The reputation of your practice is a major key to your success now and in the future. Understanding how to build and manage a solid, positive reputation is a necessary skill in the world of healthcare. Using the Internet to create an online identity for you and your practice can help you meet your goals for growth and development of your practice. Allowing your reputation to go unmanaged can be costly, or even dangerous. Here are seven tips to help you build and manage your online reputation and help you achieve your short- and long-term goals.
Pay Attention: Monitor the conversations related to your field of practice so that you can add to your knowledge base. If people are discussing it online, you can bet your patients will be asking you about it when they come in. If you find a topic that is hot, make sure you link to it from your web page, your blog, and on your social media sites so that patients can research the information themselves. You’ll be providing them with important information, and you’ll be establishing your reputation as a reliable source of valuable information.
Find Your Focus: Your area of expertise and experience may be quite well-rounded, but as the old saying goes, “You can’t be all things to all people.” When it comes to your online reputation, the more you can focus the information, the more successful it will be for you. Presenting consistent content and information reinforces to patients - and prospective patients - that you are the person best capable of answering their questions in this area.
Let Your Personality Show: Social media is all about individuality and personality. If your content and style come across too stiff and formal, patients and potential patients will feel put off. Showing your true colors, your humanity, matters as much (and sometimes more) than presenting yourself as an expert. Your reputation should be built on a genuine presentation of yourself and your staff. Patients and potential patients are your audience. You should have a feel for who they are and where their interests lie so that you can provide information that meets their needs even as it continues to build on your reputation.
Honesty is Still the Best Reputation Policy: Your interactions online should always be above board, but especially when they are conducted under your professional banner. Keeping your business transparent, not misrepresenting either your expertise or the services you provide, may seem a simple and easy thing to do. For the most part, it is. As long as you keep your representation of your practice straightforward and honest, your liability is in check and your reputation is secure.
Create a Meaningful Reputation: The information you publish on your social media sites should offer something of value to your patients and potential patients. As you’re building your reputation, you’re building a conversation with those you want to reach out to. Meaningful content opens a dialog between you and your patients or prospective patients. It demonstrates your thoughtfulness and commitment to your field and to your patients, and it reinforces your reputation as an expert in your area.
Egotistic vs. Knowledgeable: Bragging, chest beating, or high-pressured marketing do nothing to benefit your patients or your reputation. It’s great to celebrate achievements, to recognize awards you’ve won, and to call out favorable comments about your practice and your staff. However, heavy-handed marketing or braggadocious content will turn off potential patients and cause them to look elsewhere for their care.
A Conversation Goes Two Ways: Once you begin to post content and build your reputation, you will inevitably get feedback from the people you’ve reached. If someone comments on your content, it’s polite to reply. It’s also a good idea to reach out to other sites and comment on their content as well. This builds your reputation as a good citizen within your digital community. Making connections with other members of your field or specialty opens the dialog further and strengthens your reputation among your colleagues as well as your patients. Building your online reputation requires your participation.
As with most things, quality is always more important than quantity. Establishing yourself as an expert in your area and building your reputation require that you establish and maintain connections in the social media world. With a little research, a little time, and a little practice, you’ll find that your online reputation grows, and you’re attracting new patients through your social media outreach.