Forums Beat Facebook and Twitter for Aesthetics Purchase Decision Making

Forums Beat Facebook and Twitter for Aesthetics Purchase Decision Making

150 150 Tom Seery

forum online community

You may think everybody on the Internet spends all their time on Facebook but when it comes to purchasing products and services, that’s not necessarily where they’re hanging out.

According to recent research by Visible Technologies, a social media monitoring company in Bellevue, Wash., people — and women in particular — demonstrating “purchasing intent” are more likely to use forums than Facebook.


Sometimes you just don’t want to broadcast information widely, says Carly Wilcox, Visible’s director of research and analytics. Forums provide a little safer feeling for people.

According to the data, Twitter is the top-scoring channel for such conversations, but as Wilcox notes, it’s a platform that’s designed for immediacy — real-time events, social campaigns, driving awareness, etc. — rather than for conducting in-depth research.

Forums, on the other hand, provide a sense of security and commonality by allowing a degree of anonymity and fostering a level of communication that you just can’t get in 140 characters.

Forums offer a real resource where people are leaving information, writing responses and helping each other out, says Wilcox. Once you reach out to that anonymous person and you’ve made that connection, then you can continue the conversation offline if you both want to.

That’s the value proposition at, where people considering cosmetic surgery can communicate with others like them, doctors can get a sense of what consumers are interested in (and provide answers to questions) and the give-and-take carries no commitment to buy.

And with more people turning to social media for plastic surgery research all the time, that value is only going to increase.

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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