Staying Positive Through Negative Social Media Comments

Most of us have heard of “White Coat Syndrome” when a patient’s blood pressure spikes due to nervousness of being in or around a doctor’s office or hospital. In some cases it would seem that physicians tend to get “White Coat Syndrome” when it comes to social media. One fear of physicians is negative comments about themselves or their practices. It’s inevitable, the most perfect of doctors will unavoidably find an unflattering, incorrect or outright nasty comment. There are a few things you can do about it…

  1. Be the leading voice. The content that you control and originate presents a strong voice among what’s found in online searches. The information that you generate and promote is likely to outweigh others and a better reflection of your reputation.
  2.  For an improvement or elimination. Most sites list their contact information, and some (although not many) provide instructions for updates, corrections or amending comments. It never hurts to ask, but generally, success with such requests is limited.
  3. Submit a response or update. It is often possible to answer an “unpleasant” comment  with a response or update. Some publishers are reluctant to remove comments, but will often welcome replies that provide words of balance.
  4. Be factual, professional and understanding,  not argumentative. Any temptation to “fight back” or argue is a guaranteed losing battle and is likely to attract more attention and make things worse. An understanding tone of voice is more effective.
  5. Encourage positive patient feedback. When reminded, patients are often receptive to the idea of making comments, providing testimonials or referring friends and family. The key—which is often neglected—is simply to ask patients.

The Internet, social media and healthcare have become permanently intertwined for good reason: People are at the core of this connectivity. Business-savvy providers understand the mutual, patient experience benefits of engaging patients, building relationships, improving compliance and outcomes, and managing your brand message and reputation.