Before choosing a new healthcare provider, most potential patients do their due diligence and spend time researching a physician or hospital online. By reading online reviews and ratings, they form an opinion of your medical practice before ever setting foot in your office.
According to a recent report by MDValuate, 72 percent of customers make a decision to select or reject a physician based on his or her online reviews and ratings. Do you know what potential and existing patients are saying about your medical practice and staff? Do you have a strategy in place to listen to what people are saying about your hospital and take corrective action? Do you have a proactive plan to establish and improve the online reputation of your hospital?
Here are a few simple steps to help you build and maintain a strong online reputation for your hospital:
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
- Google your brand name: The first step in managing your online reputation is knowing where to manage. Reputation management experts recommend that medical practitioners should conduct Google searches on their brand name regularly and see what people are saying about it. This will help you stay ahead of a potential crisis. To begin with, you can set up a Google Alert for your name and services. There are lots of online reputation management tools available online that can not only track mentions of your brand name but will also provide reports on how people perceive your brand online.
- Monitor review sites: While most medical practitioners are not very fond of online reviews, these websites do make a difference. This is because an increasing number of potential patients are heading to third-party review sites to compare physicians and hospitals and post reviews about their experiences. In one of the many surveys conducted to understand the importance and influence of third-party review sites, it was found that 41 percent of potential patients consult online reviews of doctors and healthcare facilities before making an appointment.
- Use social media networks to your advantage: A lot of medical practices have noticed the benefits of having a presence on popular social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Social media networks have high domain authority, which will help your hospital profile page appear higher in search engine results. It is important to post regularly on your social profiles and manage reviews and queries promptly. Your social media profiles are a reflection of your hospital and its reputation. You must ensure all of the information displayed on your social profiles is accurate and consistent. Regularly asking your patients for positive online reviews should be an integral part of your reputation management strategy.
- Encourage positive reviews: The vast majority of patients still do not post reviews online, which makes each review more impactful. Positive reviews can be very powerful. Patient reviews and testimonials are the most valuable tools for increasing brand visibility and improving online reputation. Unfortunately, patients who have an unpleasant experience are more likely to post an online review than those who have a pleasant one. This makes it imperative for you to gather as many positive reviews as you can. You should encourage your patients to post positive reviews about your hospital on specific websites. You can also seek patient’s consent to display helpful reviews on your website.
- Create positive content: Positive content is an excellent way to establish your brand online. By writing and posting positive content about your practice, you can control your online reputation. You can consider blogging or writing articles and sharing them on social media. Pushing relevant and informative content through your social media accounts can help affirm your credibility to potential patients. Besides, creating a good amount of positive content about your practice can dilute the effect of harmful content posted by others.
Simply put, you cannot opt-out of reputation management. Offline or online, you have plenty of tools available to create and maintain your professional reputation. While it may not always be easy, and some extra effort may be required, the investment in terms of time and money is exceptionally worthwhile. A positive online reputation will act as a magnet for attracting more business opportunities, potential patients and qualified employees.