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Even if You’re Careful, You’re Going to Get a Reputation

How many times have you heard someone say “My reputation is at stake,” or even “We’ve built a reputation as (fill in the blank)?” But how can you really define “reputation,” and how is yours created?

The truth is, your reputation isn’t what you do; it’s what people believe you are going to do.  And there’s a huge difference there. And given today’s headlines, I don’t think I have to tell you that your reputation is constantly at risk.

What you do and how you do it may be the foundation for your reputation. However, the propulsion, the spreading of it, the required active engagement in the media, is what exposes it to the world. That is what gives it life.

And that exposure and circulation is happening all the time, with or without your permission. Certain media, whether you like it or not, are creating and building that reputation. Yelp, Google, Facebook, Healthgrades, Instagram and many other sites are gathering opinions, ratings and reviews about you — all the time.

So the real question becomes, how are you actively “controlling the story?” 

It’s understandable to think, “I’ll let my outstanding work speak for itself.” But it’s not really enough to be good. In fact, it’s not even enough to be the best.

The truth is, the marketplace is littered with products and services that were “the best,” and yet the second- or third-best version wiped them off the map. Why? Because they were more actively and expertly marketed. The best product, although superior, failed to take control of the conversation and paid the price.

And I know what you’re probably thinking right now, “I’m a medical professional. I shouldn’t have to be involved in all that sort of behavior.” The problem is, your competitors do involve themselves. And your impression about social media’s lack of respectability is mostly misguided.  The reality is, consumers are hungry for information about you, even if it is only someone else’s biased impression. And consumers’— your prospective patients’— easy access to this information only increases their appetite for it exponentially.

Which is why, again, you need to take charge of your reputation.   Fortunately, there are several ways to do just that — most of which involve actively engaging your patients in the process. Here are a few steps to consider:

  • Create video patient testimonials and distribute them via your social media, email, and website. Letting someone else sing your praises is a lot more powerful than having to do it yourself. And using video lets you show, not tell, prospective patients what your practice has to offer.
  • Claim your social media. Check out your profiles on Yelp, Google, Facebook and Instagram. Is your information accurate? Have you included everything that makes your practice great?
  • Counteract negative reviews. What are people saying about you on Yelp, Google and other review sites? Don’t let negative reviews just sit there working against you, respond. But when you do, make sure you are positive, professional, and above all, compliant.  Need help? Click here to download our FREE guide to handling negative online reviews.

Net-net, your reputation is still based on what others say and think about you, but you are not powerless. You still have the ability to monitor what’s being said, acknowledge it and counteract it with information that you control.  So in the end, your goal isn’t so much about making sure you don’t get a reputation, as it is about owning and shaping the one you’ve got.