Making Reputation Marketing a Priority
What ONE FACTOR can make or break ALL other marketing strategies?
Without a doubt, Reputation Marketing has become the single most important strategy that any business can implement. The game changing events that have recently occurred in the online marketing world now make your reputation more important than ever. Traditional forms of online and off-line marketing such as SEO, pay per click, social media, print ads, TV ads, and many more are no longer effective UNLESS you have a 5-star reputation.
There are a lot of companies that offer reputation management services but that alone is simply not effective because it doesn’t get the phone ringing. Management is a very defensive position whereby marketing is a very offensive position. Reputation management is mainly the process involved with tracking and monitoring a company’s presence or reputation and does not take a proactive approach to creating a five-star reputation and then leveraging that reputation. You don’t make money by managing. You make money by marketing.
How Reputation Management and Marketing Can Protect and Improve Your Online Reputation and Patient Reviews
The Importance of Managing Your Reputation and Patient Reviews for Your Practice
People, products and companies today all have two brands – online and off. The problem with this is that the online brand may or may not sync with their offline marketing messages. User generated media, blogs and discussion forums are changing the flow of information about your business and practice forever.
The healthcare industry is an industry, and must know and adhere to the same marketing principles and strategy as any other in the business community. Though medical professionals perform a valuable and necessary public service they are still working in a for-profit industry, and therefore must rely on the same online marketing techniques in order to remain competitive. This can include anything from a professionally-designed medical practice website to an active online presence via social media marketing. A new emphasis on reputation management is essential.
The Problem and Risk of Doing Nothing
The more a doctor or other medical professional exposes him/herself online, regardless of the format, the more they are at risk from the damage often incurred by online negativity. A negative blog post, social media blurb or doctor review can wreak immense havoc on a doctor’s online reputation, leaving a blemish on what otherwise may have been a spotless online image. Neglecting online negativity, i.e. letting a negative comment or review fester in the online community, can have detrimental, even devastating effects on a medical professionals online reputation, serving only to destroy credibility and erode the public’s trust.
Listings that are potentially damaging to your online reputation hurt your credibility and will make you lose potential business every day, especially if these listings are for you or your company’s name.
If you “Googled” your name right now, what would you see?
Maybe a recently laid-off employee has some unfavorable opinions about you or your practices’ management. Perhaps an unhappy patient has secretly been targeting you in consumer review websites. Or maybe you are a high-profile individual with an unfortunate past legal incident that just won’t seem to go away.
High-ranking negative listings may become stronger over time and many of them are full of User-Generated Content submitted anonymously and, therefore, protected from deletion. Depending on the type of potentially damaging listing, it could rise quickly in Search Engine Results and it is vital that you take quick action. So how can you repair your online reputation and bring it back under your control?
The Solution is to Be Proactive
A strong online reputation management strategy, one that proactively addresses bad reviews, negative comments and other unwarranted attacks, can be a medical professionals best friend, allowing them to not only maintain a successful medical practice, but also to continue to provide what the healthcare society depends on to survive. Making reputation management an integral part of your social media marketing strategy can do wonders for your reputation, your practice and the consumers you serve.
An effective social media strategy can help you promote your practice, as well as meet social media negativity head on, effectively eliminating its impact on your image. The anonymous nature of the internet facilitates the proliferation of negativity, allowing nearly anyone to post a negative comment without recourse or consequence. Consumers are far more likely to post something negative than positive, outnumbering positive commenters nearly 2-to-1! The difference between truth and fiction is often incredibly blurred and distorted, and one negative comment can sometimes become nagging, perpetual headache for a practicing physician.
While social media is often a useful marketing tool for physicians, its high visibility makes it an equally powerful tool for dissenters and naysayers, regardless of a comment’s accuracy.
Social media sites like:
Facebook – www.facebook.com
Instagram – www.instagram.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com
and others, can just as easily be used by unhappy consumers, former employees and competitors in a negative way, often times sullying and in some instances may completely ruin a reputation. It’s important to maintain an active social media presence as part of medical professional’s online reputation management strategy, discovering and addressing negative posts before they become a real issue. Every practice must have active participation in sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, as well as an active blog, to harness in your online story and begin to control your reputation.
STEP ONE: MAKE ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT A PRIORITY
You may consider the management of your professional online information reputation time-consuming and tedious, perhaps even irrelevant to your primary purpose. A commitment to online reputation management, however, is extremely important, particularly for medical professionals who face the constant threats of dissatisfied consumers, disgruntled former employees and the ongoing spread of negative and potentially libelous online information. Developing a social media marketing strategy that involves diligent and tenacious reputation management can help to not only save your reputation, but protect it for the duration of your practice.
Provide places for your consumers to address their concerns directly to you and/or your practice.
By providing an avenue for dissatisfied consumers on your practice’s website, and by effectively linking your site to your social media page, you are giving people a better and more productive way to express their opinions.
Monitor doctor review sites.
Make periodic checks on your info on popular consumer sites, such Vitals, Yelp and others to ensure your contact and website information are always up-to-date. Find a good way to encourage satisfied consumers to leave positive feedback and 5-star ratings on the review sites that rank high on Google when your name or the name of your practice is searched. It’s also important to offer reviewers the opportunity to discuss their concerns outside of the public arena. Make as many attempts as possible to provide visible and accurate contact information.
Consult with an Online Reputation Management Company (ORM)
An ORM company can often help a medical professional develop a comprehensive reputation management approach; one that not only makes the best use of positive content, but that also effectively monitors the web for any new or existing presence of negatively, potentially harmful information. Professional reputation management firms are often an inexpensive and effective management option; one that understands how to minimize negativity and maximize positive consumer visibility.
STEP TWO: MONITOR REVIEW SITES
Image devastation can also come in the form of negative comments and poor ratings on popular online doctor review sites, such as:
Yelp – www.yelp.com
Healthgrades – www.healthgrades.com
Vitals – www.vitals.com
ZocDoc – www.zocdoc.com
Online reviews of doctors are often the first and most trusted sources of information by people searching for a physician online. Over 25% of all potential consumers rely on online reviews to select a healthcare professional. Though this may be a lower percentage than those that rely on online reviews to select auto repair or haircut services, it is still a significant number, representing a quarter of potential consumers. One negative review, particularly a vehement or overly negative review, has the potential to scare away a hefty portion of potential business. Consumer reliance on healthcare review sites is an important thing to factor in to any online marketing and reputation strategy. With proper knowledge, monitoring and use of these sites, a doctor has the potential to once again face negativity before it has the opportunity to become a lasting scar on their reputation.
Like it or not, doctor review sites like Yelp, Healthgrades and Vitals play an increasingly important part in the doctor selection process, often leaving medical professionals at a loss as to how exactly to cope with the potential onslaught on online negativity. This “Yelpification” of healthcare, according to Medical Economics writer Donna Marbury, can also have the potential to create severe misidentification issues, often times leading to the confusion of one doctor for another. Some physicians, she states, have become discouraged by doctor review sites simply because a consumer will often times confuse them with another, perhaps less-reputable physician, and that often times a doctor’s contact listing will be inaccurate or out-of-date, hurting their potential for more business.
Review sites also tend to receive prominence on sites like Google, often popping up near the top of ranking pages. As a result, a consumer’s search often reveals review sites first, directing them towards a potential plethora of negative online activity and an almost immediately leaving an indelibly negative and lasting imprint in their mind.
STEP THREE: DEVELOP AND PROMOTE NEW CONTENT REGULARLY
This strategy of “inoculation” is a useful technique to create and/or promote positive listings that push negative listings “down” in the SERPs, as you cannot often remove the negative listings.
Your articles and news releases that should include photos and vidoes should be submitted to all your Social Media in both personal network sites:
Facebook – www.Facebook.com
Instagram – www.instagram.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com
and Professional Networks sites
LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com
Wiki articles – Wikipedia – www.wikipedia.com