Are they talking about me? What are they saying? Why would they say that!?
Sounds like a flashback to junior high, but you’re probably asking these same questions when you think about what your audience may be saying about your organization online.
Social media comments and posts have an impact on your organization. What one person posts in a review or on social media has the potential to influence dozens or hundreds of others. And, even more critically, the way you choose to respond is equally influential.
This isn’t a new problem, but it’s a continually growing challenge. It’s easy for a disgruntled patient to post a critical comment on Facebook or a negative review on Healthgrades. It’s also easy for that patient to copy and paste the comment on a handful of sites. For your team, it’s a time-consuming effort to find and respond to all of these posts.
But it’s worth the effort. Here’s why you should monitor and respond to online reviews and social media posts:
- You can prevent more negative comments: While it may seem easier to ignore the comments on social media, or at least limit your efforts to a single social platform, not paying attention has its risks. Ignoring comments can allow the negativity to grow. Responding to both the negative and positive comments can help restore the balance.
- You can be part of the conversation: Online comments give you an enormous opportunity to be part of the conversation and tell your story through your actions. This is your chance to demonstrate the human, caring side of your organization by being present and responding with a compassionate and professional tone.
- You can be transparent about your patient experience: Online comments are highly visible, but they’re really the tail end of the problem. To fully address your reputation as an organization, you need to look holistically at your patient experience and transparency. Make sure you know what patient experience challenges your organization is facing. What are the problem areas and hot spots that are about to become the negative comments and one-star reviews? But don’t stop there. Know how your organization is addressing these patient experience concerns — and talk about it. If long wait times at a particular clinic are showing up as a problem on patient satisfaction surveys, consider writing a blog post about how you’re working to fix the situation. (And add a follow-up post when the problem is fixed.)
- You can lead the conversation: Publishing your own physician ratings and reviews are another way to have your voice in the conversation. You already know what your data looks like for your providers, it’s likely to be more positive and greater in volume than the reviews on third-party sites. Publishing this information can be a great move for organizations wanting to demonstrate increased transparency, be a first-mover in their market, set the tone of the conversation, or just boost their search performance and conversion numbers.
- You can watch your competitors: It’s not just your reputation that’s visible online, your competitors are there as well. The public nature of these review offers a huge opportunity for competitive intelligence and benchmarking. What are consumers saying about the clinic down the street? What does this tell you about what they value? How might you build on that to differentiate your services?
Monitoring your online reputation enables you to respond to patients’ comments and concerns, improve the experience delivered at your organization, and gain competitive information. A holistic approach to online reputation is an essential component of a healthcare organization’s marketing strategy.
Are you monitoring your reputation online? What are you finding most challenging? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
For more information on how you can utilize online rating and reviews to promote your physicians, download our eBook: Online Physician Promotion for the Healthcare Marketer.