Content Marketing II: Lighten Up, Doc — It Could Be Good for Business

Interesting story in yesterday’s Seattle Times about the online shopping site, zulily. Apparently, the website, an online daily deals site for moms, babies and kids, was having trouble engaging with users on Twitter. Using the micro-blogging tool primarily to announce sales events, management was dismayed that none of its followers ever retweeted or favorite its messages.

That is, until they turned the account over to Alyssa Gay, the company’s former receptionist, who was known for sending humorous emails. Forgoing a sales-heavy focus, she instead began writing lifestyle-oriented tweets that the company’s followers could actually relate to. For example:

Old style

When summer showers spring up, don’t pout! Kids can wear these rad #rainboots about

New style

My nickname is “Mom” but my real name is MomMomMomMomMomMomMomMom-MomMomMomMomMomMom … #Mom.

The latter earned 26 retweets and 23 “favorites” — not a lot by celebrity-tweet standards but certainly an improvement over none and none. In fact, such “funny relatables,” as Gay calls them, have helped grow the company’s Twitter followers by 7%.

People have to engage with what you’re saying, and to do that, you have to speak like a person, Kate Losse, a tech writer and former Facebook manager told the Times. You have to say something that people want to share: That requires humor, requires wit.

So, does that mean doctors should start making light of cosmetic surgery? Of course not. But it does suggest that being relatable and empathetic — i.e., acting like an actual human being talking to other human beings — can be a good thing. Clearly, there’s still a place for offering discounts and sharing medical insights but, at heart, social media is a communications platform, not a sales channel, and doctors who approach it that way become more approachable in the process.

Doctor Takeaway

Demonstrate expertise and empathy and engagement will follow

People considering cosmetic surgery are rightfully called aesthetic consumers because they are, indeed, making a buying decision among competing options. However, that doesn’t mean they want to be sold to when participating in social media. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or RealSelf, they’re looking for information, support and a sense that the doctors they’re considering are caring as well as competent. Forgoing the sales pitches for a more personal approach accomplishes all of the above.

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, and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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