More than two-thirds of people (69 percent) search online for businesses at least monthly, according to BrightLocal. Therefore, you might be the best doctor in town, but if your online reputation isn’t great, you’ll have trouble attracting patients.
Online reputation management for doctors involves many different factors. Here’s a look at the components that work together to create your digital standing.
Elements of a doctor’s online reputation
1. Patient reviews
Most consumers (86 percent) read reviews for local businesses, according to BrightLocal. However, more than half (57 percent) will only use a business — like a healthcare practice — with four or more stars.
Clearly, patient reviews are extremely important. If they’re not already part of your online reputation management strategy, it’s time to start focusing on getting satisfied patients to write reviews of your practice.
2. Your doctor website
Nearly two-thirds of small businesses (64 percent) have a website, according to Clutch. If you don’t have a website — or the one you have isn’t great — this can hurt your online reputation.
A professional doctor website boosts your credibility. It also engages and informs prospective patients, enticing them to schedule an appointment. Without this, they might not even know your practice exists.
3. Your provider listings
About half of patients (48.8 percent) read reviews on Google, according to PatientPop. Therefore, it’s important to use Google My Business to boost your online reputation among patients who use the search engine to find health services.
Of course, Google isn’t the only online directory your practice is listed on. Directories like Yelp, WebMD, and Healthgrades are also popular with patients. Therefore, your profiles on these sites need to be complete and contain accurate information about your practice.
4. Your public social media profiles
Approximately seven-in-10 Americans use at least one social media site, according to the Pew Research Center. In addition to using social sites to stay in touch with friends and family, they also want to connect with businesses.
Patients are going to find any public social media profiles you have personally, as well as those maintained for your practice. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you share content regularly and always maintain a professional presence — i.e. no posts about politics or religion.
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5. Articles or research you’ve published
Writing an article on an issue pertinent to your field — or being quoted in one — presents you as an industry expert. This is great for your doctor reputation management because it builds trust.
If patients find articles online with your name on them that are about health issues important to them, they’re going to be impressed. This will make them feel confident in putting their health in your hands.
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6. “Best doctor” roundups
Choosing a new doctor is hard work, so patients value local “best doctor” roundups. Earning a spot on one of these lists can increase your visibility and make you appear more credible.
Reputation management for doctors is all about making patients feel comfortable with your care, so being highlighted as a top provider is a major win. If you’re included on any of these lists, promote it on your website and social media pages.
7. Your doctor blog
A blog is an amazing reputation management tool for doctors. Writing regular posts on topics relevant to your patient base showcases your expertise, positions you as an industry thought leader, and pushes down any negative information about your practice in search results.
Trust is a huge part of reputation management for doctors, and a doctor blog helps you build that with prospective patients. Gaining a loyal following will raise your profile and ultimately bring more patients into your waiting room.
Building and maintaining a positive online reputation is hard work. Many different factors go into doctor reputation management, so you need to commit serious time to the cause.
It certainly requires dedication, but a positive online reputation will have a positive effect on your patient acquisition. If you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.
For more doctor reputation management tips, check out the blog post “Online reputation management for doctors: How to take control.”