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Internet Marketing Part 3: What to share

One last post on internet marketing, just one last thought to share.  And that thought happens to be about what you should, and shouldn’t, share.

If you are using the internet to market your birth business, you probably have a blog, facebook page and/or a twitter account.  You might also have other social media pages and accounts you use depending on how tech savvy you are, but most non-tech savvy midwives know about these three ways to interact with the internet community.  While a blog gives you a platform to share complex thoughts and ideas, Facebook and Twitter demand a very short interaction.  As a rule, the shorter the written work, the longer it takes to plan that written work.

What do I mean?  A short sentence or paragraph doesn’t give you much room to explain yourself in a post.  Your thoughts need to be written as efficiently as possible to help prevent misunderstanding.

Making these resources even more difficult to work with is the reality that they are both short-lived and long-lasting.  The “lifespan” of a post will depend on the number of connections each member of your audience has made.  Some posts may appear to some audience members for less than 30 minutes, while they may appear to other audience members for several hours. Some posts will never appear to some audience members. Yet, every member of your audience has the option to visit your unique page and read every post you have made.  Within this environment we are told to “engage” with our audience, to build a “conversation.”

When deciding what to share, the first thing to understand is the audience for your posts.  If you are sharing birth business information on your personal social account the messages are potentially being shared with your family, close friends, people you attended grade school with, coworkers from an old job…do you get the picture?  On the surface you might think this will help you build a good network – your friends will share these posts with their friends.  The reality is a bit more like your friends ignoring or hiding the posts they are not interested in. The flip side of this is that your clients will now have the potential to see your photos from your brother’s wedding, your five year old’s dance recital video and your complaints about the weather.  Neither side of this equation sounds very professional.  I always recommend starting an account specifically for your birth business and inviting your friends, family and previous co-workers to find out about your work through the business page.

Once you have established a “birth” audience defined, you can start to make decisions about what is the best way to connect with this audience.  You have many options:

  • Links to interesting articles or videos
  • Links to new pages from your blog or website
  • Information about upcoming events
  • Interesting questions the members of your network would like to discuss
  • Quick recommendations for books or products
  • Quotes from leaders in the birth community.

What you choose will depend on the composition of the audience and the nature of their connection to you.  You will probably find the “right” sharing is a mix of most of the listed options.  Remember, your audience is “listening” to you not only for the latest information, but also to know what you think about something.  So don’t just link to the video, tell them why you are linking.  Your post might read something like this:

Great use of vocalization in this hospital birth video:  link

I do have a few rules I follow for what NOT to share.

  1. I never share information about someone else’s birth.  I would never steal a mother’s opportunity to experience the joy of sharing her own story.
  2. I never make critical comments about a person.  If I disagree with something written I explain my disagreement with the concept or idea while remaining respectful to the other person – I would hope they would treat me the same.
  3. I do not engage in name calling or bullying. I wouldn’t do it in real life, I refuse to do it on the internet.  Not only is it completely unprofessional, it makes me look as if I am only upset that someone thinks differently about the topic than I do and draws attention away from any additional information I have to add to the discussion.
  4. I do not give unsolicited advice.  If a reader has a question about how to talk to her doctor about something, I do not tell her to have a home birth with a midwife.  Although I might think it will solve her problem, in her mind I have completely ignored the issue she is facing and have not respected her decision to use this provider.

 

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