5 (Surprising) Reasons Doctors Need to Embrace Social Media

If you’re among the ranks of doctors who are still unsure of the value of social media, it appears you’re not alone. According to a June survey of doctors by MedData Group, 44% of respondents said they don’t use social media for professional purposes.

Not LinkedIn, not Facebook, not even online physician or patient communities. That’s a lot of doctors who are MIA on what is not only the most powerful communication platform ever invented but also a market research tool bar none. As originally delineated by Joan Lewis of Procter & Gamble, and adapted here for the medibeauty market, here are 5 reasons why using social media for market research makes sense:

The infinite survey: Unlike surveys and questionnaires, which are limited by size and participants’ interest, social media provides a lens into the needs, desires and behaviors of tens of millions of people.

Real-time insights: How long do breast implants last? Does Botox help reduce under-eye bags?  CoolSculpting vs. Laser Lipolysis? Every day, people go online to ask questions about the aesthetic issues that concern them right now. Focus your marketing on their concerns and they’re more likely to pay attention to it. (Being a doctor who actually answers their questions is even better.)

Reveal unmet needs: Social media can help doctors address alternative use-cases. Earlier this year, for example, researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed tweets that referenced migraines. Although not the intended goal, the results offer potentially useful information for Botox providers.

In their own words: Social media provides an excellent platform to gauge customer satisfaction. Encouraged and embraced by others like them, patients reveal their true feelings about providers, procedures and whether or not they achieved their personal aesthetic goals.

More for Less: Learning about consumers through traditional marketing research is expensive. By comparison, social media is a bargain: Utilizing free or inexpensive monitoring tools, the “cost” is essentially limited to the staff time required to monitor and analyze the results.

Doctor Takeaway

When aesthetic consumers talk, smart doctors listen

Beyond the obvious value of exposing your practice to millions of potential patients, social media serves a secondary, but equally valuable purpose: It offers a steady stream of insights into what aesthetic consumers are thinking right now, which makes it the ideal platform for patient-centered marketing. Doctors who embrace the concept and participate in the conversation essentially become empowered providers. If you don’t — if you’re one of the aforementioned 44%, that is — just remember that 56% of your competitors already are.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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