In the United States, there’s still a significant portion of our population debating the pros and cons of the affordable healthcare act. The political spectrum remains perpetually at odds over the idealistic entitlement for universal healthcare and the fiscal realities that stand in the way of such demands. But partisan politics aside, there’s little value in arguing the fact that the majority of our global population have an acquired top-to-bottom distrust of healthcare-related industries, ranging from insurance companies to pharmaceutical giants. As mentioned, it’s an acquired distrust that one could argue has been earned by profit-centric policies and practices. However, one could also argue that the distrust is largely subjective, influenced heavily by perspective and lack of information. But, let’s be frank…no-one is entering the industry to achieve their lifelong ambition of discarding their morals and engaging in unethical practices. Among the healthcare community, we count some of our most beneficent, selfless and inspiring citizens. Individuals who invest their adult resources to aid in the continued care of others. This dichotomy of perception is important to keep in mind when addressing matters related to medical marketing. While it’s crucial to celebrate the amazing advances and tireless dedication that serves as the foundation of the healthcare industry, one should never turn a blind eye to some of the negative perceptions that continue to exist.
Fortunately, technology has evolved to a point where positive word of mouth moves fast. Sure, the downside is that negative word of mouth does the same, but when speaking of reputation management one can rest assured that there are steps that can be taken to battle perception even on a wide scale. With that in mind, here at 10 tips to keep in mind when approaching reputation management as part of your digital marketing initiative.
Your Presence is Required
For starters, you need to play to win. This means supplementing the online presence provided by a comprehensive website, with an engaging, responsive and diligently maintained series of social media profiles that operate at all levels.
On the consumer level, for example, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a must. It may seem counterintuitive when you think of the thoughtless drivel that is shared each moment on such platforms, but each plays a significant role in shaping public opinion and in promoting products and services. Bottom line, you can’t afford not to.
And being such a high-profile industry, the integration of LinkedIn profiles for executives and management team members, as well as YouTube and Vimeo for informative video content should be a no-brainer.
Manage Your Social Media
Now that you’ve put yourselves out there, and continue to do so on a daily basis, with new and engaging content, you don’t get to rest on your laurels. Engagement is key in either validating or negative your online presence, and a failure to interact with your followers is the digital equivalent of suicide. There will be questions. There will be complaints. They will be colossal pains in the ass. You have a professional obligation to deal with each in an appropriate manner, and doing so properly will only serve to strengthen your public image.
Take Your Products & Services Into Consideration
Transparency matters, especially if you’re looking for some credit. So ask yourself, what is it about the products and/or services that you offer that set you apart from your competitors? This is necessary because prospective clients, customers and patients want to know what options are available to them. Through simple promotion, sincere endorsements and testimonials, you can gain a lot of traction. It may even require the creation and maintenance of supplemental websites and social media profiles!
Remember That Personal Reputation Influences Professional Reputation
Public perception of your founders, owners, and executives play a significant role in your continued success, be it in terms of public opinion or that of stakeholders. This means that their reputation is as important as that of the company itself, and should be managed with the same level of respectful diligence.
Assert Your Authority
Either you are viewed as the go-to resource, or you’re not…it’s as simple as that. So in all areas of marketing, you need to ask yourself, “What are we doing to assert ourselves as the authority in this field?” And in 2018, this should be the cornerstone of your online presence and digital marketing initiatives.
Blog. Blog. Blog.
Continual engagement of your followers is crucial and blogging (even in an informal sense) is a perfect way to grow your influence, increase engagement and build a rapport with your audience.
Don’t Just Talk. Listen.
It’s so simple, isn’t it? And yet so many businesses remain on the perpetual defense when it comes to public criticism. Listen to what people are saying, even when it’s negative, and remind your customers why they continue to do business with you. After all, you’re not infallible…which segues perfectly into the need for…
Apologies & Amends
Remember, the actions you take to resolve an issue can convert a dissatisfied consumer into a staunch advocate. Own up.
Refuse to be Baited
The ‘customer’ may always be right, but any online presence is subject to public drama. Diffuse the situation when possible, reconcile online when possible, and take it offline if necessary. Just remember, you should never be baited into an escalating conflict.
Know Your Worth & Invest Accordingly
This is your business. In order to maintain it, let alone help it to grow, requires a strong online presence. It may not be the way that business was done ten years ago, but you no longer have that luxury. Invest in resources and staffing accordingly because, after all, isn’t your business worth it?
Bigger Than Just “Medical Marketing”
At the end of the day, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done within our society, for their to be agreement and public validation when it comes to the healthcare industry. But whether you’re a private practitioner, specialist, hospital, insurance provider or pharmaceutical company these are steps that you can take to make small, effective improvements that will greatly benefit you and your relationships with clientele.