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Ep.59: Social Proof Marketing + My Facelift

Ep.59: Social Proof Marketing + My Facelift

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. Learn how to leverage this behavior just like those surgeons who charge 3-5X more than others…AND have a waiting list!

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Beauty and the Biz

Ep.59: Social Proof Marketing + My Facelift

Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice, and consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and more profits. And today is going to be a little different because we’re going to talk about a topic called Social Proof Marketing for Plastic Surgeons. And then I’m going to tell my personal story about why I paid five times more for a facelift. And why I travelled for it and the details there. Okay, so let’s dive in. Now, why do some surgeons charge three to five times more than other surgeons, and they have a waiting list? And why do vendors in our industry pay a ton of money to celebrities to tell their lasers? I mean, if you’ve noticed all of these laser companies now hire celebs like Christie Brinkley, or some of the Housewives of New York. And why are they doing that?

Well, because they know social proof marketing works. So, what is that? Well, there’s a really great book out it is from Robert Cialdini, he wrote it years ago, but it’s called influence the psychology of persuasion. And there’s a really important sentence, he says in there, and here it is, we view a behavior as more correct in a given situation, to the degree that we see others performing it. So, if it’s good enough for Christie Brinkley, or the housewives is good enough for us. So that means when prospective cosmetic patients are uncertain about what to do, they’re going to look to other people around them that they trust, or that they want to be like. And that of course leads to the experts, the celebrities, their friends, etc.

So, people are also making judgments based on their overall impression of somebody, for example, we think anything that experts use is terrific, because they’re probably more knowledgeable about it, because that’s their area of specialty. And we buy products endorsed by celebrities, because that the time we want to look like them, I used to think that’s absurd. Like I have no desire to look like a Kardashian. But I get what they’re saying, especially when I was younger, anyway, and we trust user reviews because they have experienced the product or the service. And we haven’t, I don’t know about you, but I can’t get past Amazon without checking out the reviews when I’m looking at something I’ve never bought before.

And even though Amazon gets a bad rap, and they say that, you know, some of these reviews are false. I would say most of us can’t help but foot start their first and see what has been the experience of other people. Okay, so let’s go through it a bit more. Now, there are five types of social proof. And I just mentioned a few of them. One is the expert. And they’re the expert is the social proof, because it’s an expert in our industry, who’s recommending or endorsing you, for example, if you can get another trusted plastic surgeon to endorse you, you are golden. And then number two is celebrity.

And of course, we’ve you know it when celebrities endorse your products or your services. That’s fantastic. And by the way, it doesn’t have to be a Kardashian, that’s, you know, saying you’re fantastic. It can be a local well-known celebrity that your local community would know. Well. It’s also a lot cheaper. Number three is user social proof. So that’s when your current users recommend your products or your services based on their experience with your brand. And that example would be your current patients boasting about you on their own social media platforms. Do you see the difference? there? You are, boasting about them on your platform is one thing, but it’s a way more compelling, if they’re boasting about you on their platform. Then there’s number four, the wisdom of your friends, of course, this is a big one. This type of social proof is when friends see other friends results and they want the same. I call that the shortest path to money. That A to B, when a girlfriend looks at another girlfriend and says My Lord, you look fantastic. What have you been doing? And she says, Well, yeah, you’ll see Dr. Smith, he’s fantastic. That is A to B. And then the last one is certification.

Now, this type of social proof is when you’ve been given a stamp of approval by an authoritative figure or a group in our industry. And that’s, for example, all of those voted top doc or Castleconnell endorsement. You may think those are like fluffy or they’re just a pay to play but it doesn’t matter what you think this is about building your brand and building social proof. Patients really like that kind of stuff. Now I know you get offers like this all the time to buy or be seen in these high-end magazines like new beauty, or maybe airline magazines. And honestly, even though it’s a pay to play, it’s really a great way to position you grow your brand. And so now I’m going to tell you five ways to boost your social proof, specifically, so you can, you know, execute it in your own practice right away.

And I want to urge you, before I start, you want to be creative, and you can’t be afraid to share your successes. I’ll tell you some of the surgeons who are the outliers, you know, I’m not going to name any names, but the ones who are real rebels, and they do what they feel like doing. And they don’t care what others say about them, I will tell you, it’s easier on them. And they’re much more successful because they don’t care. Because a lot of surgeons do care what their colleagues say about them, which is fine, but then that keeps you inward and introverted and conservative. And that’s not how you’re going to win today. So, there’s probably a balance there for sure. But you have to be who you’re going to be, and please do what’s right for you do what’s right for your gut, and don’t care what everyone else thinks, gosh, I’m still learning that every day. So, things you take for granted, are a really big deal to prospective cosmetic patients who are trying to figure out who is the best choice, because they certainly have a lot of it.

So, these strategies are going to help you stand out. And they’re not Renegade stuff, there’s things you can absolutely do with it, you know, in an ethical way. So, one of them is celebrate your milestones. You want to show gratitude for your user or your follower milestones. So, reaching them is a fun occasion to celebrate. And it’s a great time to thank your patients who have helped you achieve these milestones. So, here’s some of the milestones you can celebrate with your own audience. For example, you have served over 10,000 patients. So perhaps you have a plastic surgery practice and a med spa, count it all up any patient who’s ever been in to see you, and you’ve had something done and 10,000 patients served, that’s a really big deal. Or let’s say you just want to do the surgery, and you say, Oh, we just reached 5000 surgeries performed, you know, something like that, because nobody wants to be number two, they want to be number 5002. Or you reached 50,000 followers on your social media profile. I said 50,000 because I think that’s a really big, impressive number. But you can still just do 10,000 or 25,000. As a matter of fact, if you do a podcast, like I have 10,000 downloads for me, that’s a really big deal. But then if you look at the really big podcasts, they’ll have like millions, so you have to know your audience and who would be impressed by the number. And then you can also make a really big deal out of your practice anniversaries, maybe not when you’re still only maybe like your three or four out, and maybe not when you’re 30 years out, because now you’re looking a little long in the tooth.

But I would definitely do it. If you’ve been around for 15, you know, 1820 years, that’s a big deal. As a matter of fact, this year, I’m celebrating my 20th anniversary as a practice, and marketing and business consultant to the plastic surgery industry. And I made a big deal out of it. So, it’s just it’s really good credibility. So, you want to spread your word. So, you’ve got your milestones, but now you want to spread them around. So, you share them on your social media platforms, you send a blast to your current patients, so they know you display in house signage. And of course, you highlight it on your website, you can also do press releases, those are still very viable and it helps your SEO.

So, you can just literally Google press release directories and dill, hundreds of them will pop up. Okay, now, here’s another one, use micro influencer marketing. Now, since you probably can’t get a Kardashian to be your celebrity social proof, here’s the next best thing. You should current patients who already have a strong social media influence in a niche area, like in a particular procedure or in your particular area. Because then if you’re ever going to do a social media ad, you can target them quite easily. So, it’s way more authentic when this influencer has actually had work done by you.

So, you have to figure that out. I know the Medical Society say you can’t give anything away for free but you know, you can play by the rules to the letter or you can interpret the rules that are fair for you to play this game, you know in this in this marketplace. So, you might want to give them a special give them some special pricing. But whenever somebody is willing to help you grow your practice, I mean, what they want something back for it. We all do, like everyone likes a win-win. So, think about what are what do patients want? I mean, what do we love Botox or fillers, we love lasers, we love surgery.

So, figure that out, and then have your staff, ask your patients about their social media followers are like, but do it in a conversational way. You know, just having chatting them up and talk about social media and see if they’re really engaged in it. Or if you want to go more covert, you could literally just go check out their stats, like go to their Instagram account or the Facebook account, you know, you can go to tick tock, but frankly, I still think that’s too young right now for our plastic surgery industry. So, just Instagrams, the big one. So why don’t just go to Instagram, see how many followers they have. And if they’ve got a good number, and you want to talk to them about it.

So, you could have your stats, you know, even say, oh my god, I checked out your Instagram account, I just wanted to see what you were like, and wow, you have 20,000 followers? Are they local? Are they you know, and then just chat them up and ask them? How did they get so many followers? And then they’ll be happy to brag about that. And that leads that to that discussion forward to, you know, hey, you know, let’s think of something that we can do together where you could share it on your social like I shared on my social. Okay, the next one is reviews, those have always been willing continue to be the number one I would say next to photos, reviews are still the number one, photos and reviews are still it. And they’re huge in our industry. And the most effective way to get reviews is literally first of all Timing is everything. The patient has to be healed. And they have to be ecstatic about their new look. And you don’t want to wait too long, where it’s not new for them anymore. Like they’re used to their new look. So now it’s kind of Oh, yeah, that’s great. But they can’t really remember that first a static feeling they had, it doesn’t last very long, because they get used to it. So, when they’re super-duper happy it you know, and there is still new, you only have that small window of time.

So, you want to ask directly, you know what, you know, I’d love for you to share your story with others on the internet who are also searching for what you were searching for. So, can you please do me a favor? I’ve noticed when searching say to their patients, would you please do me a favor? patients love to do you a favor. So, I think I and I’ve noticed the more the surgeon asked, the more reviews you get, I’ve noticed if the staff asked, it’s okay with the surgeon is always better. But you want to make it easy for the patient. Because if they don’t have a Gmail account, no problem set one up for them. You can set it up from your IP address, they just have to go do it on their own computer at home.

But some of them don’t have a Gmail account. And they’ll say all put you on Yelp. Quite frankly, Google owns the world. So why not just put it on Gmail, you know, if you can have one review from them, you want it on Google? And then if they don’t know what to say, because that’s the other big objection. Here’s the thing. When you want somebody to do something, you’re always saying to yourself, what would they object to? And what are the two things they object to and I don’t understand technology, or I don’t know what to say. So, help them with that. Number one, you set up their Gmail account.

Number two, give them some starter sentences, things like I wanted plastic surgery because I was unhappy with my blank. Or I chose Dr. Smith because or Dr. Smith and his staff were blank during my surgical journey. And how I feel now is blank. So, it’s the patient’s story that they’re trying to build. And that’s what’s so interesting to other prospective patients who also want to experience that same story. Okay, then here’s the next one. The big one was before and after photos, I would say during COVID, you had an opportunity to get your photos in order. And I hope you took advantage of that because those photos are that darn thing that nobody ever has time to do. But those who do have time to do it, when because it’s a hassle. That’s the very reason you want to do it. Because it’s the best social proof on the planet. It shows off your excellent work because nobody can see your work. You’re a plastic surgeon doing invisible intangible things.

So, the only proof you have is to show off with other patients who have had the result that the other patients are looking for. So please do yourself a favor, set up a process in your office where it just becomes part of protocol to get the patients before and after photos along with their consent. And I would set up a photo room or some kind of a closet somewhere in your practice where the lighting is always the same. The positioning is always the same the backdrops always the same. Just keep it so simple and easy that it’s so and the cameras normal. Don’t use such a fancy camera that the staff is scared to death of it. You Get this simplified there are so many vendors out there who can simplify this process for you. It’s well-well worth it. And well-well worth it to simplify this and make a protocol. And even if they won’t agree to broadcast their photos all over the internet, at least go for well, Sarah, Okay, I understand that. But can I at least show your photos internally, you know, to prospective patients in for a consultation, because you don’t want to lose it completely. if they’ll at least greet as agreed to that. You want to have tons of them in your room and the coordinator in her in her consultation room, because the more that patients can see other patients, especially ones who look like them. And that’s another tip, a prospective patient wants to see themselves in your photos.

So, please take a variety of ethnicities, genders, shapes and sizes. So, a prospective patient can see themselves in the photos, that’s how they get to a Yes, because they, they can visualize what they’re going to get. Like the result, they’re going to get to how great they’re going to feel. And that’s what will get them over that hump of procrastinating. And then the last one is, 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. Now, there’s nothing more compelling than our prospective patients seeing another cosmetic patient standing in front of them who’s already experienced plastic surgery from you.

And that your staff, your staff can share her own story can discuss how her journey was, she can even show off her own results in person. If somebody was, let’s say one of their objections with scars, bringing a staff that had a tummy tuck and show off her scar or lack of, because it turns out like a couple years later is so faded, you can barely see it. They need to see that kind of stuff. Now a lot of you can be fairly stingy about this and you’re missing that isn’t that is I’m going to tell you that that is a limited mindset. a growth mindset would say, oh, heck yes, I’ll give surgery, you know, you can all have surgery.

Now, this depends on Did you hire the right person to begin with? If you haven’t hired correctly, yeah, then maybe you have somebody in there who’s going to take advantage. But if you hire properly and do it the way I say in other podcasts, you have a really good committed patient there, or I’m sorry, staff person. And even if they don’t stay for a lifetime, they can be so helpful to you while they are there. And their photos last forever their videos last. You know, you can still use them even if they’ve moved on which some of them of course are going to because they grow and they and you grow and you change and they change.

And so, it doesn’t always have to be a big, you know, negative split. Anyway, I have been in practices where the doctor is so like, No, you have to work here for a year, you have to jump over 14 fences, you have to pay for stuff. And I just think you’re missing the point. If a patient is in your office, and they want a tummy tuck, what are they 15 2025 grand, a mommy makeover, and your staff has had a mommy makeover. And you don’t parade them in. Hopefully it’s your coordinator who’s had the money makeover. And why wouldn’t you have everybody there? Like I had her I was my very first client. I did a bless somebody else did her press dog, somebody else did a facelift. And it was amazing. And we all were like we would just be called in for the various things others wanted, it was golden, his closing rate was excellent. Because we all drank the Kool Aid, it just made so much sense. Plus, the staff was very excited about it. You know, just looking good, feeling good, just like the patients want to. So please think about that, because it’s really an easier way to convert surgical councils.

So, with that, I’m going to tell you my own story. Because I want to bring this all together because it’s not just theory. Now I’m going to explain why I personally chose a certain surgeon to do my facelift, and why I spent five times more as much as a regular facelift would have cost and why I flew across the country with my sister I had to pay for both of us for first class. And we spent 11 nights in a luxury hotel away from home and I needed her there because I wanted her to take care of me and I trust my sister. Anyway, this was super expensive or real hassle and totally inconvenient. So why did I do it? And by the way, I’m not going to say who the surgeon is. Just because I’m going to like tell you a lot of things about why I chose him and I just I just don’t want to share that part. But I do want you to listen to what he’s doing that gets him to that kind of status. But if you want, you can guess, and you can email me, or direct DM me on Instagram. And you can see if you’re right. But here’s all the social proof marketing that went into my decision to, you know, to just spend the time, the money, the hassle, the effort to get this done. Number one was his reputation; he has a very good reputation in the industry. And but now I know this is unfair, because I actually am in the industry.

So, I know that like I know the inside scoop, however, it doesn’t matter because patients who are online looking around, if you have a funky thing going on in your reputation, it’s going to show on the internet, we’ve all seen that where there are some arrests, there are some stuff, you know, it comes out. So, one thing was he had a pristine reputation with no bad stuff. He also had the all those things like top 10 docks, or patient’s choice or castle Connelly, I actually do like those. So, he had those and that helped. Also, on his website, it’s very prominent, where it says fly in for surgery. And this is the funny thing. And there’s also an emblem for Skype. And what a lot of you say is well, of course I have a lot of people who fly in for me, what you what you’re missing is you’re not making a big deal out of it on your website, like a big deal. Because even if only one person flew in from out of the country, and you want to look like that happens a lot. So, fly in for your surgery, click here for concierge travel recommendations, you know, to take care of you for your surgery, make a big deal out of you accommodate out of towners, and you do their Skype, virtual consults, or you do FaceTime or you do zoom, that tells patients that people are willing to come from around the world to see you or at least across the country. Also, on your website, you should have an in the news kind of thing.

Now this one’s a little trickier. But in the news would be kind of your PR Now granted, in some of these places, they do have PR people on the payroll, and especially in New York, I mean, I mean, I did go to New York, especially in New York, or LA or Miami, that is playing a much bigger game. And but any of the big cities, you could have a PR person who’s on the lookout, it used to be a lot easier to get PR but now it’s not as easy. So, you really have to hit when the IRS hot or something’s going on in your town or, you know, you want to be the go-to guy that they call. Actually, I worked with somebody. And in his town, something happened. And it wasn’t COVID Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t remember. But it just so happens. It was a local TV station, it happened locally. And sure enough, they gave him a call. And he was on the morning program, like the next morning. And that was a nice little hit. So anyway, he was in the news. And he’s in the news a lot. And because he’s in New York, he’s been in all of that Vogue and Esquire and the Hamptons. And it you know, so that’s a big, that was a big deal. Here’s another one that you can easily do and this is your philanthropic work. He makes a very big deal out of going on missions, helping with the cleft lips. You know, at it helping little kids, cosmetic women, females especially, are very drawn to philanthropic efforts that, you know, that that surgeons are doing, especially little kids or dogs, or you know, breast cancer or domestic violence. It just shows that you’re not, you know, a capitalistic pig that you’re giving back. You’ve been given a lot and you’re giving back so philanthropic and again, a lot of you are shy about mentioning it is not time to be shy, get that on your website and literally have on your navigation bar as a drop down about us our philanthropic efforts, Dr. Smith in the media, okay. And then another one is if you do any speaking at all, that’s what’s going to help your credibility.

So anytime you’re adding an event, or if you’re at the Medical conferences and you’re at the podium anytime you’re in front of a microphone, make sure you have staff right there taking photos on their on their iPhone or their iPad, because you want to turn that into a credibility pieces on your website. So, you’re a sought-after speaker. You’re a presenter at you’re invited often, you know to lecture or to talk throughout the community. I make a big deal out of it. Also, if you write anything, let’s say, you write a chapter in a publication, and you say, well, it was just a chapter, it’s not my book. So, what you wrote a chapter so and that’s what you say, you know, um, as seen in and then there’s your medical books, medical is fine. And your that’s good for your colleagues, especially if you get a lot of colleague referrals. But I would also consider writing a late person’s book, you know, five things you need to know about a nose job before you have one, you know, your audience will be bigger, you know, because if you write something medical, it’ll just be for your colleagues. But if you write something layperson, it’ll be for all prospective patients. And then, you know, that leads to a book, okay, if you were going to write your own book, I’ve mentioned this before, it’s not an easy feat. But it could be if especially in today’s world with technology on you can just, here’s in a nutshell, all you do is dictate not to take, I’m sorry, videotape and get the audio of a particular consultation that you do but collect a bunch of them. And then you want to give all that to somebody to translate it and then give all that to a copywriter. And give them a bunch of photos of these procedures, and they’ll put it together for you. That’s probably the easiest way to do it. Okay, another reason I spent five times more was he has a killer, Instagram killer. Now, I was the last one to say spend your waste your time spend your time on social media, I thought it was the stupidest thing. I still I get it, I get it, I definitely get it. But if you’re newer, newer, and you’re building your practice, you have to do it. If you’re midway through, you should probably do it because that’s where a lot of the patients are heading.

Now. You know, they go there, instead of like, have the eyes. It’s just you follow the eyes. And they went from TV, and radio and cable, they went to the internet. And then so where’s the internet? Well, it’s, you know, it’s Google search. It’s Instagram, Facebook. So, you just want to follow the eyes. So, he does a killer job there on his Instagram he shows before and after’s that are amazing. I mean, they’re amazing. He also is smart enough to show doctors flying in from all over the country or all over the world to watch him do surgery. But he knows how to take pictures of everything. He’s not doing this just for I mean, he’s also wonderful and very generous with his time and his skill, but he’s making sure everybody knows it in a very professional way.

Also, an Instagram, he’s doing a very good job of professional, but also showing the personal side of himself. So, he happens, here’s the more clues he happens to like to cook or he likes the arts or he likes to work out. A lot of you think that’s really private and personal. The patients I guarantee will say to you, Oh, you like to run I love to run, or Oh, you have the cutest dog, I have to tell you, if you would add some personality, you don’t have to throw in the family, you know, if you want to keep that private, but showing different sides of yourself really happy helps the cosmetic patient feel like they know you better and that they can connect with you. Another thing he does very well in Instagram is he addresses objections.

And so, women who are online looking for things like, let’s say they saw the before and after photos, I guarantee because I am this woman, you’re saying, oh, what about the downtime? How long am I going to be away? I mean, how bad Am I going to look? Well, he answers that in the photos. So, for example, I just when I was thinking about doing this, he had a post, and it was a woman who had who was all marked up for surgery. And this is her before and she looks really haggard. And he’s she has all the surgical markings on her. The next photo is her after 11 days. She’s wearing a lot of makeup, but she looks passable. Like she could definitely get back on the plane and go home. And that was one of my biggest concerns. Like I wanted to go but I thought I’m gonna look like I’m gonna look crazy, and I’m not gonna travel looking crazy. So that took care of that objection. Do you know what I mean? He’s answering their objections before they even meet him. So now they’re much more prone to call because he’s answered that one. And then of course, he’s got great reviews, and he doesn’t have a few great reviews. He has, like 1454 reviews. And they’re all and it’s a 4.8 rating.

Again, he has put his focus on the things that matter most and that is social proof. So, can you say that you have 1400 real reviews, Google reviews and you have a 4.8 rating. It also makes a big deal out of that. It’s also on his website. And it’s great. It’s got before and after photos it’s got before and after videos. It’s got patients telling their stories. It’s really good. And then another one, and this one’s probably not fair. But he had done another surgeon in a man. And I did go to a meeting and I saw him and I and that was the clincher for me, because when I saw somebody up close, I mean, I was a foot away. He there were no scars, no telltale signs of a man facelift. I thought, wow, if he can do that for a man, you know, that’s golden for me. And that’s what I was wanting. I wanted a natural lift. But I also wanted one that lasted. And that’ll be my last thing. There is something that he does that seems to be very different than other facelifts. Most of us have seen those people, the people who have that Nike that Nike swoosh, and it’s a telltale sign of a facelift. He explains constantly, in his webinars in his Instagram in when he was doing COVID zoom webinars. He’s constantly explaining even on the podium, constantly explaining how his is different, how he goes more vertical than horizontal. And if you don’t explain why you’re different in great detail, then everyone’s just going to assume everyone’s facelift is the same. And that’s why they only pay the normal. If you want someone to pay a lot more, you have to explain in detail in visuals, in words in pictures, why yours is so different and how that difference will make such a different result for you. That was also a very big deal. Anyway, that is that I’m very happy with it. If you I think well if you go to my website that the picture you That is my facelift I it definitely I should do it before and after. I’ll put it before and after somewhere in there somewhere. But yes, I’m super-duper happy with it. He definitely I mean, I’m not sure I’m out of the park like oh my god, it was like I’m like it changed my life. But I he definitely took off 10 years and supposedly, it’s gonna last a lot longer because of the way he fixed the scaffolding underneath it. And I love that idea to like, supposedly, I bought another 10 or 15 years and I’m banking on it. So technically, is probably cheaper if you look at it from the long term. Anyway, I hope that’s helpful to you. That is today’s podcast. Please do me a favor and subscribe to Beauty and the Biz. And if you enjoyed the value, I would love a five-star review as I’ve been talking about. And then if you have any questions or feedback for me, please leave me a message at my website at catherine or you can certainly hit me up and DM me on Instagram and my account there is catherinemaleymba. Thank you so much, and we’ll talk again.

Picture of Catherine Maley

Catherine Maley

Catherine is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on practice building, marketing and the business side of plastic surgery. Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying View Author Profile.


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