As a medical professional you know better than anyone how valuable your reputation is. Those of you who have taken social media and blogging seriously have probably also experienced how much more difficult it is to manage your on-line reputation than in person. The best way to protect your on-line reputation is before any negatives show up and that means becoming proactive. Here are a few tips on managing your on-line reputation as a plastic surgeon.
Assume Everything Will Eventually Make its Way to the Web
Just because a conversation or memo didn’t begin on a tweet or blog doesn’t mean it won’t eventually end up there. No matter many steps you take to control what is said about you or by you in private, understand it may not stay private for long. And seeking to tightly control what appears on-line can be more damaging to your on-line reputation than doing nothing. Read this article to learn from a real world example.
Find a Style that Matches You and Stick With It
Blogs, in particular, should bear the mark of your personality. How do you want your clients, friends and family to think of you after personal contact? Know your personality and capitalize on it. In writing terms, this is called recognizing your voice. What makes you and your practice unique should show through in every avenue of social media you use. If you are more serious minded person then make the most of that. And, if your clients know you love golf make the most of that as well. The key is authenticity.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
This starts with having a professionally designed and personally appealing web site and blog but extends to everything that is said about you anywhere on the web. Focus what you can control the most. You can’t stop every negative comment out there but you can do much to steer web conversation toward the positives about your practice. Feature positive comments left by satisfied clients. Thank those who link to you from their sites. Consider having some video testimonials from willing clients. Above all, make sure you include RSS and social media sharing buttons in plain sight so your visitors can become social media evangelists for you.
Join the Community and Above All Don’t Be Seen as a Pitch Man
A few years ago Jeff Jarvis, a blogger, sent a now infamous open letter to Michael Dell of Dell Computers. The letter worked! Dell learned how bad its on-line reputation had become and changed its internet ways. Dell is now keeping in touch with influential bloggers, commenting on their posts, and treating them with respect. When a negative comment appears they don’t ignore it and keep on pitching the same old thing. Negative comments haven’t ceased but the damage from them has diminished significantly. More often than not, people like Jeff Jarvis now set the record straight and commend Dell for responding to public perception.
Check Your Online Reputation as Often as Your Stocks
There are now hundreds if not thousands of web sites devoted solely to consumers registering their experiences with everything from the local McDonalds to a Plastic Surgeon’s practice. These sites not only welcome complaints but encourage them. It is essential you have a plan in place to monitor what is being said about you and your practice and there is no better place to start than with our own free review tool.
Know Your Weakest Link
In many instances we aren’t as taken by surprise as we first say when negatives appear about us on-line. Of course, there will always be a few who simply delight in leaving negative comments anywhere and everywhere but those are generally overlooked by everyone else. If you are faithfully monitoring what is being said about your practice you can respond to a disgruntled patient or false information with tact and fact. Dell’s big mistake mentioned earlier was that it ignored negative comments and paid the price for it.
Being proactive about your on-line reputation may take a little effort but is well worth it when you consider what happens when it is ignored.