Here’s Why You Need To Stay On Top Of Your Reputation.
For businesses, particularly healthcare businesses, it has always been important to have a good reputation. After all, what your patients say about you can be the best — and worst — publicity.
But in today’s day and age, when anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can say whatever they like about you publicly, it has never been so necessary to keep up good reputation management practices.
So, What Exactly Is Reputation Management?
Reputation management encompasses activities which attempt to keep a company, brand or individual in a respectable position in the public eye. According to Business Dictionary, it is “the process of identifying what other people are saying or feeling about you or your business; and taking steps to ensure that the general consensus is in line with your goals.”
Reputation management can also be referred to as public relations management or brand management, but they all generally mean the same thing: making sure the public is saying good things about your company.
Why Is Reputation Management Important?
The first thing that people do when they hear about your practice is to “Google” it. As of 2012, 1/3 of patients avoided physicians based on online reviews. People are shopping for physicians the same way they are shopping for goods and services; online listings on mobile also allow people to make rapid and less informed decisions. It’s important to know what is being said about your practice and to change the conversation if it is not going in a positive direction.
How Do You Do That?
The first step you need to take toward reputation management is making sure you know what your audience is saying. These days, there are more and more ways that potential or past clients can voice their opinions about your practice. Be sure to keep an eye on all your social media channels, on review forums and on sites like Yelp and Google. The best thing to do is set your company up with a media monitoring platform so you can keep an eye out for different keywords or at least have a Google Alert set up for the name of your practice.
While only 6% of people actually write reviews, they are more likely to write about a bad experience than a positive one. Since 90% of people use online reviews to make buying decisions, it is important to actively monitor your practice’s online presence to see if there are any negative reviews or comments.
What Do You Do if You See a Bad Comment?
It can be really instinctual to want to delete any negative comments or reviews you may see, particularly if you have access to do so. But one of the ideals people value in a company’s online presence is transparency. They want to know that if they write a negative comment, it will be heard; that if they ask a question, it will be answered. The worst thing you can do for your online reputation is delete it; the best thing to do is answer it honestly, apologize when necessary and lay out the steps you are taking to change whatever it is they have a problem with.
What Can You Do to Have a Good Online Reputation?
Overall, the best way to have a good online reputation is to have a good offline reputation. For healthcare practices, this means having good availability with low wait times, good personal relationships and good customer service. The same can be said for keeping up a good online reputation: be responsive to questions, answer questions in a personalized fashion and be approachable in the online space, either through contact cards, social media or other practices.
You can even ask your satisfied patients to write positive reviews for you, similar to how you may ask them to tell their friends and family about your practice: word of mouth! Reward your current clients with VIP days, birthday cards and free items, anything that shows them how much you value their business. That way, these people will champion you both on and offline.
It’s also important to have a strong online presence so that when potential customers “Google” you, a lot of (good) results come up. This is where the search engine dominance comes in. It is important to understand search engine optimization (SEO) practices that contribute to high rankings on Google, including local SEO and organic search. Download our marketing guide on 7 Important SEO Trends in 2016 for more information. Another way to make sure that you rank high on search engines is to always have correct and updated information, as well as consistently producing fresh content, such as an active blog. After all, the key to a strong search engine ranking is staying active and relevant.
Whitehead Agency Group is a leading healthcare marketing agency with over 25 years of specialized health and wellness experience. Start profiting from the new age of consumer-driven health care with marketing that clicks. Contact us today at (416) 365-6884 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a complimentary, no-obligation review of your online reputation, SEO strategy and overall marketing.