When you’re running a medical practice, you’re constantly thinking about patients, medical inventory, and insurance claims - but are you paying enough attention to your online reputation?
Here’s the reality of managing a business in the internet age:
- 86% of people read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
- Consumers require an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star rating is accurate
- 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4 or more stars
- Negative reviews deter 40% of consumers from using a business
With stats like this, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would ignore their online reputation management (ORM). Let’s take a look at some of the ways ORM can make or break a private practice.
Online Reputation Management
“What is my online reputation, and why do I need to manage it?”
Simply put, your online reputation is the general public perception of your brand based on the information that people choose to share on the internet about their experience with your business.
Here are some tactics you can use to help manage your online reputation in a constructive way:
Responding to Online Reviews
Over 89% of potential customers are reading not only the reviews posted about a business, but also that business’ response to those reviews.
Doing this portrays your practice as a business run by actual people who care about their patients’ experiences and value their input.
This also presents a unique opportunity for businesses to come back from a negative review with a carefully crafted and attentive response to their criticisms.
Learning From Mistakes
It will be awfully difficult for you to correct the issues that are causing your practice to gain negative reviews or feedback if you aren’t aware of that feedback.
Making sure that you stay on top of your practice’s online reputation puts you in a position where you can receive that feedback and use it to improve the overall perception of your clinic.
Encourage New Reviews
Making sure you’re receiving new reviews often is extremely important in terms of ORM, because not only are customers looking for a business with positive reviews - but also a business that has a LOT of them.
Approximately 40% of patients only take into consideration reviews written within the past two weeks, so having a steady, constant flow of feedback is crucial.
Positive Reviews = Marketing Material
Though your online reviews are impactful on their own, it is always a good idea to maximize the amount of exposure you can get out of them.
Consider using your positive online reviews as testimonials for marketing material. Whether that is on your monthly newsletter, or a section on your website, increasing visibility of positive feedback will make a world of difference.
In the same way that you are constantly nurturing the relationships you have with your patients in person, you can also do the same thing online!
There are many ways you can maximize your value to patients, but ensuring that they trust you and feel like they can communicate their feedback to you will create an environment that is more enticing to potential patients.
Social Media Marketing
Especially when it comes to healthcare, social media can be a tricky channel to master when trying to develop your practice’s marketing strategy.
Here’s a bit of insight to help you make decisions pertaining to how your practice could utilize social media for online reputation management and marketing.
Especially at first, most businesses find that Facebook is the easiest place to start implementing social media content. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of the age demographics on that platform:
- 76% of 18–24-year olds use Facebook
- 84% of 25–30-year olds use Facebook
- 79% of 30–49-year olds use Facebook
- 68% of 50–64-year olds use Facebook
- 46% of 65+ year olds use Facebook
When looking at some of the data surrounding how different groups are using social media when it comes to making healthcare decisions, we see that 86% of people read reviews for local businesses - including 95% of people aged 18-34.
Based on the data above, we see that on average, about 80% of people 18-49 are on Facebook. So, if you know that such large portions of your target audience are all in one place, why not optimize your marketing to include that platform?
The Value of Social Platforms
Though there are certain restrictions that come along with using social media as a healthcare professional (like HIPAA compliance), they can also be a channel that saves you money - not only with marketing, but in customer service as well.
Implementing a chatbot on your website or social accounts will allow you to more efficiently address patients’ questions, and also saves you the cost of hiring additional customer service representatives.
The Bottom Line
Overall, when it comes down to it, social media is a much more effective tool for marketing than it has ever been. The majority of target audiences are on these platforms, which provides a unique opportunity to connect with potential patients and earn their trust early on.
Trust is one of the key aspects of online reputation management, so developing that will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors before they even realize what’s slowing them down.
For more information about online reputation management and managing social media platforms in healthcare, check out the 99MGMT Blog!