This is a five and a half minute read.
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. How to monitor your website in no time at all
2. How to monitor your Facebook page in even less time
3. How to manage a persistent troll
Social media monitoring is the dark side of that fun website or Facebook page you built for your practice. Everyone loves being able to put up interesting stories and connect with patients. But no-one wants to be responsible for monitoring it.
I saw the nightmare scenario recently. It was a blog with hundreds of comments on it, running for pages below each article. The guy who ran it was going to the effort of responding to every comment. It would take him all day.
If you’re running a small dental practice, you don’t want you or your staff spending all day replying to comments online. But there are ways to block and filter any comment that comes to your Facebook page or website.
And if you can’t block or filter them, there is another trick I’ll tell you in a bit.
That poor blogger who responded to hundreds of comments seemed to think he was getting some awesome interaction with his audience. Every question was answered. Every compliment acknowledged. And every one of them was fake.
I recognised the comments. We used to get the same ones until we installed a spam filter on our site. They were all from dubious link-farms with names like “cheap Nike shoes” and “real Viagra and Cialis”. They said things like, “Hey, great post” or “I agree man, great read, what do you use for your site?”.
They are all generated by computers to automatically comment on every site they can, to create back-links to sites selling cheap Nike shoes or impotence drugs. The theory is, when the comment is approved, the backlink in the name is read by search engines. Which then boosts the SEO of the spambot that made the comment.
Before any comment gets approved on your site, you get alerted to it. If you don’t read the name of the person commenting, or check the link they have attached, you could be forgiven for thinking they’re from real people. But that first line of filtering can take place right in your email inbox, and no-one else will ever see it.
Even better, you can install a spam filter on your site which will just catch and kill them. You’ll never even get the email, and the comments will never appear. We use Akismet, and it has worked well for us.
When you’re thinking about your practice’s Facebook page, you don’t have the same luxury as your own website. Anyone can post on your Facebook page. Including disgruntled patients and competitors. But on social media, the sites themselves do most of the hard work of social media monitoring for you.
As an administrator on your Facebook page, you will be alerted any time someone does so. You don’t have the opportunity to block their comments unless you log onto your page straight away. But you can go on at your leisure and take down any comments you don’t like.
If someone continues to post objectionable material on your page, you can just block them. And they need to go to a lot of effort to get back on there. Most people won’t bother.
Very, very occasionally, you may hit an internet troll. It may be a disgruntled patient, or an unethical competitor. It may be someone with a legitimate gripe. There are ways of dealing with them as well.
If someone leaves a one-star review of your business on Google, and you suspect they are being unfair, there is a process where you can apply to have it removed. However, it’s a slightly tricky process with no guaranteed result.
If you have patients who are predisposed to give you a positive review, you can suggest they do so on Google (without in any way inducing them to do so). If there are four reviews of your business and only one is negative, potential patients are going to pay more attention to the positives.
You can also counter negative perceptions through creating lots of content that you will also rank for on search engine pages. If someone Googled your practice name and found just the Google review, your website, and the Google business snippet, they only have three pieces of information to judge you on.
But if they find five of your blog posts dealing with oral health questions, as well as all of the above, the balance of information about you on the page is going to be positive.
Social media monitoring is not as onerous as it first seems. After you start paying attention to your digital assets, you’ll realise that there isn’t a lot of interaction anyway. When there is, you will be alerted to any comments that come onto your social media pages or your website, and you will have the ability to moderate them.
And if you can’t moderate, make sure you’re producing enough positive, useful content that the trolling is negated.