why we started social media feeds for our practice in the first place – to engage with patients.  If a company is posting generic content to your feeds, who are you engaging?  While automated social posting can be a big help if you and your team are just too harried/bored/uninterested, it can’t be your only source of content.  If you are going to use one of these services, you MUST participate in your social presence.

  • Make sure that you can steer the topics to match your messaging
  • Ask them to post YOUR pictures/events – or post those yourself
  • Remember to respond to patient comments in our feeds
  • Be sure that all password/logins/admin rights are YOURS – you don’t want to have to rebuild if you discontinue their service

As we head into the brave new world of 2019, let’s stay connected, stay engaged, and make smart choices in how we communicate our brand promise.

See you on the internet!

Happy Holidays!

I’m hoping that this finds each of you enjoying the season.  For some of my clients I know that means a “frigid” 70 degrees, while others are seeing the first snowflakes.  It’s one of the things I love about what I do: the diversity of the people I meet.  Though it would be nice to see everyday, I hope that in the spirit of this season we can all appreciate the magnificent patchwork of humanity.

So whatever it is you celebrate this time for year, I hope that you get to do it with those you love and treasure.  I also hope we can all make time to do something kind for someone who has not been as fortunate as we are.

WorkingCat will be taking the holidays off, so we will be back here on January 2nd ready to take on the next exciting year.  If you need us, you know where to reach us.

A very Happy New Year to everyone!!