In the constantly-evolving world of social media, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with changing features and updated platforms. Check out our list of new ways to use your favorite networks.



  • Twitter has launched a whole new layout, which many have likened to Facebook’s look. It includes customizable headers, bigger profile pictures and a three-column layout.
  • Another new feature is the ability to receive “real-time” notifications that are sent when you’re on Twitter and someone is tweeting you.


  • At the end of April, Pinterested launched a Guided Search that helps lead you through the site to find items to pin. Based on what you want to find, Pinterest will now aid you in sifting through others’ pins to collect the best ideas.
  • Pinterest also announced new custom categories and an improvement to its related pins feature.


  • Instagram has expanded its Explore tab to add some personalization features to it.
  • Additionally, the network plans to add top photos and videos that are most “liked” by people you follow.

Which of these features do you use? How do you think these social networks could improve?

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1. Assessment: Consult business plans, patient satisfaction surveys, volume reports, community surveys and any other information you can gather. Consider market dynamics such as seasonality, shifting alliances between physician groups and other “political” issues.

2. Comparative analysis: Study your competitors, considering their historical advertising levels, any new product launches that may be forthcoming, and the overall competitive nature of your market. Develop your own unique selling proposition. What makes you different from your competition?

3. Define your vision and strategy: Where do you want your program or organization to be in three to five years? How can marketing help realize this vision? Make a list of all the tools at your disposal and determine what options will work best for your product, marketplace and expected budget. Among other tools, consider:

  • Networking/sales—Go where your market is; develop presentations.
  • Direct marketing—Use letters, fliers, brochures, postcards.
  • Advertising—Consider print, broadcast, outdoor, special publications such as chamber of commerce directories and sports programs.
  • Training programs—Increase awareness of your services by offering training to your customers.
  • Free media—Write articles for news media; make your organization known as the expert.
  • Public relations—Consider sponsorships that “fit” with your service; hold events, tours, open houses.
  • Website/emerging media—It’s not just for young professionals anymore; fast-growing segments of the elderly and minority populations are using the Internet to gather information on their health care options.

4. Build support and enthusiasm: Locate your champions in the organization. Find the experts who will help support your marketing efforts through speaking engagements, newspaper interviews, and quotes for newsletters and media releases.

5. Segment your market: Consider target audiences and think outside the box. Look inward first, as your employees can be some of your best customers—and your best marketers. Know where your business comes from: Is it driven by physician referrals or do patients refer directly? Make a list of target audiences and identify the best ways to reach them.

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