In this digital age, having a strong online presence as a health professional is more important than ever before. While your practice may primarily operate offline, patients have embraced the digital era, leaving you at a disadvantage if you don’t have an online presence.
Building a strong online presence is a must-have for every health professional. Without one, how will your patients find you?
Having an online presence is essential for promoting your practice. It’s no longer enough to be certified by your professional body or to swear the Hippocratic Oath. It’s about meeting patients and customers where they are: online.
According to a 2014 study, 60% of physicians use social media to promote their practice. So, if you’re ready to step up and put yourself out there, let’s get started.
Here are four ways to build a strong online presence as a health professional.
#1 Create a professional Website
A survey by doctor.com revealed that about 63% of patients visit a doctor’s website before scheduling an appointment. This highlights how important it is to get your website ready.
Having a website emphasizes your professionalism and makes it easier for you to be found by potential customers. The 2022 Healthcare Trends Report found that about 72% of patients use search engines to research healthcare providers and read their reviews before scheduling an appointment.
However, just because you need to have a website doesn’t mean you should create one that feels shabby or poorly done. Your website is a reflection of your reputation, so you have to ensure it is done right.
Here are some ways to ensure your website appears professional:
- Invest in a good headshot.
- Choose a clean design
- Make sure the website is easy to navigate
- Ensure the website is mobile responsive
- Make your visuals stand out
- Add testimonials or review section
- Ensure your blog section has accurate and reliable Medical Information
There are many do-it-yourself websites available. However, I will recommend you spend a few bucks on hiring a website designer to get it done.
#2 Engage on Social media
While you might not like everything social media represents, it is here to stay. In fact, a survey revealed that 41% of people say that social media affects their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. Not tuning in to this medium of engagement is missing out on potential customers/patients.
Even more important is that social media needs actual health professionals, as the landscape is marred by inaccurate and misleading information from influencers or random people. It is more important than ever that medical professionals join the conversation. It has been found that 60% of social media users tend to trust a post on social media by health professionals over any other group.
Social media is like word of mouth on steroids; you need to use it to attract, engage and retain customers. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even TikTok offer you a chance to connect with potential patients, build trust and also establish credibility. However, it’s not enough to just have a social media handle; you have to create and engage with your users.
You can engage with your audience by sharing helpful content, engaging with other health professionals in the comment session, and answering questions the patients might have. However, remember you don’t have to do this every day; you can schedule posting once a week or two. What matters is consistency.
#3 Get listed on local directories
Another way to ensure your presence online is to get listed in local directories. Getting listed will help improve your visibility and attract new patients.
Directories make it easier for patients to find you and your practice. It also improves search engine rankings and more website traffic, which can mean more patient conversion.
The good news is that getting listed in local directories is mostly free. However, you may have to pay for its premium features. Examples of these directories include Google My Business, Yelp, and Yellow Pages.
You can also get listed on popular health directories like healthgrades, webMD or rate MDs. Most of these health directories are free, and make it easier for patients to find you.
#4 Create valuable content
Today, content is king. To stay relevant in the online space, you have to create valuable content.
Do you know that more than 7% of google searches are related to health?
What does this mean for health providers?
It simply means, you have to share valuable content with your audience to remain relevant to them and position yourself as an authority in your field.
One way of sharing this valuable content created is through blog posts. You can do this by including a blog section on your website. By creating valuable content that addresses patients’ concerns and is optimized for SEO, you can increase traffic to your website, which is a step toward patient conversion.
Another way to share valuable content is through videos. In fact, video marketing generates leads much more easily than other forms of content due to the ease of getting the point across.
Research shows that there has been a 119% increase in YouTube traffic to hospital sites year over year. You can create YouTube videos or share Instagram reels addressing certain misconceptions, sharing patient stories, or answering some important questions patients may have. By doing this, you not only establish credibility but improve your visibility and, in that way, attract new patients or consumers.
Ready to create valuable health content? Contact me now to get started!