How to Use Social Marketing and Online Reputation Management to Boost Your Practice

As a health professional, you’re no stranger to hard work and long hours. But what if I told you that there was a simple way to make extra money from home? Would you consider switching careers? Perhaps you could become an online reputation manager (ORM) or social marketer. Why? Believe it or not, doing work from home can be a lucrative and fulfilling option. For example, you could connect with companies that need marketing help, or you could take on clients who want to improve their online image.

The Rise of Online Reputation Management

Healthcare is a busy field. Between hospitals, dental clinics, and nursing homes, there are always patients to see, labs to run, and surgeries to perform. But, if there’s one place that doesn’t want to be bothered with their reputation, it’s the doctor’s office. Especially with the push for better healthcare and lower costs, practices have become exceptionally wary of patients’ reviews. If you’re in private practice and want to make sure that your patients aren’t posting negative reviews about you, you’re somewhat relieved to know that you can hire an ORM to manage your online reputation.

Odds are, you’ve heard of Dr. Larry Edwards. He’s been in the news a lot lately. The renowned cardiologist and CEO of Heart Physicians of Orlando, Edwards has been reprimanded by the American College of Physicians (ACP) and Florida Board of Medicine (FBM) for misusing controlled substances while treating patients. For example, Edwards allegedly prescribed Suboxone for a cardiology patient who was also an opioid user. Even more egregious is that Edwards reportedly prescribed a different opioid to another patient who was also an opioid abuser. To make matters worse, Edwards reportedly prescribed a pain medication to an infant, also an opioid. Edwards has been ordered to surrender his medical license.

The Importance of Online Reputation Management

For healthcare providers, especially those in private practice who rely heavily on word of mouth to bring in new patients, online reputation management is a must. With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that healthcare providers are turning to online channels to clean up their reputations. Consider the fact that 69% of internet users are likely to read reviews before visiting a business or brand, and 55% are likely to read reviews about healthcare providers. It’s clear that if you want to increase your healthcare practice’s visibility and grow your list of patients, you need to be paying close attention to your online reputation.

Why should you care about your online reputation? Consider the fact that patients who search for doctors using highly specific keywords have a 7% chance of visiting a specific practice compared to a 3% chance for patients who use less targeted phrases. The takeaway? Targeted patients are more likely to be happy with their healthcare experience, and that’s the type of person you want to attract to your practice.

How to Become an Online Reputation Manager

If you’re interested in exploring the lucrative world of ORM, there are a few routes you can take. You can get a degree in marketing or public relations, then find a job in a marketing agency. Or, you can get a job as a healthcare social media manager, where you’ll be responsible for creating and monitoring social media accounts for doctors, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. Finally, you can start up your own agency, where you’ll do everything from handle client relations to plan marketing campaigns and manage online reputations. For more information, check out these resources:

  • The Digital Marketing & Social Media Specialization
  • The Digital Marketing & Social Media Certificate
  • The Digital Marketing & Social Media Agility Certificate
  • The Certified Digital Marketing & Social Media Specialization
  • The Certified Digital Marketing & Social Media Agility Certificate

The Difference Between Healthcare Social Media Management and Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is all about getting people to come to your business or brand. You’ll create ads that people might find interesting, then you’ll measure the results of your campaign to determine its’ success. For example, maybe you ran an ad campaign for a car that you think is pretty cool. You’ll measure how many people have clicked on the ad, then from there you can assume that a certain portion of those people will be interested in trying out your car. So you’ll have a good idea of how effective the campaign was in getting people to think of your brand. Healthcare social media management, on the other hand, is much more focused on establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. This means that you’ll be creating and curating content to increase your practice’s expertise in the eyes of your target audience. You’ll also be using social media to promote your practice, educate your audience about your specialty, and engage with your followers.

Additionally, healthcare social media marketing is highly regulated. That means that companies pay close attention to their online reputation, and take steps to ensure that their brands and representatives don’t come off as malign. Finally, healthcare social media marketing is often treated as a commodity. This is mainly because there’s so much competition in a fairly saturated market. Which leads us to our next point…

The Rise of Professional Online Reputation Management Services

It’s no secret that the medical community has been slow to adopt new technologies. As doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers become more accustomed to using social media, online reputation management services have followed suit. As a result, there are now a variety of services specifically designed for medical professionals. If you’re interested in exploring the world of ORM, consider these professional services which may be able to help you.

Find the Right Platform

Before you create or manage any content, you’ll need to decide which social media platforms you’ll be using. There are a variety of pros and cons to each, so think about what you want from the platform, then choose the one that best serves your needs.

For example, if you want to create a community for healthcare practitioners, you might want to try out platforms like LinkedIn, which lets you create groups and discussions topics that are specific to your industry. If you’re looking for a more traditional approach, you could try out Google+ or Facebook.

Also, keep in mind that the content you create on one platform might not carry over to another. While it’s great to build an audience on several platforms, you might find that some audiences don’t want to be engaged with on certain social media sites. This makes it even more important to find the right platform for the content you want to create.

Build A Following

Now that you have a direct line to the readers of your target audience, you can start to build a following. Create content consistently, and eventually, you’ll start to see your following grow. Remember, you’re creating content to attract and retain your audience. So, be sure to tailor your content to resonate with your followers. Additionally, some platforms like Instagram allow you to engage with your audience through interactive tools like video contests and polls. The key to thriving as a healthcare social media manager? Be original. Be helpful. Be consistent. And, don’t forget to have fun.