I recommend doctors read over the post Why Social Is So Disruptive to Traditional Marketing by Judy Shapiro where she explains the reason marketing dollars are rapidly shifting toward social sites from content sites. Shapiro states:
…newer technologies offer marketers a community distribution platform that rivals the content distribution platform across the board. Social/ mobile marketing is cheaper to create and permits ongoing marketing that was not economical in paid media. It is also incredibly efficient at reaching scale (albeit somewhat chaotically). It is more nimble than content based marketing and most importantly, social marketing shifts trust from content to the community, thus delivering more efficient brand ROI…
This goes a long way in explain our value proposition to doctors at RealSelf.com–a community distribution platform. We’re helping aesthetic doctors develop trust before patients arrive at their offices. RealSelf engages a community of millions that is deeply interested in getting informed about everything from acne scar treatment to liposuction to zoom teeth whitening. Doctors plug-in by answering questions and posting before and after photos.
Spencer Cochran, a Dallas facial plastic surgeon sees Q&A on RealSelf as giving him “…an inside look at the concerns that patients have about cosmetic surgery and improves your ability to address their concerns….[it] has made a tremendous impact in helping my practice grow”
Just as important, the shift doctors take from pay-to-play directory sites and publications to posting on sites like RealSelf, wins over skeptical or cautious consumers. A RealSelf user put it best, explaining “I think a surgeon who takes the time to respond to patient questions on a forum without any fee is a good indicator of integrity.”
Integrity = trust, and that’s the currency by which a medical practice thrives or struggles in today’s socially-enabled world.