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online reputation management

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Dental Practice Marketing: Managing Your Online Reputation

by Naomi Cooper April 23, 2014

Dental Practice Marketing: Managing Your Online ReputationThese days, patients are going online to conduct research when looking for a new dentist. According to a 2013 study by 1800dentist.com, 70% of respondents said that online dentist reviews are just as important as a dentist’s professional credentials.

Word of mouth marketing has been revolutionized. While it used to be a one-to-one communication model, online patient review sites have transformed word of mouth to a one-to-many model. Clearly, some of the most powerful tools a dentist can have are positive online reviews from existing patients. Sites such as Yelp, Google+ Local and Healthgrades are all popular with consumers looking to get a glimpse of the dentist before ever stepping foot through the practice’s front door.

Online patient reviews can be a double-edge sword, because with the good can also come the bad. Getting a negative review can be a scary prospect. And leaving your online reputation in the hands of a third party website can be difficult, as reported in a recent LA Times article. Stories like this, while not entirely common, are a real issue when it comes to online marketing and patient reviews. The business owner in the LA Times story is a jeweler, so it goes to show that it’s not only dentists having issues with their online reputation – it affects small business owners across all industries.

So what’s a dentist to do? Stay vigilant. Aim to collect 1-2 positive reviews per month for one year. In addition to being a reasonable goal for the dental team, it also has the benefit of being credible to patients researching you online. And while it is important to generate positive reviews online, it absolutely must be done in an authentic manner. Absolutely never hire any outside vendor to create fake testimonials. Patient reviews need to be just that – reviews from patients! The patient needs to post the testimonials themselves. You should not create a profile and post it for them, even if they have given you the most glowing recommendation.

When handled correctly and in a genuine manner, positive patient testimonials can go a long way in establishing a dentist’s online reputation.

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Dental Practice Branding: 4 Steps to a Winning Online Strategy

by Naomi Cooper April 3, 2014

Dental Practice Branding: 4 Steps to a Winning Online StrategyIt is estimated that the average person sees 3,000 advertisements every day! Your patients need to be able to recognize your dental practice brand. If you’re not iconic, then all of the time, money and effort that went into the message is completely wasted. So, how do you make the most of your dental practice branding strategy? Keep it consistent, and this has never been more important than it is in today’s digital age.

It’s a good idea to take periodic inventory of your online marketing to make sure everything is up to date. In particular, these 4 digital components should work together to form a cohesive brand:

1) Practice Name: This one may sound obvious but it is not uncommon for me to find that a practice’s business cards read “Joe B. Smith, DMD” while its website uses the moniker “Smith Family Dentistry”. One name should be used across all marketing platforms, including your website and online profiles, in addition to your printed materials.

2) Social Media Profiles: It is ideal to set up your dental practice social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) profiles under the same name as the practice. It may seem more natural to set the profiles in the name of an individual dentist, but again, I recommend keeping everything consistent and using the practice name across all properties so that patients can find and connect with the practice as easily as possible.

3) Patient Review Sites: Word of mouth has shifted to the online atmosphere via sites such as Yelp!, Healthgrades.com and Google+ Local. What I find when consulting with my dentist clients is they do not always realize is that these sites often automatically create a profile for your business. It is up to you to log on and claim your practice’s profile on each of these sites, making sure your business name is correct and contact information is current. After you claim your profiles, encourage patients to share their positive experiences so that when prospective patients are doing their online research, they can get a complete picture of what your practice has to offer.

4) Practice Website: Along with having the same name across all online platforms, it is smart to link your online profiles to your website. The homepage of your practice website should include links to your social media profiles and your blog. Likewise, your profiles on social media and patient review sites should also link to your practice website.

Patients are online now more than ever. It’s up to you to make sure they can find you, and that when they do that you’ve made a good first impression. Remember, make it as simple as possible for patients to recognize your practice by name by keeping your branding consistent – online and offline!

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Google+ Shared Endorsements: The Latest Update and What You Need to Know

by Naomi Cooper October 28, 2013

Google+ Shared Endorsements: The Latest Update and What You Need to KnowEarlier this month, Google announced they are rolling out what are called “Shared Endorsements” on the Google+ site. If you haven’t yet read about this new feature, or if you don’t understand how this will impact your dental practice Google+ page, keep reading.

Anytime a user +1’s a page, this activity is stored within Google which they, in turn, will be using in advertising. For example say you +1, or endorse, a new local restaurant on Google+, your name and photo can now be used in an online ad for that restaurant whether or not you are aware.

The new Shared Endorsements feature (slated to start November 11th) allows users to control whether or not their activity is used in Google’s advertising. If you are not comfortable with your name and photo being used to endorse another business, you can easily “opt-out”.

For more information on Shared Endorsements, and what this latest Google update means for your dental practice profile, check out this informative Hubspot blog.

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Building Trust Online: 4 Strategic Tips for Dentists

by Naomi Cooper June 11, 2013

Building Trust Online: 4 Strategic Tips for DentistsWhen I am consulting with my dentist clients from across the country, there is always one absolute in every conversation about their dental practice marketing needs – internet marketing. While it was not even an area of interest just a few short years ago, internet marketing is playing an increasingly important role in dental marketing strategies, whether we discuss social media, website design, blogging or search engine optimization.

According to Sesame Communications, 80% of adult Internet users search for healthcare information online. This represents countless opportunities for dentists to reach potential patients online.

An essential component of any internet marketing strategy is something that’s hard-won and easily lost – TRUST. And building trust online is just as hard as it is offline. Maybe even harder. It seems like anyone can have a website, so how do you differentiate your practice website and your practice as a trustworthy dental care provider?

  • The first step is building a cohesive online presence, including your practice website as well as your online profiles (social media and consumer review sites).
  • Your practice website should be updated and contain links to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media profiles.
  • If you have a blog, be sure to feature it on your site. And share your blog posts across your social media profiles.
  • Likewise, on any website where your practice has a profile (such as a consumer review site such as Yelp or Google+ Local), be sure to have all current contact information clearly visible and provide links to your website and blog.

The strategy is having a strong online presence to create a momentum for your dental practice. The above various online platforms (blogs, social media, websites, and consumer review sites) should all work together so that when patients are searching for a dentist online, they come across multiple channels broadcasting your message and validating your practice as the one they need to call.

For more ideas on cultivating online trust, check out my Sesame Communications article here.

How do you manage your online reputation? What strategies have worked well for you?

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Online Patient Reviews: Quality and Consistency Matter!

by Naomi Cooper March 20, 2013

Online Patient Reviews: Quality and Consistency Matter!If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are then well aware of the importance for dentists to establish and maintain an active online presence. More people than ever are turning to the Internet when researching health care options. And in today’s tech-savvy world, patients conduct their research online before they ever call your practice to make their first appointment.

Control the information potential patients find online, and increase the likelihood of them taking the next step in calling you by asking your satisfied patients to post online reviews.

  • Before the Internet, patients would simply ask a friend for a referral and then call to make an appointment. Today, patients may still ask a friend, but they will also go online to research you before they ever make the call to schedule an appointment.
  • Encourage your satisfied customers to write a review on these sites to increase the amount and quality of the positive reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the better your practice will appear to potential patients.
  • While it is important to generate positive reviews online, it absolutely must be done in an authentic manner. Consistently adding 1-3 new reviews each month for 6 months will appear most trustworthy to Internet users and your potential patients. For more information on the level of trust of online reviews among today’s Internet users, check out this EMarketer article.

There is no higher stamp of approval of your practice than the referral of a happy patient. Make the most of their positive experience and politely ask them to share their experience online. Consistently asking patients to post a positive review increases the opportunity to reach prospective patients within your community, and helps you to build an authentic online presence for your dental practice.

How does your team actively ask patients to post online reviews? Are new patients asked upfront how they heard about your practice?

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Social Media 101: 7 Tips for Setting Up a Facebook Page for Your Dental Practice

by Naomi Cooper January 22, 2013

Social Media 101: 7 Tips for Setting Up a Facebook Page for Your Dental PracticeUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably aware of Facebook and the effect this social network has had on our culture. According to Mashable.com, as of October 2012, Facebook has approximately 1 billion active users who access the site each month!

While you may already be comfortable using Facebook on a personal level, it’s important from a business owner’s perspective to know that having a Facebook business page for your dental practice is a great way to increase the reach of your online profile – and to connect with patients and your community. If you do not yet have a Facebook page for your practice, now is as good a time as any to start.

Here are 7 simple ways to build a page for your dental practice:

  1. Go to www.Facebook.com and set up a personal profile (if you do not already have one). Establishing a personal profile is essential before building your business page.
  2. Set up a business page (in the name of the practice): https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
  3. Add a cover photo by clicking “Upload Cover Photo” where prompted. This image should be representative of the practice: the logo, photo of the exterior/interior of the office, staff photo.
    **Per Facebook policy, the cover photo cannot be used to promote discounts or include a call-to-action.**
  4. Upload a profile photo by clicking “Upload Profile Photo” where prompted. Again this would be a great spot for a photo of the dentist or possibly the logo.
    **Be aware that the cover (aka background) photo and the profile (aka thumbnail) photo should not be the same.**
  5. In the “About” section, include a brief description of the practice and pertinent information, such as address, website, phone number, etc. This would also be a great place to include the practice philosophy and/or practice mission statement.
  6. If you have pictures available, uploading photos of the practice (interior and exterior) and pictures of the dentist(s), hygienist(s) and staff members are great ways to personalize your fan page.
    **Be sure to hold off from uploading any photos of patients until you have received in writing from each patient a Photo Release Form (link to form with disclaimer to check with an attorney to ensure it’s sufficient).**
  7. Preview the page several times to be sure that all typos and errors are corrected. Once it looks exactly like you want it, hit “Publish” to make the Page public.

Now that you have set up your dental practice business page, it’s up to you to keep it updated. Posting often and consistently will help to build your Facebook following. For more ideas, be sure to check back here for our next Social Media 101 posting on the 3 Best Practice Tips for Your Facebook Business Page.

Do you use Facebook for your dental practice? Why or why not? Start a conversation below.