Much of what we see online seems too good to be true. Images are edited, credentials are padded, and positive reviews are attached to fishy accounts. When every doctor has the ability to narrate their own web presence, it’s hard for patients to separate fact from fiction.
If you want to attract new patients, you need to create an online reputation that earns their trust. Here are a few ways your online reputation can prove your healthcare practice is the real deal.
5 tips to build an authentic web presence
1. Showcase your real office space and staff
When searching for a healthcare provider, 43.6 percent of patients use the practice website to form an opinion about them, according to a 2019 PatientPop survey. This is your opportunity to offer a genuine look inside your practice, so take advantage of it.
Share pictures of your office space — such as your waiting room, exam room, and building exterior — to show new patients exactly where they will be treated. Also, include provider bios and staff photos on your “About us” page. The ability to put a face to a name will enhance your credibility and your practice’s online reputation overall.
Learn more: 5 pages your medical website needs
2. Embrace negative patient reviews
Reasonable patients don’t expect your online reputation and reviews to be completely flawless. You’re only human, and pleasing all patients all the time is virtually impossible.
In fact, people will likely become suspicious if every last one of your patient reviews is positively glowing. An effective online reputation management strategy is leaving negative reviews intact and providing a polite response shows you’re an honest provider who truly cares about patient satisfaction.
Most people (89 percent) read local businesses’ responses to reviews, according to BrightLocal. Therefore, your gracious reply can actually outweigh a negative review and boost your practice’s online reputation in the process.
3. Use blog posts to highlight your expertise
Prove your polished website isn’t just smoke and mirrors by starting a blog. This will add depth to your site while positioning you as a thought leader in your field.
Choose topics important to your patient base — perhaps by seeking inspiration from commonly-asked questions — and address them in a manner that’s easy for people to understand. Not only will this put your expertise on display and help your online reputation as a skilled physician, but it will also help you rank higher in search results.
Post new blog content on a consistent basis to keep it relevant. After a while, you’ll amass a collection of posts that will highlight the extent of your knowledge and build a strong foundation for your online reputation.
Learn more: Why healthcare providers aren’t blogging — and why they should be
4. Create an engaging social media presence
Almost 80 percent of Americans have a social media profile, according to Statista. Data from the Pew Research Center revealed 69 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook and 37 percent are on Instagram. This means that many of your patients are social media users.
Connect with new patients by maintaining an active social media presence. Humanize your practice by posting original content, replying to comments, and sharing other information you think your followers would find interesting.
Check out: The 10 best doctor accounts on Instagram
5. Be consistent across all web profiles
Having a comprehensive website is a crucial component of a trustworthy online reputation, but don’t stop there. If your other practice and provider profiles — i.e., Google, other search engines, maps, and healthcare and local directories — are incomplete or contain conflicting information, this could hurt your online reputation and make you appear less legitimate.
Avoid this by taking careful measures to claim important online profiles and complete them with consistent information. Sharing the same practice and provider details across the board will boost your credibility and your practice’s online reputation.
When searching for a new provider, it can be difficult for patients to know who they can trust. People want to receive care from an honest provider whose web presence accurately portrays the patient experience. Your online reputation and reviews play a huge role in establishing credibility for your practice, so make sure you’re showing something genuine.
Now that you’ve created a believable web presence, it’s important patients can find your practice in online search results. Check out the blog post “5 reasons new patients aren’t finding your practice online” for more information.