Last week, Kevin Pho, MD, founder of Kevin MD, presented an interesting webinar, Define Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Approach, where he talked about why and how physicians should manage their online reputation. The presentation was packed with great information and anecdotes. Afterwards, many attendees had great questions. Here, Dr. Pho answers a few of the most common questions participants had.
Q: Does paid advertising with services like Yelp improve your rankings on online search or increase your chance at positive reviews?
A: Paid advertising may help improve your search rankings and even drive some traffic to your website but it probably won’t increase positive reviews. The best thing for getting more reviews is to encourage your patients to post reviews after their visits.
Q: How can you increase positive reviews?
A: The best way to increase positive reviews is encourage your patients to submit reviews. You can do this when you interact in person or through follow up after a visit. Some tools like Demandforce and ZocDoc allow you to send a follow up text or email with a link to leave a review. Handing our cards that ask for reviews with links can work as well.
Q: How do you deal with negative reviews?
A: First, listen to the reviews. Often negative reviews provide feedback you can use to improve your practice. Let the reviewer know that you want to fix the problem. If it is specific to the patient, take it offline. Ask the patient to contact the clinic, so you can handle the situation privately. If it is more general, you can respond when you’ve made a change or addressed it. The key is to take the feedback seriously and work to make improvements. If you work to get patients to give you those good reviews, then a few negative reviews won’t have a huge impact. Try to avoid getting into a battle with a patient online or through legal means. This can just make the situation worse.
Q: What if the review is truly false?
A: If it is truly false, some services will allow you to dispute and may remove it. Again, I’d recommend avoiding a battle online. Legal action should be considered an absolute last resort. Such measures can cause you to get more negative publicity, and worsen your online reputation. Try to let it go if you can.
Q: I feel uncomfortable using a site like Facebook, but I would like to network with other physicians. Is there a tool for that or a way to use social media just for that?
A: If you are only ready to interact with your peers right now, you can use secure physician only networking sites like Sermo and Doximity. LinkedIn is also more for professional networking.
Q: How do I update my information on sites like Healthgrades or Vitals?
A: Each site has its own process. You generally have to claim your information and then you can update it. It is important to do this so that you can ensure your information is accurate.
Q: How can I improve my rankings for local searches like cardiologist in XX city?
A: One of the best ways to ensure you get good rankings in local searches is to be sure that your practice name, specialty, and location are on every page of your website, blog, and social media in exactly the same way. Also, claim and update as many listings as possible. There is some good information on search engine optimization, including local searches, in this guide from Kareo.