How Can Plastic Surgeons Use Social Media?
I’ve got some news for you: If you’re a plastic surgeon and you aren’t currently taking advantage of social media to build your brand, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Here’s why. Social media pages, at least for now, are free to operate and use. If you’re no digital marketing expert (#nobodysperfect), then it will cost money to hire someone to build content for you, but even this amount is often far less than traditional advertising in print magazines, newspapers, radio, and billboards. On social media, you’ll receive incredibly detailed analytics about your patient demographics and what, most likely, your ROI is close to, and you’ll be able to see concrete changes in your digital audience. With a larger digital audience aware of your practice, you’ll have a larger IRL (“in real life”) audience who will think of your practice first when they decide to head in for that tummy tuck or rhinoplasty.
There’s other benefits to having social media pages besides just increased access to potential leads. For recruiting new surgeons and staff, inspiring future medical students, and increasing visibility in the community, social media is an unparalleled opportunity. It’s also worthwhile to think about building camaraderie with other surgeons. If you want to learn more, check out this article on why plastic surgeons are “the happiest people on Twitter.”
While traditional platforms like Facebook are crucial, and still an important option, it’s also worth considering media like Instagram and Snapchat to build a brand and increase your reach.
Become an Early Adopter: Take Advantage of Non-Traditional Media
I met with a client the other day who was wary of Snapchat, because they thought it was only used by young people, and never used for marketing. Those are two common misconceptions about the platform, and if you’re operating under them, it’s time to stop. Part of the problem is that even the name itself still holds some weird connotations for marketers, particularly those who aren’t trying to reach strictly millennials. Snapchat is a really bizarre distillation of some exciting and questionable social media tropes of our era, like instant gratification, theoretical privacy, and unprecedented access to people and brands.
As this article explains, however, 2016 was the year of Snapchat for many plastic surgeons. Interestingly enough, a platform designed to heighten privacy is a good fit for surgeries that patients often choose to keep private or secret. On the other end of the spectrum, the short-lived nature of the content mad People discovered the excitement of seeing exactly what happens during a procedure in manageable, easy-to-watch clips, and the voyeuristic aspect of witnessing a surgery and hearing medical terms spoken by real surgeons felt like a real-life version of Nip/Tuck. Especially for millennials, the familiarity of Snapchat made engaging with plastic surgery more normal and comfortable, and surgeons like Dr. Mark Schulman made the news for streaming a plastic surgery on social media.
As such, I do think that it’s worth a conversation with your social media team about whether or not it could be a good fit for your client base. As Medium points out, Snapchat is one of the only platforms that’s actually growing these days, as opposed to seeing their user numbers level out. Nearly 40% of 18-34 year-olds in the United States actively use Snapchat, and it’s second only to Facebook in how much time people spend using it.
Are You A Plastic Surgeon Wondering What to Post On Snapchat? Here’s What to Share.
- Sharing videos of procedures not only builds credibility with future patients, but provides information and shares behind-the-scenes snapshots that can’t be found anywhere else. If you’re interested in using social media for recruiting purposes, potential medical students and future plastic surgeons will use the page as a resource for information.
- Office Day-to-Day Business: When people feel scared of coming into an office for a medical procedure, they want to know that there’s real people working there and that they’ll be in a safe environment. Snapchat is one way to provide a sneak peek of the rooms, the operating rooms, the waiting room, and even the bathroom, all details that contribute to positive client experiences.
- Testimonials: Can you grab a quick video of a patient lavishing praise on you and your practice? Share it on Snapchat for an instant audience and informal recommendation.
Plastic Surgeons Doing Social Media Well: An Audit
What does it really look like to do a good job with building your plastic surgery brand online? Here’s a few accounts who are taking the Interwebs by storm.
- Shafer Plastic Surgery: Okay, so Shafer Plastic Surgery has a nice-looking 27,614 Facebook likes and 27,078 people follow their page (at the time of this writing). Even though they have the advantage of being in New York (metropolitan areas typically have higher numbers of people who use social media), there still must be something decent happening on the page to garner such a high like-to-follow ratio. Now, if I was performing a social media audit, I’d certainly say that the page isn’t perfect: I’m immediately a little weirded out by the fact that the page “likes” the Taco Bell official page, which you can notice as soon as you head to the account. However, their “About” section looks nice and includes detailed information on parking, transportation, subway directions, and hours of operation. The more value you can provide to your customers with information like this in a clear, easy-to-read format, the better. Their posting schedule is regular and frequent, with posts either twice each day or at the very least, every other day, meaning that they’re staying top-of-mind with their clients. The posts primarily deal with skin-related and cosmetic surgery-related issues, but those topics aren’t exclusive: For example, they honored Martin Luther King Jr. with a post on MLK day, showing that they’re real people attuned to the real world. They vary the content of their posts with questions, paragraphs, and short sentences, sometimes linking images and sometimes websites. Variety is key, and they actively share useful information to readers. They also use the page as a way to share before-and-after photos. Take this Brazilian Butt Lift post: The photo, information about the type of surgery, and hashtags combine to make it visible to those searching for a surgeon and useful for potential clients who don’t know what a BBL is.
- Aisha Baron: Dr. Baron tweets under the account @breastnbodydoc, and currently has 1,940 followers on Twitter. From the moment you click through to the page, it’s easy to see the precise area Dr. Baron specializes in from her cover photo and description: “Wife, Mother, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who loves breast reconstruction & cosmetic breast & body contouring. Star surgeon on Lifetime’s #AtlantaPlastic.” Her website is linked for easy access and her location is marked for future clients look for Atlanta surgeons. The bio also humanizes her by noting that she’s a mother herself: Potential clients interested in cosmetic breast surgery are often mothers hoping for a “Mommy Makeover,” and Dr. Baron immediately makes herself accessible to that audience. The description is also a good opportunity to share that she’s board-certified, an important criterion for many clients (as it should be!) She tweets personal information about health and wellness as well as selfies from the operating room and inspirational quotes, and even hashtags her own name (#DrAishaBaron) to easily keep track of posts about herself. For Dr. Baron, the Twitter account is an opportunity to appeal to mothers and women looking for surgeons they can trust, that are like them, that understand their needs and desires. The cumulation of tweets put personality into the process, which just can’t be underestimated when looking for leads.
- Simon Ourian: Okay, this one is kind of unfair because Dr. Ourian is a celebrity plastic surgeon, which gives him an automatic boost in numbers (and realistically, most surgeons are not celebrity plastic surgeons). However, he currently operates a social media empire with an extraordinary 1.3 million followers, so it’s worth paying attention to what he does. Content on the page includes calls for models, recordings of specific procedures, shoutouts to his clients, and incredibly detailed procedure descriptions. For example, a post about non-surgical cheek contouring will include how it works, results, how long the procedure takes to heal, pain level, consultation amounts, and more. Just by visiting the Instagram page, photos are combined with need-to-know information for future patients and it’s easy to move forward accordingly, because the phone number for the office is included in the post, too! The account tags clients whose photos they’re using, opening up the opportunity for re-grams and re-posts. Finally, Dr. Ourian also shares cultural and personal images from his travels and vacations, appealing to a demographic who also values luxury travel and individual cultural characteristics.
For many plastic surgeons who aren’t using social media yet, a common question revolves around “what to post.” If you feel like you have nothing to post, I hope this article has shown you that you’re wrong. In fact, you’re engaging in one of the most visual medical disciplines that exists, and plastic surgery is better-fitted for social media than almost any other field.
If you want to learn more, please leave a comment in the section below, any time, and we’d be happy to help.