When patients begin to view you as a thought leader who is also a friend, you have built credibility in communication
Credibility — if you have it, it can make your business. If you don’t, it can’t break it. Building your credibility in communication channels can increase your patient retention and attract new patients.
What are the best ways to build credibility via marketing? Denise M. Dorman, marketing consultant for WriteBrain Media and author of the e-book “Marketing Malpractice Tales from the Front,” says that it’s through “social proof.”
According to Content Sparks there are six types of social proof:
• The Wisdom of Crowds
• People Like You
• Circle of Friends
• Users and Customers
• Celebrity Endorsement
Dorman provided information on social proof and building credibility in communication. What follows is some of our interview, edited for length and clarity.
Building credibility in communication
She says that social proof takes several forms:
REVIEWS: Ask patients to post their reviews on sites like Healthgrades.com, Vitals.com, PhysiciansGrade.com, Yelp, and Google Places. People will research you before they use you.
TESTIMONIALS: Video patient testimonials are ideal for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, LinkedIn, as well as the DC’s lobby TV, YouTube/Vimeo channels (make a compilation) and website.
DEMONSTRATING THAT YOU GIVE AS MUCH AS YOU TAKE: Encourage UGC (user/patient-generated content) on your website. If your patients are openly willing to interact with you on social and identify as your patients (to align with HIPAA laws) reciprocate their loyalty by sharing their gifts. Display their mixed-audience- appropriate photography or paintings in your lobby.
Perhaps host an after-hours exhibit event. Play their instrumental compositions on your PA system and put out a sign that says, “The music you hear today is from one of our patients.”
Share their gifts on your social media. Remember the 80/20 rule of social media: social media is 20% about YOU and 80% about the people interacting with you.
Make volunteerism part of your team-building exercises with your staff. Do a day of Habitat for Humanity. Post the photos on social. Do a fund-raiser or donate a percentage of your earnings for a time period to someone in need. All of these selfless acts will result in heightening the local public’s awareness of you and broadening your patient base.
WHITE PAPERS and CASE STUDIES: If the DC has written a white paper or case study, have them available in the waiting room as takeaways. Include patient success stories (case studies, testimonials) in every newsletter. Show before and after X-rays of the patient’s spine improving or show before and after images of a patient’s posture improving.
Film footage of the patient at the start of their treatment journey and show their progress as their body is repaired. Clear-cut before-and-after case studies are the strongest visual proof of the DC’s capabilities.
Books, media and online comments
BOOKS: Book authors are inherently held in high esteem. Today’s definition of a book, however, is not as onerous to create as it once was. If you take six months of your newsletter articles or blogs and upload it as a PDF to Amazon Kindle and publish it as “Best of Dr. Spinal Cracker, Volume 1: January-June 2021” and sell it for 49 cents, you’re considered a published author. Get a few printed copies to sell in your office for instant credibility. If you podcast, take transcripts of your podcast and publish those. (Google Docs and One Note will transcribe recordings for free.)
PROACTIVELY HANDLING NEGATIVE COMMENTS/REVIEWS: People will scrutinize how you handle yourself when negative comments are posted on your social pages or review sites. You always want to correct a misperception and take the issue offline as quickly as possible. Once you fix the problem, ask that negative reviewer to give equal time to how you fixed their problem and/or ask them to please remove their negative review.
MEDIA INTERVIEWS and MENTIONS: Posting media mention links on your website and social media will build trust because they are third-party endorsements of sorts that you are a thought leader.
Become the thought leader they know
When patients begin to view you as a thought leader who is also a friend, you have built credibility in communication and they won’t abandon you. Take a genuine interest in them, and they will take an interest in you.
Retention won’t become an issue unless the patient moves away, you don’t accept their insurance, or you’ve made a misdiagnosis that resulted in something disastrous.
Word of mouth marketing is always the strongest form of social proof, happy, satisfied patients will always help you grow your practice.