Monday, October 11, 2010

The wrong way to create buzz for your health care business online

We've discussed several things you can do to create a buzz about your health care organization online. Here are a few things you may be tempted to do, but should not. These things can do far more damage than good.

  1. Slamming competitors on blogs, social media, etc.
  2. Overt self promotion on blogs or even on your own social media profiles
  3. Submitting negative reviews on competitors
  4. Submitting positive reviews on your own organization
  5. Trolling, or posting off topic things to cause a negative reaction (see also the Wikipedia definition here)
There are many reasons you should not do these things, even anonymously. Mostly because you're not as anonymous as you think you are on the Internet. IP addresses and website traffic monitoring tools help website administrators identify even suspicious activity and can get you and/or your organization into trouble. Also, people can pretty much piece together what's going on. So don't take chances with your or your health care organization's reputation.

As an example, takes this issue very seriously and has a number of protocols in place to identify such behaviors. While it is rare, we do occasionally see providers doing some of these things. Our response depends on the situation, but we've gone so far as to publicly brand a company as engaging in fraudulent behaviors on their profile. So now, when a potential patient looks them up, they'll learn a little something about the organization's integrity.

However, repercussions from website administrators are just one reason not to do these things. The general public has developed a keen eye for detecting such fraud. People can tell when someone is "selling" a company as opposed to giving an honest report of their experience with that company. And this is the sort of thing that turns patients away from you. As we've discussed before, consumer trust is essential in health care marketing. If you do anything to compromise that trust, patients will choose someone else.

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