Doctors are busy, that’s a fact. They also live in the information age where social connections are greater than ever. Many people perform online research before they do most anything. From figuring out what tissue paper to best to which car to buy, looking up informationabout products and services has become a nearly universal habit.
Finding information and recommendations about medical service providers follows the same pattern. At least one in five people seeking a physician will look them up online.
Another two out of those five will seek recommendations from friends and family who may or may not have found their information online. With this intricate web of reviews and recommendations both online and offline, MDs simply cannot ignore the fact that they must become more social media savvy.
What Does Google Say About You?
The first step is to find out the state of your online reputation. This requires ‘Googling’ yourself. It’s what anyone interested in your services does anyway. They’ll look up your name on google.com or other search engines and read up on reviews, tweets, public Facebook posts and any other information about you.
When you search your name or practice, look out for the following:
- What positive or negative reviews about you are out there? And on which websites do they appear?
- Do third-party websites that have information about you? Is this information accurate?
- Are there any blogs that have written about you or your practice? What are they saying?
Once you have an idea of what your online reputation looks like, go a step further. Search for your name directly in Twitter.com and on medical review websites. These results may not always show up on Google searches, but they do exist.
Once you’ve completed your searches and taken inventory of the results, you should give you a good picture of how things stand.
Are You On Social Media?
Medical practitioners today cannot ignore the influence of social media. Social media allows doctors to reach potential new patients and announce new treatments and services you offer. Social media can also affect your website’s search rankings. Two of the most influential social media websites are Facebook and Twitter.
When starting with Facebook, create a public figure profile (different from your personal profile) or a business page for your medical practice. Share your own information and content from influential websites. For Twitter, register your Twitter handle (or username) for yourself or your practice. Start following influential people in your industry and tweet about current events related to your specialty and your practice. Share new information and interact with your followers on an ongoing basis.
As a health care provider, you must be proactive when it comes to your online reputation. You cannot be passive when third parties (review sites, past patients, third-party information sites, etc.) are already creating content about you and your practice.
Becoming social media savvy means taking charge of your online reputation and choosing to decide what image and perception people experience when they look for you online.