More and more people are now turning to the Internet to make their health decisions. Changing scenarios have transformed the economics of healthcare industry. Internet and social networking sites have led to a dramatic rise in healthcare consumerism. A physician’s digital DNA governs his or her reputation.
The world of the Internet and social media is teeming with competition. Physicians face a continuous challenge of distinguishing their online presence from the crowd of hundreds of others. The smart ones who understand the power of this influential medium have started using the Internet as a powerful marketing tool. It helps identify your practice as a brand on the Internet, define what healthcare services you offer and market your communications more effectively to your patient/ potential patient base.
Physicians and hospitals can build their online reputation by keeping a close check on the following ten principles:
What are people saying about you? Why are they writing bad things about you on the Internet, and what can you do about it?
Service quality reporting in healthcare is a new trend in which new the “word-of-mouth” is “click-of-mouse.” Review platforms have made it easier than ever for patients to state their experiences. Information about patient experiences is available on the various social media platforms, blogs and review sites. What is being said about you online is the main prism through which your reputation will be viewed. If you are ignorant about what is being written and said about your practice, it can gradually turn your reputation toward a negative trend.
Listen carefully, respond appropriately, learn and improve from feedback you get about your services
Correspondence such as letters, emails, voicemails and other methods of communication should be direct and to the point. While responding, make sure you never make any excuses or deal arrogantly with patients who are dissatisfied with your services. Instead, physicians should follow a positive approach while responding to these reviews and use them as building blocks to improve patient experience and satisfaction.
Optimize your website
You might think that you already have a well-designed practice website for online health consumers. But the fact is, a website is only useful if people can find it. Without proper SEO, people may not be able to locate you online and chances are high they may choose your competitor over you for booking an appointment. An effective SEO strategy increases your search engine ranking and overall web presence, which allows you to be found when a potential customer conducts an online search and increases your brand’s visibility.
Build trust and credibility
Conduct a reputation analysis by thoroughly researching your name and practice on Google and other major physician-review websites where patients can post their experiences and rate you. After identifying the negative reviews, synchronize all your efforts towards developing a rapport with patients to build credibility about your practice. Satisfied patients become your brand advocates and may bring you more appointments through word-of-mouth.
Always remember that potential patients track your online profiles, and the way you respond to reviews is the decisive factor for them to conclude whether your services are worthy or not. Be responsive and don’t ignore unhappy patients or negative experiences they have described. Strike up a conversation with them and own up to mistakes that may have occurred. Avoid medical jargon and communicate in simple words. Just assure your patients that their health is of prime importance and you’ll do your best to resolve issues and provide the best healthcare services.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Post useful informative content for readers
The use of social media technology is an emerging trend for patients who are seeking health information. Digital holds promise for improving patient engagement and empowers them to make better health decisions. Physicians should leverage social media to educate patients. Patients can benefit from the use of social media through education, obtaining information, networking, performing research, receiving support, goal-setting and tracking personal progress.
You can frequently post information to promote health behaviors, motivate people to achieve their health goals and increase awareness about general health conditions and disease prevention. Providing scientifically accurate and quality health information on various social media channels will help increase your online visibility and can help create a sense of credibility.
Leverage other forms of Internet marketing
It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Use good images, infographics, videos and screenshots, because these are eye-catching and stand out. Readers are more fascinated by depiction of information through images than text. If they like them, there is a strong chance that readers will share them with others through their profiles. It can be a great form of online marketing, which may open gateways to your website and motivate people to get in touch with you.
Be sensitive to patient privacy
While using any online platform, physicians should be mindful of standards for patient privacy and confidentiality, which must be maintained in all environments. They should adopt a conservative approach for disclosing personal information about any patient, as online channels are public and can be accessed by anyone.
Start a blog
Internet marketing industry experts suggest that blogging and business growth are directly proportional. People randomly click on pages they feel are relevant to their search. So if you regularly blog about topics pertaining to your specialization with high-quality content, it will attract more people to your website. Moreover, having a regular blog can effectively enhance brand visibility and also helps create a positive online reputation.
Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, SlideShare and Pinterest can be used as ideal platforms to share your practice visibility, connect directly with target patients and influence their opinion about your practice. Entrepreneurial physicians have understood the possibilities of social media marketing and have leveraged it to their benefit. It’s about making a brand of your practice through social media marketing.
These 10 basics will help improve the visibility of your brand online as well as your search engine rankings. By representing your practice as a “brand” on the Internet, you can build your brand equity in the virtual world. Furthermore, it helps develop a feeling of trust and credibility among your patients and many others who could be your potential patients. Monitoring your online reputation is, therefore, imperative to surviving in business today. Failing to proactively handle your online reputation could be fatal.