Tag Archives: Brian Solis

Social Media Mini Boot Camp 2014

I just returned from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) Annual Meeting Meeting in Hollywood, Florida where I gave a power-packed talk on the 12 things you need to do in 2014 for social media success.

Now, my talk presumes you are ALREADY doing some social media and relationship marketing to increase your online visibility. If you have not yet taken a dip in the social media pool, I highly recommend you start. (And if you need help, you can always ask!)

Here is the slide deck I presented – so take a look, make some notes, and even download if you so choose. All of us here at Cosmetic Social Media are here to help you make the best possible online impression.

To see our other presentations, check out our SlideShare channel!

Here are links to your recommended reading this year:
 

Customers Won’t Be Ignored: Why Relationship Marketing Should be a Key Focus for Your Cosmetic Practice

I came across this quote from Peter Shankman, which I think is quite apropos to the way customers are behaving and how businesses need to shift their thinking. He says, “The last ten years were about social media. The next 20 years will be about customer service.”

Customers won’t be ignored. They have tools at their disposal that give them immediate access to brands and businesses. But who is listening to this empowered consumer?

Is your practice prepared to handle what Brian Solis calls “Generation C” (the connected consumer) for whom sharing experiences with others is key? Relationship marketing – what we feel is the next iteration of social media – requires more than a mere presence by your practice.

Throwing up a fan page on Facebook and Google+ and hooking up your blog to auto-post some impersonal message is not enough (and we contend it never was, but that’s just us). This kind of automation of content is not personal, it is not engaging, and the viewer can’t even tell if it’s relevant to her, so why should she bother clicking to read more?

Signing people up for your newsletter is not enough either. Look at what Peter does when you sign up for his newsletter:

By inviting you to connect with him personally over a cup of coffee, Peter is setting the bar much higher than most – and with good reason. Relationship marketing is where it’s at. Savvy businesses who understand that expectations are higher than ever are busy building deeper connections to their consumers that are next to impossible to break.

Social platforms have become a key means by which consumers (and patients) communicate with brands and each other. Rather than thinking about your social media expenditure as “marketing”, think of it as an patient retention tool.

Remember when nobody thought the fax machine would ever take off? “Why would I EVER need to get a piece of paper to someone immediately?!” But they became the norm instead of a “nice to have”. Think of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the rest as your new norm.

Think You Can Skip Facebook? Think Again…

A few days ago MediBeauty.biz editor, Tom Seery (who I love, by the way), put up a blog post entitled, “Doctors Don’t Need to Be on Facebook (and other good news)“. First let me way – that is a BRILLIANT title! Seriously, who wouldn’t click on this!?  But regardless of the genius title, I think there are a few flaws, so I sat down to give my thoughts…

Here is my response:

“Interesting points here Tom. I think the waters are being muddied in your article, however.  By saying “You don’t need to be on Facebook” I believe you are actually doing them a big disservice.  And I don’t say this because it’s what I do for a living – I say it as a former practice administrator who spent 20 years in plastic surgery management and marketing.  I know from firsthand experience how much of a difference it made in our practice’s patient retention, loyalty to our brand, repeat business, community awareness, and last but not least, referrals.

Now, should physicians THEMSELVES be on Facebook? The answer is yes, if they want to, but for their personal profile for friends and family *only*. These guidelines were set forth by the American Medical Association in late 2010 so this is not new news.  However, whether or not the physician wants a personal profile is less important than the PRACTICE having a page.

Implementing a practice Facebook page (and this goes for all social media platforms) opens an online channel for your practice/brand to engage with current patients, their friends (most likely to buy), and prospective clients on a daily basis. If you think about it, you cannot do this any other way.

I believe RealSelf offers surgeons a wonderful platform to show their expertise and let the patients “get to know them”.  Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Foursquare, all provide additional touchpoint opportunities. With Facebook’s Graph Search implications (see this blog post for more) and the strong SEO benefits of social media in general, it’s more important than ever to be active in all channels so you are connecting with this new digitally-connected consumer.

We have become a culture of sharing. The connected consumer shares everything – how they feel about you, your brand, your products, and your service. It used to be a happy customer tell s one person and an unhappy customer tells ten. NOW – that same customer can tell hundreds or thousands the good and the bad with one touch of her finger – and 70% of consumers will believe her!  This is the shift from word of mouth being “one-to-one “ to “one-to-many” and is why social media is not a “nice to have”- it’s expected.

Remember, Facebook is not a marketing platform, but rather another communication platform, similar to the telephone, email, or RealSelf) but the beauty of it is that you engage with patients where they are spending time (and on their terms).  Your updates have to be relevant and engaging to be worthy of a like, share, re-tweet, re-pin, etc.

As for the results you found on whether or not social brings new patient activity, I would question how these practices conducted and measured their social media efforts (see: this blog post about Dark Social Media). All too often the practice sets up a page and leaves it to wither and die by not updating on a regular basis (and losing out on Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm for getting seen in the news feed), not engaging when patients comment, or flooding the stream with marketing posts. The saddest part is how many 3rd party providers don’t “get” social media either. So MD’s might be spending good money with so called experts who don’t understand the nuances of social and therefore implement the wrong strategy.

Social media is relationship marketing. Brian Solis, global new media thought leader called social, “The new cost of doing business. In an era of connected consumerism, to earn customer attention, trust, and loyalty is a cost and an investment in relevance and relationships.” (Click here for info about the new empowered customer)

 

 

The Empowered Customer Speaks (and you’d better be listening)

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (and it’s okay if you have, as long as you come out…), consumers have changed. Your patients have changed. How they interact with the people, businesses, and brands in their life has changed too. And if you don’t switch gears, learn what makes them tick, and adjust your communications with them, you’ll be unable to compete.

This is not just an idle threat. It’s actually happening right now. Take JCPenny, for instance.

Today JCPenny launched a new TV ad campaign on YouTube and Facebook apologizing to their customers *(scroll down for video). They fired the CEO, brought back his predecessor, and have promised to put more promotions back in place. These are very significant changes ~ and all because the consumer outcry was deafening (translation: a 4 billion dollar loss).*

In Brian Solis’s new book, What’s the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, he discusses how to understand the new customer and create rich experiences for them so you can be proactive, rather than reactive. So you can avoid what he calls “Digital Darwinism”.  JCPenny is certainly having to be RE-active – considering their huge loss of customers and revenue. But they are being PRO-active in that at least they have started to listen, admit their mistakes (transparency), and change their business model (adapt).

How much time do you spend worrying about negative reviews, tweets, Facebook posts, or the thousands of other ways your patients can communicate to the masses online? Instead of spending your time, energy, and money in a defensive posture, or worse – burying your head in the sand hoping you won’t be the next victim, why not learn about this new connected consumer (your patient)?

The new empowered consumer “participates in their world” via technology. Brian describes them as “always on, sharing real world experiences as they happen with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Socialcam”.

And the coveted “word of mouth” referral source is still just as important. But think bigger. Social media allows word of mouth to be broadcast to tens, hundreds, or thousands of friends and followers, all with a swift keystroke.

So… are you creating relationships with your patients? Do you know what they really want? Do you know how they behave? Brian suggests (as do we) that you “invest in defining not only a positive experience, but also a wonderfully shareable experience.”

But you can’t create the best experience if you don’t know what they want in the first place. It would be like operating on a patient and having the consultation afterwards. It sounds absurd, but that’s truly what we’re talking about.  And JCPenny has just figured out that they should do the consult BEFORE surgery to have the best outcome. They listened, learned, engaged, and adapted.

I highly recommend you pick up Brian’s book because he does an incredible job of articulating who your new connected patient base is (he calls them “Generation C”) and how the landscape for businesses will be forever changed. As he says… #InnovateOrDie

*Click for today’s complete story in Forbes

Dark Social Media – The ROI Secret No One Wants to Divulge

The Future’s So Dark, You Gotta Wear Shades?

The original song lyrics of Timbuk3’s one-hit-wonder actually were, “The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” So what’s up with “dark” reference, you ask? Well, I figured that since we’re going to talk about dark social media, it would be more appropriate to don some dark shades.

First let’s start with the concept of “dark social media”…

In this article which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in the fall of 2012, Alexis C. Madrigal coined the phrase “dark social” to refer to social traffic that comes to your site from “sources invisible to most analytics programs”. He explains:

“It (dark traffic) shows up variously in programs as ‘direct’ or ‘typed/bookmarked’ traffic, which implies to many site owners that you actually have a bookmark or typed in www.theatlantic.com into your browser. But that’s not actually what’s happening a lot of the time. Most of the time, someone G-chatted someone a link, or it came in on a big email distribution list, or your dad sent it to you.”

Mr. Madrigal studied this topic further with the help of a real-time analytics firm called Chartbeat. What he found was extremely interesting, especially how it relates to Return on Investment, or ROI, (which we’ll get to soon). They found that dark social isn’t just some inconsequential figure, too small to worry about. They concluded that almost 69 percent of social referrals (see pie chart below) were dark, followed by Facebook at 20 percent and Twitter at 6 percent.

So I ask you… if nearly 70% of your social traffic comes from dark sources, how can you can measure the ROI of social?

My answer (and I’m not alone in this) is, “you can’t”…but this is not to say that social media has no value to you and your practice. In fact, I believe it’s much, much more valuable than you give it credit for.

Cue the “Future’s So Bright” chorus!

Courtney Seiter of Marketing Land said something in her post on the subject that sums it up perfectly…

“It’s a shot to get on someone’s radar and let that person know you’re cool, smart, funny, interesting and valuable to have around. And if you keep being all those things, eventually they’ll want to get to know you better. Or even tell their friends about you. That’s the value of social media – the potential to create a new relationship where there wasn’t one before. And then the ability to repeat that process as many times as you have friends and fans.”

Loyalty. Family, Affinity. Devotion. Allegiance. Bonds. These words are like gold for a practice (or any business for that matter).

You know the cost of acquring a new patient is much higher than a referral or return visit by an existing patient. So why obsess about the ROI of social media when it can be one of the key elements driving your retained and referred business? One presentation I saw asked, “how do you measure the ROI of your telephone or your copier?” It’s a core business tool, plain and simple.  And one of my favorites… the famously outspoken Gary Vaynerchuck (aka. Gary Vee) said in a 2011 keynote to inc500, “What’s the ROI of your mother?” (Watch the 3 minute video – you’ll love it.)

And Brian Solis, Prominent Social Media Thought Leader and Principal of Altimeter Group, said in his new book What’s the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, “Perhaps this is just the new cost of doing business. In an era of connected consumerism, to earn customer attention, trust, and loyalty is a cost and an investment in relevance and relationships.”

Given the “that’s so 90’s” feel of ROI, I propose some new terms…

Mari Smith talks about ROE – Return on Engagement. An excellent alternative. But let’s delve even deeper. What about…

  • ROE – Return on Empowerment – The “connected consumer”, as Brian puts it, is in charge. So arm (empower) her with relevant, valuable content, and you will earn her undying devotion (and her friend base!). Put THAT in your calculator and see what happens!
  • ROR – Return on Relationships – Having patients feel an affinity to you and your practice creates a family-like bond, one which hopefully gets stronger with time as you continue to deliver wonderful experiences both in the office AND ONLINE!
  • PAF – Practice Affinity Factor. This metric would measure not only patient satisfaction with office visits and procedure results, but also referrals, return visits, coupled with online engagement.

So the next time someone asks you the ROI of social media, I encourage you to put on your dark sunglasses and just smile… because you “get it”.

P.S. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!


*P.P.S. I highly recommend Brian’s new book (as well as his previous ones).  As a creative person I’m especially loving the hardcover version (versus the kindle) because of the art & images by Hugh McLeod @GapingVoid.