People not only follow healthcare organizations’ social media profiles,they trust them. Although it was hardly available even ten years ago, social networking has grown to be a major marketing platform for cultivating relationships. Every day, millions of consumers attend trusted networks to collaborate and share experiences; healthcare brands are capitalizing on the opportunity to communicate with this audience.
From social media profiles to review websites, new digital channels give full power to word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, a poll by QuantiaMD reveals 65% of physicians have switched from traditional advertising to using social media marketing to connect and engage with potential patients. Perhaps itas because 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 14% trust advertisements.
Hospitals on Google+?
The reality is patients are more frequently referring to online reviews when researching potential physicians. In fact, a 2012 study by the PEW Research Center reports that one in five Internet users consults online reviews of doctors or healthcare facilities. Popular websites for physician reviews include vitals.com and healthgrades.com, while healthcare facilities are typically reviewed on Google+ Local. Unfortunately, as revealed in the same report, only 3-4 percent of Internet users are posting the reviews, and in many cases, it is the unsatisfied patient that decides to share his or her poor experience.
Three Reasons to Seek Online Reviews
1. Dilute negative feedback: The most compelling reason to seek reviews is to effectively control your reputation, especially if your brand is currently suffering from a sea of negative reviews. Patients are taking the time to look up online physician and healthcare facility reviews; asking for your current patients to provide their own feedback gives you the opportunity to take a proactive stance and influence customers and control your online material. 2. Promote practice: A highly-rated Google+ profile will surface more easily in search results, which is why it’s important to build out a page and encourage reviews from patients. In addition to relying on patients to supply feedback, it’s also important for the brand to actively share healthcare news, whether branded or not. A booming profile: including photos, links, and videos, helps build a presence in online communities and solidifies relationships with current patients and encouraging referrals.
3. Improve relationships with current patients: Asking for a review from a patient following an appointment, whether it was for a checkup or a surgery, is a fantastic way to show your concern for the quality of healthcare you are providing. That will keep you accountable with every patient, and while it may seem risky to direct patients to share their stories on such a public platform, most people who are satisfied with their experiences will be more than happy to do it.
Adapting to Awareness
Healthcare marketing was once about interrupting people to broadcast messages. Today, it includes sharing on social media channels to communicate your commitment to patientsa well being. Success in healthcare depends on a brand’s ability to deliver value and build trust. By reaching patients off-site through search engines and social media, healthcare brands can convey a sense of commitment to patients, in addition to earning a more expansive presence online.