By Daniel A. Bobrow, MBA (University of Chicago) & MBA (K.U.L. Belgium)
This is the third Issue concerned with Communicating With Patients of Record.
In this last in our series on Communicating with Patients of Record we focus on why and how to encourage your patients to post positive reviews on social media and service review sites to grow your practice.
There are two benefits your practice realizes from getting its patients to submit posts to customer review sites and your social media. First, people increasingly depend upon service review sites in forming their opinions about a product or service, which in turn, predisposes them to make their product or service selection.
Second, these posts, be they on service Review or your social media sites, help optimize your website, that is, make it more popular among search engines that are responsible for presenting your website on their results page when someone searches for a term like ‘dentist’ in your area. It should be noted, however, that the degree of optimization benefit depends upon the extent to which what is posted is ‘keyword dense’ that is, contains words and phrases you want the search engines to recognize, and contains fully qualified URLs, that is, complete website addresses (when preceded by ‘http://’ website addresses are deemed to be ‘fully qualified’).
Some of the more relevant service review sites for dentists include:
Google, Facebook, Yelp, Angies, & Health Grades
Priming The Pump?
The two general ways to get patients to post to your social media pages, or submit a positive review are 1) having in-office display materials and ‘takeaways’ with instructions for doing so, and 2) utilizing an automated review generator platform that ideally ‘filters’ less than flattering reviews for remedial action by the practice.
Because these reviews are so valuable, you should consider offering a bit of incentive to yield the desired result. For example, you may wish to emulate what other establishments in your area have done for years only, instead of asking someone to “Drop your business card in the fishbowl to receive a chance to win [this or that],” invite them to interact with you online. Explain that, in exchange for e.g. Liking your Facebook page, “Checking In” to your location through Facebook, posting to your Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, or, even better, videorecording and uploading a testimonial to Youtube, your patient will be entered to receive a valuable award.
Try it. It works!
Photo: Example of an in-office display inviting your patients to like, friend, and post to your social media sites.
Another way to ‘build your tribe’ is via email:
Photo: Example of email sent to your patients announcing your ascension to the world of social media.
Yet another simple way to get people to join your social media sites is by inviting them to do so from your website and email signature:
It’s easy to embed buttons and icons for your website visitors to click on to join, like, connect with, or follow you.
Responding to questionable reviews
To maximize your ability to respond to what is said about you by others, you will want to register with the more relevant review sites. The extent to which you are able to respond depends on the site. Some require a registration fee: most do not. Some allow you to respond to the review publicly, some only direct with the person posting the review, and some permit neither. In general, the best response is to have far more positive than negative reviews, then let the prospective patient decide for him or herself.
One argument in favor of directing people to post to your Facebook page is the ease with which to communicate and otherwise deal with anything that is posted to it.
So what’s best?
As with so many things, the optimum strategy for encouraging your patients to write nice things about you online depends upon your situation. If, for instance, you’ve yet to receive any Google reviews, that should probably be your first objective, so ask your patients to do so. Once you’ve received say, sixty or so 5 Star Google Reviews (average in the 4.8-5.0 range), ask your patients to post comments on Yelp, Health Grades and, if they’ve registered, Angie’s. I recommend you always encourage your patients to post to your social media pages, as well as agree to have their video-recorded testimonials uploaded to Youtube.
The final piece in the puzzle is being sure your team can effectively communicate to your patients what they must do to post on your behalf. Be sure your Team knows the sites with which you want patients to interact, and also the names of your various pages. If you’ve set up your pages correctly, they should be very similar to your practice name, so this should not pose a challenge.
AIM DENTAL MARKETING
Daniel A. ‘Danny’ Bobrow,