While in Atlanta for a conference a couple weeks ago I was approached by a plastic surgeon and we started discussing marketing. Not very far into the conversation he said something to the effect of “well a plastic surgeon who’s talk I just listen to said that social media doesn’t work.”
My first question in response to that comment was, what exactly do you mean by “social media?” I had a feeling this particular gentleman was simply referring to Facebook, which he immediately confirmed. My next question was meant to clarify the word “work.” In this case, asking if Facebook “works” means “does it lead to new patients?”
Facebook itself is a social network, like Twitter, and these social networks make up what is known as “social media.” Social media is really any medium online that facilitates the creating, sharing and collaboration of thoughts and ideas. Social media should be a part of everything from your website to your email newsletters to your blog articles and press releases. In this day in age, almost everything online should be social.
Social media facilitates word-of-mouth marketing in a faster, more efficient way than we’re used to. Best of all, these social efforts can be tracked with anlytics. You can see how much traffic is coming to your website from a press release or YouTube video. You can see the percentage of people who’ve clicked on a link in your email or the number of people who’ve re-tweeted a Twitter post.
When we start talking about the bottom line, and if social media “works,” we can simply look at Google Analytics to measure traffic and conversions. As I’ve mentioned thousands of time, the more quality content your practice can produce (blogs, press releases, videos, etc) the more visibility you’ll get. More visibility leads to more credibility, more traffic, and ultimately more leads (provided you have the right ‘call to action’).
Now, as far as Facebook itself goes, I think it’s important to evaluate the existing state of Facebook for businesses with Fan pages. As I noted in a recent article, only 1-2% of your ‘likes’ are organically seeing your updates in their news feed. This necessitates advertising. With advertising you have many different options, not the least of which is promoting a service or product that people can purchase directly from your website.
If all you do is post promotional or uninspiring messages to your Fan page then you might get some engagement, but that approach won’t help your bottom line. You need to advertise and get in front of your target market. This means advertising to the right demographic, as well as advertising to patients who’ve already visited your website. You can learn more about the latter approach, re-marketing, by clicking here.
In summary, social media is definitely worth the investment. Facebook is also worth the investment. However, like any other marketing strategy you need to:
- Create a unique selling point
- Present a clear call to action
- Establish the means to track effectiveness
- Be ready to adjust your strategy & tactics ‘on the fly’
The tools are all there for any cosmetic practice to utilize, but these tools work best when incorporated into a strategy were the doctor and staff are involved. Having the doctor personally ask patients for reviews or having the practice manager recommend blog topics or specials based on conversations with patients are just a couple examples of this involvement.
If you’d like to learn more about getting the most out of your social media efforts then get in touch with TRBO. Just leave us a message here or call 877-673-7096 x2.