Going Solo: How RealSelf, Social Media, and Being Scrappy Helped Launch My Practice

Ever since his plastic surgeon grandfather stitched up his tongue after a childhood bike accident, Dr. Adam Oppenheimer knew he wanted to be in the business.

Raised in a family of plastic surgeons, Dr. Oppenheimer has watched his relatives build and run their practices the old-school way. Today, as a young surgeon ramping up his business, he says that digital media, including review sites like RealSelf, are essential to growing his practice.

“I love RealSelf,” he told us. “It’s the single most important aspect of my practice marketing and where the majority of my patients come from.” 

Below, the Orlando-based surgeon talks about how he uses RealSelf and social media, like Instagram and Snapchat, to grow his business.

On the intersection of customer service and medicine in his practice:

“There is the technical and emotional part. About 90% of the care is emotional,” Dr. Oppenheimer said. “Some doctors focus on the technical aspect, that their technique is the best, but the emotional side of patient care is what most people forget. I always ask myself, ‘What would I do if this person was a family member of mine?’ ”

Why he joined RealSelf:

“It became apparent to me about three years ago that this was the review destination. Yelp wasn’t cutting it. It looked so one-dimensional compared to the richness of the RealSelf reviews, which look like blogs in some cases. My RealSelf profile is more valuable than my own website. I publicize it more on my YouTube channel.

“I can say I’m really great, but it’s better when someone else says I’m great. If patients are saying it, that makes it real.”

His email leads and bookings from RealSelf:

“RealSelf email leads are valuable in the likelihood to lead to a booking, and they have twice the industry average for normal closure rate for consult. Fifty percent of my business comes from RealSelf.

“Each email lead I get is worth about $700. Every consult from RealSelf is worth almost $7,000.”

How he gets great reviews:

“I find patients who are happy, which is hopefully the majority of them, and I ask them to post as a favor. Usually it’s at a follow-up visit, four to six weeks out, once I get a sense of how they’ve recovered.”

How social media helps:

“I’m going to start doing even more. Instagram is huge. Photos, before and after, it’s a no-brainer for a plastic surgeon.

“Patients definitely know more. They are savvier, they just know. They talk to me differently. I’ll start my spiel, and they’re like, ‘I already saw your video. I already know. I saw you do this surgery yesterday on Snapchat [@OrlandoNipTuck].’ ”

“I never post anything identifiable, no faces. I want my Snapchats to be more educational and helpful. It’s pretty powerful and the ROI is there. I’m trying to be focused on where my expertise is with breast augmentation and labiaplasty, and put those into the Snaps.”

Why every doctor should be online:

“A lot of older doctors don’t think they need this, and maybe they’re right. But people are going to rely on something like RealSelf more and more. I’ve been encouraging my uncle who relies on referrals to get more involved.”

Learn more about how Dr. Oppenheimer has optimized his online presence by signing up for the April 12 webinar, “My RealSelf: Dr. Adam Oppenheimer.”

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