The COVID-19 pandemic impacts nearly every aspect of a property management business, and human resources are no exception. With furloughs and reorganizations circulating the industry, recruitment and retention continue to be top priorities for HR managers. Amid these changes, the employment of property, real estate and community association managers still is projected to grow 7% by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To attract and retain a high-performing…
The COVID-19 pandemic impacts nearly every aspect of a property management business, and human resources are no exception. With furloughs and reorganizations circulating the industry, recruitment and retention continue to be top priorities for HR managers.
Amid these changes, the employment of property, real estate and community association managers still is projected to grow 7% by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To attract and retain a high-performing workforce, property management firms are establishing strong employer brands, fostering responsive work environments and cultivating corporate values. But how do you know if it’s working?
As the industry and the U.S. workforce change more rapidly than ever, now is the time to take lessons from engaging the resident experience conversation and apply them to the employee experience conversation online.
In this post, we cover ways to monitor your employer brand as a property manager, the impact of generating and analyzing employee reviews, and how your brand reputation can help attract and retain top-level property management talent.
Monitoring Your Employer Brand
Compelling job descriptions and competitive salaries are a start, but employee-generated company reviews are the cornerstone to capturing job seekers’ attention.
In large part, employee reviews function the same way as resident reviews. Just as resident reviews could be invaluable for marketing or a liability in attracting tenants, employee reviews could either be your most faithful recruiting tool or a major red flag in a job search.
Job seekers rank current employees as the most trusted source of information when researching employers, followed by prospective employees and former employees. Job seekers trust employees three times more than the potential employer for credible information about working at the business, according to LinkedIn.
Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, LinkedIn and other job search websites now provide an easily accessible venue for employees (and in some cases, interviewees) to share their personal experience with your property management company. And they’re used a lot.
One in three job switchers found their new employer through job portals or personal connections/referrals in 2019, according to a recent study by Randstad. Among those switching through job portals, a vast majority used Indeed. But this isn’t a one-platform job: Glassdoor.com reports 59 million visitors per month.
Check out your company’s reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn. If you currently don’t have a presence or a rating, it’s time to start generating online employee reviews.
Generating Employee Reviews and Feedback
Employee feedback could be the most influential of current talent attraction and retention strategies.
From a potential applicant’s perspective, the advantage of a robust brand reputation is clear. If 10 leasing positions are posted and three have reviews, that applicant will likely research and apply to those three property management companies first.
Generating these reviews gives prospective employees confidence to know what it’s like to work for you. It also encourages employees to submit ideas on how the company can be more efficient and offer more value to its staff.
One way to generate employee reviews is to send regular internal surveys to measure employment satisfaction and use a technology platform to extract insights from comments. But to fill your locations, leasing departments and office staff with the highest-caliber talent, you’ll need to ask current and former employees to leave testimonials on public employer review sites.
Make sure your surveys and review campaigns cover the top job-search drivers. According to Randstad, these are the most attractive benefits for job seekers:
Additional vacation benefits (80%)
Flexible working hours (79%)
Being able to work from home (72%)
Healthcare insurance packages (79%)
Reimbursement of mobility expenses (72%)
When you focus on corporate culture and highlight these benefits, you spend less time selling your firm as an attractive work opportunity.
Retaining Property Management Talent
Employer brand is key to retaining property management talent as well, since your locations are likely spread out geographically and demographically. People-intensive companies in this industry must be able to assess – in real time – what makes work more efficient and makes employees feel values.
By monitoring your employer brand, you can improve the employee experience and manage human resources to ensure everyone performs at their highest level. Then, you can turn around and promote that employee experience to prospective employees, pushing them one step closer to sending their resume.
Of course, negative comments are unavoidable. If the comments you’re seeing aren’t what you were expecting, you can use feedback analytics to see where the disconnect is. Responsive companies that commit to transparency and improving the employee experience will fare best.
You can also think of your employee experience as a marketing opportunity. Satisfied employees can become authentic brand ambassadors for your property management firm.
Use Employer Brand for Hiring Decisions
Aside from the most obvious reason to switch employers – a higher salary elsewhere – around 40% of employees in 2019 cited a mismatch between their personal values and the organization or poor relationships with colleagues, according to Randstad.
Just as job seekers are focusing more on companies’ intangibles, property management companies are using employer brand analytics to find out which types of personalities mesh well with their culture. For HR managers, employer brand has evolved into an essential way of attracting, filtering and retaining top candidates.
As real estate firms look to win over the best leadership, analysts, leasing agents and frontline staff, they also need to incorporate culture into hiring strategies. Knowing who will mesh with your staff across multiple locations starts with analyzing employee feedback and understanding your firm from their perspective.
Having an employer brand that resonates with the preferences of today’s workforce demographics makes recruiting much easier. So does having Binary Fountain on your side. Schedule a free demo to see what our Employer Brand Analytics can do for your HR department.
Google Analytics can seem like a daunting tool for many beginners, but is quite user friendly once you know your way around the platform. It’s hard to imagine an organization in healthcare, real estate, or any other industry that wouldn’t benefit from tracking website traffic in Analytics. Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but it…
Google Analytics can seem like a daunting tool for many beginners, but is quite user friendly once you know your way around the platform. It’s hard to imagine an organization in healthcare, real estate, or any other industry that wouldn’t benefit from tracking website traffic in Analytics.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but it cannot report on traffic that occurred on your website before being set up. The best time to set this tool up is the day you launch your website, but the second-best day is today. Therefore, we’ve created this guide to help you understand the value of Analytics and to start tracking your website now!
Why Is Google Analytics Valuable for Beginners?
Data-driven decisions are essential to optimizing your website and understanding which of your digital initiatives are successfully creating traffic. Google Analytics is an incredible tool for tracking traffic sources, visitor interaction, and the aspects of your site that convert visitors into customers. Other useful stats you can learn about your website’s audience include:
The number of visitors your website is receiving
Where these visitors are located geographically
The types of devices your visitors are using
The pages on your website that receive the most interaction
How many visitors are being converted into patients or filling web forms
Google Analytics Set up for Beginners
First, we’ll give you some advice on what not to do: Do not allow your web developer, or anyone else for that matter, to set up your website’s Google Analytics account under their own Google account. Do not do this, even if they ask to do this to manage it for you.
The account that tracks your website’s data owns your website’s data. A parting of ways between you and the account owner would result in you losing this data, forcing you to start over with none of your previous traffic data. If you have already assigned Analytics to a personal account, look to set up new tracking under an account owned by your business.
Step 1: Create a Google Analytics Account and Website Property
If you already created a Google account to use Google’s other services such as Gmail, Drive, Calendar, or even YouTube, create an Analytics account under the Google Apps menu. If you do not already have a Google account, create one now.
This account will be responsible for warehousing all your Analytics data.
One of the first questions you’ll need to answer in the signup process is whether you’d like to track a website or a mobile app. Be sure to select the website option.
Next, you’ll be asked to create an account name, which should likely be your organization’s name. You’ll also need to fill in your website’s name, URL, industry category, and time zone that your business primarily runs on. This will set up your website as a “property.”
Google organizes all these properties in a hierarchy. Your Google Account contains your Google Analytics accounts, which contain your website properties. Properties allow you to set up reporting views. These views allow you to view a specific subset of your data through unique configuration settings.
Primary Google Accounts can have up to 100 Google Analytics accounts
Google Analytics account can have up to 50 website properties
Website properties can have up to 25 views
You need to set up websites as properties under the same Google Analytics account if they are run by the same business entity. If you want to set up Analytics for two websites run by separate companies, you should set them up under two separate Google Analytics accounts.
It’s critical to set up properties under the correct Google Account. You may always rename your accounts or properties down the road however, so don’t stress out about picking the perfect name during this setup process.
Once you have named your account and entered your website information, you’ll also need to set your Data Sharing Settings and get your tracking ID.
Step 2: Install Tracking ID on Your Website
Once you agree to Google Analytics terms and conditions, you’ll get your Google Analytics tracking ID code. This code must be installed on every page on your website to get complete tracking data.
How you’ll install this code depends on how your website is constructed. You need to add the tracking code before the </head> tag on each of your pages. One way to doing this is to copy the HTML code into a word processor and paste it into the provided code. WordPress users can use the Yoast SEO plugin to easily install your code across many themes and frameworks.
You can easily find instructions for installing your Google Analytics Tracking ID code on any website by searching for “[your platform] + how to install Google Analytics.”
Step 3: Setting up Goals
Goals are intended to mark meaningful events on your site. For example, you can set up goals to record visitor signups for a newsletter or visitors booking an appointment. You may set up 20 goals per view.
Goals not only count the number of visitors that complete the goal but also provide insight into the journey that led up to the goal’s completion. If you assign a monetary value to your goals, you can use Google Analytics to determine with goals are bringing in this value. You can also set funnel paths to measure where traffic is entering and exiting a goal path.
The easiest way to start tracking goals is to select “custom” on step one of the three-step goal creation process. Then, on step two, enter in a goal name and select “destination” under goal type. This will take you to step three, goal details.
Analytics tracks destination goals by the visitor landing on a specific URL. For instance, you could track online appointment signups, assuming your website displays some type of confirmation webpage. Patients viewing that page would be a destination goal for your Analytics account.
In the future, you can use the “verify this goal” to ensure your goal is functioning as expected. However, this function won’t work for a tracking ID that’s just been installed. This is because Google Analytics hasn’t had time to start collecting data for verification.
Set up goals for all the important conversion pages on your website. Feel free to experiment with the template and other custom goal types. Note that goals can be created, edited, and changed at any time. They will not affect the front-end performance of your website.
Repeat for Any Additional Websites
Once your initial goals are set, you’ve finished setting up your first website in Google Analytics. Congratulations!
You’ll start to see Analytics data appear in the next 24 hours. In the meantime, set up any other websites your organization owns under your business’s Google Analytics account.
If you’d like more advice on Google Analytics for beginners and other website tips, be sure to check out these links:
How to Use Google My Business When was the last time you Googled something? Google processes about 40,000 searches every second, so chances are pretty good you’ve googled at least one thing today. From the phone number for the nearest physical therapist to reviews for the newest restaurant in town, chances are good that your…
When was the last time you Googled something? Google processes about 40,000 searches every second, so chances are pretty good you’ve googled at least one thing today. From the phone number for the nearest physical therapist to reviews for the newest restaurant in town, chances are good that your customers are using Google too. So why not leverage Google as a tool to improve your online reputation?
To make sure your customers can quickly and easily find accurate contact information, hours, and reviews it’s important to take advantage of Google My Business. In just a few steps, you can get started and take advantage of this easy-to-use tool, which makes responding to online reviews easy.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows business owners to manage their presence across Google domains, from Search to Maps. It helps your customers easily find your phone number, directions to your location, business hours, website, and more.
Google My Business also gives customers the opportunity to leave reviews and allows businesses with verified accounts to respond to reviews. In addition, businesses should also take advantage of Attributes, the Q&A section, and Knowledge Panels.
How to Create a Google My Business Listing
You can create a Google My Business listing in four easy steps:
Sign into or create a Google Account for your business.
Visit google.com/business and click “start now.”
Provide some simple information, such as:
The name of your business
The location of your business
The business’s category
Your business’s phone number
The website of your business
Choose a method to verify your Google My Business listing. You can choose to verify your account by postcard, phone, email, instant verification (available if you have already verified your business via Google Search Console), or bulk verification (if you have 10+ locations).
It’s important to verify your Google My Business listing because it proves your ownership of the business website. Verification gives you access to private search data and raises your rank in organic search. It can take several days for Google to review and verify your business.
You also have the ability to share the responsibility for managing your Google My Business account with your employees and contractors. Google will let you have three different types of users:
Owners, who have full privileges and access, including the ability to add additional owners or managers
Managers, who have all the privileges and access of owners except for the ability to add or remove users and to remove business profiles
Site managers, who have some limited editing ability, the ability the respond to reviews, and the ability to view reports.
How to Optimize Your Business on Google
It is easy to customize the information your customers can find on your Google My Business listing. By adding details such as photos and hours of operation, you can help your customers choose your business.
While logged into your Google My Business dashboard, select “info” on your listing, and add additional information, such as whether or not you offer free wi-fi, the year your business was established, and more.
Keep Your NAPUCHD up to Date
NAPUCHD is an acronym for the most basic and important components of your Google My Business listing. You must be careful to keep this info up to date in the face of any changes.
Name – Be sure your business name is correct, accurate, and complete. Resist the urge to add keywords to rank for other terms.
Address – Address accuracy is vital. If you have multiple locations or several service areas, Google My Business allows you to add this information to rank for other service areas.
Phone – Make sure the phone number connects precisely with the location.
URL – Use a location-specific URL.
Categories – Show what your business does, rather than what your business offers. For example, if you are an apartment building, you should not add “gym” as a category despite offering it as an amenity. This will confuse the search engine and prospective visitors.
Hours – Especially around the holidays, show extra hours, as well as days you will be closed.
Description – This field is a space to offer detail, preferably locally-focused. Leave URLs out of this section.
Photos and Videos
The easiest way to optimize your listing is to add photos. Search Engine Land, businesses with over 100 images receive 520% more calls, 2717% more direction requests, and 1065% more website clicks than the average business. Those with just one image get 71% few calls, 75% fewer direction requests, and 1065% fewer website clicks.
At a minimum, add a profile and cover photo of at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall in either JPG or PNG format. Google also recommends optimizing your profile with interior, exterior, product, and team photos.
An exterior photo is important, both for “curb appeal” – presenting an attractive first impression – and for guiding first-time visitors to your location. Interior photos help prospective visitor see what they will encounter on their visit. Add images that are welcoming, evocative, and accurate.
Consumers may also post photos of your location as long as they are deemed useful and not offensive. Google’s photo ranking algorithm delivers what it calculates to be the most relevant images.
If you see an image that shouldn’t appear in your photos, communicate with Google to report the image, especially if it violates their terms. You may be able to have it removed or suppressed. This can take some time, so be patient, and make sure you and your staff DO NOT click on the image in the meanwhile. Doing so will unintentionally make the photo seem more relevant to Google.
Videos require more time and resources, but present an incredible opportunity to tell your story, and show off your wares, your service, and your interior and staff.
Reviews and Responses
Google My Business also allows your customers to leave reviews. These reviews can serve as an online version of word-of-mouth marketing, helping new customers find you.
When you post replies to these reviews publicly as your business, it helps build trust with new customers by showing that you value your existing customers. Your business needs to be verified to be able to respond to customer reviews.
Google created attributes to help businesses communicate updates to services and offerings. Depending on your business’s primary category, you’ll have the option to set yourself apart with category-specific attributes.
Some of these attributes display on your local listings, while others may only display on mobile on the ‘About’ tab. Display locations will vary by industry and country.
For marketers, attributes are necessary to inform consumers and build brand authority.
The Q&A tool within Google My Business allows you to answer frequently asked questions. It’s featured prominently on Google My Business profiles, and factors into search engine visibility.
However, it’s important to note that anyone can post questions and answers for your business. Fortunately, Google makes it clear who is posting the information, so it’s important for business owners to monitor and respond to questions. Stop false information by stepping into your role as the ultimate source of truth regarding your business.
Google’s Knowledge Panel allows users to quickly digest information directly from a search result instead of having to go to a website for answers. It shows specific information about a business, person, or other types of subject matter.
There is no guarantee your business will get a knowledge panel result, but there are some things you can do to increase your odds. Start by claiming and verifying your Google My Business account and listing as much information as possible.
You should also make sure your site is verified on Search Console. Additionally, we recommend you add the structured data markup for your business, especially if you work in a specialized field that requires its own schema.
How Does Google My Business Affect My Online Reputation?
A verified, optimized Google My Business listing can elevate your organic search ranking. By having clear, easy-to-find information in Google Search, more customers will be able to find your business.
However, it is still important to monitor your Google My Business dashboard from time to time. Anyone can “suggest an edit” to your business’s information, creating the possibility that someone could add incorrect information.
If you have optimized your Google My Business listing by responding to your customer’s online reviews, it can serve as a basic version of online reputation management, allowing new customers to see the customer service offered by your business.
Managing your online reputation doesn’t have to be complicated. Take your online reputation management to the next level with Binary Fountain’s single integrated platform that makes it easy to manage your online reputation.
Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can help you manage your Google My Business listings?
In recent months, Google My Business has rolled out several new attributes to help businesses – like dentists, dermatologists and hospitals – communicate updates to services and offerings. Most healthcare marketers know that your primary category on Google My Business profiles will impact your ranking. What you may not know is that category is tied to most of the features within GMB. Your primary category determines: Whether…
In recent months, Google My Business has rolled out several new attributes to help businesses – like dentists, dermatologists and hospitals – communicate updates to services and offerings.
Most healthcare marketers know that your primary category on Google My Business profiles will impact your ranking. What you may not know is that category is tied to most of the features within GMB.
Your primary category determines:
Whether or not reviews are prominent or available for your listing
If Q&A will be available
If primary hours will display
Access to secondary hours and Google Posts
But most importantly, your primary category determines which attributes, amenities and service options you have on your Google My Business profile.
Some attributes display on your local listings – in the map pack and knowledge panel. Others may only display on mobile on the ‘About’ tab, and this varies by industry and country.
For healthcare marketers, including the attributes available to you in your Google listings is necessary to inform patients and build brand authority.
In this post, we’ll cover the top primary categories related to healthcare and which attributes and features are available for each type.
Google My Business Attributes for Healthcare
In a Local U post about GMB, Krystal Taing reviewed 33 primary categories and identified 158 different attributes, which you can find in detail here. Those attributes are broken up into many topics, including service options, highlights, accessibility, planning and payments.
The study included multiple health-related primary categories, including hospital, doctor, pharmacy, medical clinic, dentist and dermatologist.
Here are the Google My Business attributes available to those healthcare businesses:
Essential attributes: Online care, appointment links, Covid-19 info link, virtual care link, teeth whitening, accepts new patients, practitioner gender
Accessibility attributes: Wheelchair-accessible elevator, wheelchair-accessible entrance, wheelchair-accessible parking lot
Other attributes: Black-owned, family-led, veteran-led, women-led, transgender safespace, LGBTQ friendly
Here’s a table laying out the most important GMB attributes for healthcare marketers to use:
Get Found on Google
As you can see, available attributes vary greatly based on your primary category, even within the medical industry.
To establish your brand as a healthcare authority and ensure patients find your medical facilities in search, ensure both your primary category and available attributes are selected for each location. Once your attributes are filled, work with internal teams or a listings management partner like Binary Fountain to monitor for new and changing attributes.
Click here to learn more about Binary Fountain’s healthcare-specific listings management capabilities. For a personal tour of our platform, click below.
From HIPAA compliance to strictly regulated verticals, marketing for healthcare has always been a test for industry professionals. However, over the years many different innovations including SEO, reputation management and even influencer marketing have made things a little easier for healthcare marketers. While influencer marketing can seem like a challenge in this industry, there are…
From HIPAA compliance to strictly regulated verticals, marketing for healthcare has always been a test for industry professionals.
However, over the years many different innovations including SEO, reputation management and even influencer marketing have made things a little easier for healthcare marketers.
While influencer marketing can seem like a challenge in this industry, there are a few best practices that can help you ensure you are getting the most out of your influencer campaigns and building your reputation as a trustworthy brand.
In this article, we will discuss ways to frame and optimize your healthcare influencer marketing efforts, including:
Focusing on trust more than reach
Asking for backlinks to your site
Setting goals for influencer marketing campaigns
Making sure healthcare influencers follow privacy regulations
Choosing influencers who will improve your online reputation
What is Influencer Marketing?
In the simplest terms, influencer marketing is getting a trusted person with an online following to promote your brand.
In truth, influencer marketing has been around in healthcare for years, but it has significantly ramped up in recent years with the diversification and widespread use of social media platforms. You may remember the earliest form of influencer marketing: television commercials where a celebrity tries to sell you a certain car or credit card. It’s the same concept, just a different medium.
While a lot of social media influencers may not have the following of Hollywood’s elite, they have very dedicated tribes of followers who hang on their every word and follow their recommendations for products and services.
Influencer Marketing Campaign Tips for Healthcare
By following these five tips, you can ensure your influencer marking campaign not only generates new leads for your business, but also is in compliance with any regulations.
1. Focus on Trust More Than Reach
Many marketers forget that influencers are influencers for a reason: people trust their recommendations and are interested in the content they put out. When they endorse someone, their reputation is on the line.
With a heavy saturation of ads, and a general distrust of advertising, most consumers don’t want to be force fed recommendations that may not seem genuine. Because of this, influencers are very careful about the businesses they promote – especially for health products or services – so that they don’t break their audience’s trust.
Just because you would like an A-list celebrity to endorse your practice, doesn’t mean it makes sense for your brand or for theirs. Here’s a short list of social media influencers whose values and content align closely with healthcare marketing.
A natural partnership helps influencers maintain their position as influencers and will drive better quality leads to your medical practice. Focus on the quality of influencers, not who has the most reach.
2. Ask for Backlinks to Your Site
Many times influencer campaigns only ask for social media posts or mentions on YouTube or a podcast. While this is great, it only scratches the surface of an influencer’s power.
Asking for backlinks on their website or blog can go a long way in building up the authority of your own domain, making it easier for you to rank for your target keywords. For better or worse, trusted backlinks are an important component of any SEO campaign.
Much like building your online reviews, backlinks are like positive reviews of your site, showing search engines you are a trustworthy business that others are willing to link out to. They also align your business with the influencer, adding an extra layer of trust to your brand.
An important note here: Spamming backlinks is a quick way to get Google and Bing to penalize your site from appearing in search results through what is called a “manual action.” Because of this, it’s important to choose the right links from the right sites to ensure you are following search engine guidelines.
3. Have Clear Goals in Mind
Business development coach Zig Ziglar once said: “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.”
Much like any marketing campaign, if you don’t measure the right things and set clear goals, you aren’t going to know if your investment was successful for not.
Here are the KPIs we recommend when evaluating how an influencer marketing campaign performed:
Increased activity on your social media platforms
Increased inquiries about certain treatments or services
Because healthcare is such a tightly regulated vertical, make sure your influencers are following the right guidelines, or you could be in trouble with regulators.
Influencers shouldn’t be breaking any patient privacy laws in their posts or videos, and they also shouldn’t be selling a specific product. They can talk about their experience at your practice or about one of your services, but should not make a direct sell.
In addition to all the normal legal and HIPAA limitations in healthcare marketing, influencers need to make sure they are compliant with all ad guidelines including letting their audience know when their endorsement is sponsored. If they don’t, you could be on the hook for any legal recourse.
5. Choose Influencers Who Will Improve Your Online Reputation
Lastly, you want to make sure you are working with healthcare influencers who make you look credible, boosting your online reputation and building a trustworthy brand.
Choosing the right influencers means you are increasing your brand equity and trustworthiness by tying your brand to theirs. Many influencers become long-term brand advocates if it makes sense for both parties, meaning that you are getting a trusted partner in growing your brand awareness.
This means finding the right partners like providers, scientists, athletes, health or nutrition experts, even “normal people” who have gained massive followings talking about their personal healthcare experiences.
Personal referrals have been a staple of growing practices forever, and an endorsement from an influencer can feel like a referral from a family member or friend for their most loyal followers. Influencers not only humanize your brand; they build up your reputation.
Interested in Growing Your Online Reputation?
With influencer marketing as an important piece of the puzzle, healthcare practices need to be investing in their online reputation. Most healthcare consumers read online reviews of healthcare providers before selecting the one that’s right for them.
If you’re interested in growing patient acquisition and improving your retention rates, you need the right tools to monitor what patients are saying about your brand online – and who’s saying it.
Learn more about our comprehensive reputation management software today.
Check out these resources for more on healthcare marketing strategies:
Do you struggle to come up with creative marketing ideas for your apartment communities or ways to build their digital curb appeal? You’re not alone. Hundreds of property managers and marketers of apartment complexes search online for marketing ideas that can fill their units with happy residents. No matter how great your multifamily properties are,…
Do you struggle to come up with creative marketing ideas for your apartment communities or ways to build their digital curb appeal?
You’re not alone.
Hundreds of property managers and marketers of apartment complexes search online for marketing ideas that can fill their units with happy residents. No matter how great your multifamily properties are, you need to make yourself stand out in search results.
At Binary Fountain, we want to help you come up with creative marketing ideas for your apartment communities. We want to help you build your property’s digital curb appeal, generate leases, and stand out compared to your competition.
Here are our top 5 marketing ideas for apartment communities. These well-thought-out marketing strategies can help you create long-term success for your business.
Run Paid Ads on Social Media Sites
Many people try to be the next big thing on social media. In truth, very few companies actually “go viral” or make a big splash in the space. While you should always have a presence and be active on organic social, you should also consider paid social ads. You are probably better served using paid advertisements on these digital marketing channels if you are looking for qualified leads.
Getting buy-in for paid media campaigns can sometimes be tricky. Some business owners either don’t understand why they would pay to advertise on a free platform. Others don’t want to spend money in general.
Surprisingly, paid social media ads are one of the most cost-effective marketing ideas you can have for promoting your apartment communities. You’ll have the ability to deliver ads to potential renters based on their location, demographics, and interests.
For only $15-25 dollars a day, you can create an effective marketing outreach campaign for your ideal renter. Very few marketing ideas for apartment communities are as dependable as paid ads for proven return on investment (ROI).
To get started, think about what the demographics are of your current tenants and the lifestyle they lead. That will help you understand what kind of ads you should be running and what audience you should target to get the best ROI.
Remember, if you can get just one new tenant who is paying $800 a month in rent, that’s probably worth the $200 in advertisements you spent in a month marketing to them.
Become an Expert Guide of Your City
One great way to set yourself apart from your competition is to become the local guide for your area. This means taking the time to make recommendations and being thoughtful about posting information about your city or neighborhood. Successful real estate agents do this, and you can share in their success if you do it as well.
Doing this endears you to your community. Also, it shows your passion for where your location is, making renters want to live there. It’s one thing to say, “our city is a great location to live.” It’s another thing to show it.
We recommend taking the time to review and meet with other local businesses to grow your influence in the community. Find strategic partnerships with gyms, restaurants, moving companies, and other establishments for cross-promotional opportunities.
If done correctly, you could greatly increase your digital footprint with quality bank links to your site. As a result, you’ll improve your chances of appearing in local search results.
Claim your Google My Business Listing
Claim your Google My Business Account on Google if you have not done some already. Doing so will immediately improve your local SEO. You’ll also gain a better understanding of what people are saying about your property online.
It’s also a valuable opportunity to shape the initial impressions online consumers will have of your properties. Google’s own research found that 67% of profile visitors would not do further research if a listing was mostly complete. The profile needed to be claimed, include store/location hours, reviews, photos, and appear on maps.
When optimized, Google My Business is a powerful marketing tool. It will help you appear in local search results and help potential tenants find your location. It will also increase your website traffic and bring you better customer insights from reviews.
Additional Listings to Claim
In addition to Google My Business, you should also claim or create listings on the following sites:
Ensure that your properties have listings on all of the sites above. You must make sure that any existing listings on these sites are accurate.
You should also start responding to your reviews on these sites if you are not already. See the Review and Review Strategy Section below for more on this.
Upgrade and Monitor Your Listings on Apartment Sites
Similar to paid social media campaigns, many multifamily properties don’t want to spend the money on apartment listing sites like Trulia, Apartments.com, or Rent.com.
Upgrading your profile will help you show up at the top of search results. You’ll get more exposure to potential renters.
You will want to measure how effective this marketing strategy is for bringing in quality leads. However, be aware that these sites may not have the same level of targeting that paid social does.
Reviews and Review Strategy
Research shows 75% of prospective tenants look at reviews and apartment ratings multiple times in their apartment search, and 70% are more likely to visit a property with a better online reputation than a competitor with worse reviews.
Based on these statistics, you need to have a strategy to encourage positive reviews and perform service recovery on negative reviews.
Review responses is a great first step to accomplishing both of these goals. Thanking your residents for their positive feedback makes them feel appreciated and demonstrates to all that you value customer experience. On the other hand, negative review responses are an opportunity for service recovery and long-term improvement.
Treat negative online reviews with the same level of concern you’d give to a written complaint. Respond with an apology for their bad experience and offer the reviewer a way to move the conversation offline into a private setting. This way, you can address the unique details of your resident’s experience without discussing personal details in a public setting.
If handled correctly, this could be an opportunity to win back your customer. If you’re able to find a quick resolution to the issue, the reviewer may be willing to update their review. Nothing proves the quality of your customer service like turning a detractor into a promoter.
Start a Reputation Management Program for Apartment Complexes
One of the best marketing ideas for an apartment is a scalable, actionable reputation management program.
If you don’t have a reputation management program set up, you are missing out on valuable insights. It can help you better understand what customers are saying about your business and what matters most to them. In today’s digital world, poor online reviews, and failing to meet consumer expectations can sink any business.
An online reputation management program for apartments can help you:
Identify where you can improve customer service for your tenants
Provide insight into about what matters most to your tenants
Track online reviews across multiple review platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.)
Give you a chance to interact with reviewers and turn a negative review into a positive one
Help you stand out from your competition
Attract prospective tenants with positive listings
Increase renewals due to improved tenant satisfaction
If you don’t have a program set up, or if you are just starting one, we recommend checking outthis blog. It will explain how multifamily properties can get the most out of reputation management efforts.
Reputation Management: The Tool You Need for Marketing Your Apartment Community
There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to beat your competition if you follow the creative outreach marketing ideas above!
In particular, focusing on improving tenant reviews is one of the best marketing strategies. You can adapt to find new tenants as well as get real-time feedback from people living in your facility. It’s a scalable marketing solution that will help you grow your business year after year.
Reputation management solutions can make this much simpler. You can receive alerts on review postings, sorting and filtering options, and dashboards that simplify review tracking and response.
Of course, we recommend Binary Fountain’s Social Compass solution. It helps you work efficiently with a wide array of tools for tracking and responding to reviews. It even helps you track the results of your reputation management program.
Even before you begin responding to reviews, share the feedback with staff and management. Celebrate the positive reviews and commit to improving areas that consumers think need attention.
Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can improve your digital curb appeal?
Consumer behavior continues to change due to Covid-19, whether from regions beginning to reopen businesses or spikes in cases causing further shutdowns. To manage these shifts and understand patients’ needs, healthcare marketers are looking at July’s Google Search trends for guidance. The nuances of changing hours, safely returning to medical facilities or using telemedicine are confusing for even the wisest of consumers, so search trends give us…
Consumer behavior continues to change due to Covid-19, whether from regions beginning to reopen businesses or spikes in cases causing further shutdowns.
To manage these shifts and understand patients’ needs, healthcare marketers are looking at July’s Google Search trends for guidance.
The nuances of changing hours, safely returning to medical facilities or using telemedicine are confusing for even the wisest of consumers, so search trends give us a genuine picture of the thoughts, questions and concerns that enterprise health systems must address in their listings and communications.
In this article, we break down July’s Google Search data to understand what types of information healthcare consumers are looking for. Here are coronavirus search trends that marketing teams should monitor.
Overall Google Trends for Coronavirus
COVID-19 has dominated search queries in the past few months, but other types of Google searches began returning to normal levels in June.
According to Binary Fountain client data, total searches for healthcare organizations dipped more than 60% in March but climbed back up, now at about 20% fewer weekly searches than pre-pandemic levels.
Clicks on healthcare companies’ Google My Business (GMB) profiles rebounded more rapidly, now up 32% from February click volume. Meanwhile, clicks to phone calls have increased nearly 90% from pre-outbreak levels, which should continue motivating healthcare marketers to ensure their local listings have updated websites, phone numbers and other contact information.
For a full picture of the July’s coronavirus search trends, Google Trends has daily updates for the top 100 places searching for coronavirus and the top related queries – what people type when searching for the virus.
On July 24, the top coronavirus queries on Google were “coronavirus cases,” “coronavirus US,” “ Florida coronavirus,” “coronavirus update” and “coronavirus news,” followed by searches for other general updates and state-specific information.
The search engine is also keeping track of trending questions related to coronavirus risk, which in the past week were:
How long are you contagious with the coronavirus?
Is nausea a coronavirus symptom?
Can dogs get the coronavirus?
Is a sore throat a sign of coronavirus?
Will coronavirus go away?
Meanwhile, searches about hand sanitizers, mask mandates, homeschool programs and “private pandemic pods” all have spiked more than 1,000% in the past week in the U.S. The spikes come as consumers prepare themselves for preventing the virus’ spread while starting to resume jobs, school and other activities.
This week’s top Google searches about Covid-19 information also include “how exactly do you catch Covid-19?”, “steroids and coronavirus”, and “coronavirus risk by activity.”
July’s Other Related Google Trends
Though a majority of searches regarding coronavirus are currently related to states reopening and health guidelines, there are other search trends healthcare organizations should monitor.
The search engine has reported a recent spike in facemask searches queries, led by the keywords ‘face shield,” “N95 mask” and “surgical masks.”
Search trends also suggest consumers are confused about job openings, unemployment and other economic impacts. “Unemployment stimulus” searches have increased 60% in the past day, along with a significant uptick in “unemployment news,” “600 unemployment” and “unemployment benefits.”
Other top-trending U.S. queries in the past week to monitor are “coronavirus vaccine” and “coronavirus testing,” which is relevant to the many healthcare facilities with Covid-19 testing sites. Follow these instructions to get your coronavirus testing site listed on Google Search.
Finding Positive Coronavirus Searches
It’s easy to forget that not all coronavirus search trends are negative. Marketers – especially in healthcare – should remember that people search for how they can help in disaster scenarios. Healthcare brands should answer these questions with content – on Google listings and otherwise – about how to support local providers.
Google recommends the following methods of using its platform to help consumers and support healthcare workers:
Let people know that solutions are available whenever, wherever.
Assess when people need you most, whether through your own first-party data or Google Trends.
Frequently update or publish content that informs, entertains, connects and promotes wellness.
Consider who the heroes are among your employees, your customers or your local community.
For more content on managing your brand during COVID-19, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page and browse these resources:
The Triple Aim of Health Care is helping a variety of organizations realize healthcare improvement in cost, quality, and patient satisfaction, including health insurance companies. The Triple Aim is already thought of as a powerful framework to understand the key drivers in a healthcare system, both with individual providers and hospitals. However, it could also…
The Triple Aim of Health Care is helping a variety of organizations realize healthcare improvement in cost, quality, and patient satisfaction, including health insurance companies.
The Triple Aim is already thought of as a powerful framework to understand the key drivers in a healthcare system, both with individual providers and hospitals. However, it could also be used by insurers to find new ways to provide members with better healthcare at reduced costs. For many insurers, the key to applying the Triple Aim goes beyond their typical analysis of cost and quality data, requiring payers to collect, understand, and act on patient experience feedback.
In this post, we cover the patient experience component of the Triple Aim. You’ll see what measuring and quantifying patient experience could look like for insurance companies. We’ll also show you how decisions based on patient experience could lower healthcare costs, elevate member satisfaction, and facilitate care improvement for members of health insurance companies.
The Triple Aim of Healthcare and Patient Experience
The goal of the Triple Aim of Healthcare is to improve healthcare by simultaneously pursuing three goals:
Reducing per capita costs of health care
Improving the health of populations
Improving the patient experience of care
Today, payers are constantly analyzing claims and other related data to better understand the quality of patient outcomes and cost in order to guide decision making. By facilitating the collection and analysis of patient experience data, healthcare insurers will be better equipped to improve outcomes and make operational improvements in the spirit of the Triple Aim.
Insurance companies already have cost and value data at their fingertips. They’re using it for everything from day to day operations to long term planning, including network development, and setting reimbursement rates for providers, hospitals, and labs.
Healthcare insurers also have population health data that measures the quality of healthcare outcomes across the patient panel. For example, many payers track everything from preventative measures like Annual Wellness Visits to the episodes like diagnoses and hospital admissions. Thanks to this robust quality data collection, payers can detect health trends within their membership populations and institute wellness programs to prevent the need for future healthcare consumption.
Understanding, quantifying, and streamlining the care journey through patient experience metrics is the final piece of the Triple Aim for payers. With this data, insurers can discover which providers will best serve their members and build the strongest networks for referrals and care coordination.
Additionally, they can utilize patient experience data to improve existing networks by focusing on provider performance. They could reward physicians and staff for positive patient experience outcomes, and ultimately avoid the risk and expense of contracting with lower-quality providers.
What Does a Positive Patient Experience Look Like?
Before payers can analyze patient feedback, they need to define the elements of patient experience. According to research, patients care most about the following components of the experience:
Was the exam thorough?
Did the provider spend an appropriate amount of time with the patient?
Could the provider effectively answer all of their questions?
Did the provider have a positive attitude and bedside manner?
Was the patient included in the decisions around next steps?
Did the patient experience the outcomes they expected?
Did the provider provide clarity around the care plan and give them the appropriate instructions?
Would the patient return to this provider to seek care?
How was the doctor’s follow-up after the exam?
What was the patient’s overall feedback and prevailing sentiment after seeing this provider?
Payers can use these 10 patient experience categories to analyze feedback about each provider. Subsequently, they can share insights and trends with their networks of providers, staff, and internal to help guide better patient experiences.
Insurance companies can use net promoter scores (NPS) to analyze each site of service in their network and even each health plan they offer. Additional metrics and scores could be collected, based on popular areas of patient concern, such as access, wait times, timely return of test results, elder care, coordination of care, and communication.
Insurers can use scoring to optimize their members’ digital experience and journey. Keeping up with customer feedback could help them optimize their digital front door strategies. It could lead to useful tools such as in-network provider profiles and improvements to the billing experience.
Understanding the Patient Care Journey
A payer’s first step to building their patient experience data is to enhance the way they’re surveying the landscape. In the case of patient experience, this means understanding the patient care journey and patient’s experiences though unstructured feedback.
Patient feedback collection is key to understanding what’s going through patients’ minds. Insurers can utilize two main avenues towards collecting this feedback: online reviews and surveys. Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology, both of these sources can be processed and analyzed quickly.
Surveys are a versatile tool for payers to understand the patient experience of providers. Insurers can work with structured survey data from standard industry surveys, such as CAHPS and HOS. In addition, they can go a step further and send out their own customized surveys to members after receiving care. Both options can be processed quickly with deep analytics software.
A major advantage for insurers willing to create their own surveys is their ability to collect free-text responses. NLP technology makes analyzing free-text responses in seconds by scanning text for sentiment and trends.
Without NLP, multi-choice responses have traditionally been more practical to work with. NLP makes the experience of processing free-text responses similar to that of multi-choice responses. The key difference is that patients aren’t required to select the “closest” answer. Instead, patients can tell you exactly how they feel without compromising, giving the surveyor the opportunity to understand the range of insights from customers in the most unbiased way possible.
Online reviews are an additional yardstick that insurers can use to evaluate providers. They’re publicly available, easily accessible, and highly trusted by consumers. Online reviews can be automatically detected and processed by review management software. Much like with free-text surveys, NLP technology can quickly analyze online feedback and even score these reviews in aggregate.
Insurers can use surveys and online feedback to not only measure the performance of health systems, medical groups, service locations, and also individual providers. In addition, payers can publish both sources of member-generated content on their websites and provide profiles. It makes insurers and their networks more transparent and consumer-friendly.
Quantifying the Care Journey
Once insurers have surveyed the care journey, it’s time to quantify the findings for comparison, analyzation, and benchmarking.
As mentioned in the last section, NLP technology can turn patients’ free-text feedback into quantifiable data points. Payers can use this data to track organizational and provider performance over time. Additionally, you can compare data points between groups and develop benchmarks for future performance.
Wide data collection provides opportunities to analyze data on large populational scales all the way down to small granular views. Insurers could compare and find trends in specialties, within hospital networks, with affiliates of networks, and more.
This data, combined with health data and cost data, could yield powerful results. For instance, payers may discover trends in negative patient experience that result in members deferring care with expensive consequences.
Insurers may discover connections between patients who skip annual wellness visits and primary care physicians with poor bedside manner. They may not pick up or correctly use a prescription due to bad provider communication. Low trust in or loyalty to a provider could result in a member ignoring a recommended referral to a specialist.
Payers can use positive patient experience data to see which providers are successful in-patient engagement. They can measure:
The extent to which loyal and long-term doctor-patient relationships lower healthcare costs and boost efficiency.
Compliance with care plans as a result of high-quality patient communication skills.
The goal of this step is to understand why some are achieving better and or more efficient patient outcomes. Insurers need to find gaps between efficacy and effectiveness to sort out who looks good on paper, and who gets results.
Streamlining the Care Journey – Care Improvement Thanks to Health Insurance
The final step in this process is to plan, implement, and measure improvements.
These improvements could range from sharing findings with in-network organizations to utilizing information to narrow networks. Insurers working on new value-based care reimbursement models should implement this data when architecting new payment models and performance contracts. Insurers could even use unstructured patient feedback as a data point and key indicator in order to streamline identify medical fraud and unnecessary treatments.
As improvements take effect, it will be crucial to consistently analyze patient experience over time. Consumer sentiment and trends are always evolving, and member preferences should always be taken into consideration.
Payers need to collect patient experience data to complete their understanding and holistically pursue the Triple Aim. Those payers who do not may have more trouble remaining relevant next to insurers who tackle the challenge of adopting the voice of the patient in their decision making. Applying this data could result in lower costs, better care management, and more satisfied members experiencing care improvement thanks to health insurance companies.
As COVID-19 changes consumer behavior and priorities continue to shift for property management companies, local business listings have become paramount to attracting and retaining tenants. Even though crisis struck, it’s moving season, and customers are relying on local listings to find information that allows them to continue doing business with you. Complicating that effort are the varied local and regional guidelines…
As COVID-19 changes consumer behavior and priorities continue to shift for property management companies, local business listings have become paramount to attracting and retaining tenants.
Even though crisis struck, it’s moving season, and customers are relying on local listings to find information that allows them to continue doing business with you. Complicating that effort are the varied local and regional guidelines that leave consumers wondering when, where and how to engage with property managers.
Many prospective tenants won’t make it all the way to your website for answers. To provide the right information at the right time and in the right place, property listings on search engines and other third-party directories need to be prioritized.
In this post, we share effective strategies and lessons learned from managing local listings in a crisis. You’ll also find tips for managing property listings and providing timely, reassuring information to potential residents.
Optimize Property Management Listings for Search
During a crisis – more than any other time – you need to control the online conversation around your brand. Search insights offer “voice of customer” data, telling you what consumers need from you right now and how they look for that information.
Customers are actively searching for information about sanitization practices, updated hours, tour availability and more to help them decide when and where to move. Overwhelmingly, they’re looking for these solutions on search engines, where they can often find exactly what they need without clicking through to your corporate site or property landing page.
You have plenty of opportunities to answer these questions for your customers in your listings.
The most important step for search optimization during this crisis is making sure phone numbers and hours are correct. Binary Fountain client data shows that phone calls to property management companies from GMB listings are 43% higher than pre-pandemic levels, as of July 21 – even though total searches are down nearly 17%.
For a full picture of the search landscape, Google Trends has daily updates for the top 100 places searching for coronavirus information and the top related queries – what people type when searching for the virus.
Use Google My Business Features
When consumers search for a new apartment or condo, they usually turn to Google first. Luckily, the search engine rolled out several features for businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic.
During the crisis, marketers can make good use of special hours and attributes, which display prominently on search engine results pages (SERPs) and in Map Pack listings. There are also new GMB links that are valuable to property management organizations, including “COVID-19 info.”
Google Posts are another great way to deliver crucial updates to local communities. Google is now making it easier for businesses to publish coronavirus-specific information on their listings by adding a COVID-19 Google Post option.
When published, COVID-19 Google Posts will immediately appear on the post carousel and “Updates” tab on GMB profiles.
Learn what Ben Fisher recommends for managing Google My Business profiles in this webinar.
Emphasize Safety and Virtual Tour Options
If you are not communicating information across your online presence that makes people feel safe, they won’t consider your properties or schedule a tour. Online listings are your first opportunity to earn their trust.
As you distribute information to your local communities during the crisis, be sure to share the measures you’ve taken to ensure a clean and orderly environment at your facilities. This should be driven by a data-based understanding of your current and prospective tenants’ communication preferences, their specific safety concerns, and where they search for rentals.
Of course, the safest tour of a new apartment is a virtual one. Alongside physical safety precautions, your virtual tour availability should be clearly stated on every platform where your properties are listed.
Learn what Bild & Co. executives recommend for promoting virtual tours in this webinar.
Monitor Reviews on Business Listings
Communicating your properties’ safety practices might reassure prospective residents to a degree, but it won’t necessarily motivate them to schedule a tour. For that, they will want to hear from other consumers through reviews.
The recency of ratings and reviews will prove essential as consumers look for safe places to move. The resident experience at your properties likely looks different than it did three months ago, making older reviews irrelevant and increasing prospective patients’ reliance on new feedback. Additionally, with so many people staying home during the COVID-19 outbreak, they want to know they’ll be comfortable in their new community.
Learn what Jay Baer recommends for rebuilding customer knowledge in this webinar.
Not to mention, publishing resident feedback is an essential part of your ranking on search engine results pages. But remember: If you are making changes and trying out new policies, new issues will likely arise in reviews that your review response team needs to be prepared for.
If this happens in the future, be prepared to adjust review generation campaigns to push patients to an internal survey, social media or platforms like Zillow, Trulia and Zumper, rather than to Google. Keep in mind that reviews left while publication was suspended are starting to publish as of mid-July.
Keep Your Property Listings Consistent
Listings management strategies will differ based on your organization’s size and location count. But whether that’s five properties or 100, your listings need to be consistent across the board, especially as state and local guidelines change and residents look to you for authoritative information.
It’s important to maintain a baseline of clean, accurate, optimized local listings to make sure listing inaccuracies don’t compound your problems during a crisis. But it’s not easy. Binary Fountain’s listings management platform and online reputation experts are ready to keep your brand’s online presence robust, informative and engaging. Schedule a quick demo to learn more.
Read more on listings management during the COVID-19 crisis:
This is a piece on healthcare security from Mark Beckmeyer, Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security. Mark’s 30+ years of experience give him insight into evaluating, implementing, and maintaining security compliance programs within healthcare entities. Healthcare Security and Privacy as Corporate Culture Common threats to healthcare IT security include hacking attacks, ransomware, PHI exposure, and HIPAA…
This is a piece on healthcare security from Mark Beckmeyer, Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security. Mark’s 30+ years of experience give him insight into evaluating, implementing, and maintaining security compliance programs within healthcare entities.
Healthcare Security and Privacy as Corporate Culture
Common threats to healthcare IT security include hacking attacks, ransomware, PHI exposure, and HIPAA violations. These threats occur at the operational level, but a key component in defending against them is a security-minded corporate culture.
An active, involved Chief Security Officer must work with compliance executives to drive the organization. They need to ensure it stays current on security innovations and evolving threats. They must continuously adopt and implement IT safeguards and enforce privacy and security policies with regular awareness and training updates.
Healthcare Data is a Primary Target of Malicious Activity
Many of healthcare’s evolutions have been progressing at breakneck speed, but until recently its embrace of security lagged behind.
Pre-HIPAA, you could stand at a nursing station in just about any hospital or clinic and see patient forms and files everywhere – in paper folders, not digital ones. When you walked into a patient’s room, there would nearly always be a clipboard filled with medical notes and observations. Back then, you would not find much security to stop an inquisitive visitor from peeking. Information that’s protected by law today was supposed to be private, but there was not a requirement to protect and secure Protected Health Information (PHI).
Healthcare data has also been a primary target of malicious activity, putting PHI more at risk. There are several reasons for this. One is the centralization and the sheer quantity of patient and provider data.
Another is history: for example, the banking industry was light years ahead of healthcare IT in strengthening security, so the value of stolen credit card numbers became less attractive in comparison. Victims can close and reopen financial and credit accounts. In contrast, victims can’t cancel and reopen their health information.
As a result, the permanence of stolen health information means that the illicit market pays more for it. It can be used for deeper identity theft, as well as for filing lucrative fraudulent medical insurance claims. By some estimates, stolen medical records are around 20 times more valuable on the dark market than financial records.
Management Sets the Tone
In the 2017 attack on Equifax, hackers exploited a security flaw to steal records of 143 million people. The stolen records included names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and more.
The company eventually admitted learning of the vulnerability two months before the attack. As a result, the CIO and CSO were fired. If the company had set higher security standards from the top-down, would the flaw have been patched sooner?
In my career, I have seen pro-active organizations embrace security and reactive organizations leave themselves open to security risks. Executives must think of security not as an expense to the company, but as an investment in the company. If top management doesn’t understand the ROI of security, the resulting lack of commitment can have costly consequences.
One such example is a large health insurer who didn’t act on an on-site risk assessment. The assessment revealed that their data center had no backup power supply. The company chose not to address the problem quickly. As a result, a hurricane knocked the data center out of service by soon afterward.
That insurance company was reluctant to invest a small amount to ensure the uninterrupted operation of vital systems. Ironic, right?
Top management should never be stuck saying, “We didn’t know about this vulnerability” when a breach happens. C-level executives must engage in a regular back and forth with IT and security managers. They must reinforce a cultural commitment to security and receive regular reports from the operational staff. Details like making security a standing topic of weekly staff meetings can go a long way in supporting communications.
If not, the consequence is that management forfeits the chance to set the tone. As a result, it could leave itself in the dark on the news of risks, and responses to actual breaches.
Exceptional Healthcare Security Means No Exceptions
Even more dangerous, management sometimes behaves as if security standards don’t apply at their level. In one case, staffers used secure servers to store personal music files. In another, a CIO actually helped architect an internet access system that bypassed security.
By some estimates, internal threats are a factor in up to 90% of all breaches. No employee, no matter their level of importance, should ever be allowed to compromise the organization’s approach to security.
Compliance Is a Milepost, Not a Destination
Management sometimes makes the mistake of checking off regulatory and procedural boxes as the end goal. This may be due to a lack of vision or misperception of the true cost of lax security.
As important as HIPAA compliance and SOC 2 certification are, they are mileposts on the road to information security for health systems. Management must not treat Healthcare security as a one-time destination.
Continual security evolution will be essential as internet usage rises, privacy rights awareness grows, and legal threats over privacy violations increase.
Best Practices With Staff
It’s common for people in IT to fulfill multiple roles. However, best practice argues against putting the same person in charge of both IT and security. This is because it can lead to blind spots. It’s not easy to design a demanding penetration challenge exercise on your own IT systems.
Ideally, every employee’s performance evaluation should include criteria for meeting security goals. They should receive positive points for training and awareness participation, as well as negative points for actual breaches.
Support Patient Data Security
Reputation managers recognize that well implemented and maintained security is an investment worth making.
Beyond protecting PHI, a good reputation for security can offer a competitive advantage for attracting new patients. With so many recent breaches, we can expect that nearly every patient is more aware of security. They are beginning to recognize it as a risk factor in healthcare. There’s a high chance that everyone knows someone who has been affected.
Reputation managers may not need to be security experts, but it’s useful to be familiar with the latest developments. This helps to keep your organization and its patient data safe and secure.
Data security needs to be taken seriously and should be a high priority for healthcare organizations.
Healthcare Security Excellence at All Levels
An organization’s culture of security should commence at the very top. It must extend from the board of directors to the C-level executives and throughout all levels of the workforce. Establishing safety and security as a performance metric helps keep awareness high and demonstrates the tangible commitment of the organization to effective security.
We hope that every healthcare organization and practice will work to be the best of the best.
Do not measure excellence by budget size. Instead, measured it by the strength of the commitment to excel at security. It’s a commitment to operate at a level well above the minimum standards of compliance.
Mark Beckmeyer, D.Sc., CISSP, is Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security.
Do you have a healthcare information security concern or question? Let us know what’s on your mind, and look for answers to your concerns in future posts from Mark.
Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain’s secure products can improve your online reputation?