Recommendations and/or warnings about local businesses were once passed from neighbor to neighbor over the back fence or from one co-worker to another at the office. In our digital age, however, it’s far more common that business success or failure depends less on personal recommendations than via online posts. In fact, user-generated content (called UGC for short) influences the purchase decisions of up to 79% of consumers. It’s the new “word of mouth.”
Has your marketing strategy kept up with this new paradigm?
What Is User Generated Content?
UGC includes blog posts; before & after photos or videos taken by patients or their friends or family members; shared experiences about a particular injectable or procedure; posts on social media sites such as Nextdoor.com, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter; and patient-oriented sites such as RealSelf, Yelp, and Healthgrades.
From the above description, you can see that UGC is created and posted online by people outside the practice, which would most often include current, past, or prospective patients, although UGC can include those who follow you on social media (followers) even if they have not experienced your services firsthand. For good or naught, you have no control over the content these individuals share on the internet.
Key Benefits of User Generated Content
The most important benefit of UGC is its ability to influence the purchasing decisions of those that read these posts on social media. Individuals who have positive things to say about your practice can literally inspire those who read their posts to call your office for a consultation. That is powerful authority, particularly when you consider that many followers on social media do not personally know the individuals who post about your practice.
Other benefits of User Generated Content include broader customer draw, increased practice loyalty and higher conversion rates. You already know that prospective patients who come to you via another patient’s referral are more likely to convert. An overlooked benefit of UGC is that this marketing opportunity is quite inexpensive compared with more traditional advertising.
UGC Marketing is Different from Social Media Marketing
It’s likely that your practice posts on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter to share the word about your offerings. Consider that approximately 3.6 million people across the globe use at least one social media platform, it’s obvious that social media marketing is an important marketing tool. Based on a survey of Instagram users, approximately 36% of their users make a practice of following those businesses with which they have a relationship. When done correctly, User Generated Content can improve patient relations, engagement and, ultimately, practice revenue via higher conversion rates.
Why is UGC an Effective Marketing Tool?
Over the past several decades, consumers have lost faith in advertising, with nearly 76% of consumers holding the belief that ads overstate the benefits of the proposed product or service. With the onset of Photoshop, skepticism has only increased. This is obviously a problem for consumers who review your before & after photos. An increase in UGC can help mitigate this cynicism.
How To Integrate UGC in Your Marketing Campaigns
1. Identify Your Target Audience
While all social media platforms attract a broad demographic, some have a higher percentage of certain age groups.
For example, if you wish to increase the number of breast augmentation and Mommy Makeover procedures, Instagram, with nearly 78% of users between the ages of 18 and 44, is an excellent vehicle for you to market those specific procedures. Based primarily on photos combined with brief content and targeted hashtags, Instagram can increase your social media audience beyond those names in your database.
Since 42.7% of all Facebook users are between the ages of 35 and 64 years, that site is a logical resource for dermal fillers, breast lifts, facelifts/neck lifts, eyelifts or brachioplasty procedures. Those between the ages of 25-34 represent 23.5% of Facebook users, an audience that’s perfect for Mommy Makeovers, Botox, and other early anti-aging options. Targeting that age group for breast procedures and lipo would be another good option.
Looking to attract more men to your practice? Almost 71% of all Twitter users are men, with 38.5% between the ages of 25-34.
A lesser known but increasingly popular social media site is TikToc, where 57% of users are female with the largest age range between 25-34. Approximately 68% of users watch the videos of others, giving you a unique opportunity to attract new potential customers.
LinkedIn is the largest social media network for professional men and women. Often used to market B2B companies, you might consider posting blog topics about your various offerings there, as their audience tends to be more highly educated and, hence, wealthier as compared with other more popular social media sites. As with Facebook, advertising is fairly inexpensive. Note that approximately 77% of all LinkedIn users are outside the US so, for those of you wishing to attract customers outside the US for unique procedures, this may be a useful resource.
2. Ask for Input from Your Followers
Remember that saying, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”? Your social media audience needs you to tell them how to respond. Are you seeking feedback on your procedures, treatments, and products? The best time to ask for this is just after the appointment! Contact PUMC to obtain assistance in developing a handout
Don’t forget: Social Media is SOCIAL. Avoid using it as an advertising venue in which you overwhelm your followers every single day with your offerings. Think about inserting a social post at least once a week, such as a review of a movie you’ve seen, a new restaurant you’ve visited, that kind of thing. Don’t hesitate to repost testimonials from patients that you find online, as well.
Use social media to update followers about new products, services, equipment, and employees. Let them know that Suzie Lunchbucket, your front desk receptionist, is celebrating her 5th year in the office. Post photos of your holiday decorations and events. People will interact with those kinds of posts.