When it comes to your healthcare practice’s reputation, you can’t afford to be indifferent – especially when it comes to the things being said about you online. After all, not only does information spread much more quickly on the Internet, it also has a much greater reach. This means that if a potential patient comes across a negative review about your practice or finds inaccurate contact details on a third-party site, it can hurt your chances of converting that individual into a new patient. In fact, you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table in missed opportunities simply by failing to take control of your online reputation.
Start Managing Your Online Reputation In Four Easy Steps
Are you concerned about the accuracy of information prospective patients are finding about you and your practice online? Make reputation management part of your ongoing healthcare marketing plan with these four easy steps.
1. Google yourself and your practice.
To begin managing and protecting your healthcare organization’s reputation, you first need to know what it is you’re working with. Find out in what context your practice and its physicians are being mentioned online by performing some quick searches in Google, Yahoo and Bing. You’ll want to pay close attention to results that appear in the first two to three pages of search results, making note of whether the information presented:
- Accurately reflects your business
- Needs to be addressed
Remember to perform similar searches at least once a month in order to pick up on new mentions of your practice and to keep track of changes in search rank position for older posts.
2. Set up Google alerts.
An easy way to find out when someone writes something new about you online is to set up Google alerts for your practice and for the physicians that work there. It’s a free service, and it’s really easy to set up. All you have to do is:
- Pick a search query (e.g. Medical Web Experts).
- Select the type of results you want to receive (we recommend choosing “everything”).
- Decide how often you want you want to get results (as they happen, once a day, or once a week).
- Select how many relevant results you want to receive.
- Enter your email.
Once you create an alert, you’ll start getting emails from Google each time they find new material with your name in the content. You can create as many Google alerts as you want, so you might want to use variations of your practice’s name.
3. Update your directory listings.
Patients are increasingly turning to review sites such as Yelp and healthcare directories like Healthgrades, ZocDoc and Medulous in order to find more information about physicians and medical practices. Therefore, if you want patients to find you easily, you need to create accounts on these sites and keep them updated. Setting up an online business listing for your practice in Google is a good place to start. When updating directory listings, the most important things are to make sure your address, phone number, website and other contact details are accurate and to provide as much detailed information about your practice as possible (including uploading photos of your facility).
4. Ask your patients for reviews.
Are your business listings lacking reviews from patients? When people are searching online for a new doctor, they value what other people say. This means that even if you don’t have any negative comments, the lack of patient reviews could still be hurting your practice and its ability to attract new patients. To combat this problem, you can ask existing patients to go online and post comments about their experiences with your medical practice. Choose loyal patients who you know will have only great things to say.
The Internet has become an easy outlet for people to express their opinions – whether that means raving about a superb experience or harping negatively about a less-than-exceptional service. Now that you’re armed with the knowledge that your patients and competitors could be saying unfavorable things about you online (scaring away prospective patients), take our advice: don’t let your practice’s reputation management efforts fall by the wayside. Do your best to stay alert.