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- Social Media Management: Insider Tips From a Panel of Pros
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Social Media Management: Insider Tips From a Panel of Pros
By: Wendy Lewis
Is your social media going stale? Are you falling into the trap of resorting to boring content just to keep up with daily posting? Do you feel overwhelmed with which social network to jump on next?
You’re not alone. Today’s aesthetic practitioners need to be ready to meet the demands of mastering social media channels to engage with their existing patients and increase visibility with prospective patients. Perhaps the greatest challenges are finding the time to do it all, as well as learning how to stand out and getting your message across effectively and with the right tone.
On a Sunday morning standing room-only workshop held at 5 Continents Congress in beautiful Barcelona, an eager group of practitioners from all over the world came to learn the best ways to master social media marketing from three leading cosmetic dermatologists—Joel Schlessinger, MD, Vivian Bucay, MD and Jeanine Downie, MD—and me. We all shared our personal tips and strategies for social media success, and what we have learned along the way.
We explored some of the best practices for keeping the “social” in social media and connecting with consumers on an intensely personal level, while keeping your reputation as a healthcare professional intact. It takes time and attention but many aesthetic practitioners and clinics have mastered this balance through a well-designed and consistent social media strategy and content program.
Build Your Fan Base
Digital platforms are constantly in a state of flux, which can make it harder for busy practitioners to keep up with the trends. To build up a base of fans and followers to market to, it helps to engage with others in your own field and related fields, and your community, in order to cross-promote your social media efforts. In this way you can benefit by expanding your audience. Aim for alliances with people who have a bigger following than yours, but with a similar target audience of consumers with common interests, such as beauty, health, wellness, fitness, skincare, and more.
Dr. Bucay says, “Follow your colleagues on social media. It’s a great way to get ideas and to show support for their practices, too.” You should also follow any brands and vendors you work with, as well as organizations you belong to, and institutions where you have trained and have privileges.
Manage Negative Posts
It is also important to closely monitor your social media sites and challenge any negative posts that were not posted by an actual patient. If you are the victim of a fake review or bogus anonymous comment, and this happens often, try to take the conversation offline and address it head-on. On Facebook at least, you can delete the comment, ban the user from posting again, and report it as spam or inappropriate content. If the post is in violation of the site or platform’s stated rules, you may have luck getting it taken down.
“If you encounter a negative comment on social media, take it seriously if there is any reason to do so. We had a recent comment that related to wait times and when we looked at it, the patient had waited quite a while. We found a flaw in our system and addressed it and have done much better since then because we not only monitored our social media, but took it seriously,” Dr. Schlessinger says.
Position Yourself As An Authority
As an aesthetic practitioner, you want to be the go-to person who your fans can trust for getting fair and balanced information on topics that matter to them. All the clutter online makes people want to focus on people or entities that can give them what they want. Your fans and followers should know to turn to you as a voice of expertise in aesthetic medicine. Consumers are wary about aggressive marketing messages, but they will trust experts, and social media marketing is an ideal way to reach them.
• Understand the nuances of relevant social media platforms that your patients are active on and best practices for how to use each of them.
• Develop a monthly social media calendar plan for all the platforms you are active on.
• Allocate a reasonable budget for social media ads, promotions, and boosted posts to generate awareness for your practice and convert new patients.
• Create shareable content that is unique to each platform and user experience.
• Assign roles within your practice and outside your practice to execute a comprehensive and effective social media strategy.
According to Dr. Downie, who regularly appears on “The Today Show” and “Dr. Oz” and has a robust online presence, “One of my key tips is that I post as I go along. If something is beautiful I will share it, like a sunset or flower or a quote. I try to post as I go along in my life. I think that is key and people need to not only be focused on work but on sharing a bit of who they are. Of course, I do this without over-sharing, as we are still doctors and professionals.”
Stay On Message
The clutter of content online means people actually appreciate brevity and a targeted message that speaks directly to them. Finding the ideal online voice for your clinic and sticking with it can be tricky. Once you have found your voice, the next step is to identify the buckets of content that your fans and followers relate to most, and to continue to create new and unique variations on those key themes. An integrated social media marketing plan starting with a blog is a critical element of success.
The doctors on the panel all agree that maintaining a professional image and tone online is essential. Resist the temptation to come across as flippant or overly self-promotional, which can backfire on your reputation with patients. As a healthcare practitioner, you should strive to be taken seriously, offer reasonable opinions and solid advice that attracts real patients to come in for a consultation and have a treatment in your practice.
25 WAYS TO BUMP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA UP A NOTCH
1. FILL-IN-THE-BLANK-POSTS (e.g. If I had $1 million I would _______________?)
2. BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOS: Take candid shots of yourself, your employees, or snap a shot of your office or workspace.
3. #DIDYOUKNOW STATS OR DATA: Share new, relevant industry statistics that are of general interest, such as “#DidYouKnow that 50% of women will start losing their hair before they turn 50?” Include a source or link for credit.
4. POST A LINK TO AN OLD BLOG POST: Think about recycling good content. An older post can be re-used to gain new engagement by extending its life and refreshing the content with a new hashtag or image.
5. QUOTAGRAPHICS: Post a funny or inspirational quote and image branded with your practice logo or URL on it. Include #QOTD (quote of the day).
6. INFOGRAPHICS: Find an infographic your followers would appreciate and share it along with your comments, or create your own. Use a theme that will generate shares, such as “5 Ways Not To Hate Your Neck” or “Skincare Clinic: Key Ingredients Your Skin Needs.”
7. PRODUCT PHOTOS: These images perform best on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Add your own unique angle (e.g. staff member using the product, a patient-submitted photo, doctor showing how to use it, etc.) and tag the brand.
8. A DAY IN THE LIFE: Give a recap of a typical day in the life of your aesthetician or PA or Practice Manager.
9. RECOMMEND YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTS: Share a list, photos, and benefits of your top sellers, highest-rated, or the doctor’s personal favorites to make it more personal.
10. OFFER RELEVANT TIPS: Post expert tips that your followers will find helpful. Add commonly used hashtags, such as #SkincareTip #FitTip #AcneTip.
11. THROWBACK THURSDAY: Share photos of old media clips, key events from your practice, opening a new office, or other practice awards and milestones.
12. POST A GIF OR MEME: Getting your customers to smile or laugh along with you is a great way to build your community. Search for GIFs or memes online by the action or emotion you want to convey or specify a subject, such as OMG or TGIF, etc.
13. ‘CAPTION THIS’: Post a photo and ask your fans to come up with a creative or clever caption. Choose the best one and give the winning responder a shout out.
14. SHARE BREAKING INDUSTRY NEWS: Stay on top of what’s going on in aesthetic medicine, dermatology and cosmetic surgery by setting Google Alerts and commenting on breaking news in real time.
15. SHARE YOUR PREDICTIONS: Consumers and media love predictions from experts. For instance, “The next big thing in medical aesthetics will be targeted fillers for lips and eyes.”
16. PROFILE THE STAFF: Let your followers know something more personal about the staff they interact with. Give them a glimpse of the real people behind the scenes in your practice—from the bookkeeper to the receptionist.
17. SHARE INDUSTRY RESEARCH: Post a link to and synopsis of clinical research you have conducted that your fans would find interesting, to reinforce your position as an expert in your field.
18. SHARE PHOTOS FROM AN EVENT: Use the event hashtag for maximum exposure, such as #AAD2017, and tag any people (not patients without permission) and locations in the photos.
19. THANK YOUR FANS: A simple thank you can go a long way to building connections with your fans, such as a branded graphic to acknowledge them: “Thanks for helping us reach 1,000 fans!”
20. CREATE A POST SERIES: Share a series of themed and numbered posts over a specified number of days, such as “10 Reasons Why Your Hair May Be Falling Out.”
21. HOST A GIVEAWAY: Ask your fans or followers to comment or answer a question or share their photo or experience to enter to win a special gift, such as samples of a new product, goody bag of products, or gift certificate.
22. OFFER A SNEAK PEEK: Whet your fans’ appetites by showing a sneak peek of an upcoming blog post, contest, new treatment, or product launch.
23. ANSWER AN FAQ: Is there a question you get asked a lot by patients? Answer it on Facebook or create a short video for YouTube.
24. POST AN EXCERPT FROM A BLOG POST: Rather than just posting a link and summary of the post, cut and paste a particularly intriguing excerpt to pique your readers’ interest.
25. HOST A FACEBOOK LIVE VIDEO: Engage your fans by doing a Facebook Live Video of a consultation or treatment from your Facebook page, and have live Q&A period where you can answer fan questions. Promote the event throughout all of your social media channels.
The Importance of Visuals and Video
Consumers relate to content that is visually appealing, well thought out, and eye-catching. Don’t bombard your fans with images that will turn them off, or are too graphic for general public consumption. They do want to see before and after photographs; they also want to see your real patients, and read about their experiences. Aesthetics is a business of beauty, appearance, and image, and your clinic branding and social media should always reflect that.
“Make videos of interesting things you do. They can be simple. I donned my laser goggles the other day and stood in front of my M22 and announced that I was going to wage war on sun damage and it got a lot of engagement. Be creative!” says Dr. Bucay, who delegates some social media responsibilities to her in-house marketing person for her two offices in San Antonio. Dr. Downie also has her web marketing team promoting her television appearances across all the social media platforms she is active on for maximum exposure.
“Remember that what seems ordinary to you can be extraordinary to a patient. We posted a picture of one of our before and after acne patients and had quite a few positive comments on it!” Dr. Schlessinger says.
Getting the Right People on Board
Many practices have effectively enlisted their staff to manage social media in-house, while others are doing it all themselves. Still others have effectively engaged a marketing or social media agency to do the day-to-day scheduling, posting, and monitoring. It takes a village to get it done right.
Consumers want to get to know your practice before they schedule a consultation and come through the door. Social media platforms have made that possible like never before. The challenge for aesthetic practitioners is to learn which platforms are most relevant for your marketing goals, and how to maximize your performance on those key platforms to reap the rewards.
According to Dr. Bucay, “Scheduling posts yourself can be challenging for a busy practitioner. There is never enough time to keep up with daily posts, but you can usually find a chunk of time to plan what you want to post and to schedule those posts.”
Dr. Schlessinger, who maintains a large staff as well as his Lovelyskin.com ecommerce site and a separate medspa facility, adds, “Find a point person to be in charge of the social media platform. Until recently we had a ‘shared’ workload for our advertising team and one person was in charge of both the media spend and social. Social can be a huge process and the type of person who is best at social may not be a ‘nuts and bolts’ person who does well with analytics, budget, etc. Make sure that the person for social is a good match and you will do much better.”
Dr. Downie also cautions that practitioners should pay attention to what they post and what their staff or representatives post on social media. “Once you have a digital imprint online it is almost impossible to remove. Never allow your temper to get the best of you or let a patient or competitor videotape you getting very angry about anything. This could go viral and make you look completely unstable,” she says.