Even the best organisations will have the odd disgruntled patient, employee or other stake holder; unfortunately that’s the nature of being in a health service industry. However, now with the proliferation of the internet, these disgruntled stakeholders can air their views even further than ever before, whether their comments are legitimate or not.
A lot of dental practices still seem to keep their heads in the sand with regards to online reputation management. Practices sometimes do not quite understand that it’s better to be proactive and manage your reputation before experiencing negativity, which will very much soften the blow, in comparison to panicking and it becoming a major issue after the event.
Here are some tips to manage the online reputation of your dental practice:
Claim your social media profiles. You may not use all of them regularly, but at least if you claim your profiles across all social networking sites, no one else can.
Furthermore, claiming your profiles can be beneficial to get your content ranked highly. This is known as parasite hosting. Social networking sites will pass their authority on to you, making it more likely that your content will be ranked.
Choose a couple of social networking sites which you would be happy to update on a regular basis- there’s nothing worse than a social networking site which is only ever updated once every couple of months. You can use these updates to create a friendly, approachable persona which interacts regularly with members of the local community, which if done well, will see your reputation soar.
It’s a good idea to have a social media policy in place, so that employees know what is and isn’t considered acceptable online behaviour in relation to the practice. If you’re unsure of what this policy should include, there are lots available online and it’s worth speaking to your colleagues in the industry for their input.
It’s always a good idea to buy a few versions of your domain name, you wouldn’t want a competitor to be using www.dentist.com when you own www.dentist.co.uk. This is not only confusing for patients but could also damage your reputation, if the competitor doesn’t have a great reputation either.
There’s no way around the issue, online reviews are part of the internet’s culture and they can either help with your reputation enormously, or they can have a very detrimental effect. Unfortunately, those patients who have had a negative experience are more likely to leave a damaging review than someone who had a good experience leaving a glowing one. So, rather than waiting for the reviews to come to you, why don’t you garner them yourself?
Using services such as dentist finder you can actually send out review requests to your patients, which will encourage good reviews and if you do have a bad review left by a patient, all of the good ones you receive will flush out the negative effect and so the negative one will be seen as one bad egg.
Furthermore, you can enhance your reputation further by responding to any negativity in a positive manner. Some patients are so pleased with the way that a negative experience is turned around that they are more likely to visit the practice and tell their friends!
This blog has simply scratched the service on ways to protect your online reputation, if you would like further information about this, or anything else to do with online marketing for your practice give Dental Design a call on 01202 677 277 who will be happy to help you.