Social Proof Marketing for Plastic Surgeons
Why do some surgeons charge 3-5X more than other surgeons… AND have a waiting list?
Why do vendors in our industry pay a ton of money to celebs 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 perspective 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.
People also make judgments based on their overall impression of someone. For example:
- We think anything that experts use is great because they are probably more knowledgeable than us in their area of specialization.
- We buy products endorsed by celebrities because we want to look like them.
- We trust user reviews because they have experienced the product or service, unlike ourselves.
5 Types of Social Proof
- Expert: Expert social proof is when an expert in your industry recommends your products or services or is associated with your brand. Example: Another trusted plastic surgeon endorses you.
- Celebrity: Celebrity social proof is when a celebrity endorses your products. Example: Any Kardashian sings your praises.
- User: User social proof is when your current users 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 product or service. 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? Coming up….
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.
Use Micro-Influencer Marketing
Since you probably can’t get a Kardashian to be your celebrity social proof, here’s the next best thing.
Use your current patients with a strong social media influence in a niche area. It’s way more authentic when they actually had work done by you. Give them special pricing for helping you grow your practice.
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. They will be happy to brag about it 😉
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 perspective 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 her story and show would-be patients their results.
Have your staff consent to the use of their photos, written testimonial and shoot a video testimonial to use in social media and YouTube.
When a perspective patient is in for a consultation for a particular procedure, have that staff person spend a minute with the prospective patient showing off their result.
That’s how you convert more surgical consultations the easier way.
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.