A veterinarian walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Hey, I love your practice!" The vet says nothing and leaves the bar.

OK, it's not a very good joke, but it IS exactly the reason you should be replying to positive posts on online review websites.

How much better would it have been for the veterinarian in that bar to have pulled up a bar stool, ordered a drink, and responded to that bartender, in any way at all? Just a simple, "Thank you. We try hard to make sure we are meeting the needs of pets!" would have brought a smile to that bartender's face and would have solidified that he would not only be bringing his pet in to see that vet again, but also that he would be telling everyone in the bar what a great practice the veterinarian has. Others nearby would overhear and tune in to the conversation, too. Pretty soon, it would be like an episode of Cheers and everyone would know that vet's name!

Your customers are going to sites like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Google+ Local, Foursquare, and many others to voice what they think of you and your hospital. People who love your practice are saying so, and while they will still love your practice if you say nothing in reply, they are more likely to get fired up, save even more great things, and tell others those great things if they see that you respond publicly to their comments.

When you reply to a positive post, try to include something that shows you have a connection with the person; mention the pet's name or reference that you have enjoyed taking care of all the family's pets--anything that shows you really know the person, pet, and family and that this is not just a generic response. Remember that prospective clients are looking for a vet who really cares about them and their pets.

It's just like having a conversation; if you want the talking to continue, you have to participate. So, the next time you see a positive post about your hospital, a member of your staff, or even about you, be sure to acknowledge the comment with a "thank you," pull up a virtual bar stool, and enjoy the conversation.

For more information on online reviews, or to find out how Beyond Indigo can help you with your digital marketing journey, please check out our website.

Thanks to Ann Person, Beyond Indigo's online reputation manager, for writing this piece.


Photo credit: iStock images

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