Your practice has an online reputation that is constantly evolving and growing. Your online presence matters, so it’s vital that you take your online reputation into your own hands. Oftentimes, your current and future patients are turning to the Internet to find their healthcare providers. By monitoring and managing your online reputation, you are able to cultivate it as you see fit and ensure that potential new patients see an accurate picture of your practice.
By following these four easy steps, you can successfully build and manage your online reputation:
- Website: The Internet has changed the healthcare industry immensely, and mobile devices continue to do so. “Nearly 60% of Americans own smartphones today, and they are using them to look for healthcare services.”* Make sure your practice has a user-friendly website that is mobile-responsive and has lots of opportunities for patients to take action, whether that means liking your practice Facebook page, finding your office location, or scheduling an appointment. Find a website developer that focuses solely on healthcare websites to ensure a positive user experience and the appropriate amount of content.
- Social Media: Social media is no longer just a trend. Potential and current patients will turn to social media to share their stories, reviews, and opinions, and it is important and necessary for you to engage with them. HIPAA and other compliance issues should not prevent you from engaging with your online audience, just be aware of what you are posting. Do not share any personal patient information, and remain as neutral as possible. Post informative and engaging content regularly, as well as photos and practice updates, events, etc. Find a balance between being professional and social.
- Online Listings: Find every online listing that mentions your practice and make sure the information listed is accurate and up-to-date. Link or add your social media profile pages to the listings, if possible. Provider-to-provider networking is imperative to managing your online reputation, as it maximizes awareness of and accessibility to your practice.
- Review Websites: By responding to reviews and engaging in conversations about your practice online, you are automatically illustrating that you care about the patient experience and are looking for ways to improve. Regardless of whether the reviews or comments are positive or negative, they warrant a response. For positive reviews, a simply “Thank you” is sufficient. For negative reviews, respond quickly, acknowledge the patient’s frustration, and let them know you are working to fix this problem. You may also offer a chance to make it right. Research shows that negative reviews actually aren’t completely negative. If a doctor has a few negative reviews, and they respond to them online, it shows that the doctor cares about pleasing patients and is willing to acknowledge downfalls, while working to improve. Actively encourage your patients to post reviews to build a sense of trustworthiness and legitimacy for your practice.
Staying competitive and top-of-mind doesn’t have to be a chore. Simply be online, listen to what the public is saying, and engage in the conversation when necessary. Be prepared for hills and valleys, and as long as you are actively managing your online presence, you are setting yourself up for success.