Buzz Index: When Aesthetic Consumers Talk, Smart Doctors Listen

RealSelf, sclerotherapy,

Photo courtesy of Mitchel Goldman, MD

If you follow the conversations on RealSelf, it’s obvious that aesthetic consumers are all abuzz about sclerotherapy, TCA peels and PicoSure treatments.

Except, that is when they’re abuzz about cellulite treatments, Thermage and silicone injections. Or lap bands, lip augmentations and panniculectomies.

So what do three sets of distinctly different procedures have in common? Over the last three weeks, each group has topped the RealSelf Buzz Index, a weekly analysis that compares the number of questions, comments and new reviews posted over the last 28 days relative to the previous three months. As such, they represent what’s currently “top of mind” for aesthetic consumers and demonstrate that they represent a community that’s diverse, hungry for information and always changing.

The fact that consumers are researching such disparate procedures shouldn’t surprise anyone who understands how people use the web today. When it comes to searching for information, Internet users are conducting increasingly nuanced searches, fine-tuning their efforts to separate the wheat from the chaff and find exactly what they need.

Don’t take our word for it, though. According to Google, 16% of the searches on the world’s largest search engine are unique, one-of-a-kind searches that the company has never seen before. As Baris Gultekin, former director of Google AdWords product management, says, “User search behavior can be a moving target.”

It’s the same with online conversations about cosmetic surgery. One week, it’s cellulite, Thermage and silicone injections; the next, it’s sclerotherapy, TCA peels and PicoSure. And while analyzing search results is probably better left to your webmaster or marketing agency, getting a sense of what aesthetic consumers are interested in is as easy as following their conversations.

Consider one recent thread about last week’s Buzz Index leader, sclerotherapy, in which LN812 reported on the procedure she had done 3 months ago. Since then, people have kept the conversation going with support for her efforts, kudos for her results and questions about her provider, number of treatments and recovery.

Such conversations are invaluable to aesthetic consumers as they provide both information and emotional support but they’re worth following for doctors who can glean insights into the concerns they’re likely to see from potential patients. And, as LN812 suggests with her most recent comment, doctors who think it’s just a bunch of idle chatter are missing out on both free market research and the potential for new business:

As the photos show, there’s still some bruising, but it is MUCH better than before!! I am very, VERY happy with my results. My husband is next up to get his done!

Doctor Takeaway

Consumer conversations benefit doctors too

Doctors who follow patient conversations can glean excellent insights on what procedures those patients are considering, what their concerns are and how they feel about their outcomes. With that information in hand, doctors can be more effective in their marketing efforts, office operations and other business decisions.

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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