Social media networks – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to start – can truly deliver a marketing “win” for plastic surgeons… when used correctly.
Social media is now a standard form of marketing for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike. As a digital media consultant, I teach small business owners how to establish themselves online, choosing between the variety of digital media options to find the perfect mix, and how to get comfortable with these various options.
Beyond simply establishing business awareness, by being active on social media you’re giving those in your online community a better sense of you as a doctor, which might be the most compelling factor in converting an online follower to a real life patient.
Of course it’s my job to get people excited about social media, but don’t just take a digital media lover’s word for it.
Beverly Hills board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. John Diaz finds that “using social media platforms is a simple and effective way to communicate with existing and potential patients. Most of our patients hear about our promotions and events through our social media accounts. These networks also help patients get to know our practice and get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the procedures and treatments that we offer.”
As for what networks Dr. Diaz’s office uses most effectively: “We like to post and engage with patients and potential patients on Facebook and Instagram. We use others too, but find that we have more patient engagement with these two.”
Though Dr. Diaz’s office doesn’t use their social media channels directly to find new clients, they’ve still found that “posting authentic and engaging content does help new patients find us on our social media networks.”
While Dr. Diaz and other surgeons, having found their social media mix, are tapping into an interested audience, it’s not the same for every practice. Other digital marketers may disagree, but I believe there are no rules saying that you “have” to be on all of the social media channels. I’d rather you pick a few that you can be successful with – and I define success as generating engagement online, plus real life interest in your services.
The outline below is a primer designed for upping your social media game, making sure that your social media mix is worthy of your time and energy.
Facebook for Doctors
Just because everyone and their mother (and grandmother) is on Facebook, don’t underestimate this connection powerhouse. Users are VERY comfortable with Facebook (hence all those cat videos), and spend much of their day on it.
What to know:
- This doesn’t have to be all about you. Share content from other trusted sources – relevant articles or facts with links to new or compelling studies.
- Testimonials from happy patients make great posts. “They allow other people to boast about why your practice is so great, which makes it more likely that people will view it as more trustworthy,” says Dr. Anissa Holmes, a successful dentist and social media strategist.
- But do shine some of the spotlight on your practice. Use images that highlight your state-of-the-art facilities, your lush waiting room, or quality beauty products that you sell onsite.
- Don’t make someone go to your website. Let them stay in the safe haven of Facebook and dig deep into your articles and images. Provide them with all necessary means of contact there, like opening hours, phone, website, or even special events registration.
- How to grow your following: Consider offering incentives for “liking” your page (done in a classy way, of course). It may seem extreme to discount a procedure for a “like,” but if that small action were the catalyst for a Facebook follower to come in for a consultation and ultimately book a service, then you’ve spent very little to acquire a new patient.
How Plastic Surgeons Can Use Twitter
Twitter has become the daily newsfeed for many of its users. And along with CNN and the Associated Press, you too can have a place in your followers’ daily routine.
What to know:
- Start out by following other respected names in the industry and all the trade organizations (like @SmartBeautyNews, @ASPS_News and @zwivel of course).
- When you Retweet something of interest, choose to “Quote Tweet.” Adding a five-word thought on the subject matter demonstrates your point of view in the most economical way.
- How to grow your following: Follow others in the industry and industry organizations. As you follow more people associated with a particular industry, Twitter’s algorithm recommends you as someone others should follow.
Promoting Your Practice on Instagram
Like Dr. Diaz and several other doctors, use Instagram’s photo feed to both establish your personal visual aesthetic and show “behind the scenes” at the office:
What to know:
- It’s all about images, which could be before-and-afters (with permission), infographics about compelling surgery stats, or beauty-themed quotes of the day. (Canva offers easy templates.)
- While you can – and should – include some text with every image, you only get to feature one out-bound link within the whole Instagram universe, and that’s in your profile. Choose it wisely.
- How to grow your following: The Instagram community LOVES all things pretty. Companies who do well on Instagram understand photo composition and are consistent in their aesthetic. Pick a color tone, a filter, a POV and stick with it. The VSCO app is a favorite of power-Instagrammers because it gives a totally professional appearance.
It can be confusing at first, especially for surgeons whose livelihood is based on extremely personal (and confidential) work with patients, but with the tips above you can harness the power of these social media tools. Now it’s just up to you to decide how high to turn up the spotlight.