7 Ways to Establish Your Online Reputation as a Healthcare Professional
Whether you are a new medical professional trying to make a name for yourself in the healthcare industry or founding a new practice, establishing a reputation is the smartest way to grow your business. Now that virtually everything is online, you should start by building your online reputation.
Here are 7 ways to establish your online reputation as a healthcare professional:
1. Build a Website
First and foremost, you need to build a website that is unique to you as a provider or your practice. The internet is the first place that people search when looking for a doctor, and if you don’t have a credible website it is highly likely that prospective patients will look right past you.
Build a website with a simple name and URL that is comprehensive and easy to remember. The website should include all of your necessary information, including:
- Hours of operation
- Email address
- Phone number
- Social media links
- Appointment scheduler
WARC found that 51% of global internet users access the internet via their phones. Therefore, your site should also be optimized for mobile use, this includes your graphics, widgets, plug-ins, and other interactive elements. Otherwise, mobile-users may get frustrated and bounce from your site without even engaging.
2. Consider Writing Blogs
In order to build your reputation, you first need to get noticed. And in order to get noticed you need to be able to rank highly on popular search engines, such as Google. Blogs are the perfect way to not only show your expertise, but also improve your search engine optimization, or SEO.
What is SEO? Well, when someone searches a word or phrase on a search engine, the engine will scrape websites for information that is relevant, up to date, and referenced by other sites. Websites with the most relevant, updated information for the search are placed at the top of the results page.
For example, if you search for “dentist near me,” Google will show you dentists that are in your area and have the highest and most ratings. Dentists in your area that have few or poor ratings will show up further down the results page or on the second page. And let’s be honest, no one looks past the first page of Google.
So, by establishing a blog page on your website you can create content that not only engages your current audience, but also expands your patient reach.
3. Get Listed on Online Directories
While people will eventually visit your website, that is not where they will see you first. Most people look at trusted online directories first to compare and contrast practices of interest. You must create your listings on all popular online directories, from Google My Business to Healthgrades. These sites not only give potential clients a rundown of your information but they also give them a place to come back to and leave reviews (more on this later).
4. Maintain Consistent Profiles
When creating your listings, make sure that they are all consistent, meaning they feature correct and up to date information. Most listings will require the following information:
- Phone number
- Hours of operation
You should update your listings accordingly when any of this information changes to ensure patients are able to reach you.
5. Leverage Social Media
This probably goes without saying, but you need a social media presence. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube, it is important that you are engaging with your patients.
Why? Well because retaining current clients is a lot cheaper than trying to attract new ones! And social media is the perfect place to share insights into your practice, showcase practitioners, and allow your patients to get to know you better. It also gives you a way to interact with your patients both publicly and privately, such as responding to reviews.
6. Generate Patient Reviews
Speaking of reviews, studies show that 72% of customers won’t make a purchase action until they’ve referenced reviews first. The same idea applies to healthcare practices and practitioners. If someone isn’t willing to purchase a new bike without reading hundreds of reviews, do you think they are willing to go under without getting to know and trust the doctor?
Many practitioners first engage with a patient when they attend their first appointment, however, this isn’t the first time that the patient engages with the practice. Potential clients will often research a provider weeks in advance by browsing their online reviews, social media, and other sites that capture patient feedback.
Another study shows that consumers require a business to have a minimum of 40 reviews before they even take their star rating into consideration. Not to mention, the reviews should be relatively recent.
This is why you need to consistently generate patient reviews to ensure your online reputation accurately captures your present practice. Otherwise, a negative review from years ago may be impacting your current online rating, negatively affecting your appeal. Plus, reviews also boost SEO!
With reputation management software, you can capture patient reviews on the sites that matter most to your practice, such as Google My Business, Vitals.com, Healthgrades, and more.
Expert Reputation automates review link invites that are sent to patients via text or email to capture their reviews immediately as they are leaving their appointment. By getting in front of your patient at this time, you can increase your review generation and patient engagement rate.
7. Be Active in the Community
It is easy to get lost in the sauce when entering the healthcare industry. By being active in your community you can spread brand awareness and ensure people are exposed to and eventually recognize your practice’s name. Consider cross-posting your blogs on peers’ websites, going on podcasts, and joining healthcare groups on social media. While you’re expanding your network you are also increasing the opportunities to get recognized by prospective clients.
Building an online reputation as a healthcare professional is no easy task, so don’t expect it to happen over night. By consistently working on providing engaging content, review generation, and brand exposure you are sure to establish yourself as a leading healthcare professional.