The medical professionals’ success recognize that their online reputation is a source of valuable new business.
Below we will detail the best practices to influence and manage your online reputation, to influence a greater number of contacts and new appointments of patients.
The first thing that we have to point out, as every medical professional knows, is that each doctor has two professional reputations to administer and of which he must constantly be aware.
- The reputation “CV version” for colleagues.
- The online reputation version for the target audience (patients)
Reputation facing other medical professionals.
The first version is what you think your colleagues know or think they know about your professional career, as a summary of your CV. We could also define it as what other professionals could say when we are not ahead.
This reputation is created on the one hand, by the publications we do, participation in talks, conferences and training. But this version especially is based on a closer and personal contact, on the occasions when doctors meet and/or work together.
The interactions and observations can be clinical, commercial or social. This first type of reputation is something that medical professionals consider to be the most important and absolutely critical to administer. After all, the professional circles of each medical specialty are usually small and the professionals whose reputation stands out are known by practically all their colleagues.
They are also the colleagues themselves, who often recommend us. That is why it is essential to manage this type of reputation.
Although it is more based on close contact and professional collaborations, online media also help to boost this reputation without a doubt.
Reputation facing the general public.
But it is the second type, where a doctor’s online reputation allows him to be widely seen and recognized by the general public. Interestingly, patients and potential patients have almost no means to judge the clinical skills that represent a physician. These clinical skills are recognized mainly by colleagues in the profession.
The audience of the general public is guided by another type of reputation. In her they mainly influence:
- Rating ratings of other patients about a doctor (1-5 stars)
- Opinions and evaluations about doctors in specialized portals and Google.
- The comments and discussions of patients in Social Networks and forums.
And it is in this “reputation arena” that we have to fight and get as much influence as possible on the general public, and among potential patients in particular.
How to create online reputation
There are many digital marketing actions for doctors that are fundamental in attracting potential patients to us. Among the set of actions that can be carried out, online reputation management is the one that has the greatest influence for the conversion of potential clients into final clients. That is, the one that most affects in practice the conversion of “leads” for the capture or loss of new business.
Some data extracted from recent studies on the behavior of Internet users, reveal that:
- More than half of consumers list reputation first in the process of selecting a doctor.
- Positive or excellent online opinions and opinions inspire confidence in a medical professional in the vast majority of cases.
- Patients often read four or more reviews before trusting a professional.
- More than 90 percent of patients will select a doctor with a five-star rating before any other.
- About 40 percent of patients would not select a doctor with negative reviews.
The online reputation of the professional is formed in the mind of the possible patient. Your selection process is shaped to a large extent by the comments and ratings of others. That process, influenced by the actions of others, is the powerful social tool or social influence on the work of a doctor.
Assuming that their patients’ experience is or can be shared and affect their reputation, these are some of the steps to create an excellent online reputation.
Do not be modest when asking for testimonials.
It’s easy enough to do, but many doctors neglect this simple step. Get used to request comments, provide a card or an email with simple instructions to receive ratings (Google, WebMD, your own Web, etc). You can also provide a brief survey aimed at improving the service. Most of the comments will surely be positive. Occasionally, a comment may reveal something about what can or needs to be improved.
Take any negative comment.
Even best practices can occasionally generate a not-so-rosy criticism. Although most of the patients’ comments are positive, the real opportunity to improve is to address the patient’s concerns. The first steps are:
- Show concern
- Respond quickly.
- Show yourself as a supportive leader, anxious to resolve the patient’s concern.
Being quick to discover and respond to a negative comment is essential. The silent approach (even if you did not know the comment) implies that the problem is ignored. Trust is at stake. If necessary, solve the problem offline, but be proactive about offering a resolution.
Install a system to monitor your online presence.
Like it or not, consumer ratings are now an influential part of health care. We must have a system to observe and monitor the sites that influence patients and their own reputation:
- Have the responsibility to check regularly is active listening system (monitoring).
- Install Google Alerts and some mentions system in RSS.
- Routinely review your list of sites where you can comment and evaluate your work (Google MyBusiness, WebMD, Topdoctors, etc.)
- Respond to all comments, whether positive or negative
Verify and correct your NAP information.
One sure way to lose calls and new contacts is to have your NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE (NAP) information outdated. Check regularly that your data is correct in the directories, your Web, Google MyBusiness, etc.
Expand and improve your online profiles.
In addition to directory listings, take every opportunity to complete, update and improve the personal profile section in Social Networks. This is where you have the opportunity to shine with your own light. Potential patients respect the experience, training, awards and experience of a doctor.
Lead online conversations.
Do not be a spectator when you can be an active participant in the discussions of Social Networks. Look for timely and relevant topics and inspire or lead discussions. Ask questions, provide new information or answer questions within a group.
You can shape your online reputation.
These are some of the ways in which you can influence the information your potential patients will find on the Web (and manage your reputation). Because your way of influencing is “slightly indirect,” this can be a challenging task. But the time and effort that is invested can often mean an immediate return. People tend to see and absorb the first entries on a page of ratings about a doctor. And the most recent comments usually float at the top of the pages.
Are you aware of your online reputation? Remember that positive information and qualifications are a significant influence in the generation of new business. But negative reviews can make your prospective patient change his mind and decide on another doctor.