The AVMA has developed new member resources to help veterinary practices manage their online reputation.
With the assistance of Bernstein Crisis Management, the AVMA created resources on best practices for managing a veterinary practice’s online reputation, guidance for monitoring the practice’s online reputation, tips on when and how to respond to online criticism, and recommendations for dealing with cyberbullies.
According to the “Managing Your Online Reputation” landing page: “The Internet and social media bring great opportunities to veterinarians and veterinary practices, but they also pose risks to your personal and professional reputation. From bad reviews to cyberbullying, veterinarians—like other small business owners and professional service providers—are at risk of coming under attack in cyberspace. And if it happens, it can be both emotionally distressing and disruptive to your business.”
The page on best practices outlines measures for protecting a veterinary practice’s online reputation and reducing the risks of complaints or attacks. These measures are in the areas of good business practices, communications in the clinic, and taking ownership of a practice’s online presence. Resources include a template to develop a social media plan and a flowchart to help determine whether and how to respond to online criticism.
The page on “Monitoring Your Online Reputation” advises practices to do the following: make sure someone gets notified immediately when comments are made on the practice’s social media channels, sign up for free Google alerts to receive notification whenever the practice is mentioned somewhere online, search real-time reputation monitoring sites, and search complaint sites.
The next page walks practices through steps to take when responding to online complaints or criticism, examples of good responses, and what not to do when responding. Sections address the issue of Internet trolls—persons who sow discord—and situations in which the practice made a mistake that prompted a complaint.
The page on cyberbullying gives an overview of the problem in veterinary medicine (see below). Sections offer arguments against taking down the practice’s Facebook page and recommendations for what to do during and after the crisis.
The “Managing Your Online Reputation” resources are available to AVMA members here.