5 Habits for a Healthy Internet Presence
Your professional reputation depends more on your digital presence than you realize. Patients use online platforms to find new specialists, provide feedback, view prospective doctors’ credentials and publications, and more.
Just like your personal health, your online provider profiles need regular care to function. They require constant attention, routine check-ups and daily care. When you neglect your online health underlying symptoms like outdated information, conflicting or third-party profiles, and ignored patient reviews can trigger unintentional consequences. Your business may experience lower patient retention rates, fewer new patient acquisitions or even bad press.
Is your internet presence healthy, or does it need a tune-up? These five healthy habits will help you improve your online image.
Healthy habit #1 – Check in daily
To establish any healthy habit, you should carve out time to do it every day. According to a meta-analysis of several studies on social media usage, adults spend two and a half hours scrolling social media each day. Try to set aside some of that time to cultivate your professional online presence. Monitor your practice’s pages, respond to new reviews and update pertinent information.
You can also engage with a community of colleagues and new and potential patients on popular social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and X by sharing posts or writing blogs that reflect your professional interests.
Tune-up tip: Struggling to make time for your daily check-ins? Even if you opt out of posting on your personal webpage or review sites regularly, remember that logging in for a few minutes a day will help you stay connected with patients, colleagues and innovations in your field.
Improve your healthy online provider profiles by treating them like you do your personal social media accounts. Instead of seeing these daily check-ins as work, view them as a chance to explore new opportunities and relationships in your field.
Healthy habit #2 – Claim and monitor your business
As we’re all on the alert for “fake news” in our increasingly digital world, being “verified” ensures people know you are really you and your business pages are real. Claiming your business online helps manage the information third-party websites pull from your site. It also helps you engage with patients directly.
Verifying your professional profiles demonstrates you value your good reputation. It allows you to regularly monitor and respond to patient feedback instead of retroactively dealing with unexpected issues or complaints.
Here are the top five sites to check out:
- Google My Business
Don’t wait for patients to come to you, especially on platforms where their comments can quickly damage a reputation you have been building for your entire career. Block out time on your calendar to check out these important sites.
Healthy habit #3 – Confirm you appear on the first page of a Google search
The internet has become one of the primary ways prospective patients find new doctors. One study estimates that nearly 60% of all people rely on the internet to search for providers. While the first page of Google sees 92% of all search traffic, less than 1% of people will click through to the second page.
Tune-up tip: Competition to be listed first in a search is steep, but a few minutes of maintenance each day will help you boost brand recognition and find new patients. Here are some quick and simple ways to increase your visibility:
- Routinely update your professional pages.
- Add relevant words related to your business and specialties (keywords) to your website.
- Confirm the accuracy of your information and location.
- Encourage your existing patients to submit feedback on your pages and engage with patient feedback.
- Include patient reviews on your professional website.
- Regularly share quality content such as blogs, articles and studies to reflect your interests and promote your business.
Healthy habit #4 – Keep your professional website updated
There is no better way to showcase your talents than through a professional website. Invest in a sleek, easy-to-use page for your practice that contains relevant information for current and prospective patients.
Tune-up tip: An interactive page makes it easy for viewers to learn more about you and your practice. Highlight your experience, research, publications, awards and achievements. You can also share patient reviews, personalized videos and photos pertaining to your work.
Make sure your site includes relevant information such as:
- An updated headshot
- A brief biography and your patient care philosophy
- Your qualifications, education and work experience and specialties
- A list of the services you provide
- Location and contact details
- Links to any pertinent research, videos, blogs or resources that relate to your work
Healthy habit #5 – Engage with online reviews
According to one study, 77% of consumers “always” or “regularly” read online reviews when searching for local health providers. Essentially, online reviews have become the modern-day equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising. Interacting with reviews is an essential component of patient care.
Tune-up tip: Patient feedback can drastically impact your online image, so carve out time every day to read through reviews.
Check out these simple tips for responding to patient feedback:
- Thank people for taking time to write a review. It shows you value their input and their business.
- Show gratitude for positive reviews and graciously accept critiques. It can be hard to receive criticism, but completely ignoring or reacting poorly to a negative review will only make the situation worse. Instead, simply say: “We are sorry about your experience. Please contact our office directly so we can help resolve your issue.”
- Send out satisfaction surveys to your regular patients. Ask them to share their experiences. As patients you see often, they will likely have positive feedback you can share directly on your site.
Maintain your online health
Spending a few minutes a week cultivating your online presence and publicly responding to feedback can go a long way to improve your internet presence and your online reputation. And maintaining your online health will boost patient engagement and help you outshine your competition.