In the digital age, conversations about your healthcare organization never sleep. Every mention—from social media rants to reviews on specialized platforms—carves an indelible mark on your hospital’s reputation. Ask yourself: if you searched for your brand this moment, would the results put a smile on your face?
Given the convenience of the digital age, a brand’s reputation isn’t just crafted by in-house marketing teams. Today’s narrative is equally defined by a patient’s review or a former employee’s Facebook post. And here’s the catch: Online Reputation Management (ORM) issues aren’t just challenging; they can be downright irreversible. But don’t despair – proactive steps can help.
Establish Your Healthcare Org’s Online Reputation
The first step in protecting your healthcare organization’s reputation is to establish a strong online presence. Cast a wide net to gain maximum exposure.
- Claim your territory: Your domain name should echo your brand. Secure all variants (.com, .net, .org) to ensure a cohesive online identity.
- Social media mastery: Grab your brand’s profiles across all social media platforms, even if you don’t plan to use them. Pour your energy into the ones that resonate most with your audience.
- Local listings: Your hospital needs to be visible on Google, local listings and authoritative healthcare directories.
Grow Your Hospital’s Digital Presence
This important step allows you to expand your audience by offering useful information about your healthcare brand.
- LinkedIn: We can’t emphasize this enough: LinkedIn is an ORM superhero. This platform isn’t just for job seekers and recruiters. For healthcare institutions, LinkedIn serves as a powerful tool to highlight expertise, share insights and connect with professionals and potential partners. It’s a space where you can illustrate your commitment to healthcare excellence and engage in meaningful conversations. Plus, it ranks
- Blogging: A well-maintained blog isn’t just a voice for your brand—it’s an SEO must. Regular, relevant and high-quality posts help improve search engine rankings, driving organic traffic to your site. Your blog is an opportunity to address patients’ concerns and showcase your hospital’s success stories.
- Google My Business (GMB): Think of GMB as your hospital’s digital storefront. A fully optimized profile can boost your visibility in local searches. To get the most out of it:
- Ensure your hospital’s name, address and phone number are accurate.
- Add high-quality images of your facility and team.
- Regularly post updates or events to keep the profile active and engaging.
- Encourage satisfied patients and family members to leave reviews and respond promptly to feedback.
Protect Your Online Reputation
You’ve worked hard to build your brand and establish and grow your online reputation, but don’t stop there. These additional steps will reinforce your position as a valued and trusted member of the online community:
- Fresh and relevant content: Consistently updating blogs and posts keeps your brand narrative in your control.
- Accessibility and approachability: Make contacting you a breeze – for everyone. Prominently display your contact information and let customers know their feedback is welcome.
- Personal vs. professional profiles: Social media profiles are indexed by search engines, which can make any photo, comment or social connection highly visible. Maximize privacy settings on your personal accounts and keep your professional profiles public. Be careful not to overshare.
- Awareness is power: Tools like Google Alerts and SocialMention help you keep a finger on the pulse of your brand’s mentions.
- Take a hands-on approach: Sometimes you have to see it for yourself. Assess and monitor your brand’s reputation regularly.
Manage Brand Reputation Issues
Even the most successful brands receive negative feedback and criticism online. While there is no magic potion to remove it from the internet, there’s still plenty you can do to keep negativity from marring your brand. Here’s your game plan:
- Service above all: Great customer service isn’t just best practice; it’s ORM defense 101. Every hospital org chart is different, but the more marketing and customer service can work as a team, the better.
- Manage hospital reviews: Encourage feedback. More recent (and positive) reviews can push down the occasional negative.
- Engage and respond: Reviews are not a one-way street. Other customers and potential customers see the reviews and your responses to them. Establish a policy for when and how your hospital will respond to reviews. Which ones will get flagged for removal? Which ones will make it onto the website as testimonials?
- Accountability: If you get negative press for a mistake, offer an apology if appropriate and tell people what you are doing about it. Spread the word across all your digital channels.
- Know when to bring in the pros: If things really go south, hire an experienced online reputation manager. They’re experts in helping push negative content down and restoring your brand’s good name.
Online reputation management for hospitals isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. With evolving digital landscapes and more comprehensive search results, negative press stands out more than ever. Equip your healthcare brand with a robust ORM strategy to keep the scales tilted in your favor.
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