Social media usage has been on the rise – increasing rapidly in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has only magnified this increase. In 2020 alone, individuals spent approximately 10.5% more time on social media than in previous years. Over the last five years, studies have shown that social media is overshadowing traditional website content marketing for cosmetic treatment centers.
How does this social media phenomenon lead to more patients?
Integrating social media into a practice’s marketing strategy has many advantages for cosmetic specialists:
Social media normalizes cosmetic procedures.
Gone are the days when cosmetic surgery was a taboo topic discussed only behind closed doors. With the rise of social media, interested consumers are able to see their peers delve into the world of aesthetic treatments. Creating engaging content allows physicians to show potential patients how modern cosmetic procedures can lead to natural-looking results.
Cosmetic specialists can promote their businesses and brands on social media.
From Facebook to TikTok, social media allows doctors to promote new treatments and products. Many users consume surgical content to better understand how the procedures they’re interested in are performed, which offers opportunities for providers willing to create and share educational content.
Exposure through social media allows doctors to build trust with viewers.
Social media gives cosmetic specialists a platform to showcase their skills as well as their unique characteristics, all while giving viewers a glimpse into their profession.
Bridging the gap between social media and patient education
Unlike many other medical industries, patients pay almost exclusively out of pocket for cosmetic procedures.
Academic titles, credentials, and word of mouth used to be the primary vehicles for cosmetic physicians to receive new leads, but many people — particularly younger generations — are turning to social media to choose their doctors without being tied to insurance. This shift puts pressure on cosmetic specialists to up the ante on their social media presence and find new avenues to stand out.
Does this mean leveraging social media is now more important than maintaining qualifications? The answer isn’t black and white.
Credentials still matter — and relying on social media fame can have consequences.
Social media is a double-edged sword for the medical industry. Increased exposure also heightens scrutiny. A single negative review or patient story on social media can have a domino effect on the trustworthiness of a doctor.
You must be able to back up your online presence with impressive credentials to match if you want to maintain an authoritative reputation that continues attracting new and returning clients.
Misinformation can run rampant on social media platforms.
The flipside of advertising cosmetic content on social media is patients showcasing their results. While this willingness to share results can help doctors garner praise and new leads, it can also spread misinformation in different ways:
- Patients who share heavily edited photos online set unrealistic expectations for individuals interested in certain treatments.
- Non-experts, such as TikTok influencers and Reddit users, may offer potentially dangerous or harmful advice online.
- Health care providers can unintentionally violate HIPAA guidelines by posting patient photos without proper consent.
- Social media opens up doctors and patients to online bullying and harassment.
You must walk a fine line between bolstering your social media presence and maintaining authority as an expert to attract new patients without chipping away at your credibility.
What is more important: followers or credentials?
While there is no surefire answer to this question, it’s clear that social media is a powerful tool for physicians hoping to expand their brand and connect with patients.
Your number of followers, likes, comments, and shares can all help convert to calls and booked appointments. Patients want to know more about their providers than their academic pedigree, but every doctor should have those credentials before building an online brand that opens their practices up to scrutiny.
Your patients want to know more about who you are before they trust you to perform sensitive cosmetic procedures. Show them an accurate representation of what it’s like to be your patient and watch your following — and patient base — grow.
Grow Your Social Media Brand With GMG
Our experienced team of social media strategists, writers, and graphic designers can help you manage, maintain, and improve your medical center’s social media brand. Whether you’re looking to market your business through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn, Goldman Marketing Group is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you take control of your brand.
Article originally printed in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery’s publication Currents, Vol. 2023 Issue 1.