The Role of Social Media in Choosing a Doctor or Hospital
It’s no secret that resources like Google reviews, Yelp, Facebook, and other social media or review sites are becoming increasingly more influential in determining a patient’s choice of a healthcare provider. Patients who are highly satisfied with their care are likely to leave a positive review. At the same time, though, disgruntled patients are likely to leave a negative review. As with anything in the digital space, dealing with online reviews is a balancing act — and an important piece of your patient acquisition strategy.
Did you know that it actually might be good to have a few negative reviews? In fact, those negative reviews can sometimes give credibility to all of the positive reviews you have. If a business has nothing but five-star reviews, some people might start to wonder if all of those reviews are real and true. (If you have only five-star reviews, don’t worry! That’s not going to doom your business.)
Patients Rely on Ratings
Patients are beginning to “shop around” more for their healthcare providers, which makes online reviews an important part of their decision-making process. With psychographic segmentation, you can actually begin to understand who is more likely to rely on those reviews and ratings. Psychographic segmentation is the means of classifying patients based on their lifestyles, motivations and values. By knowing a patient’s segment, we can predict many things about them, from their preferred communication method to what’s important to them to how strongly they rely on online reviews.
For example, according to the 2018 PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a nationally-representative study on healthcare consumers in the United States, Self Achievers and Willful Endurers were most likely to look at social media rankings or consumer reviews for a primary care physician. Priority Jugglers and Direction Takers, on the other hand, were statistically more likely to not consider looking at reviews.
According to the same survey, of all adults aged 18 or older, those who were 25-34 years old were more likely than anyone else to rely on this data. People 65 and older were statistically more likely to not look at or consider online reviews.
Leveraging Your Reviews
You might be thinking that this information seems obvious. Of course, younger patients would be more apt to look online for peer reviews. However, just because you primarily see older patients, don’t assume online reviews should mean nothing to you. Chances are, some of those older patients have children or younger caregivers who are helping them find healthcare providers. Those younger people are far more likely to look for and consider online reviews.
It’s a great idea to leverage your online reviews and rankings in your patient acquisition strategy. If you haven’t already, make sure you have a strong social media presence and you’ve identified your organization’s voice. The younger generation, who will likely be making up more and more of your patient base, is certainly visiting your pages before they decide to make an appointment.
One of the best things you can do is share valuable information on your social channels. Chances are, if a younger patient has a health question (but not one that’s worth making an appointment for), they’ll either turn to WebMD or just let it go. If you’re offering information that helps them, you can start to build trust and form a relationship.
At PatientBond, we understand the importance of social media to your patient acquisition efforts. With more practices taking up more of the market share, it’s important to find your place in the online space. Powered by psychographic segmentation, PatientBond’s signature digital engagement platform works automatically to encourage your patients to leave reviews. Our customers have seen 4.5-5 star ratings, and facilities like Hometown Urgent Care have seen a 500+ increase in positive Google Reviews.
Having a strong social media strategy and paying attention to your online reviews can make a positive impact on your acquisition efforts. By encouraging patients to leave positive reviews, you’ll be building up your credibility in the eyes of potential patients.
For more on psychographic segmentation and how it can benefit your patient acquisition strategy, download our case study.