As a self-described digital analyst and futurist, Brian Solis has made a career of studying the effects of social media on business and the culture. A successful blogger, principal at Altimeter Group and the author of “The End of Business as Usual,” he is unlike most social media experts in that he readily admits there is no formula for success in the fast-changing medium.
Instead, success is built on the foundation of developing a strategic social media presence. And that, he says, depends on who you’re trying to reach, what their expectations are and how your involvement ties back to your business objectives.
To accomplish the above, he suggests any business seeking success in social media take the following five steps, which we’ve adapted here for cosmetic surgeons.
1. Listen, Search, Walk a “Daily in the Life” of…
Potential patients, that is. Like others, Solis cites the “decision journey” consumers take before making purchases. Today’s aesthetic consumer turns the Web for insights from friends, strangers and others in similar situations before arriving at a decision regarding procedures and providers. Doctors who hope to connect with them should seek them out on social media sites, listen to their concerns and reach out with insights and information when appropriate.
2. Define Your Online Brand: What do you want people to see and appreciate?
At the very least, secure your name — and just one name — across all social media so potential patients can find you easily. Then focus on differentiating yourself from the competition. Do you specialize in particular procedures? Have multiple board certifications or a stack of testimonials from current patients? Let people know by blogging, creating a brand page on Facebook or contributing to online patient communities.
3. Make your presence matter and tie it back to key business objectives
Obviously, your ultimate objective is to gain new patients but there are smaller goals that indicate consumers are paying attention. Getting people to sign up for your newsletter, click on a promotional offer or share you content with their own social network may not mean more business tomorrow but such micro-conversions further enhance your brand and lay the groundwork for the future. The key to getting their attention? Making your presence matter by providing timely, relevant and authoritative content.
4. Build and Invest in Your Community: Participate and earn affinity to become a trusted resource
In social media circles, “affinity” refers to the strength of the connection between you and others, a connection you can build by sharing, commenting and, of course, contributing content and insights that others want to share, comment on, etc. Writing articles and providing guest posts on other blogs also can also enhance your status as a trusted resource and member of the online communities you contribute to.
5. Learn: Repeat steps 1-5 over time to stay relevant as technology and behavior evolves
Because, trust us, the technology will evolve as will how people interact with it. Doctors who want to keep up should, as well.