digital marketingAs an addiction treatment facility, your business is going to be more heavily scrutinized than a run-of-the-mill ecommerce site. Therefore, online reputation management is key towards competing against brand established facilities and proactively addressing critical blogs, reviews and news sources. By doing the following:

  1. monitoring your brand presence;
  2. generating positive buzz;
  3. creating authoritative content, and;
  4. performing social media outreach,

You can preserve your good online reputation or work towards improving an already damaged one.

Monitor your brand presence

Knowing where your brand currently stands is one of the most important steps in reputation management because your strategy will revolve around it. There are multiple places to monitor your brand presence:

  1. Google Alerts: With a Google Alert on your brand name, you can immediately promote the positive things others are saying about you.
  2. Get Real-time alerts for any mention of your brand on social media.
  3. Search Engines: What kinds of pages are ranking on your brand name? Are they positive or negative? Don’t limit yourself to just Google – search Bing and other engines as well.

Take stock of not only how often you’re mentioned, but the quality and authority of those mentions. A positive mention from a popular newspaper will hold more weight than a personal blog. However, if that personal blog ranks high for your brand name, it can strongly influence your reputation.

priority chart

According to Forbes, 56 percent of companies say that Reputation Management is a high priority for their Executive Management and Board of Directors.

Monitoring your online reputation is a constant process, and the strategies outlined below will change based on the results of your audits.

Generate positive buzz

The actions and success of your company will not speak for themselves – be sure to let your audience know they’re happening. Your real company actions (learn more about real company actions here) shouldn’t remain offline. If you sponsored a sports team, held a panel, or did something noteworthy, make sure they get online in a few ways:

  1. Local news outlets
  2. Press Releases
  3. Social Media sharing
  4. Personal blogs
  5. Reviews

Encourage your past clients to write reviews online. Often, only the most positive and negative experiences end up on review sites.

reviews chart

Promotion World finds that “a low star rating – typically three stars or less on a scale of five – is enough to convince nearly 70 percent of potential customers to book with nearby competition.”

If you emphasize that your clients leave a review, there will be many more good or neutral response, and these will outweigh the bad. A short, personalized email asking them how they’ve been since finishing treatment and a link to a preferred review site (like Google+ or Yelp) will encourage them to actually write a review instead of saying nothing.

Create authoritative content

Being an authority in your vertical will help fill up the search results with content you’ve created that is informative, but not negative towards you. There are a few ways that strong, authoritative content will help maintain and improve your online reputation:

  1. Visitors find your name during their learning process. Research is a big part of addiction treatment because it’s such a big decision, and it’s often the families of addicts who are looking for help. If you give them this information, they’ll be more likely to return to you when they call.
  2. Your content is more likely to rank higher in search results. When others search for your brand, you want more than just your front page to rank.
  3. Those who share your content may also improve search ranking. The better your content is, the higher the chance that a blog or news source will share it or reference it. Their mention of you will often cause them to rank for your brand name using your positive content.
  4. You’re more likely to rank for more than just your brand name with content that’s positive. Potential clients that find your page through a more generic search term (like “long term drug rehab”) may be more likely to trust you because you appear as an authority on that topic.

If you already have negative content that’s showing up in the search results for your brand name, find out what kinds of sites are linking to them, and see if you can build a relationship with those sites as well.

It’s more important to build up positive content about yourself rather than try to push down the negative content. It’s easier and also has the effect of driving additional traffic to your website through your new content.

Perform social media outreach

Making connections through Social media has become extremely important, and the actions you take on social media platforms will impact your reputation. Because addiction tends to be a private matter, social media the amount of social sharing through your efforts may not garner the same results as a restaurant or a jewelry company.

However, it can be extremely effective in humanizing your treatment facility and showing how much you care about your clients. You cannot assume that people know you care, especially if a blogger or a competitor is saying otherwise.

Through sharing inspirational photos, stories, and day-to-day struggles, you can empathize with your clients and build a social profile that often ranks well with your brand name.
Learn more about social media outreach for addiction treatment here.

When reputation management backfires

It’s become very easy for anyone with an opinion to express it online, and while it may seem prudent to make sure these opinions don’t catch fire, the attempt can sometimes backfire. According to Microsoft, “14 percent of people believe they have been negatively impacted by the online activities of others.” seo cursors

At first, it can seem like a good idea to try and “push down” negative reviews or blog posts that rank for your brand name. However, attempts at contacting people who link to them to take down the links or leaving fake reviews discrediting the bad ones either don’t work or even draw attention to the bad review.

Instead, focus on what you can do to improve your own status and the relationship you have to people that matter – news sources, friendly bloggers, and institutions like the NATP. With these, the negative reviews will still exist, but take less precedence. By promoting a positive image, you not only paint a clearer picture of your brand’s image, but also demonstrate confidence in your program unscathed by the negative attacks.