Johnny Depp has worked hard to develop his “bad boy” reputation. But what works in Hollywood doesn’t have quite the same punch in business, and especially not in healthcare.
With 91 percent of people trusting what they read in search engine results, building a solid online reputation for your healthcare organization is paramount.
Why Reputation Matters
Online reputation management is currently affecting healthcare brands in three ways, all of which need to be managed carefully if you want to benefit from a robust digital presence, focus on these three things:
Building Trust with Reviews
In the past, a provider’s reputation depended mainly on word of mouth. Now, growth in online reviews on social media and rating/review sites has taken on a life of its own. The reputation of any size provider can be made or broken with a single negative comment, article or review, organizations, so it’s vital to address all reviews provided.
Engaging with Patients
When patients believe their questions and concerns are being heard and efforts made to resolve them, research shows improvements in their online reputation and credibility. Managing patient feedback enables healthcare organizations to act quickly when they discover negative issues, as well as to encourage patients who leave positive feedback and turn them into advocates for the brand.
A recent Accenture study shows healthcare organizations with good patient experience ratings increased patient acquisition to the point of showing a 50 percent higher net margin than others. By building their online reputations and developing an image of value-based care, healthcare organizations can also achieve higher patient retention and improve revenue.
Ideally, don’t wait until your reputation is in the proverbial tatters before you act. The five steps to follow begin with conducting an audit to determine exactly how users see your business. Find out what’s being said about you out there and by whom, and devise a response strategy.
Implementing a Reputation Management Strategy
Building your online reputation begins with the basics:
- Start with getting your website in order so it’s visually impressive and provides a simple, intuitive patient experience. Create or refresh your brand so it’s distinctive, and research appropriate keywords to use in your content. Include useful technologies such as a patient portal or e-commerce capabilities.
- Take advantage of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which are valuable tools for reaching your audience. Many professional healthcare organizations hesitate to take advantage of the huge traffic social platforms can drive to their websites. If the President can tweet, so can you, so get active in your area of healthcare and build up a profile that shows your expertise.
- Sign up for online reputation alerts whenever your organization is mentioned. Review every comment posted and respond promptly, or appoint someone to handle it for you. Avoid getting drawn into arguments online, but apologize publicly and take the conversation offline to resolve. This helps maintain patient privacy, too. Thank commenters for positive reviews and be sure to use these on your website’s testimonials page and share them on social media.By following these steps you’ll create an online image of a reliable, tech-savvy organization that cares about patients, exists in the same virtual locations as users, and is responsive to both criticism and praise. And beating that is hard to do.For more information about building your online reputation, please contact Wax Custom Communications at 305-350-5700 or visit waxcom.com.
 Pew Research Center
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