Reputation is the face of any business, whether a greenhorn or a seasoned master. For a dental practice, reputation is the power to attract new and retain existing patients providing them with a constant sense of value and quality.
This, in turn, means the business goes where its clients go.
So in today’s era, when the most number of clients are looking for dental solutions online (a whopping 77%), one can easily assume that business reputation is no more on the billboard stilts but on the digital highways.
Online Reputation Management for businesses can be done in two radically different ways. One is the old traditional method of offline reputation management involving print media and in-person marketing. What we will focus on in our discussion here is the novel mode of reputation management—the online or digital mode.
The broad canvas of the internet, with its extensive reach and formidable tools, is the basic armory that a business deals with while pitching to build its reputation online. In the case of a dental practice, dentists are almost always great conversationalists at the chairside.
A lot of things you do intuitively when you deal with people in person can be emulated by the internet with its abundant and insightful resources. So in digital marketing, the internet will tell you whom to talk to, how to talk, what to talk to, and when to talk.
When you are ‘present’ online, you are making yourself available to answer the questions posed by your existing and prospective clients on the same platform where they are asking questions, thus inspiring confidence.
Let us run through some of the very basic digital tools that you need to sit up and take note of in the process of building an online reputation:
Website and SEO
Your face on the internet, undeniably, is your website. The more your website talks, the better; the more it details your services and crew, the better. Now that you have a website, you should know how to land at the top of Google search results.
It is known that netizens wouldn’t be so patient to search through massive quantities of data or scroll through tens of pages to check all the thousands of search returns.
This is where Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, comes into play. These are a set of techniques used to ‘optimize’ your site, meaning push up the ranking of your site and help it appear somewhere on the top in the search results. SEO is a specialized field, so you could hire an SEO specialist or contact an SEO company to do the job for you.
A digitally smart practice will have its offices on all major social media sites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Not only will it make your business more reachable, but being listed on interactive pages will add credibility to your enterprise.
Managing online reviews
Apart from the website and social media landings, it is very possible that your patient Googling for dental health services may find you listed on what are called review sites. These aggregators channel reviews on businesses and products and help people share their experiences.
These experiences help other people make decisions and choices about the same services. Simply speaking, it is just the online version of referrals. Positive reviews from genuine handles will boost your image and fuel business prospects. There could be negative reviews, which are opportunities to address a patient’s discontent or disappointment. So we suggest responding to them positively, taking them as constructive criticism, and addressing them wherever possible. It’s worthwhile remembering that a considerable number of positive reviews can outweigh a few negative ones. The more popular and reliable review aggregators also let you embed the review on your site, further lending you credibility.
Engage and interact on social media sites.
Landing on the social web is a good start. But to build a presence and following and truly leverage the reach of the very powerful internet, you need to keep talking to your clients constantly and creatively.
Regularly posting and sharing relevant materials online increases your reach. Several easy-to-use analytics tools can be employed to monitor the reach and acceptance of each of your posts. If you encounter any negative feedback, respond positively, and most of all, never argue. The internet is forever, and each and everything you do online is there to stay forever. Maintaining a consistent and pleasant attitude with your audience will boost your ratings.
Having a well-maintained and active blog
You must know by now that people today lookup for dental solutions and not mere services. Most people Google to find out why they have a particular pain or problem. The barrier-free access to concurrent and abundant information has changed the cyberscape into a knowledge-based interaction forum where the right information wields immense power.
If your practice has a blog that regularly supplies informative content, it will naturally become a favorite haunt. People will find solutions for the ‘problems’ bothering them, and once they do that from one of your blogs, your chances of becoming their solution or service provider rise manifold.
A well-updated blog not only shows off your passion for the field and your willingness to share knowledge, but it can also feature services your practice offers. It could also become a forum to discuss the need for appropriate dental care. More importantly, this is a place where you can freely use words. Remember the SEO? If you can use the right words to describe your business and services, your blog could hold a lot of content that can potentially channel traffic to your site.
Reputation management campaign through social media, emails, and newsletters
To let your current customers and viable prospects know about the various services you offer, you could use online promotional and email campaigns. Creative, well-designed campaigns can route immense traffic to your website and boost your services. Newsletters with the latest offers, news in dentistry, and informative shareable will keep you live in public memory.
There are many ways to make an impact online, of which the above are just a few. The basic takeaways are that you stay relevant and engaging online. At the end of the day, it boils down to creating a genuine online presence that reflects and upholds your practice’s core values, thus becoming your face.