@RealSelf Reveals Hidden Social Media Trends in Medical Aesthetics

@RealSelf Reveals Hidden Social Media Trends in Medical Aesthetics

802 516 Tom Seery

Here at RealSelf, we’re lucky to have a smart team that manages our social media accounts and regularly reports on what’s working. With that team at the wheel, we more than doubled our followers and engagement on each post from January to April of this year.

We recently finished an analysis where we also looked at a broader question: how do users engage with social media accounts and posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the cosmetics industry overall? We wanted to see if we could make out any patterns in the data that could help us continue our successful run. I think what we learned can benefit all practices who want to make the best use of social media. Here are some tips for how to approach your own strategy based on what we found.

1. Focus on developing your Instagram account.

People are following cosmetic industry Instagram accounts at a rate multiple times higher than they are Facebook and Twitter accounts. And when they do, their engagement is significantly higher than on the other two social networks.

Our data reveals that engagement with posts on cosmetic Instagram accounts is 11 times higher than engagement with similar posts on Facebook, and 80 times higher than engagement with similar posts on Twitter. Those interaction rates are also mounting over time: engagement on Instagram trended upward every month from January to April of 2018.

That means your practice will receive multiple times more attention, engagement and possibilities for revenue for each post you publish to Instagram versus Facebook and Twitter, making Instagram the decisive winner in terms of return on time and effort. Aesthetics providers should dedicate most of the time they spend on social media marketing to developing and publishing visual content for Instagram.

2. Stay consistent. Frequency matters.

Our data reveals that the frequency of posting to Instagram makes a notable difference for engagement rates. Accounts that publish ten or more posts per month on Instagram receive ten percent more engagement on each post than those that publish just one Instagram post per month.

One reason for this: by posting infrequently, you miss out on opportunities for Instagram to “learn” that its users find your posts valuable, which can cause the posts to be shown less often even when you do publish.

When Instagram’s product team discussed its algorithm with a group of reporters earlier this month, they revealed that the app attempts to show users the best and most relevant content that had been posted since their last visit. If your practice posts only once each month, but your followers check their Instagram accounts every other day on average, then you won’t have fresh Instagram content available for your followers who use the app frequently. That means less opportunities for your followers to engage with you, which prevents Instagram from learning that yours is an account your followers want to interact with.

You’re more likely to publish two to three times each week if you plan ahead. There are a number of digital tools on the market available for planning and scheduling Instagram posts, but a well-organized spreadsheet or document is enough to get you started. While everyone in your office should be empowered to recommend or create content, make it one person’s responsibility to corral that content, plan your posting schedule and publish to Instagram.

3. Plan a mix of posts.

When scheduling posts, go for variety. It will keep things interesting for your followers, and it will also let you test whether some posts get more engagement than others. Consider before-and-after photos, shots of your office, and videos depicting procedure snippets, testimonials, and even brief explainers with doctors and staff. Patients who post photos to their RealSelf profile and give you permission to repost to Instagram are a great potential source of before-and-after content.

You can also test Instagram posts that are not strictly about cosmetic procedures, as long as they are relevant to your practice. Images and videos depicting your office culture, or one of your doctors presenting at a conference, can lift the veil on the culture of your practice and the expertise of your doctors.

Participating in pop culture conversations can draw attention to your account as well. Tyra Banks drew headlines in March with her candid remarks about the fact that plastic surgery was important to her success as a young model. Posting a reaction to her remarks could have raised the profile of your account–and your practice.

4. Facebook and Twitter might be worth cultivating, but moderate your effort.

Our data shows that Facebook and Twitter likely aren’t the best environments for investing the majority of your time creating visual content. But that doesn’t mean you need to stay off of those social media platforms completely.

Facebook has said that they will be emphasizing content shared from family and friends, but they also put a premium on informative content that people want to share in general. Try building that type of informative, aesthetics-related content into your practice’s blog, then share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Patients trust your practice because it is built on your doctors’ expertise and skill. Think of your Facebook and Twitter accounts as extensions of this: they’re environments where you, the expert, curate hand-selected and relevant content about aesthetics procedures–and perhaps even beauty, wellness and self care more broadly–from around the web. These are the types of articles doctors might recommend to patients or send around to colleagues. This strategy lets you publish the type of content that tends to work well on Facebook and Twitter and stay engaged on both platforms, all while letting you reserve time for posting engaging custom visual content to Instagram.

See some of these tips in action on Instagram @RealSelf and take a peek into my world by following me @realself_tom.

Tom Seery

Tom Seery is the founder and CEO of RealSelf, the most popular online resource that helps consumers research cosmetic treatments and find the right medical aesthetic provider. Each month RealSelf attracts 10 million unique visitors who view 50 million photos. Another 500,000 people contact doctors and clinics seeking more information or appointments. Integral to RealSelf is a model that showcases the expertise of aesthetic providers. Experts have posted two million answers to questions and routinely upload educational videos, and patient before & after photos. Prior to RealSelf, Tom was a member of the founding team at Expedia, where he conceived a $1.2b private-label travel business, launched the cruise travel line of business, and introduced search marketing long before Google was a household name. Tom sits on the board of ReSurge International, a nonprofit that builds plastic reconstructive surgical capacity in developing countries. He also regularly lectures on innovation and serves on the board of the entrepreneurship programs at the University of Washington. Tom holds an MS from Drexel University, MBA from University of Washington, and BA from Connecticut College. He resides in Seattle with his wife and two highly energetic boys. He is @seery on Twitter or @realself_tom on Instagram, should you wish to connect.

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