Social Media Best Practices for Branding in Plastic Surgery Marketing

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The discussion of branding is a complicated one because it relies so heavily on personal opinion. Your philosophies and the goals of your practice determine how you should brand yourself. Whether or not this branding is effective is another matter. The correlation between your brand and social media is a strong one; your interaction with your patients and the content you display to them is what solidifies your brand in the mind of the consumer.
"Social media is a growing opportunity to brand yourself since it provides tremendous, targeted exposure for your practice."

Rules for Success

Social media is a growing opportunity to brand yourself since it provides tremendous, targeted exposure for your practice. It is also, for the most part, free to use. This is a vital opportunity for elective health care practices, who often must take advantage of every available effective advertising avenue.

There are several rules for success to keep in mind when establishing your brand on social media.

Be Authentic

This one cannot be emphasized enough. Be genuine in how you display your business; don’t make your practice appear to be something it’s not, and don’t make yourself out to be something you’re not. If you’re not honest in your message, people will pick up on it and recognize you’re attempting to sell them something that’s not accurate.

This will break trust with your customer, and they will turn away. When this happens, you’ve lost your ability to engage with them long-term, and this leads to decreasing patient acquisition.

Deliver a Valuable Message

Take your social media presence seriously. When you interact with your consumers you want to provide them with something of worth. To deliver a valuable message you need to think about what that message is going to be.

Consider how you want your brand to appear to your patients, past, present and future. To have a powerful social media brand, you must know how you want your practice to be perceived long-term, and you must be consistent in this.

Have a Long-Term Strategy

Many media professionals will tell you it takes billions of dollars and years to create a brand with social media. You can do that much quicker, but it is still something you have to do with a long-term perspective in mind. There are very few overnight successes in social media, and even fewer with a lasting impact.

From an organizational perspective, as you start thinking about utilizing social media for your practice, consider creating ‘shows’. These ‘shows’ should highlight some aspect of your practice (etc. MedSpa treatments) on social media that develops your message and helps you stay genuine and authentic. It’s also effective from a planning perspective.

Distribution of Shows

To effectively use social media, you must understand how to best utilize each individual platform. Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites. Well utilized by both consumers and businesses, it attracts more than a billion users.

Facebook is essentially your business’s personal newspaper. It gives you the ability to use photos, high-quality video, and large blocks of written word. It also provides you tremendous potential for ad-targeting. A robust and reliable platform, it is highly recommended for anyone creating social media accounts for their practices.

Instagram is more of a personal magazine. It primarily focuses on images and short videos, with small bits of written content. This makes it a quicker communication experience, but it’s a great avenue to have open and targets a slightly different audience than Facebook does.

YouTube is a huge opportunity for any business. Emphasize thought leadership by putting yourself in a video, communicating your message directly to the audience. You can then develop shows around your message and have either yourself or your staff starring in them.

This allows your consumer to interact with members of your office even before they come through your doors, increasing familiarity and establishing trust. Another useful aspect of YouTube is that you can distribute your website through your YouTube channel, just as you can distribute your YouTube videos through your website.

LinkedIn provides you an opportunity for business to business communication. Because of the nature of the platform, the people on it tend to be others involved in business. It also provides a great way to expose your message and the value of your practice to prospective employees.

When creating your LinkedIn page, consider the perspective of a potential business partner or a potential employee. Your goal is to get people thinking about your practice in a different way than they would every other elective health care practice.

You’re not targeting customers through LinkedIn, but doing more of a business-to-business targeting. Again, you have the opportunity to leverage video, photo, and written content on-site as well, so make sure you’re maintaining authenticity and consistent branding throughout your sites.

Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter are less important avenues to pursue, both because of their primary demographics and how they present information. Snapchat is a great opportunity for an instant, quick message – but it will be difficult to establish followers unless you have something incredibly unique in the messages you’re delivering. To establish yourself on Snapchat you also have to provide content on a constant basis, so it could be a great benefit to some practices but not for others.

Pinterest has a mostly female audience and is a great way to share imagery about your practice, before and after images, and similar content. However, it is not as effective at providing exposure as the previously mentioned platforms.  

Twitter is difficult to use productively unless you’re a celebrity or large-exposure individual and is not a huge opportunity for normal businesses. It should be at the end of your list of branding channels.

When you consider branding, remember not to think of direct marketing. Instead, consider your brand as something genuine and authentic to your practice, emphasizing your philosophy while remaining consistent over the long-term.  

Make sure while you’re developing your shows, that you measure both client engagement and your increased opportunity to discuss or create discussions with prospective employees.