Social Media is just the newest form of socialization and communication, something necessary for humans from the beginning of civilization. And while many ‘critics’ of social media and social media marketing hem and haw about the various woes, it doesn’t change the fact that businesses need to adapt and make use of these social media marketing or suffer.
It’s also strange that there is such an odd form of hatred against platforms like Facebook and Twitter, especially in the realm of content marketing for cosmetic surgeons. Smaller practices used to be reduced to smaller marketing budgets and more hurdles to gaining those funds.
Social media and its rise from a niche interest to everyday necessity brought equity and leveled the playing field in many specialized practices. It opened up potential patients to more options, more information, and… just more, in general.
So how to form a marketing plan for plastic surgeons that generate leads?
Two Words: Target Audience
You may have some idea of who you want to reach out to as far as potential patients, but especially when forming a marketing strategy, getting everything down on paper (and/or online text documents) is integral.
Welcome diversity, in whatever form it comes in. Put out content you normally don’t, change up the schedules, perhaps a relevant image or video from an individual or group not usually involved in plastic surgery.
Put your brand out in new places with new (to you) tags. Some folks may find your business through the search engine, but it would be better if you put in some effort to outreach.
Who do you want to work with? This needs to be very specific, as specific as narrowing down who you want seeing your posts.
Influencers are a good start, as they already have a sizeable audience that can generate traffic for your website in addition to theirs. Collaboration is a plus for a practice’s reputation.
Asking your employees to share posts will add to the ‘real people’ aspect of your business. The human element can also be utilized in finding other surgeons or medical experts and getting something like an interview down, or working together for an event or to provide for a scholarship.
Whoever said to keep your enemies closer than your friends does not understand that enemies are already looking to see what you’re doing, so they may copy you. And in the age of social media, there are more ways for competitors to steal ideas and then barricade you from exacting your well-deserved credit and money.
Since everyone, it seems, is jumping on the ‘facebook page’ bandwagon (as they should), the winning route is to do it better. If you find a way to do things differently, keep the process to yourself, carry it out, impress the masses, and generate leads.
Speaking of Facebook pages, update all connected social media any time there is new content on your website.
Gated Vs. Ungated
Gating off anything reeks of superiority and exclusion, two things that turn off most human beings. Gated content is downloaded less than ungated content, for the obvious reason that many people don’t have the means to bypass firewalls to get whatever content or information they need.
According to content marketing expert David Meerman Scott, ungated content is downloaded 20 to 50 times more often than gated content (Rouse). It’s in a brand’s best interest to not be ‘those guys’, and allow any content like articles, posts, and videos to be viewed and downloaded without the need of filling out a form or paying a fee.
Ungating things like reviews, testimonials, blog posts, procedures, and pictures costs nothing and will help the image of your brand, and your profits, in the long run. Many businesses already do this, but a reminder never hurts.
What About Ads?
Paid ads are another thing that gives good short-term results, usually to boost an initial audience of people whether patients or collaborators, but will not hold up long-term usually because it will eat away at an already limited budget. Even if content marketing has a robust budget or a steady stream, you’re better off letting growth happen naturally, especially after the initial paid ad/s.
Some marketers encourage stirring up visibility with the power of controversy. In this age of social media and of ‘purist’ culture in places like Tumblr and Twitter, even if the controversy itself isn’t unethical, shady, or illegal, it can get ugly very quickly. People can and will twist words, manipulate screenshots, and generally cause things to spiral out of control, sometimes to the point of no return.
You want to put out and maintain the best possible reputation for your brand. Avoid the ‘controversy’ route, no matter how tempting it would be to be the first result in a Google search.
The easiest way to steer away from unpredictable methods of getting hits on a landing page? Listen, listen, listen. And contribute.
Social listening is crucial when figuring out what your audience wants. It’s also a good way of seeing where conversations are happening, where questions that need answers are lurking, and what platforms are the best to update on every time you add something new to your website.
Lead generation tools are everywhere, and not just in social media marketing and platforms. Do the research, do a few stretches, then do what your brand needs to rake in those leads.