Calling All Doctors: Take Control of Your Online Reputation Now!

doctor handshaking with young patient

Why let others define your online reputation when you can create it yourself?!  I can feel you sitting back in your chair with your eyebrows raised because you think I’m going to tell you to post bogus reviews, or better yet, hire a professional writer to post them for you.  This is absolutely not what I’m suggesting.  No matter how skilled the professional review writer, it’s hard to make a review ring true, when it just isn’t.  That’s why I highly recommend you avoid this tactic!

What I meant, instead, was that you need to take steps to shape your online reputation.  Here are the first few:

Start with the basics.  Create profiles on these major review sites:

  • Google Plus
  • Yelp
  • Healthgrades
  • CitySearch
  • Vitals

Don’t forget social media sites as well, such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Foursquare ~while not technically a review site, “check-ins” on Foursquare can be just as powerful as an actual review/testimonial.

If you don’t create these profiles, they will be created automatically as reviews are posted.  If you let that happen, the odds of the profile looking and sounding the way you want it to are slim.  Then you have the arduous task of claiming your profile, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds.  If they’ve already been created, and you’re happy with your overall rating ~ fantastic!  If not, read on!

Don’t be afraid to ask!  Your current patient base is your best resource for creating, or improving, your online reputation.  There are several ways you can do this.  If the direct approach makes you uncomfortable, you can try creating some in-office marketing materials.  Here’s one example:

Twitter In Office Marketing Sample_DigitalMed

 

However, for those of you that can get past the initial uncomfortable feeling that asking for favors sometimes invites, the best approach is truly the direct one.   The next time a patient says:  “Thank you, Doctor! That surgery changed my life!” Don’t only tell them how great it is to hear that.  Follow it by saying:  “The best way to thank me is to tell others.  I’d really appreciate it if you’d write a review for me online.”

Make it easy!  The minute you ask for that review, be ready with a simple “how to” handout for those review sites you need to beef up.  Better yet, take the patient’s email address so you can email them links with a quick ‘how to’ note.  Our clients have found this to be the most effective tactic, as you are doing most of the work for the patient.  The simpler you make it, the less time-consuming it will be for the patient, which makes it a lot more likely that they will follow through for you.

Engage!  If a patient takes the time to post a review on a site in which interaction is possible, such as yelp, reply to them IMMEDIATELY!  A private reply is much more effective as it tends to come across as more sincere.  Although, a public response is definitely better than no response at all.  On Facebook, a post ‘like’ and a reply with a simple thank you really goes a long way.

Track your progress.  It’s important to re-evaluate your strategy often so that your online review sites become, and stay, balanced.  Excel is a good tool for this.

So, if you’re not happy with the current state of your online reputation, don’t fret!  Take control of it today, using these simple to implement tips.  The best way to combat negative reviews is to inundate those same sites with positive reviews from your happy patients. Ratings can turn around very quickly, if you invest the time.

 

 

 

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