OCT 2018

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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© GETTY IMAGES says. "I concentrate on providing good content, and that allows you to slowly build a targeted following of prospec- tive patients." In her book, Aesthetic Clinic Marketing in the Digital Age, author Wendy Lewis advises practitioners to build their online fan bases by following colleagues, neighboring businesses—particularly those that share a similar target market—and vendors that work with your practice. While some physicians share personal images and news on their social media sites to help build a bond with follow- ers, Dr. Rizk takes a more conservative approach, keeping his personal profi les completely separate from his surgical practice. "It can be risky to post randomly without consider- ing how that content will be perceived by colleagues, the media and patients," he says. "Once you put something out there, it is almost impossible to take it down even if just one person retweets, reposts or regrams your content." Dr. Nazarian, on the other hand, has achieved celebrity social media status by sharing her own stories and shying away from before-and-afters. Her social media success has helped her practice not only by bringing in new patients but also by elevating her profi le in the plastic surgery industry. "It gives you celebrity status," she says. "I was recently the fi rst in the country to get a new hair removal laser, and compa- nies often ask me to consult and try new technologies." Another bonus: Other infl uencers seek her out when they want to get a cosmetic procedure. "Some of these infl uencers have more than 1 million followers. So when they post their results and tag me, it puts me in front of a whole new group of potential patients." Decide How to Manage Your Pages Whether you choose to hire an outside fi rm or DIY your social media, you've got to fi gure out a strategy that works and be consistent. "Too many medspas and practices are what I call toe-dippers," says DeGraide. "It's like dipping your toes into the Pacifi c Ocean. You have to fully commit. Run like a banshee and dive in headfi rst." Dr. Nazarian employs two full-time staffers to help her manage her social media, and she works with them to create posts and content for her website. She recently hired outside marketing company Marque Media to help her with branding and content for Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Twit- ter as well. "In the past I did all my social media, and I became overwhelmed with it," says Dr. Buford. He briefl y worked with an external digital marketing agency, "but now I have a full-time person internally who handles it," he says. "I like being able to walk down the hall, and say, 'Hey, Kelly, what do you think about this idea?'" Dr. Rizk works with an outside fi rm and considers social media an integral component of his practice's marketing plan. "I am in surgery or seeing patients most days, so I rely on my team to post my media appearances, patient photos and videos," he says. "We spend time together creating relevant and interesting content for my blogs. I use my blog posts to share my personal philosophy on topics that are of interest to our patients, and to stay on top of trends and new developments." Even if you hire an outside fi rm, it's critical to have your own internal strategy, says DeGraide. "Completely outsourcing your social media isn't the best idea," he says. "Somebody has to be the face and voice of the business, because people do business with people." If you decide to work with a third-party vendor, De- Graide urges practitioners to ask how traffi c and conversions will be measured and how often you will have a chance to review the results. "The bottom line is, you want them to help you make more money," he says. Focus on Your Core Procedures One of the toughest challenges in social media and digital marketing is keeping up with constant changes in strategy and policies. Facebook and Instagram, for example, both suppress posts that appear to be pitching a service or prod- uct, because they want you to pay for sponsored posts. And while Facebook used to reward those who were posting frequently, the site is now starting to penalize businesses that post multiple times a day, says Dr. Buford. "People are getting inundated," he says. One digital marketing strategy that has remained con- sistently effective is focusing on a few core procedures. "Google watches all sources of traffi c to your website," says DeGraide. "If you get lots of referrals on a particular topic, such as liposuction, from a third party like Facebook or LinkedIn, Google starts to weight that page higher than other sources." Still, he warns that the rules and algorithms change con- stantly. "Nobody can tell you the exact methodology these companies are using," he says. "SEO is like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown: The football always gets ripped away at the last second. But frequently adding fresh, relevant content to your website and social media pages will always be smart marketing." Echo Montgomery Garrett is a freelance writer based in Marietta, Georgia. 34 OCTOBER 2018 | MedEsthetics MAKING SOCIAL MEDIA PAY

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