Best Practices for Social Media in Aesthetic Medical Practices
John Powers, PhD
Director of Education and Research
Aesthetic Business Institute
Social Media has become a crucial tool in the sharing of messages for all in the aesthetic medicine industry (and in fact for all businesses and organizations!). The January 2018 Aesthetic Business Institute (ABI) Flash Poll covered social media and helps to set some important benchmarks and best practices for the industry. How does your practice or business measure up in comparison?
Key Stat – 38% post to social media more than three times each week
More and more aesthetic medical practices are sharing their messages on social media with an increasing frequency. Almost 50% of those surveyed in the ABI Flash Poll post to social media on behalf of their business three times or more per week. If you add in those practices that post twice a week on average, the percentage climbs to 70%. Regular, consistent, and strategic posting on your social media networks is a crucial component to communicating with your current and potential clients.
Key Stat – 100% of practices have used Facebook in the last month
It is not surprising to report that 100% of the aesthetic businesses polled have used Facebook to share information in the previous month. Facebook now has over 2 billion (and counting) monthly users, and is the dominant social network if you wish to reach all age groups and demographics. Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – comes in next as being used by 68% of practices (adding to the overall dominance of Facebook in this realm). While Instagram is particularly popular with young adults and millennials, this platform is rapidly growing with older adults (as Facebook did). Twitter, the social network of choice for many politicians, celebrities, athletes, and media folks (as well as our current Tweeter-in-Chief in the White House), is utilized by 45% of aesthetic medical businesses, followed by YouTube (28%) and LinkedIn (25%). Other social networks mentioned in the survey include SnapChat, Pinterest, and Google+.
Key Stat – 48% report having outside or inhouse marketing professionals handle social media
One of the major issues with establishing and maintaining a consistent and strategic social media presence for a business is committing the time and resources to make this happen. In too many instances, the job of creating and posting social media content is left to someone in the office “when you have time” or a team member that should not have this as part of their scope of work. The results show no real dominant answer as to who manages social media – 28% said an outside marketing consultant, 20% have an inhouse marketing person, 18% rely on front desk/receptionist, and 15% reported a physician/owner. There were many other answers offered including nurse, office manager, sales staff, and all sorts of combinations. The bottom line for the management of your social media presence is that it needs to be handles strategically and should be integrated with your other communication and marketing messages. It is also essential that social media is prioritized in your marketing and business plan, and not left to “when someone has time.”
Themes Used With Social Media
Key Stat – 70% report sharing informative and casual posts in the last three months
Over the last several years, social media networks, led by Facebook, have reworked their algorithm to encourage less direct promotional posting by businesses. The social networks are hoping to keep the “social” in social media and favor posts from organizations that provide information, entertainment, and encourage social connection. The ABI Flash Poll reveals that 95% of practices uses social media to highlight services they offer. This is fine, but now more than ever these promotional posts need to be balanced with other posts to avoid being downgraded or even hidden from users’ feeds. The good news in this poll shows that 70% of those surveyed said they use social media for information/research and also for casual and humorous posts. It seems with recent algorithm changes, this balance may have to shift even more to remain organically relevant in people’s social media feeds.
Paid Social Media
Key Stat – 65% report having used paid ads
As mentioned above, Facebook’s recent algorithm change will cause many businesses and organizations to potentially appear less often on the feeds of users. Paid social media is one alternative that will insure that your messages are appearing for your target audiences. In our ABI Flash Poll, 65% of businesses reported having used paid ads with their social media. Like other forms of advertising and communication, social media advertising requires planning and strategizing to optimize results. While most social platforms now have vibrant paid advertising systems in place, it is not surprising that Facebook dominates this realm also. When asked which are the top five social networks to utilize for paid ads, one renowned social media expert states during his keynote talks, “Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, and Facebook.”