What does it take to get a return on your investment in RealSelf? In this series, we’ll walk you through the approaches your peers have taken in order to get peak performance from their profiles.
Dr. Justin Gusching first heard of RealSelf well before he joined the platform last year and began sponsoring his profile in February of 2021.
“I was familiar with RealSelf prior to even doing cosmetic or plastic surgery,” he said. “My friend’s father is a plastic surgeon. I shadowed him, and one way or another, RealSelf came up. I knew it was a good platform for [potential] patients to educate themselves and get real feedback from real patients.”
That impression of RealSelf as a patient education platform stuck. For Dr. Gusching, it’s the primary differentiator from social media destinations like Instagram, where he has built a sizable following. “Having RealSelf is better than only having an Instagram-type platform because [the content] is actually coming from a patient who’s had that procedure, or a physician answering specific questions,” he said.
Here is how Dr. Gusching, who is already averaging more than 20 phone and web inquiries from RealSelf just a few months into his sponsorship, is approaching the platform as he begins to ramp up his presence.
RealSelf Profile By the Numbers
Specialty: Board Certified General Surgeon
Years in practice: 4
Joined RealSelf: 2020
Location: Cartersville, GA
Patient reviews: 16
Star rating: 5.0
B&A photos: 25
He’s establishing a solid foundation of content—the first step to building a standout profile
|RealSelf is seen as the most trusted source for cosmetic procedures 2X more often than doctors’ websites and 10X more often than Google reviews.|
As a newer profile sponsor himself, Dr. Gusching’s advice for other new-to-platform doctors: establish a reasonable pace and set a goal of getting your first crop of profile content live.
“Focus on having at least a couple [of photos and reviews] in each one of your procedures in order to really have people pay attention,” says Dr. Gusching.
The best initial goal new sponsors will want to hit is 10 before-and-after photos, 10 answers, and 5 reviews in their top procedures—the requirements to become RealSelf Verified.
And because both the number and recency of reviews and photos are important to consumers, successful doctors maintain a steady cadence of three reviews and three sets of photos each month. It’s a signal not only that you’ve achieved great results, you’ve maintained them.
Dr. Gusching is averaging nearly 4 reviews per month so far: right on track. “Having that first set of photos and reviews there makes a huge difference,” he says. “Make sure you get a solid base.”
He knows it’s valuable for patients to see his profile even after he’s had them in for a consult.
“I’m getting more business out of RealSelf,” says Dr. Gusching. And he’s happy with the quality: “RealSelf patients seem to have done their research already. They’ll have questions that, if someone didn’t educate themselves, they wouldn’t be able to ask,” he added, noting that patients who ask the right questions “are also the ones who tend to actually book surgery with you.”
But Dr. Gusching also recognizes that their journey from the desire to have a procedure done to the operating room isn’t perfectly linear.
“For me, it’s also important to allow for more education for my [prospective] patients,” he says. “Usually when they’re talking about using a specific device, or doing a specific procedure, I tell them, ‘Do your research. Go to RealSelf and see what other people are saying about it.’”
The goal: locking in their decision to choose him as their doctor through confidence-boosting education and proof of his results. “What they’re seeing on my profile is from actual patients, not just something random they’re reading online,” he notes.
Encouraging potential patients to visit his RealSelf profile is also a down payment on getting reviews after they’ve had their procedure. Asking patients if previous reviews have been helpful is an effective conversation starter when requesting reviews: 63% of patients are motivated to leave reviews because they want to share the good news with others about their positive aesthetic experience, more than any other reason.
He knows that making an engagement plan is key to being successful on RealSelf
Dr. Gusching lives the aesthetic surgeons’ schedule—days filled with operating on and meeting with patients, with much of his other work having to be squeezed into “in-between” time.
Still, he says reserving time to dedicate to starting strong on RealSelf is well worth it. “I think it makes sense to literally block a two-hour window out of your schedule, sit down, and really focus on getting your before-and-afters posted on your account,” says Dr. Gusching. “Because the more information you have there, the more you’re going to benefit from it.”
To build on his strong initial showing of 20 combined phone and web inquiries per month, Dr. Gushing plans to delegate the work of publishing before-and-after photos to a dedicated social media manager. “They can upload photos a lot more aggressively than I can” day-to-day, he says, calling the investment “so worth the money” due to the ROI of consistently posting fresh content that evidences the great results he achieves for his patients.
Want to learn more about how RealSelf can drive growth to your practice? Visit here to request time with a RealSelf Advisor.