Answering questions on RealSelf gives consumers the content they crave when visiting your profile. Along with getting more reviews and posting before-and-after photos, it also raises your standing in doctor finder rankings, sending more consumers to your profile in the first place. Here’s how to approach questions so that you get the most return on the time you spend answering them.
Understand the Marketing Value of Q&A: It’s For Your Profile Visitors
When you answer questions on RealSelf, you’re often engaging with consumers before they’ve selected a doctor for their procedure. Because of this, it’s easy to think of Q&A as a tool for direct response marketing—the type of marketing efforts intended to generate new business from the people you’re engaging with.
But the value of Q&A is much broader in scope than that. While it is possible to generate business from engaging with the consumers whose questions you’re answering, your goal should actually be to generate content for the much broader set of consumers who are in “I-have-to-find-the-right-doctor” mode—the ones who will visit your profile and be an audience to those answers. They’ll use your Q&A content, alongside your reviews and before-and-after photos, to evaluate your expertise in the procedures they’re interested in.
Think about reviews: you want previous patients to give you high ratings and leave great reviews even though you’ve already treated them. That’s not because you want to drive more business from those previous patients through their reviews, it’s because you want to demonstrate your results to consumers who aren’t your patients yet. Similarly, posting answers is about showcasing your expertise to that same set of consumers.
Get the Numbers Right
For each top procedure, focus on getting to 10 answers first. Recency and ongoing engagement matter for Q&A, so from there you’ll want to answer three to five questions per week to reap the most benefit.
You should also have a look at the most popular questions for your key procedures. If you haven’t already, answer these questions—this will help you boost visibility to your profile. If you don’t answer these questions, even if hundreds of other doctors have, you’re missing profile views.
Use Your Time Wisely When Answering Questions
RealSelf helps you easily pick and prioritize consumer questions via your dashboard. It includes personalized recommendations that surface these questions for you by prioritizing:
- Unanswered recent questions
- Questions from local consumers
- Questions that only doctors like you can answer based on your specialization and/or credentials
- For Spotlight doctors, questions in the topics you’re sponsoring
You should also be getting a digest of priority questions delivered straight to your inbox. Make sure these questions line up with the topic areas of interest to your practice and that you’re getting them at the cadence you prefer. If you aren’t—or if you’re not receiving the digest at all—reach out to your RealSelf Advisor for help or update your options in the dashboard:
- Select “Q&A” from the main menu
- Click “Subscriptions”
- Pick the options that work best for your practice
Write Answers That Count
Since this is all about generating content that will show off our expertise to your profile visitors, make sure you make the most of their attention by answering questions in a meaningful way.
Refrain from overt self-promotion and instead be educational. Remember the mode your profile visitors will be in when they see your answers: they’re on the hunt for credible information about procedures, and this is your chance to put your expertise on display.
Be careful to present your answers as opinions and not medical advice. Phrases like these can make this distinction clear.
- “In my opinion…”
- “In my past experience…”
- “In similar situations that I’ve handled…”
- “Based on cases I’ve seen before…”
In the previous section, we advised answering the most popular questions in your top procedures. Try not to be psyched out if the “answer” section feels crowded. Instead, answer as if you’re the only doctor responding. Again: many consumers will see your answer when exploring your page content, and following this advice boosts the chances your answers will stand out.
Make Sure You’re Well Positioned When Consumers Land on Your Profile
Profile visitors who read your answers will look for your other content. Make the most of their attention by also optimizing your reviews and photos. These three profile elements work together to deliver you more inquiries from your RealSelf presence. You can learn more about creating an effective before-and-after photos strategy here, and learn how to start and maintain a consistent pipeline of quality reviews here.
You should also make sure to always include a web reference link in your answers. This sends people directly to your practice website and can result in hundreds or thousands more visits and leads.
To get started, sign into your dashboard, navigate to “Q&A,” and begin exploring questions you haven’t answered, bolstering previous answers, and double-checking that your email digest settings are optimal.