In recent years, the Internet has changed everything about the way business is done – and the business of healthcare is no exception. At the click of a button, patients considering which practice and physician to visit have access to a wealth of information to help them decide, including online reviews. This is where online reputation management for physicians comes into play.
Physicians may not even realize they have them, but online reviews on places like Google, Yelp, Vitals, and other platforms are extremely important to many patients when determining whether or not to patronize a practice. This makes online reputation management for physicians – a series of services and solutions designed to showcase healthcare organizations in a positive light on the web – crucial, in order to improve patient engagement, visits, and profits.
Of course, many medical professionals are still new to the world of online reputation management. To help, the practice marketing experts at Medical Advantage and iHealthSpot explain why online reputation management is important, how it works, and best practices you can take.
The Importance of Online Reputation Management
With most physicians having their hands full with day-to-day responsibilities, the idea of taking time to monitor and address what people are saying about their practice online may seem a little much. Many physicians consider these comments unimportant or irrelevant – after all, everyone has an opinion, right?
In reality, allowing comments, reviews, and ratings of your practice to proliferate unchecked online is almost never a sound business strategy. This is because search engines like Google reward certain types of content and interactions, prioritizing what it rates as more “valuable” information higher to help users find what they’re looking for more quickly.
As a result, when search engines see that businessowners (in this case, physicians) are taking time to interact with reviewers and read their feedback, it will rank that content higher, making positive reviews more visible. On the other hand, if you aren’t making your practice’s presence felt online, the door will be open for negative reviews to go unchecked. The old adage holds true here – bad news travels fast.
Think of online reputation management for your medical practice as just one more means of engaging and interacting with your patient, to ensure their experience was and is as positive as possible. Plus, this engagement has an added bonus – it makes your practice appear more reputable online, and causes it to be both more visible and appealing in Internet search results.
How Online Reputation Management for Physicians Works
Online reputation management is a strategy implemented both proactively – to safeguard and uphold your online standing – and retroactively, to address damaging reviews or ratings already posted. How does it work?
At first, practices should consider monitoring mentions on both review sites and social media, and taking the time to craft swift, thoughtful responses. Claiming your business listing on review platforms is also a good first step to taking control of how your practice is being displayed online.
Another good strategy is to optimize your website and social media presence with the latest SEO techniques to boost online visibility. This is a powerful technique, as having positive and even neutral content appear in search results makes negative items less visible. In addition, public relations campaigns like press releases, announcements, and the promotion of certain strong reviews on your websites can boost your reputation in the eyes of current and would-be customers online.
These are some strong best practices for getting started, but represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of things your practice can do to take control of its reputation online.
Medical Advantage and iHealthSpot can Help
For better or for worse, online ratings and feedback are becoming more and more important for medical practices to monitor – as these reviews have an outsized impact on a practice’s ability to capture and retain business in the digital era.
“As technology becomes increasingly accessible, online reviews supplant the need for word-of-mouth endorsements, placing a world of importance on obtaining favorable web reviews,” said Chelimar Miranda, VP of Operations at iHealthSpot.
The experts at Medical Advantage and iHealthSpot understand both the importance of reputation management, and the complexities and confusion which can arise when attempting to take control of your online presence. Our experts bring a blend of healthcare experience and web marketing backgrounds and are ready to assist – contact one of our consultants today to learn how we can assist your medical practice with its online reputation management efforts.