There is no doubt that social media is a powerful marketing tool...and it can be extremely beneficial for aesthetic practices to grow and attract new patients. With that potential comes pressure. Are you on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? How often are you posting? What do you post? What results are you getting? Are you engaging with new and existing patients? Where does one find the time to do all of that, and still keep their day job?
Social media experts spend all their time planning, posting, and measuring the results, but you and your staff might not be quite so savvy. Maybe you're already on Facebook, but you're not seeing significant benefits.
Let's walk through the need-to-know basics to help your practice get the most from social media.
Know Your Patient
Your target social media audience is a combination of existing and potential patients, so every productive strategic approach starts with a clear picture of those patients. Consider the most popular procedures and areas you want to grow. Who are those patients? In particular, think about their gender, age, finances, and interests. You might have a large population of acne patients in their teens and 20s, for example, or many female patients in their 30s and older who seek rejuvenative or anti-aging treatments. It is important to know your customer inside and out before you determine how to best reach them.
DOS AND DON'TS OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
- Create a strategy and stick to it
- Post consistently
- Be authentic, and let your personality shine through all of your posts
- Build relationships by engaging with followers
- Make every post a sales pitch
- Post about politics, religion, or other contentious topics that could easily offend your followers
- Invent your strategy as you go
- Feel discouraged if you're not seeing results
Start with Facebook
Facebook is a great place to start building your practice's social media presence, as it spans many demographics and key age groups. In 2017, 91 million Facebook users were between 18 and 34 and 84 million were between 35 and 64.1 Even if you already have a Facebook page, there are ways to optimize use of the platform. Make sure you opt for a business account. This will allow you to take advantage of advertising capabilities and data insights.
For the profile picture, I suggest a recognizable photo of you, such as a professional headshot. Your cover photo should be engaging, while still relating to your practice. To make it easy for potential patients to contact you, fill out the “About” section with your practice's address, website, and telephone number. You can also include any recognitions you or your practice have earned. In addition, you might check Facebook activity for some of your patients to get an idea of what attracts them and how they use the platform. Those insights can help shape your Facebook posts, which might include:
- Highlights of various services you offer to ensure patients know all of your offerings
- New aesthetic treatments and incentives to learn more
- Patient testimonials (names removed) with images, if possible
- Social media content provided by your industry, such as technologies, procedures, injectables, and even financing
- News about promotions in your practice
- Photos and information about you and your staff to help patients get to know you.
Because aesthetics is visual by nature, make your posts as visual as possible. Don't look at posts as stand-alone pieces. They should fit into the visual whole of your Facebook page and the image you want for your practice. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Add Instagram and Twitter
To reach a variety of patients, it is important to target them on more than one platform. For your secondary platform, you could choose the second and third most popular social media channels, Twitter and Instagram. Instagram is particularly suited to aesthetics because it is a platform dedicated to sharing images. Some powerful aesthetic content for Instagram might include:
- Before-and-after photos of patients' procedures
- A photo of you with a happy patient
- A favorable testimonial, captured as a photo
- Inspiration for the practice.
Twitter is a platform best suited for you as a professional, rather than for the practice. Present yourself as a best-in-class leader in your field by sharing information. Some other content ideas include:
- Sharing the latest science and dispelling trending myths
- Posting a study or an article about a new skincare trend
- Mentions of industry conferences or your attendance at a trade show.
Twitter and Instagram hashtags help you find content and, more importantly, help people find you. Search hashtags like #medicalaesthetics, #lipaugmentation, #fillers, or #botox and check out the results. Participate in existing conversations by using hashtags for all of your own posts (especially on Instagram, where many posts have multiple hashtags).
And most importantly, set yourself apart from other doctors and practices by creating your own hashtag based on your services and location. For example, if your practice is based in New York, your hashtag could be #NewLookNY or #YoungerNYC.
Boost Your Followers
Now that your accounts are set up, build followers and use social media to achieve your ultimate goal of patient acquisition. Because Facebook is your primary platform, put your energy and advertising dollars there. Facebook has many paid media features that will enable you to reach your audience. Boosting a post is the easiest way to advertise on Facebook. Visit vimeo.com/241195793 for a step-by-step tutorial video.
If you're looking for a challenge, you can develop strategically sponsored ads to target multiple patient populations at once. These ads do not live on your Facebook page and are only visible to the audience you are targeting. For example, you can create two strategically sponsored ads and have them run simultaneously. One ad may be about Botox services and the other about laser hair removal services, targeting individuals interested in the respective services individually. Setting up a strategically posted ad is more complicated than boosting a post, but you will experience superior results.
Turn “Presence” Into Action
Anyone can create a social media “presence” by setting up their accounts and getting followers, but the only way to use social media to build your practice is to drive followers to action. Beyond raising awareness with social media, you want to create a call-to-action and create engagement with patients. Make it easy, fun, and attractive for them. One way is to include a next step in each of your Facebook posts. For example, when you post a positive testimonial, you can write, “See more testimonials on our website at www.123aesthetics.com” or “To schedule a consultation during our New Year, New You promotion, call 123-456-7890.”
Instagram does not allow you to post links in your posts. You can work around this by writing “link in bio” in your post, which directs users to your bio to click to your practice. For example, when you post before-and-after photos, you can write, “Want to see more before-and-after pics? Click link in bio.”
In addition to linking, Facebook offers a “Call to Action” feature that allows you to add a clear call-to-action button to your Facebook profile page. Businesses have many options for their button, such as “Call Now,” “Learn More,” “Book Now,” “Shop Now,” or “Get Directions.” Your “Learn More” button might take users to your website, while “Call Now” can be an effective option to drive more consultations appointments by phone.
Once you put a “Call to Action” button on your profile, you can use Facebook Insights (part of your business account) to see how many people are using it. If you're not seeing the results you would like, test other “Call to Action” buttons and stick with the one that gives you the best results.
Get Help and Get Started!
All of these steps are achievable within your practice. You or a staff leader can set up the accounts, post strategically, and get the followers and conversions you want. But busy practices often welcome some help! Experts in social media marketing with a keen understanding of the medium and best practices can invest time in creating a successful strategy that delivers on your goals.
Hiring an agency is an affordable option for any size practice, particularly because all good agencies focus on measurable outcomes that will boost your bottom line. I recommend practices put 10 percent of yearly revenue toward the marketing budget and expect that increased patient acquisition will be a good return on investment. A good agency can help ensure that ROI. At Pascale, we tailor each of our social media campaigns to our client's goals by planning strategically, developing content, boosting brand recognition, growing followers, and building interaction. We even coach clients how to maintain their platforms and capture the best images for their posts.
Social media marketing does not have to be complicated, but it should be as professional as your practice. Followers should see the beautiful work you do, making the platforms a source of pride and a measurably effective way to build your practice.
1. Number of Facebook users in the United States as of January 2018, by age group (in millions). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/398136/us-facebook-user-age-groups/