This Week’s Question: How To Use Social Media to Attract New Cosmetic Patients
I recently hired a new receptionist and she tells me social media attracts new cosmetic patients. I have no idea if that’s true or not. I personally don’t spend my time on these social media sites but I know many of my cosmetic patients do so I am open to learning more.
My staff has been posting for a few weeks but I haven’t seen any results. What I have seen is my receptionist spending a lot more time during business hours on these social media sites and I don’t think it’s the best use of her time.
It seems our time would be better spent elsewhere or at least less time doing that and more time following up by phone and email with prospective patients who haven’t booked yet.
What do you think about using social media to attract new patients?
Thank you for your great question. It’s an important one since social media is here to stay. And, done right, social media attracts
new cosmetic patients.
If you really break it down, social media is not new. It’s just a new way to connect with people and deliver information.
“Twitter is just an updated version of a note tied to a pigeon’s leg.
Facebook is nothing more than an endless chain letter.
Instagram is the scrapbook you use to keep and share with all your friends.
All there is, all there will ever be is a new form of delivery, a new way to market…”
So, social media is just a different way to communicate with prospective patients, using their preferred mode of communication.
The following will help give you clarity about where social media could or should fit into your cosmetic practice:
Social Media Attracts New Cosmetic Patients – The Pros
Done right, social media can help prospective patients find their way to your Website since organic search is getting ever more difficult. And, it can help spread the word about you through your current patients social media habits. Because social media’s greatest power is with the ability to “share you” with thousands of other prospective patients. That’s the good news.
Social Media Attracts New Cosmetic Patients – The Cons
Here’s the tough part. Social Media is a “just in time” communication where people like to interact immediately. That means, if you want to play this game, you have got to be available to interact with others when THEY want to – not when you feel like it.
That means staff has to have the freedom to start conversations, post often, answer questions, respond to comments as they are happening during business hours AND after hours. This takes time, effort and diligence.
Here are some points to consider when deciding how much of your resources you’re willing to invest in social media:
Who is Your Preferred Cosmetic Patient?
What do you like to do? Which cosmetic procedures are you best known for and like to perform? Facelifts? Nose Jobs? Breast Augs? Lipo? This is important to know because you want to cater to that type of patient using THEIR preferred mode of communication.
If you’re not sure or you don’t care because you just want to stay busy, here’s another way to look at it….
Who makes up the majority of your cosmetic patient revenues in any given year?
Is it the breast aug patient who uses Facebook?
The Brazilian Butt patient who posts pictures on Instagram?
Is it the young nose job patient who’s using Pinterest?
The mature facelift patient using ????
This takes the emotion and the frenzy out of the equation. Once you know who is actually paying with cash for your services, you now go the next step, which is to find out how they heard about you.
Because even though social media is popular, that doesn’t mean its bringing you new patients and new profits.
Here’s what oftentimes happens….you THINK the patients are coming from, let’s say, Facebook; because you are focusing there and there is a lot of activity going on but then you discover, you’re only actually closing less than 1 per month.
Now, you have the right data to decide if the time, money and effort are worth the results you’re getting. This way, you can decide to put more effort into it to bump up your results, or spend less time there, or outsource it to free up your staff.
Here’s another example, let’s say your numbers tell you the following:
Good start. Now look at your data to determine how each of these groups of patients found out about you. It will get murky if they said “Internet” because that can include SEO, PPC, banner ads, social media but it’s a start.
It could become obvious you cater to a younger crowd who uses lots of social media or it’s apparent the majority of your patients are from a different generation who prefer less social media and more personalized, physical interaction.
Tips for Staff Using Social Media to Attract New Cosmetic Patients
If you decide social media is a good lead generation tool for you, have a staff meeting to answer the following questions and devise a plan:
- Assign a “Social Media Ambassador” for your cosmetic practice.
Someone knowledgeable about it, who likes it and uses it effortlessly;
- Make a plan for how much time she should spend per day on social media and what numbers she should be tracking so you can gage results;
- Decide how you will pay staff for working after hours;
- Be clear what they can say and NOT SAY when representing you and so on.
Since social media is here to stay, it’s a good idea to figure out where it makes sense for YOUR OWN PRACTICE.
Knowing this helps you identify how much time and money you want to invest in social media efforts.
Do you currently use social media to attract new cosmetic patients to your practice?
Would you agree social media attracts new cosmetic patients?
Catherine Maley, MBA is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on cash practice building and trains staff to be converting rock stars. | View Author Profile | Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying