By Catherine Maley, MBA
Social Proof Marketing for Plastic Surgeons
Why do some surgeons charge 3–5X more than other surgeons… AND have a waiting list?
Why do you lose to competitors not as skilled as you?
Why do vendors in our industry pay a ton of money to celebrities to tout their lasers?
Because they know social proof marketing works!
WHAT IS SOCIAL PROOF MARKETING?
According to Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, “We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.”
That means when prospective cosmetic patients are uncertain about what to do, they look to other people around them they trust (or want to be like) such as experts, celebrities, friends, etc.
That’s why influencer marketing has always been and will continue to be popular for our industry.
5 TYPES OF SOCIAL PROOF
- Expert: Expert social proof is when an expert in the industry recommends your services. Example: Another trusted plastic surgeon endorses.
- Celebrity: Celebrity social proof is when a celebrity endorses your services. Example: Any Kardashian sings your praises.
- User: User social proof is when your current patients recommend your products and services based on their experiences with your brand. Example: Your current patients boast about you on their own social platforms.
- The wisdom of your friends: This type of social proof is when people see their friends approve your services. Example: Seeing their friends use your services and/or following you on social media.
- Certification: This type of social proof is when you are given a stamp of approval by an authoritative figure/group in your industry. Example: Voted Top Doc or Castle Connolly endorsement.
Knowing these strategies is interesting but how do you incorporate them to make a difference in your own brand and status for social proof marketing for plastic surgeons?
5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR SOCIAL PROOF
Be creative and don’t be afraid to share your successes. Things you take for granted are a big deal to prospective cosmetic patients trying to figure out who is the BEST choice so implement these strategies to stand out:
Show gratitude for your user or follower milestones. Reaching milestones is a fun occasion to celebrate and a great time to thank the patients who have helped you achieve that.
Here are some of the milestones you can celebrate with your audience:
- Reaching X patients served
- Reaching X surgeries performed
- Reaching X followers on your social media profile
- Practice Anniversaries
Spread the word by sharing on your social media platforms, send e-blasts to your current patients, display in-house signage, and highlight on your website.
Since you probably can’t get a Kardashian to be your celebrity social proof, here’s the next best thing.
Your influencers are also your patients. They may not be celebrities, but they are happy patients who can authentically relay their experience to other prospective cosmetic patients.
Start with your patients who have a strong social media following.
Have your staff ask your patients about their social followers in a conversational way or check out their stats on Instagram and Facebook and ask them how they got so many followers.
Videotape a Q&A with them so they are more comfortable. Ask them simple questions such as:
- Why did you come to me?
- Why did that bother you?
- How do you feel about your result?
- Any advice for others considering this procedure?
Patient reviews are huge in our industry. The most effective way to get reviews is to ask for them once the patient is healed and ecstatic about their new look.
But make it easy for them. If they don’t have a Gmail account, set one up for them. If they don’t know what to say, give them starter sentences like these:
- I wanted plastic surgery because I was unhappy with my ____________________
- I chose Dr. Smith because _____________
- Dr. Smith and his staff were ____________ during my surgical journey.
- How I feel now _____________________
It’s the patient’s story that is so interesting to other prospective patients who want to experience that story also.
Cosmetic patients love to “see” your work and “the more the merrier.”
Develop a protocol (just like you do for surgery) for your processes to get your patients’ before AND after photos, along with consent.
Set up a photo room or corner/closet in your practice with the same lightening and angles so your photos are uniform and professional looking.
Even if they won’t agree to broadcast their photos all over the Internet, they may be ok if you show prospective patients during their consultation.
And here’s a tip about photos… a prospective patient wants to see themselves in your photos so have a variety of ethnicities and ages for them to preview.
Turn Your Staff into Walking/Talking Testimonials
People tend to adopt the opinions or actions of people they trust so turn your staff into your free sales ambassadors.
There is nothing more compelling than a prospective patient seeing another cosmetic patient standing in front of them who has already experienced plastic surgery from you.
Your staff can share their story and show would-be patients their results.
Have your staff consent to the use of their photos, written testimonials, as well as video testimonials to use in social media and on YouTube.
Social proof marketing for plastic surgeons should always be an important part of your overall marketing plan so please make it a priority since your patients do.
Catherine Maley, MBA is a cosmetic practice consultant, speaker, trainer, blogger and podcaster. Her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice – What Your Patients Are Saying is read and studied by plastic surgeons and their staff all over the world. She and her team specialize in growing plastic surgery practices using creative patient attraction, conversion, follow up and retention strategies as well as staff training to turn team members into converting rock stars.
Visit Catherine for Free resources at www.CatherineMaley.com or Instagram @catherinemaleymba.
Get her complete guide, “Plastic Surgery Marketing: What’s Working Now” at www.CatherineMaley.com.
Click below to read “Social Proof Marketing for Plastic Surgeons” in its original format in Aesthetic Society News, Summer 2021, volume 25, number 3