More than two-thirds of people (69 percent) search online for businesses at least monthly, according to BrightLocal. And think about before you go out to a new restaurant or visit a new attraction– you look up their website and reviews to get a preview of what to expect. Nowadays, searching for a doctor or personal health service is no different. Therefore, you might be the best doctor in town, but if your online reputation isn’t great, you’ll have trouble attracting patients.
When it comes to searching for a doctor online, our latest patient survey revealed that 71.9 percent of patients rely on reviews. Then, as patients peruse your practice’s reviews, the feedback they see weighs heavily into their decision-making. That’s why many practices consider their reputation management a key marketing component to help drive patient acquisition and long-term practice growth.
Online reputation management for doctors involves many different factors. From asking for reviews to monitoring and responding to reviews, here’s a look at the components that work together to create your strong digital presence.
Read more: The doctor’s guide to responding to patient reviews and other online feedback
Elements of a doctor’s online reputation
1. Patient reviews
Most consumers (98 percent) at least ‘occasionally’ read reviews for local businesses, according to BrightLocal. And 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. Explore tools available that will automate this process for you and help take your online reputation to another level.
Check out: The dos and don’ts of patient reviews for healthcare practices
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, this can hurt your on and offline reputation because patients can’t find you in the mix of others. Plus, some people think if a business is not online, it is not a real business. Consider your website as online real estate, and take advantage of having a digital space to showcase your expertise and practice.
A professional doctor website also boosts your credibility. And it engages and informs prospective patients, enticing them to schedule an appointment. Without this, they might not even know your practice exists.
Also see: 7 signs it’s time to upgrade your healthcare website
3. Your provider listings
More than half of patients (69 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 where your practice is listed. 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. Take the time to make sure your address, phone number, and practice hours are consistent across all listings so that no matter how a prospective patient searches, they are able to find you and contact you.
Read: Why local business directories matter for healthcare marketing
4. Your public social media profiles
social media site. In addition to using social media to stay in touch with friends and family, they also want to connect with their favorite companies and businesses.
When searching online, chances are patients will find any public social media profiles you have personally and 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 on your practice profiles. The best way to control who sees your personal profiles and posts is to edit your sharing settings, or make them completely private.
Healthcare social media 101: Getting started with social media marketing for practices
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 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. You should continue to share links to the article on your social media, in an email newsletter and keep them posted on your website. Because the more places you share, the likelihood it will reach people outside of your usual network, and you gain new readers and patients.
How do I become a healthcare thought leader?: 7 tips for doctors
6. “Best doctor” roundups
Choosing a new doctor is a tough decision, 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 posts regularly 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. Your blog posts are a catalog of your thoughts and expertise for others to learn from. 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.”
What should you do next?
- Schedule a free PatientPop demo.
- Measure your online performance using our free scanner.
- Check out 5 doctors who are killing it on social media right now