As social media continues to set the standard for younger generations, it has simultaneously begun transforming the aesthetic marketing world. Consequently, practices can now reach and engage with thousands of current and prospective patients at little-to-no cost. While practices that embraced this shift early on can effectively leverage social media to secure followers, novices may find it challenging to engage and retain followers of their own.

Understanding what type of content will gain your practice followers—who hopefully become customers—is the first step to successful aesthetic social media engagement. This is closely tied to the fact that people are continually looking for information that is relevant to their current needs, many of which evolve as they age. Use this knowledge to your advantage by producing high-quality, relevant content that address people’s changing aesthetic desires on your social media channels. This social media content should hopefully motivate the viewer to take the next step of either contacting the practice or visiting the practice website to learn more.

Content is King

Apart from its ability to reach potential patients, social media is changing the aesthetic market by enabling two-way communication between the practice and its followers. Practices can use social networking sites, blogs, and other digital platforms to inform followers of practice services, emerging market trends, cutting-edge procedures and treatments, and successful patient outcomes. Meanwhile, followers can leave comments with feedback, wants, and inquiries, which allow practices to respond in real-time and better home in on their aesthetic needs. But to generate such dialog, relevant and appealing content must first be produced. To help, we have broken down content into the five engaging categories, ranked from most to least important.

Promotional content. Unlike ads, this type of content isn’t paid for by practices. Rather, promotional content is any post in which practices/providers promote their services using their social media account(s). This includes before-and-after photos, sales and promotion announcements, and surgery/injection stories. Promotional content is the only type of social media content that promotes services directly by telling potential patients what is offered and sold, encouraging them to seek out the practice/provider to get it. While the goal of promotional content is to sell services and acquire new patients, too much of this type of content can easily make social media pages too sales oriented. Practices can avoid this by not taking up more than 40 to 50 percent of all content with promotional posts. Promotional content is valuable to potential patients because it shares real results before they ever make an appointment or schedule a treatment.

Personal content. Part of creating a memorable brand is giving patients a reason to remember you and your practice. One way to do this is by providing personal content, which shines a light on the people who make up the practice. This can be accomplished through posts that share providers’ personal lives (i.e., their families, teams, pets, vacations, and hobbies) or showcase fun team meetings and activities. People are much more likely to become emotionally invested in a person rather than a business, and therefore, follow you. Foster this connection by offering your help, whether through advice or other resources at your disposal. You shouldn’t pitch or try to sell your services in an effort to help. This shows your followers that you truly care about them versus seeing them as just a source of revenue, ultimately creating a deeper, more personal connection with your followers—the crux of personal content.

Educational content. Sharing your aesthetic knowledge not only educates your followers; it credentials your practice’s expertise and creates brand loyalty. Educate your audience with detailed, informative reads on Instagram and Facebook or post educational videos about surgical (i.e., breast augmentation, liposuction, and facelifts) or non-surgical (i.e., injectables and fillers) procedures. While it may seem like a good idea to provide a link to your website for more information, people don’t like to (and usually won’t) leave social media platforms unless the content is intriguing or 100 percent relevant to a problem they have. Knowing this, allow followers to soak in your aesthetic knowledge on the social media platform they are currently logged into. Along with creating understanding around procedures, this content approach builds a trustworthy connection between you and your followers and fosters greater respect for your brand. In turn, your audience will trust you above the competition.

Entertaining content. While people go online for information and knowledge, they find it equally as useful for providing entertainment. Tap into your followers’ need for a pleasant distraction from their daily activities by posting entertaining content on social platforms that are visually driven, such as Instagram. While this requires thinking outside of the box, be sure to walk the fine line between creative and questionable posts—content must always be done in good taste and still exemplify the practice’s brand. Some appropriate and effective entertaining content includes celebrity posts, giveaways, sweepstakes, riddles, and use of Instagram story polls or the question sticker. Entertaining posts such as these should pull the viewer in and hopefully inspire him or her to click the “Like” button, which will support a higher reach with future posts (regardless of the content).

Inspiring content. Demonstrate how your practice can help its followers achieve their aesthetic goals by publishing patient success stories—told in the patient’s words. A popular format by which patients share their experience is through a “surgery diary,” describing their entire journey from the consultation session to the final result. For instance, patients can share before-and after photos, videos and captions—describing why they decided to get the surgery, the process, how they felt afterward—or a combination thereof to detail their surgery journey on their personal social media accounts. With their permission, the practice can then repost these patient stories through its own social media channels. Hopefully, this will inspire your followers, making them want the same treatment and encouraging them to schedule a consultation to begin their own aesthetic journey.

The Right Balance

These days, current and prospective patients are looking to social media more frequently for aesthetic information. Practices can satisfy their search by providing promotional, personal, educational, entertaining, and inspirational content. While a strong social media strategy uses each type of content, ideally, promotional content makes up 40 to 50 percent of posts, with the remaining 50 to 60 percent consisting of a combination of the other four content categories. Ultimately, the right ratio will make the practice’s pages interesting to follow and read. You will know your practice has hit the right balance and is successfully producing relevant content when your followers begin engaging with you online and sales follow soon after.