How to Preserve Your Online Reputation as a Plastic Surgeon

October 18th, 2017 by Matthew Bains

We’ve all had it happen. Your small business or practice is reaching customers, connecting with them on social media or through chat on your site, and giving them helpful answers to their questions. It’s natural and supportive, just how it should be. And then, after all that work to build your reputation, someone posts a negative or snide review of your work. This one post, while frustrating to see, could put a damper on your reputation as a skilled, trustworthy plastic surgeon. But let’s face it—there will always be vocal customers. Here’s some advice on how to handle these moments of crises.

Doctor holding tablet PC talking to patient - Search Influence

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

The first step in monitoring how your practice is perceived online is by listening to social channels. An analysis of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will help you notice what patients are saying about you. This way, you can catch small concerns before they become major headaches. When patients comment on your page, engage with them in a genuine way (even when it’s positive!).

Also, you and your partners should evaluate some of the top physician-review websites, like,, and While you’re at it, claim your online listings. Managing your online reputation starts by claiming your listings on key online directories and social networks. These directories and networks allow you to share information that presents your practice in the best light.

Doctor holding out stethoscope - Search Influence

Make Sure Your Website’s Content Doesn’t Make False Promises

Even the slightest exaggeration about what a product can do for your patients can be a red flag for Google and a false promise for your patients. Examine your existing content on your site, keeping a keen editing eye for any hard promises for products or treatments, i.e., “Our facelift procedure will turn back years on the clock” or “you will get the results you want.” Promises like these cannot be broadly made for every patient. By being upfront with your patients about expected results, you can limit any confusion, outrage, or dissatisfaction with outcomes.

Respond Quickly and Politely to Negative Reviews

Nearly 70% of patients who post negative feedback tend to respond positively if their concerns get noticed and responded to. Be prompt and be professional. If you or your staff make a mistake, it’s best to own up to it and make a genuine apology instead of trying to defend your position. A sincere apology can work wonders in diffusing a delicate situation. Instead of responding with your initial emotional response, remain calm and genuine—remember, everything on the internet never truly goes away, so don’t use a canned response. By staying professional, polite, and personal, you’ll not only help that one patient, but you’ll also show your community that you’re a physician who cares. You’ll also possibly grow your practice by garnering an influx of potential patients. And, when you can, try to take the conversation offline. More often than not, your answer to their complaint won’t be so simple that it can be summed up in one or two sentences. Also, there will likely be patient-specific information that should not be shared online.

Consider Patient Confidentiality

If you’re going to be talking about a specific patient on your website or through your social media channels, make sure to get their permission first. This includes instances where you are just uploading their image and not using their words. Facebook posts with pictures receive 53% more likes than those without, but these could put your practice in danger if you never get permission from the client to begin with. Patients should be notified if their image will be used, details of what the image will be used for, its expiration date, and a note detailing the patient’s right to revoke consent before it is signed off by the patient.

By practicing due diligence on the front end, you’ll save yourself from a mountain of legal trouble and paperwork down the road. For more detailed information about your online presence and patient confidentiality considerations, check out our blog here.

Use Facebook to Tout Your Expertise and Build Trust

According to a report done by Search Engine Watch, 33% of people use social media for healthcare information. Also, nearly 90% of respondents aged 18–24 said they would trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks. That’s putting a lot of trust into others for a very integral part of our lives—our health. By making sure you have a strong presence on social media, you add valuable, trusted medical advice in a channel where, far too often, people are given either misleading or false information about how to diagnose and treat medical symptoms.

Ideally, by continuing to connect with and respond to your patients on platforms like Facebook, you can start to turn them into promoters of your practice, not just patients that visit once or twice a year and then go about their normal routines. You’ll be top of mind when their friends ask about a local clinic to get an injectable filler or a breast augmentation procedure.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to manage your practice’s online reputation, reach out to Search Influence. One of our experts will be happy to help you develop and keep a healthy online presence in your local community.