Asian woman holding credit card and using laptop for online shopping while making orders. internet, technology, ecommerce and online payment concept

How eCommerce Will Grow Your Audiology Practice

eCommerce is short for “electronic commerce,” which is the buying and selling of goods (or services) on the internet. So, put simply, eCommerce = growth.

According to eCommerce expert Gary Hoover, his research shows that just in the last 14 years, the growth of ecommerce companies has skyrocketed across the board. And it doesn’t stop there; growth projections estimate that by 2022, ecommerce revenues will exceed $638 billion in the U.S. alone.

Now, you may be thinking, “I am an Audiologist and eCommerce doesn’t apply to me.” Well, you are wrong.

How to Start

Shopping online used to be a convenience and a luxury, now – it’s a necessity.

Even before you set-up your ecommerce store, you need to make sure you protect yourself legally and get your finances in order because proper marketing to sell products is crucial; that is how you start building your store.

Building an ecommerce business takes more than just selling products online. Even the best business ideas can flop if you aren’t driving enough traffic to your site. So, first you will need to:

1.    Do your research

Growing any online business is an investment. As an Audiologist, you have your eCommerce niche already laid out. You will likely be selling things like ear wax cleaning kits, dry store kits and hearing aid maintenance tools, just to name a few, but before you decide on what to sell online, you need to understand the different business models available. If you want to turn a profit without touching your product or investing heavily at the start, drop shipping is a smart choice (when you utilize drop shipping, you don’t need to carry any product in-house; it goes directly from the supplier to the customer).

2.    Determine your buyer persona

Who are you selling to? What does the store represent? Who are your ideal customers? You need to project a consistent brand image from start to finish.

3.    Finalize your business plan

So, you have your target market, your product niche and your brand name. Now you need to put your business plan on paper and determine your startup budget and monthly expenses. The business planning phase is also when you want to iron out details like:

Responsibilities – Is your staff responsible for different eCommerce responsibilities? And if yes, who does what?

Product sourcing – What products do you want to sell? Where are your products coming from?

Logistics – How will these products get fulfilled? Do you have a partner you’d like to work with to get orders filled? How will they be shipped? What is the sales tax? Will you sell to anyone who discovers your eCommerce store or just to patients?

Marketing budget – You will need to get the word out about your online store, so how will you notify current and potential patients? How will you push products?

If you build it there’s no guarantee they’ll come. You need to market your store. Some additional questions to consider include:

  • Will you use sponsored content, social media, pay-per-click ads, or a combination of strategies?
  • How will you monitor what campaigns are driving traffic to your store?
  • If marketing your site seems overwhelming, will you hire help?

Marketing can be overwhelming because there are a lot of things to figure out. We get it; your mission is to sell products, not worry about driving traffic. But if you want to sell more and expand your reach, online marketing is incredibly necessary to meet that goal.

4.    Create your online store

Once you’ve figured out the legalities for your ecommerce business and started thinking about design, you need to decide if you want to add your store to your current website or get a new site with another domain name (and any redirect URLs that might be relevant).

Remember, you will you’re your brand to carry throughout your ecommerce store, so choosing the right ecommerce software is not easy. There are literally hundreds of ecommerce shopping cart platforms. You need to carefully evaluate things like loading speed, features, compatibility with different payment gateways, compatibility with your business structure, your web developer skills, SEO-friendly features, and more. You may consider looking through some templated themes for an online store, which can work, but it may be wise to hire a developer to make sure there are no issues in the buyer journey (browsing, cart addition, check-out, purchase and tracking).

eCommerce and Audiology

The first step to building an ecommerce business is knowing what products you want to sell to your patients. This often is the most challenging part of starting a new online business because you may be questioning things like, what are the products you can sell and how you will get inventory. There are also more finite details like sales tax and return policies that can get more complicated.

But it can be done.

As consumer demand for online purchasing surges, audiology professionals should capitalize. Instead of having patients drop into order supplies, why not have them order them through your website? eCommerce can provide several benefits: 

  1. Increased revenue

By allowing patients to purchase through your website, you open your business to new revenue opportunities. This can serve as primary, or passive, income depending on how you want to approach it.  

With OTCs on the horizon, it’s also a great opportunity for your business to profit from these new products. 

  1. Reduction of in-office visitors

Reduced “drop-ins” and non-revenue-generating activities are more important than ever, especially with sanitation requirements. E-commerce lets patients order safely from home, keeping your office time dedicated to new patients. 

  1. Improved search rankings

eCommerce offers SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefits that can boost your website’s rankings in search engines. The more active you are, the more likely your products will appear in patient searches. 

  1. Better patient service

By providing home delivery supply options, you serve your patients better, keeping them loyal and engaged with your business. 

eCommerce can be complicated, but with the right solution you can engage more customers than before.  

.Shop

Your clinic can sell products to anyone, anywhere, any time with .Shop. With full mobile compatibility, buyers can access your store on-the-go or from the comforts of their own home. You can use a single dashboard to view and manage inventory, orders and reports anywhere you go. Add or edit products and keep your store up to date. You can offer an unlimited number of products and customize your offerings. .Shop can scale with your business no matter how many products you want to sell. 

Female Patient Being Reassured By Doctor In Hospital Room

How Do You Bring More Patients to Your Practice?

The definition of online presence is a combination of things including a strong website with an active blog, social media pages, online ads and reviews. But there is a lot more that needs to be considered when creating, supporting and managing your online presence.

Now, more than ever, your website’s user experience (UX) matters and this is especially true in the competitive healthcare industry. When someone arrives at your website, they are expecting answers to their questions and if you fail to meet their expectations, they’ll leave. Not only do you miss the opportunity to convert a lead, but you may also even damage your brand’s reputation in the process.

Establish an (Active) Online Presence

If you aren’t online, chances are many patients will not know you exist. It is important to make sure that your website is beautifully designed, easy to use, informative of why your practice is best, and finally, mobile-responsive.

According to Oberlo, about 90.4% of millennials, 48.2% of baby boomers, and 77.5% of Gen Xers use social media platforms. In 2020, more doctors will use social media to communicate with potential patients.

But an online presence is not just simply a modern-looking website. You will also want to make sure you:

  • Submit your practice to online directories
  • List your practice on Google
  • Create a profile on major review sites
  • Utilize social media marketing and have a strategy to reach your audience

Savvy healthcare providers are thinking beyond websites and developing innovative resources to meet their patient’s needs.

Post on Your Blog Regularly

It’s no secret that when people get sick, they go online to figure out what might be the problem. Typically, they’ll enter their symptoms in the search tool and see if there are any suggestions offering a solution. If you want to attract more patients, you must create helpful, high-quality content that answers patients’ medical questions.

A blog allows current and potential patients to see how you approach things like frequently asked questions, treatment approaches, and services that they may not know much about. You can also use a blog to post about any new updates to your practice, any upcoming events or anything else that you consider “newsworthy.” A blog is a very efficient and effective way to provide information to your local audience – and no, you don’t need to post on it every day; twice a month is enough! But you may find yourself posting more if there is more information that needs to be released.

Manage Your Business Profiles

As a healthcare provider, you should claim your business accounts online. Now, there are a variety of places where you can have a business listing. There are also important business profiles such as:

  • Google Business profile
  • Yelp
  • Happy Hearing Care
  • Healthy Hearing
  • Health Grades
  • And more!

First, you need to ensure your Google My Business account information is accurate. Potential patients who are searching for the services you provide may not click through to your website – instead, they may decide to call to schedule an appointment directly.  You will want to make it as easy as possible for them to click to call your office. Or if you change your hours, you need to update the information, so people know when you are open. If you offer more accessible options such as tele-audiology or ecommerce, you will want to make sure those services are mentioned so it comes up in the search.

Once you claim your business pages, you will be able to manage your information efficiently and make sure your patients can find you!

Reputation Management and Reviews

People are always searching online to learn about your brand before deciding to work with you. Just as a positive online reputation can earn you more customers, a negative online reputation can deter them. Many businesses are turning to online reputation management companies to maintain their positive reputations or repair negative ones.

You may not think you have enough reviews to make an impact on your business, but do you know where your reviews are? If you have a negative review on a platform you don’t actively manage, it may be sitting there, unaddressed.

If you aren’t very active on social media (or not at all active on social media), you are also missing a whole slew of reviews that could be online about your business. Social media monitoring for your reviews and reputation is also very important.

Some things to consider about reviews and how you approach them:

  • What if your product/service sparks criticism?
  • What if your employees are not social media savvy?
  • What if your competitors are more active online than you are?

So, what are people saying about your business? It is important to take a proactive approach. Monitoring your public reputation on a regular basis, and not just when you come to know about a specific event to deal with. Monitoring your business’s online reputation can be both DIY (Google Alert is an example of a free web monitoring tool accessible to anyone) and professional, depending on the size of the business involved.

What You Can Deliver and Anticipate Now

As patients search habits shift, it’s essential for your practice to position itself where they are. That means going beyond a website and creating a holistic digital ecosystem that amplifies your message and services. And this means being accessible to patient wherever they, or you, are.

Telehealth & E-Commerce 

At this point, healthcare consumers demand excellent customer service and experiences because they’re fed up with long waits, confusing medical information, and poor communication. If you want to grow your practice, you must be able to deliver exceptional patient experiences because your practice’s reputation—and future—depends on it. Telehealth and eCommerce offer a win/win solution for you and your patients; It is an excellent solution for people who need more accessible options and you can treat more patients, expand your reach and target more areas.

Remote services offer new marketability options for your business. By increasing accessibility, you can capture more patients. 

Social Media Management 

No matter your industry or business or what you post, you must be conversational. Social media etiquette can get lost behind a screen, but at the end of the day, all social media channels are built on conversations. Picture a few members of your target audience as you create content: what do you want to tell them? Avoid constant sales pitches or you’ll quickly be perceived as spammy. And don’t be afraid to show some personality! We’ve talked before about the importance of every business having a story and a voice.

More and more users are flocking to social media to engage with businesses. By having a sound social media strategy that covers multiple platforms, you can increase followers, engage with existing patients, and showcase yourself as a thought-leader in your market. By maintaining an active presence on social platforms, you will be sustaining a low-cost way to engage with patients and raise brand awareness among prospects.

Search Engine Advertising 

As social media grows, so does the advertising opportunity. But just throwing an ad on Facebook and sending them to your website won’t suffice. It’s about taking the patient on a journey from discovery to consideration and conversion, creating a singular exit point – contacting your business. 

Although it sounds like a lot, expanding your business virtually doesn’t need to be difficult. With the right solutions you can automate your office, take back non-revenue generating time, and increase patient accessibility all while reducing overhead.  

We know how important your patients are, and attracting your patients online is the bridge that will reconnect you. Whether your doors are open or closed, integrating virtual practices into your regular business practices ensures you will be able to offer your services regardless of the circumstances. If a patient can’t travel into your office for their appointment, virtual appointments help solve their transportation problem. If your patient needs supplies, they can easily buy them through your website. Plus, you can expand your business by offering virtual appointments to individuals who live remotely and don’t have a local practitioner available to them. 

A new world requires a new way of doing business. Position your practice to not just survive but thrive.

providing services without face to face contact

Efficient and Effective Virtual Practice Management

If you are interested in creating a virtual environment to increase productivity and efficiency, then you have come to the right place!

Offering virtual options to your patients will revolutionize your business. A recent survey has shown that audiologists feel the COVID-19 lockdown has brought about some beneficial changes to care of patients with hearing problems. The study, published in the International Journal of Audiology, estimates that between May 29, 2020 and June 15, 2020, just 5% of face to face audiology appointments took place in the UK. Many of the appointments were replaced by ‘telecare’ or ‘remote care’. Most of the telecare appointments did not hinder their ability to provide audiological care using standard procedures.

So, how do you get started? What do you need to do?

This guide will take you through the virtual practice management process – and don’t worry, it is much easier to navigate than you may think!

What is a “Virtual Practice”?

A virtual practice can be easily described as a practice that conducts healthcare visits from anywhere over a smart device (like a computer or smartphone). Telehealth is a collection of virtual communication tools used to deliver health care services. Its primary advantage lies in creating opportunities for various types of provider-patient interaction that do not require in-person visits; so, convenience is key.

Adopting the latest telehealth initiatives can help your practice achieve numerous benefits, like:

  • Lowering healthcare costs
  • Increasing efficiency and revenue
  • Providing your patients better access to healthcare services

This all leads to happier, healthier patients who stay in your practice!

According to the National Business Group on Health, approximately 96 percent of large practices were planning to offer telehealth services, and it is because telehealth has countless benefits. And to top it off, Dr. Adam Licurse described in the Harvard Business Review how a virtual visit pilot program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital yielded a 97% satisfaction rate among patients, with 74% stating “that the interaction actually improved their relationship with their provider.”

Whether you currently have a telehealth service implemented into your practice’s business or are looking at your options, this guide will help you to understand how you run an efficient and effective virtual practice.

1.    Select a Virtual Platform That Meets Your Practice’s Needs

When you decide to deploy telehealth, you will want to make sure you do your research. Not all telehealth platforms are created equal and it is very important for you to have an option that includes features that enhance your specific practice as an audiologist. So, for example, what works for a cardiologist or an oncologist may not work for you. You need a platform that has:

  • HIPAA-compliant audio and video 
  • Mobile and desktop compatibility
  • Ultra-secure network 
  • Provider scheduling 
  • Self-guided set-up and training or white-glove set-up and training 
  • EHR/OMS integration 

And some platforms offer even more, like:

  • Automated patient notifications with AI (artificial intelligence)
  • Virtual, in-office, and kiosk visit workflows 
  • Branding for your business 
  • Patient self-scheduling 
  • Automated patient intake forms 
  • Integrated payment processing 
  • Secure messaging and file sharing 
  • Integration and product support 

2.    Book Your Virtual Visits

Once you adopt a virtual platform, it’s so important to embrace it! Going more virtual may seem intimidating but there is support that can help you navigate your new telehealth dashboard. Some additional things you should consider are:

  • Who will book the visit? (Your office or the patient through an online portal that has access to your calendar of availability?)
  • How are consults going to begin?
  • Does the patient need to call and check-in?
  • Will you have a virtual waiting room?
  • Are you planning on sending out individual consult links?
  • Will someone in your office contact the patient ahead of time to set-up the visit for the practitioner on the computer?

You will also want to cover:

  • Visit notes

During an in-person visit, you usually take notes; well, the same applies here. Charting the patient encounter for video consults is very much the same as an in-person visit. Consider standardizing a method for recording that the consult was conducted over video. 

  • Sending paperwork

How are important documents such as prescription, lab, and imaging going to be transferred? Does the patient need to have access to a printer? Do they need any intake forms?

  • Billing

Will your patients be paying out of pocket? Will their visits be covered by an insurance provider? If their appointments are covered by insurance, determine the process for submitting claims.

Depending on what you decide, consider discussing payment options with patients prior to their virtual visit. 

  • Follow-up appointments

How will the patients arrange a follow-up visit? You may want to get them to commit during their virtual visit. Consider booking the next appointments at the end of each virtual visit to save time and help keep patients compliant.

3.    Communicate Your New Service With Your Patients

Your patients are probably not aware that you are offering telehealth as an option to receive care (unless you have done a formal announcement). Email addresses can be used to communicate virtual care services to patients, and depending on the virtual care tool, can be useful for sending out the virtual visit URL to patients. You will also want to collect (or confirm) the phone numbers you have as mobile numbers; they are useful to communicate with patients in case of any issues with the virtual visit, or to ensure that they are ready for their visit.

You will also want to add a banner or some type of visual announcement to your website so that anyone who visits your website will be aware of your virtual service offerings. Plus, if a potential patient does a search like “audiology telehealth,” Google will pull sites that mention “audiology” and “telehealth.”

4.    Create a Regular Time Block Specifically Dedicated to Telehealth

Telehealth may be completely foreign to you and that is ok; anything that is new takes some getting used to.

A way to ease yourself into telehealth is to create a time block during your work week where you will schedule virtual appointments. So, for example, maybe on Wednesdays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm, you have your schedule blocked out just for telehealth. Or you can commit a few days of the week to telehealth – you can easily create a schedule that works best for your needs.

Whether you use telehealth because you need to have more flexibility and a means to support your practice from anywhere or you just want to accommodate patients who can’t come in to your office and are outside of your area, telehealth is a very welcome option to practitioners and patients alike.

5.    Delegate Different Responsibilities in the Telehealth System

It is very important to get your staff (or even a single staff member) up to speed on your chosen telehealth software. You may want to designate a few key employees who can become immersed in the process and teach others about how it works. Or you may want to designate specific roles to each employee and assign them features that will be part of their job duties. For example:

  • Your receptionist is responsible for reaching out to current patients and scheduling appointments.
  • Your office manager is responsible for billing and processing payments.
  • Your healthcare tech is responsible for sending applicable information and updating patient records.

6.    Addressing Problems

With any new service, sometimes you encounter unexpected “speed-bumps.” Here’s how to navigate some telehealth issues that may arise: 

Reimbursement 

Getting reimbursed for telehealth services can prove problematic for healthcare providers. 

To overcome these types of financial obstacles, it helps to have a reimbursement plan that includes using technology to track expenses for reimbursement claims. You can employ a platform that keeps track of these expenses so you can properly document receipts required by payers, while keeping up to date on insurers’ allowable reimbursements. 

Lack of Integration 

If your Electronic Health Records (EHR) system doesn’t coordinate with the telehealth platform you’re using, you likely will complicate your workflow records.  

By using a platform that integrates with your EHR, you can record your established workflow and ensure your patients’ virtual visits are properly documented and updated for future visits. 

Lack of Sufficient Patient Data 

A lack of platform integration can also interrupt continuity of care. For example, if you have a new patient who received care (in-person or through telehealth) elsewhere, it may be difficult to retrieve their information. The best solution is to inquire where your patient previously received telehealth services, including those created at hospitals and providers with other medical facilities. 

Service Awareness 

If your patients aren’t aware of your telehealth services, then it won’t get used. And if your employees aren’t aware that you are using telehealth, that is another missed opportunity to increase overall efficiency. That’s why it’s important to plan to have some type of launch to get the word out, whether it be through email newsletters, social media, or your blog (if your practice includes one). Word of mouth is also never a bad thing – tell all your patients as you speak to them.

Patients’ Lack of Technical Skills 

When patients don’t understand how to use telehealth services, it naturally makes things more difficult and limit accessibility. It’s a good idea to give patients a brief run-down of what to expect when using telehealth (like an email or text message notification, joining the call via video, or having a friend or family member assist with set-up when the appointment is occurring). 

It’s equally important to train your staff on using your telehealth equipment, so they also can help patients who require assistance. 

With a virtual option, you will be able to increase revenue, serve more patients, and grow your healthcare practice.

Social media and digital online concept, woman using smartphone and show technology icon.

Developing and Executing a Social Media Strategy

In today’s digital world, your business’s social media presence isn’t just “extra” marketing activity. It is a powerful way to extend and support your patients. But there is a small catch; utilizing social media strategically, especially for small businesses, can fall far down the list of marketing priorities.

According to Oberlo, there are 3.5 billion active daily social media users worldwide, and that number is only growing. And here is an interesting fact: Users 65 and older are the fastest growing group on Facebook, so having a Facebook business page is a must. But there is crucial information about social media that you should know as a healthcare professional.

Maintaining an active presence on social platforms is a low-cost way to engage with patients and raise brand awareness among prospects. However, don’t treat each social media platform as a stand-alone medium; use all of them together to drive traffic to specific pages on your website.

Choosing the Right Platform(s)

It can be tempting to sign up for every social media platform out there. Instead, pick two to three channels to start with. For the hearing health industry, your target patient is more likely to be found on Facebook than LinkedIn. Depending on any specialties you support or the community you are in, you may have prospects that are more, or less likely to be on platforms like Instagram or Twitter.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s your vision? Your voice?
  • What products or services do you offer?
  • What’s your message and how can you best convey it?

Keep this in mind: It’s always easier to scale up than scale back, and that includes social media marketing. If you start with too many channels at once, you risk fragmenting your message and not having enough time to devote to each platform. Social media marketing, like digital marketing, is an ongoing work in progress. You’ll always be testing, analyzing and refining. After several months, you may realize a particular social media channel isn’t working for your business. At that point, step away from that channel and pivot to another one.

You may be surprised to learn that there are two major platforms that you probably aren’t utilizing that can easily take your practice to the next level.

YouTube and Pinterest

YouTube can be a very powerful learning tool, as they add a dynamic element to your business. You may feel a little intimidated to create videos yourself but think about all the potential these helpful videos can offer. Video sharing can also provide unlimited opportunities to enhance your business and brand awareness.

Pinterest is not just for home décor and fashion. It is a social platform where people can find inspiration and ideas for their interests and other hobbies. Every idea is represented by a Pin, which is an image that is searched and saved to Pinterest boards. Pins can also link back to websites, which is why Pinterest is great for driving traffic and sales.

Finding Your Audience

As you decide which social media channels to activate, it’s important to understand where your audience spends time. Many social media marketing resources take a “one-size-fits-all” approach. That’s a helpful starting point but paying attention to your customers and prospects is what will help you succeed. If you host any focus groups with members of your target audience, ask a question or two about what social media channels they use and where they enjoy hearing from businesses.

Another tip? Keep a close eye on your analytics. Use Google Analytics to monitor social media traffic to your website. Most social media platforms will also provide built-in insights. Make a point to regularly look at your data, which will not only tell you what type of content is performing well, but also where your audience is interacting with your business.

Consistency is Key

Unforeseen circumstances can prevent you from posting consistently.  You’re busy running your business and suddenly it’s been two weeks since you’ve posted on Facebook or any of your other social pages.

On the other hand, you don’t want to post for the sake of posting, which is why so much of social media marketing is about balance. To help ensure a consistent posting schedule, try these two things:

  • Gather content before you launch. If you haven’t yet activated your social channels, take a few days to gather content before you go live. Create an easily accessible file on a tool like Dropbox or Google Drive where you can stash photos, videos, and other visual assets. Then, pair those with the holy grail of social media marketing: an editorial calendar.
  • Build an editorial calendar. You’re going to be creating a lot of content, including for your social media channels. Building a calendar can help keep you organized and ensure you’re hitting all of your messaging pillars. You don’t need to start with anything fancy — you can build a simple spreadsheet in Excel or in Google Sheets so that you can share it with your team. Include quick content notes on your calendar — do you have products to feature? A sale or promotion to share? If you’re also blogging, you’ll want to be sure to share all your blogs on your social media channels so that you drive people back to your website. If you get stuck creating content, look at what other businesses in your industry are doing. Are there widely used hashtags like #TBT (Throwback Thursday) that you could personalize to your company? Or look up silly national holidays that you can potentially tie into your product or service. Creating social content really does get easier. As you find your groove, you’ll start to see ideas and inspiration all around you.

Put The ‘Social’ in Social Media

No matter your industry or business or what you post, remember this: be conversational. Social etiquette can get lost behind a screen, but at the end of the day, all social media channels are built on conversations. Picture a few members of your target audience as you create content: what do you want to tell them? Avoid constant sales pitches or you’ll quickly be perceived as spammy. And don’t be afraid to show some personality! We’ve talked before about the importance of every business having a story and a voice.

Announcements, contests, helpful tips, articles, and product promotions are all great ways to encourage followers to interact with your business on social media. And whichever platform you’re on, be sure to manage patient feedback — especially negative feedback. This is crucial to maintaining your brand’s reputation, as well as providing your patients with the personal interaction they desire.

An open dialog with your patients could also encourage them to directly raise any problems they may have with your product or service. This is a good thing, as it gives you a chance to resolve such difficulties before they escalate into issues that result in patients taking their business elsewhere.

The more effort you put into engaging your social followers, the more you’ll reap as a result. Your social media channels are the perfect place to show people who your company is, why it exists and why they should do business with you.

Third Party Tools

There’s no shortage of tools to help you manage and optimize your social channels. To track the performance of links in a place besides Google Analytics, try a link shortener like Bit.ly, which will save your links and show you data like clicks, referrers and geographic location.

Management tools like Loomly, Buffer, and Meet Edgar automate functions like scheduling and can be a big help, especially if you’re struggling to find enough time to manage your social media. One note about scheduling: remember what you have scheduled and what it says. If, for example, a national tragedy strikes, it’s a good idea to disable any schedule posts to prevent being perceived as insensitive or dismissive to what’s happening.

To easily create polished graphics that are sized for a specific social platform, try using apps like Canva or WordSwag. For more in-depth photo editing, Snapseed is a robust option (also an app).

Need help? Ask!

There will likely become a point when social media management becomes too much for you or your team. In that case, consider outsourcing your social media marketing to a solo contractor or an agency. You can set up parameters for reviewing content prior to publication or attend regular meetings to discuss strategy and results. Be sure to carefully vet your prospective vendors and, if possible, equip your vendor with brand and messaging guidelines to help ensure consistency. And if you discontinue a vendor’s services, be sure to change your social media passwords ASAP so that you know who has access to your accounts.

Here’s a final tip: if you haven’t yet fully developed your brand and marketing, you’ll want to do that before you dive into social media management. Your social channels should be a reflection and extension of your brand, which is why it’s so important to start with a larger marketing strategy.