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Entries in Social Networks (8)

Wednesday
Feb202013

Dr. Luigi Maria Lapalorcia, An Italian Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Lapalorcia welcomes us to his plastic surgery clinic in Italy.
Dr. Luigi Maria Lapalorcia Italian Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Name: Luigi Maria Lapalorcia M.D.
Location: Perugia, Italy
Website: lapalorcia.dmsindex.com

That's interesting: Dr. Lapalorcia received a Scientific award for being a Section editor for oculoplastic surgery for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Can you tell us more about your clinic?

My practice is a combination of plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. My patients vary a lot, in terms of demographics. I enjoy working with kids but I adapt well to women in their 40s and 50s seeking beauty treatments and aesthetic medicine as well as dealing with cancer patients. Diversity of interaction is part of the beauty of this work.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct182012

Facebook Offers Aesthetic Practices A Chance To Put Their Best Face Forward

Facebook has become a prime marketing tool for aesthetic practices.

Facebook has become an internet addition to our aesthetic websites. It's the interactive version of a website. Just like on our websites, we can share pictures, share practitioner biographies, and share directions on how to get to our office. But facebook offers more interactivity. It is offers a record of our customer service. It shows how we handle questions and it shows specials that we've offered before. And it can also show the human side of our practices - such as pictures or videos showing our birthday celebrations of our staff, etc.

Facebook shows our human side

Why not show off our staff's accomplishments and celebrations as human beings? I think many patients are attracted to practices that value the fun side of life. When patients come to us, they want a great experience, and to be treated as human beings by other kind individuals. Facebook gives us a chance to show that. Patients are also used to facebook being a bit on the lighter, less formal side. How about showing off some staff hobbies too?

Facebook requires good customer service skills

Like a telephone which likes to be answered before the 3rd ring, facebook comments are probably best answered within a few hours. This also shows good custmer service. If we have farmed out the job of facebooking, I would recommend that we regularly check our facebook pages to make sure questions are answered appropriately, and that impressions made are in line with our own brands of customer service. Poor customer service on facebook could cause us to lose patients. Facebook requires a time commitment, but I really do think it pays off.

Facebook has worked well for me

I run my own facebook pages. It takes me about 6-7 hours a week.  But I think it is well worth it and I have fun with it. I know my involvement style may not be right for others, but I do think that someone on the staff can help grow our facebook presence. I have a personal page and two plastic surgery related pages.  But I think one page is enough. I have different pages so that I can experiment. About once or twice per week, I'll get someone who inquires about a procedure through facebook and turns into an actual patient at the office. A few weeks ago, we ran a special event with Obagi with their Blue Peel Radiance. I posted about this special on facebook (free posting - not even considering the $5-15 advertising fee that facebook offers currently). Within 3 hours, the event was filled up with 18 chemical peel patients. Obagi reps said that they have done special events with many other offices with the same setup, but we had the most successful result (in terms of Obagi product sales that day) that they have seen so far. We had flyers printed, but we ended up not using any of the flyers because there was no more space for further peels that day, and I wasn't willing to do any additional peels - due to a bit of laziness on my part.

I do think that if someone wanted to be focused and have a facebook page 2-3 hours per week would suffice for a wonderful aethetic practice's facebook page. I spend more time on it because it has become a hobby for me.

Facebook is a record of prior interactions

Always be polite on facebook and know that patients can scroll down on the facebook timeline and see how others were treated.  If there are spammers - sometimes they needed to be treated gingerly. There's also a "hide" button that can be used.  It's never wise to get into a public war on facebook.  I have to remind myself of that at times.  We can use facebook to put our best face forward.

Monday
Jun182012

Medical Spa Marketing: The Rise Of The "Social Shoppers"

How active are you in attracting new patients through your social networks?

The growth in the online ad market is undeniable. Double digit gains of over 20% for 2011 were seen and 2012 will likely follow suit. This mega trend in marketing has changed our marketing strategies in our practice as well as how consumers are choosing their cosmetic provider. I have seen many mature practices where 60% or more of their patients come from internet sources. I have several colleagues who currently grow their practice through web related activities or word of mouth referrals exclusively.

Patients seeking cosmetic services have evolved their research methodology considerably from simple web site searches a few years ago to a search that is much more comprehensive. Patients want much more information about their providers outside of a curriculum vitae and a smiling photo. Three years ago, outstanding patient result photos were enough (btw, most practitioners fail to remove outdated photos or marginal results). In the age of social media, I refer to a certain group of internet savvy patients as “Social Shoppers”. This means that essentially if they don't have a best friend that has personally experienced your practice, then they need to perform enough research to feel like they know your practice personally. An outstanding website with great results is a large portion of the picture, but patients want unbiased affirmation that you have the expertise and track record of results for their particular procedure of interest. In our practice, we have always emphasized specialization and core expertise. By only performing certain types of procedures and literally refusing potential patients, we have grown our practice in core areas and augmented our expertise. There are reams of data to support better outcomes when people focus on certain tasks repetitively. Variety is the spice of life but repetition is the sugar!

A task list to satisfy “social shoppers” 

  1. Encourage your patients to review you online. You have great results and there should be evidence of this online for your patients to see.
  2. Actively blog about topics relevant to your core expertise and interest area. Focus on being an expert in your community and region.
  3. Become involved in social media cosmetic services forums Realself.com.
  4. Find your voice. As your writing volume increases, you will find a voice that demonstrates your expertise, attention to detail, and empathy. 
Saturday
Mar242012

Medical Spa Groups On LinkedIn & Facebook: How Do You Use Them?

Medical Spa MD has a professional group on LinkedIn, a Facebook page, and Twitter account as well as a number of other affiliated groups... but how should you be using them?

As a new Medical Spa MD Members receive a number of automated emails after you join. One in the series lets you know about our groups including these:

I got this email from one of our new members.

How do we best use these groups? How can I use them to my advantage?

Good question. Here's how.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec202010

Are Medical Societies Irrelevant For Physicians?

By Greg Bledsoe MD

Ask yourself this question: "Why am I in my medical society?"

A few years ago I took the plunge and stopped hoping to become an entrepreneur and actually stepped out and gave it a whirl.  It was a crazy time. 

I learned very quickly that starting a business always takes a lot more time and money than you originally envision, and in short order I was scrounging for capital to fuel my dream.

It was during this time that I made a decision to let my medical society memberships lapse.  I had never considered it before, really, and as far as I was concerned, being a part of medical societies was simply part of being a physician-- I paid my dues and they supplied my, er, membership.

When I was in academics, my department paid my society dues as part of my contract.  I never thought about the cost since I didn't view the funds as coming from me (there seems to be a moral here somewhere...), but when I entered the world of community, or non-academic, medicine, suddenly the costs associated with these memberships became very real.

Five hundred dollars for this membership.  Three hundred a year for that one. It quickly added up, but I got a special tuition discount if I attended the annual meeting and I even got an occasional journal delivered to my mailbox with my name stamped on the front.  It all seemed very official and made me sort of feel like part of a special group, so I dutifully paid the dues and congratulated myself on my support of the furthering of the intellectual aims of XX society.  

However, as anyone who's ever been in business can tell you, at some point tough decisions have to be made, and for me, the relinquishing of my membership in these societies was one of those tough ones.  I believed in these organizations.  I liked being associated with them.  I enjoyed seeing my name stamped on the front of the journals and I even flipped through an article or two when I could.  Walking away from something that made me feel so "involved" made me feel isolated, vulnerable.  If being a member of these organizations made me feel included, leaving them made me feel...alone.

That was almost three years ago.

Since then, the various ventures with which I'm involved have finally started to right themselves and for the first time in quite a while I have begun to have the ability to get involved once again in medical societies.  In the past few months I've begun to ponder joining this society or that one, trying to figure out which one would be a better fit and from whose membership I would learn the most skills-- and meet the most talented leaders.

After marching down this path for a little bit, I finally stopped and asked myself a very simple question: why?

Why was I considering membership in a medical society?

It's true that when you begin a company your mind becomes much more keenly aware of the theoretical "return on investment" (ROI) than before.  I began asking myself the typical ROI questions I had asked myself at the beginning of any of my entrepreneurial ventures:  What would I gain from the investment of time and money in this organization?  Would my funds be better directed elsewhere?  Could I gain the same benefits without investing the relatively high annual dues?  How would I verify that my funds would be used appropriately and at what point would I be able to have an impact in the overall mission of this organization?

My honest assessment after a sit down talk with myself and a review of the available information before me was the following: For the most part, medical societies do not offer a significant enough ROI to warrant the investment required to participate.

I know this sounds like heresy for some, but let's review the facts...

From what I can tell, the reasons given for a physician to be a member of any medical society today basically revolve around three points.  

First, societies are said to offer camaraderie and networking opportunities for their members.  Second, societies supposedly help promote medical education and proper practice standards among their participants.  Third, medical societies, through the old "strength in numbers" adage, are in theory better able to represent their members politically and promote and pass legislation that furthers good medical practice.

Let's review these arguments in broad daylight and see if they hold water.

A generation ago, being a member of a medical society was really the only way a physician could connect with other physicians outside their basic social circle.  You joined the medical society of X in order to associate with its members, get invited to its galas, hear the latest research, and hopefully move up the ladder of influence of said organization as you progressed in notoriety and seniority.  This model was the same model used in the business world with the Elks Club, Rotary International, and the corporate culture at large.  Young, idealistic individuals, regardless of their skill set or motivation, waited in line patiently for their name to be called and an opportunity given to begin climbing the rungs of leadership within an organization, whether this organization was the Elks, IBM, or the X Medical Association.  One didn't even consider leaving if you had any career ambitions or longing for social connectedness.  The arrangement was what it was, and you just had to adjust.  

This model worked for quite a while since it was easy for senior members to control the benefits of membership, and parcel these benefits out only to those junior members who walked the line. 

In the corporate world, the personal computer revolution and especially the internet explosion, completely imploded this hierarchal regime.  No longer could senior corporate members exclusively hold the benefits of membership.  Enterprising upstarts could easily, from the comfort of home, begin a company on the web and not only leapfrog their old positions, in some cases they leapfrogged their entire industries.  The recent movie The Social Network , while criticized for not being 100% accurate, at least tells the gist of the story-- that a couple of Harvard undergrads turned the world on its ear from their dorm room.  

The internet has become the great world flattener, and while Richard Florida is correct that innovation still occurs in geographic regions, the ability to take your idea to the world in an instant is a tremendous power that prior generations did not have.  Furthermore, with the internet and more specifically, the social networking ability on the internet, junior members in every organization can instantly, and freely, associate themselves with whomever they choose all around the world.  Gone are the days when being on the outs with your local or even national medical society is a professional death sentence.  Individuals now have the ability to join any number of interesting networking groups, or even start their own.

Along this same line of thinking, the days when medical societies controlled medical education are long gone.  With the click of a keyboard, I can find medical education on almost any topic and I can access it at any time. I don't have to wait for my professional journal to arrive, and anything cutting edge will be posted on the web long before it hits my mailbox anyway. 

When I pay my fees to earn CME credits, I now have the opportunity to choose what topics I hear, and whom I hear teach them.  No more sitting in a conference lecture listening to the droning of Dr. Oldenkrinkle simply because he's the chair of the education committee. I can learn from the best teachers at any time in the comfort of my home and earn my CME credits on my own terms.

So with regards to the power of networking and the educational opportunities available, I would have to say that there are as many, or more, opportunities outside of medical societies today as there are within.  And when you consider that most of the membership societies available to the modern physician are free, why would you pay $300-$500 to be a member of a medical society for the networking or educational reasons?  It just doesn't make sense.

The last reason-- pooling our strength to become a stronger political lobbying force for X issues or specialty-- is the one most often cited in the recent past by modern physicians as a reason to be involved in a medical society.  Matter of fact, this one reason was a big one for me.  I mean, any objective person can see that physicians need a strong lobbying voice in Washington, if for no other reason than simply to attempt to counterbalance the influences of the trial lawyers and their ilk.  

However, I describe this as being cited in the "recent past" because I haven't heard it from any physician recently.

No, if there was one glorious revelation that came into full view during the healthcare debate in this country, it was the cowardice of the self-serving leadership at the helms of most medical societies in this country.

I don't think any physician will be fooled in the future with the "give us your money and we'll stand up for you" line that motivated us in the past.  What the healthcare debate clearly revealed was that when medical societies say they work for their constituents, they do truly mean this.  It's just that their constituents aren't the dues-paying members that constitute their ranks-- they're the entrenched bureaucrats in their leadership.

Physicians watched in horror as medical society after medical society lined up and endorsed Obamacare, and then spoke to America as if their members were in agreement.  The American Medical Association was the worst offender, selling its soul to keep intact its lucrative, exclusive right to the CPT billing codes that fund its bureaucracy.  It was appalling in its transparency, and no physician who saw it will ever forget it.

So what to do as a modern physician?

The point here isn't to argue that no medical society is worth joining.  Many societies do good work in certain areas and there are physicians who derive a great deal of pleasure from membership in a society or two of interest.

My point in this post is that being a member of a medical society is simply not the knee-jerk necessity it was a few years ago, and there's no credible reason to join any society unless you really feel that their mission meshes with yours and you want to be involved.

More importantly, I believe that medical societies need to begin asking themselves what real value they give their members.  Today's young physician will not be coerced in the traditional way into membership, and if value isn't apparent, many will simply walk away.

So will I eventually join a medical society?  

I don't know.

Maybe.  

I'll need to discuss it with my friends on Facebook and get back to you.

Greg Bledsoe MD MPH is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine physician and the founder and CEO of ExpedMed and the Medical Fusion Conference. He blogs at Freelance MD.

Submit a guest post and be heard.

Monday
Dec062010

Using LinkedIn As A Physician

One of the first key points of advice I have for physicians interested in non-clinical career expansion is get on LinkedIn.

Why?  Well, for one, it is a major player in the world of networking 2.0.  It has taken the place of the rolodex and become the place to present your professional presence online.  For physicians that have not begun networking, it is a great way to start expanding your circle of contacts from outside of your direct friends and colleagues, to those who are “friends of friends”, 2nd degree connections, and professionals interested in the same things you are.

For docs that are considering expanding into industry, I recently read that more than 60% of Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn to save time and recruit/hire best candidates.  This means that recruiters from these organizations – some of the largest and most recognized in the world – are on LinkedIn every day to find and vet job candidates.  Hence another reason why you should be on it, and making the most of it.

Here are some ways to make your LinkedIn account work for you:

  1. Make sure that you have a comprehensive, detailed profile set up.  This is the first place people will look to get a sense of who you are.  You want it to be a solid overview of your professional direction, your accomplishments, and a snapshot view of what you “bring to the table”.  Make sure it includes a picture – professional picture only, so that viewers can get a visual of you.  And skip the personal details on your profile – there is no need to include your birthday, your home address, or your personal interests.  This isn’t Facebook!  Your professional  email and (optionally) your work phone number will suffice.  Make sure to check the box that you are open to career opportunities if that’s what you want to reflect.  And make sure you use keywords in your profile set up, so if someone (a recruiter perhaps) is searching for a “CMO”, you will show up in search results. 

  2. Make your profile (or most of it) public so that people who are not within the LinkedIn network can still view it without having to set up an account (although I don’t know why they wouldn’t!).

  3. Join Discussion Groups in your areas of interestDo a search under “groups” for keywords that you’re particularly passionate/knowledgeable about.  For example, if you search for “Healthcare IT” over 5,000 groups are listed!  Be particular, and sign up to join the ones you think would be best (i.e., have a large network, are reputable).  Joining a number of groups will keep you actively engaged with a strong network of people with similar interests, and it will also drive traffic to your profile.  

  4. Participate!  Once you’ve signed up for groups, go on them regularly to either post questions / discussion points, or to participate in dialogues going on over particular topics.  You’ll be amazed at what you can learn from other like-minded professionals.  You can also quickly build a reputation as a subject matter expert in your area of interest.  The key to success?  Contribute thoughtfully and intelligently – your answers become your online professional personae, and you don’t want to come across negatively.  If you post questions, make sure they are of a relevant, interesting topic that you think might be of use to the others in the group.  And if people answer, make sure to thank them.

  5. Don’t try to “sell”.  Add value instead.  One of the things I’ve seen be the kiss of death for peoples’ LinkedIn reputation is the “over-selling” of their products or services to their LinkedIn contacts or within their Discussion Groups.  The purpose of these forums is to network, and if networking is truly about building relationships and looking for strategic alliances, then the better approach is to simply add value.  You won’t need to puff up yourself or your products/services if you simply provide something – be it an opinion, a resource – that gives back to the people in your network.  If they find it useful they will come to you, usually by checking out your profile and seeing who you are and what you do. That is why having a “meaty” profile matters.

  6. Make connections.  Your network is a good reflection of your professional reach.  If you only show 5-10 connections, people don’t know what to think … that you’re a late adopter?  That you’re a technophobe?  That you don’t have any friends or colleagues?  At least 30-60 connections gives a much better impression for people viewing your profile, so the effort it takes to connect with others is worth it.

  7. Protect your network.  My rule of thumb is to connect with people that are either 1)  people I’ve worked directly with and are my “trusted colleagues” that I can vouch for, 2) people that I’ve met through networking events, conferences, etc., who I know fairly well, 3)  people that are work “acquaintances”, but who I am confident will be value-added members of my network, 4) people that are connections of my trusted colleagues, who basically have credibility by affiliation, or 5) people that are members of my trusted LinkedIn groups, based on the same reason as #4.  There are people who will connect with anyone and everyone simply to build their network and rack up numbers.  I am not that way.  Since I view my LinkedIn network as a trusted source of friends, colleagues and professional contacts – as well as a group that overall reflects upon my professional presence online – I make sure that I choose my connections wisely.

For a great series of articles on how to make LinkedIn work for you, see here:  http://linkedintelligence.com/smart-ways-to-use-linkedin/

And for those of you that are really new to LinkedIn (the majority of physicians that I talk to!), here is a real “how-to” for getting started :  http://www.dummies.com/how-to/internet/Blogging-Social-Networking/LinkedIn.html

 See you on LinkedIn!

Ashley Wendel is a physician coach and change management expert who blogs at Freelance MD.

Submit a guest post and be heard.

Saturday
Nov272010

6 Signs For Physicians That Social Media Is Not For You

Here are the 6 signs that social media is not for you.

Social media is here to stay, and it's only going to grow. Facebook now has 500 million members and, unless you're in geriatrics, the majority of your patients are already on it. We sing the praises of physician/patient connection, but it isn’t for everyone.

(Note: While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter may not be for you, they're manditory for your medical spa or cosmetic practice.)

Here are 6 signs (for physicians) that social media is not for you:

1.  You hate what you do. Social involvement requires some degree of passion for what you’re discussing. If you’re unhappy at medicine and you’re generally an angry sort you might keep things to yourself. Unless of course you’re passionate about creating a community of angry doctors.

2.  You are a paranoid, risk-averse milquetoast. Every now and again I bump into a doctor who tells me about all the trouble I could be getting myself into. And they usually have a hundred ideas why I need to keep my door shut. Open dialog requires something of a leap of faith. In order to make any of this work you need to live without the looming belief that every post is a lawsuit-in-waiting. Tweet smart but understand the real risk-benefit.

3.  You work 170 hours a week.  Sure social media takes time. And yes, this can be a challenge if you work 170 hours a week. But there are some really useful ways you can be social as a doctor on a time budget. For starters, limiting your social properties and your connections. Small and real is better than nothing at all. I think I’ll stop there and turn this one into a post for tomorrow. Or the next day.

4.  You want to hire someone to do it. I recently tried to sell one of my fertility friends on developing a presence for himself.  He was really interested but at the end he winked and said, “Send me some info.  I’ll have my girls get on it.”  Oiy. Colleagues and patients want you, not your logo, office manager, or your “girls.”  If you can’t do at least some of it yourself you should reconsider doing it at all.

5.  You don’t need the patients. Boutique specialties see social as part of their personal branding strategy,  and for good reason. But let’s face it, unless you’re banding stomachs or peddling bioequivalent hormones, you’ve probably got your hands full with more than enough patients.  Internists don’t think about their personal brand, footprint or outreach. What they do think is how their going to keep the lights on after the Government slashes Medicare.

6.  You don’t want anyone to know what you think. Admittedly, public dialog done right requires some degree of disclosure. If you’re averse to anyone knowing what you are thinking, what you believe, or what (God forbid) you may be passionate about, you may just as well hide securely under your exam table and leave the dialog to the rest us.

But in the end, you may not have a choice. When Bryan Vartabedian MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children's Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine who writes and thinks about the convergence of social media and medicine crowdsourced suggestions about this on Twitter, a point was made that the use of social media is becoming no longer optional. It is, as the reply put it, “a mandatory transformation in order to evolve as a society.”

Now I can’t beat that.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Bryan Vartabedian, MD  is a pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children's Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine who writes and thinks about the convergence of social media and medicine at 33Charts.com

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Friday
Oct082010

Our New Facebook Group: Physicians + Facebook Marketing - How to do it correctly!

Join our Facebook group: Physicians + Facebook Marketing - How to do it correctly!

Facebook now has more than 500 million accounts.... and if you're not using it to promote your services and build a community around your medical spa or clinic, you're missing the point.

Rather than just discuss Facebook marketing here on this site, we've decide to actually show you how to do it by using Facebook.

The new group that we just started, Physicians + Facebook Marketing is only a few days old. So far, we've got 30 people to join and we're going to grow this group while showing you exactly how we're doing it... on Facebook.

We'll have a number of our staff who are responsible for our social network marketing on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in this group to answer any questions you may have, or just learn from the case studies and articles.

You'll also want to listen to some of our new podasts since we've been discussing social marketing on there.

As always, if you like the content that you find here on Medical Spa MD, please give us a small pat on the back by clicking the new 'like' button that you'll find at the bottom of each post.  ; )

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