“Drill baby, drill!” might be a rallying cry at the Republican National Convention, but you’ll never hear it chanted in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. That is why dentists need reputation management. At a certain point in your career as a dentist, you’ve probably realized that people are scared of those medieval tools that you stick into our mouth. But we suck it up for a twice yearly visit in the hope of still having teeth when we’re living in a retirement community in South Florida.
Being a caring and sensitive dentist will not only get you repeat business, but will get you talked about in person and online. Of course, if you act like Steve Martin in “Little Shop of Horrors”, people will also be talking about you, but we’re going to focus on the superstars — not the sadists. With this knowledge, you have to take the good with the bad and acknowledge that patients will not only praise your excellent staff and cheerful waiting room, but they’ll also discuss your “off” days as well. Managing your online reputation and what your patients are saying about you is essential to growing your business and attracting new patients.
Below are some tips on managing your personal and professional online identities to enhance your business and reputation.
1. Social media matters. While Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are powerful ways to connect with friends, family and even attract new patients, create a separate profile for your business and your personal life. Your friends don’t want to hear about the latest advances in fighting gingivitis and your patients don’t want to hear about your trip to Costa Rica. Encourage new and old patients to “like” your business pages and offer promotions for teeth whitening, “invisible” braces and other cosmetic procedures to build your practice.
2. Network with colleagues. Becoming active on a site WebDental and Dental Companion will allow you to use social media to connect with established colleagues, and meet and mentor new ones. You can network with other dental experts to share knowledge and discuss difficult cases, and even discuss practice management techniques.
3. Google yourself. Set up Google alerts to tell you the minute someone mentions your name online. This will give you the opportunity to hear what your patients are saying about you, and help you take control quickly if there are negative things spreading online. Also, monitor doctor ratings sites like HealthcareReviews.com or RateMDs.com to find out how you rank against your competitors.
4. Build a website and blog. There are a number of free programs such as WordPress or Blogger to help you easily build your own website, without knowing any code. Create a website to showcase your practice areas, education and subject matter expertise. It’s an easy way to create a positive online image and gain new patients and referrals. Companies like Reputation Rhino can quickly create a blog on your existing website or create a new, professionally-designed website to generate more leads and referrals.
5. Hire the best online reputation management company. A reputation management company will elevate positive content and minimize the impact of negative content. Beware of firms that guarantee they will remove a negative post. Search engine algorithms are closely guarded secrets and change frequently. However, certain fundamental online and search marketing techniques have proven successful in helping doctors overcome online defamation – that is what a “white hat” online reputation management firm will bring to the table.