Tapping Social Power: How Creating Online Communities Can Benefit Your Practice

Tapping Social Power: How Creating Online Communities Can Benefit Your Practice

The social signals people get about your practice from online communities are becoming increasingly important for the good health of your practice. Not only do they help build a positive online reputation, but they also help you understand the “digital” body language of your patients.

Online communities are social platforms where people can connect, converse and engage with physicians and each other. The two-way conversations through online communities can serve as an excellent marketing tool for your practice, such as connecting with patients/potential patients, fostering innovation, providing interactive support and building brand equity. These are, in fact, a very strong social proof for the credibility of your practice, where potential patients can read online reviews about your practice right from the satisfied patients.

Many physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers have started engaging via online communities. These digital communities facilitate easy communication and interaction, which help gain online visibility and engage with online health consumers. While some people just watch and read the conversations in an online community, there are many who actively participate and share information with their friends, family and peers.

A valuable marketing fundamental is to cater to the needs and preferences of consumers. By sitting in your office, you have exposure to just a limited set of patients who visit you regularly. If you have online communities with your patients, you can directly gauge and analyze their needs in a much better and transparent way. By addressing their issues/grievances, you can connect better with them and this will spread a feeling of trust and credibility about your practice. The online word-of-mouth is powerful and will reach out to many others who can be your future patients.

In terms of SEO, online communities can be an excellent source of content, which is helpful for organic SEO. The conversations will have fresh content each day, which will also include SEO keywords pertaining to your area of medical specialization. This will help get better rankings in search engines.

Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.

You can sell your services without “the sell.” This implies that you can post all important details about the services offered at your practice and information about special offers or discounts in reply to queries posted by people. You needn’t advertise these separately and can promote the services in this indirect yet smart way.

Where can you create these online communities?

Successful online communities can be created on many social media platforms, such as responding to tweets, lively discussions on LinkedIn, replying to messages and comments on your Facebook page or creating pages for discussion on special topics on all these platforms or your website. The golden rule is to provide tailored content customized to the latest trends through which people can get accurate information on topics they are searching for. The empowered digital consumers are smart enough to distinguish reliable, medically accurate and informative content amid the vast reserves of online information. They are likely to trust the healthcare provider whose content posts are useful for them, and there’s a high possibility that they will share these post with others. This functions as a medium of online reputation-building for your practice through which many others can learn about you and your practice/hospital.

Developing a powerful online community involves a lot of effort. It also involves customizing your content according to what your patients are looking for and providing essential medical information and health facts that they may not already know. These communities provide you a platform by creating a space where your patients can rely on you for scientifically accurate medical information. These are good enough reasons to get started! Create online communities and engage people. You won’t have to wait long to see the ROI of your efforts.

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