As noted in previous posts, these four concepts form the pillars of successful social media marketing. Yet in and of themselves they won’t help you grow your practice without the fifth C of social healthcare:
Commitment. Unlike buying an ad or mailing out brochures, social media is not a tool or tactic that you can set up and then forget. It’s a philosophy that should underscore every interaction you have with aesthetic consumers, which is why doctors who commit to it set themselves up for long-term success.
In a world where marketing technology is getting more complex, buyers are more difficult to engage, sales teams are asking for more leads and better leads, and breaking through the clutter and noise is more difficult than ever – none of these represent marketing’s biggest challenge, says Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing. The biggest challenge facing modern marketing organizations is consistent, focused execution.
In other words, commitment. Setting up a page on Facebook, sending out the occasional tweet or creating a board on Pinterest — these things won’t grow your business because they don’t provide a sense of who you really are, which, in turn, means they don’t generate engagement or the sense of community that’s at the heart of all social media.
You can’t fake an online presence, says Mana Ionescu of Lightspeed Digital. Trends change too fast, public opinions shift quickly, the only way to keep up with them and stay relevant is to be present in all spaces where changes are observed. And those spaces are online, within the communities where your target audience hangs out. Being there, being on time and being observant takes commitment.
And make no mistake: It’s a commitment that’s only going to become more crucial as today’s millennial consumers come into their own. Now in their mid-teens to mid-30s, they don’t buy anything without first reading online reviews, monitoring other consumers’ experiences and gauging how businesses present themselves online. That goes double when they’re considering a purchase — Botox, Juvederm or eyelid surgery — that promises to impact every aspect of their lives:
For a surgeon, it starts with asking — where will your customers be in five, ten, twenty years?, says Tom Seery, CEO of RealSelf. A practice needs to be prepared for the future; what’s happening with 18 to 34 year olds today offers a predictive view into what you can expect seeing across the entire patient population.
All of which is to say that committing to social media today lays the foundation for future success. Yes, it takes time and requires “giving away” your expertise, and there’s no denying that it can be hard to measure social media’s impact in terms of lead generation and procedures booked. But none of that negates the fact that the true measure of social media — its essential ROI — is its unsurpassed ability to increase awareness of your practice, provide a connection to today’s socially driven consumer and position you for continued success in the coming years.
1. Keep your commitment to the aesthetic community
It’s called social media for a reason: The idea is to share, not to sell, and doctors who fail to see the difference are usually the ones who fail to gain traction. Those who take a more patient-centric approach — answering questions online, blogging about subjects patients care about, etc. — create the trust and demonstrate the authenticity that today’s consumers count on.
2. Keep the commitment to your existing patients
Nothing — not a blog post, billboard or PPC campaign — carries the weight that the good word of mouth provided by a satisfied customer does. They are, in effect, brand advocates, which is why you should encourage them to post online reviews of their experience. Keep them in the loop via email, event invitations, etc., and you’ll stay top of mind — both for them and the people they talk to.
3. Keep the commitment to your staff and marketing partners
According to a survey of small businesses by Vertical Response, 43% of respondents spend six or more hours per week on social media. That may sound like a lot but there’s no reason you have to do it all yourself. It’s okay to delegate tasks to your staff or marketing partners provided you put a code of conduct in place and stay involved. Outsourcing too much not only demonstrates a lack of commitment; it inevitably damages the authenticity you’ve worked so hard to create.