Q&A with Joel Fuhrman Re: Social Media Engagement and Building Digital Authority – Reputation.com

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Joel Fuhrman, MD

Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a physician, nutritional researcher and New York Times best-selling author. Dr. Fuhrman created the nutritarian diet and has authored 20 books, including Eat to Live and Eat for Health. He shares how he built his online brand and uses social media strategy to foster patient engagement with deeply personal experiences.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

How did you decide to build yourself as a brand?

That wasn’t my objective. My objective was to build a successful business, giving people the information they need to control their health, and illustrating that you don’t have to be sick and take drugs for the rest of your life.

When I’m developing a product I want to sell, I think about what’s missing in the marketplace, why this product is important and how it addresses an obstacle or difficulty a person is having. I believe it’s about the message, not the messenger.

You’ve said it’s important to try to help people with something you’re passionate about. Does building a personal brand flow naturally out of that mindset?

Correct. I wanted to motivate people and create a feeling of connection — send the message is that they’re not doing this alone. We’re behind them. We’re supporting them. There are other people involved.

The whole purpose of our social media is to help people feel connected with one another. It’s also a venue for me to build that sense of personal connection with my own family. People tell me, “Oh, I really enjoy seeing your daughters making healthy food.” People love that kind of stuff, and I love to share it. They like to just watch me eat in the kitchen or see what I’m making for lunch. This type of content gives folks a glimpse into my life and what I’m passionate about. It also provides that sense of authenticity that so many brands are trying to achieve with their social media.

What are you doing right now to cultivate that sense of connection?

Right now, I’m doing a detox program with about 300 people. We have a Zoom meeting two or three times a week. So far, the response has been great — they love connecting, learning and sharing. We talk about recipes and discuss what I’ve been eating and what they’re eating. Over time, we’ve discovered that there’s a real demand for this, that people want this and they’re willing to pay for it. Providing that unique opportunity to connect helps them and motivates them — and they really appreciate it.

As you’ve developed your brand, are there any lessons you’ve learned?

Well, radio ads didn’t work, that’s for sure. We did a campaign with a radio station. I think we paid them $50,000. They held a contest where six people would follow my program and the station would check in with them on the air. These six people lost an amazing amount of weight. It was incredible, but from a marketing perspective, it was a total waste of $50,000.

Why do you think that was the case?

I think my message is only effective for a small percentage of our population. If 1% of people might be interested in what I have to say, then I have to go after a broad market and do things for national exposure. Local media advertising doesn’t work for me. I’ve got to do something on a much larger scale to attract people who are more interested in my message, which is why social media has been such an effective channel.

What is your niche?

My niche is not to water down the message to appeal to what people want to hear and want to do. Everybody else is trying to appeal to a broader market and, in doing so, they’re no longer honest.

Reputation.com helps healthcare brands monitor and manage their online presence, with the goal of helping to improve the patient experience. Download our medical guide on How to Compete for Patients in the Digital Age.

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Best Practices for Building Customer Loyalty in 2019 – Reputation.com

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Acquiring a new customer can cost five to 25 times as much as selling to a customer you already have. What’s more, existing customers spend about two-thirds more than new customers, so there is no question that customer loyalty pays off.

The most important way to ensure an outstanding customer experience is by being the best at what you do. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore other aspects of customer experience management. You can be outstanding in your industry, but if you aren’t focused on the customer experience, your customers may abandon you for your competitors. Here are several best practices for improving customer loyalty in 2019 and ensuring their customer experience is all it can be.

Store Customer Data to Streamline and Automate Transactions

When shopping online, users want a fast, easy process. That’s why they’re likelier to order from a site where their address and credit card information is already on file, because re-entering it can be a hassle. But you can store more than just a returning customer’s payment information.

Storing information about what a customer has ordered in the past, and even which sales representative they worked with can speed up interactions. Ideally, when a returning customer calls for customer service, their phone number alone should trigger a screen full of information about them, so they don’t have to repeat all of it before talking about the reason for their call. Having such information stored securely and ready to go makes customers feel like you know them, and in turn, increases their sense of loyalty.

Encourage Customers to Leave Feedback

Good reviews help bring in new customers while strengthening the loyalty of existing ones. And less-than-stellar reviews give brands a prime opportunity to address concerns and change the customer experience for the better.

Having a strong social media presence encourages customers to leave feedback. People like interacting with brands on social platforms, and when you have a reputation of swift response on these platforms, it encourages more people to use these channels to share feedback.

Group of coworkers discussing a project in front of a desktop computer.

Encourage customer feedback through your social media presence, and by requesting feedback and reviews.

The Ask, Categorize, Act, Follow-Up system is an effective way to encourage customer feedback. It involves using a variety of tools and channels to ask customers for feedback, categorizing feedback by category (service issues, product issues, marketing feedback, etc.), acting on that feedback quickly and following up with customers who submit feedback.

Manage Your Online Reputation Faithfully

Your online reputation is one of your brand’s most valuable assets, and it should be managed accordingly. Managing online reputation is an ongoing process that involves collecting, analyzing and acting upon data collected through online reviews, social channel feedback and other online interactions. Trying to do it piecemeal with tools you collect for different aspects of online reputation management can be difficult and less effective than managing your online reputation with a dedicated suite of tools.

Two coworkers looking at a document together.

Trying to manage your online reputation with a cobbled-together set of tools is far from optimal.

How Reputation.com’s Tools Help Keep Your Customers Coming Back

Reputation.com’s online reputation management tools are specifically designed to help your business:

  • Be found online through optimized business listings
  • Be chosen because of your reviews, ratings and social media presence
  • Improve customer experience through customized surveys

Reputation.com empowers you to provide outstanding customer experience management through a comprehensive platform that can be customized to your needs, even if you have multiple locations covering a wide geographical area.

Building customer loyalty is an ongoing process, and it helps your brand save money while increasing revenues by optimizing the customer experience. We invite you to download our free guide: What is Online Reputation Management? to learn more.

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