For some reason when new medical spas find this site their first reaction it to post a bunch of spam comments. Skintology in NY is one of these. Someone there just left a bunch of spam comments on the site. (Of course I've added a 'nofollow' tag to that link so there's no Google Juice going their way.)
This happens when someone doesn't understand how the web actually works and thinks that comment spamming will drive traffic to their site.
In reality all it does is irritate those of us who have to deal with it.
Of course, there is a way to get lots of Google Juice and traffic headed to your clinic. Submit a guest post on Medical Spa MD and not only will we link to your site, readers that are going there will actually think highly of you.
There's an interesting article in the Times about housing listings in manhattan that are being commented on. There's a direct correlation between that story and Medical Spa MD's community commenting on laser clinics, med spas and laser treatments.
“What’s happening now is the numbers aren’t enough,” Ms. Doherty said, referring to the information published by StreetEasy. “People are asking questions they can’t ask their broker, and they’re really interested in the qualitative perspective, in getting opinions of people.”
There is certainly no shortage of opinions to be found online. Drawing on reams of publicly available data on sales prices, comparable listings, creditors’ liens and even mortgage amounts (in the case of condominiums), commenters debate what an apartment is worth and how much a seller might be desperate enough to accept. They also pinpoint flaws ranging from imminent construction of a garbage facility nearby to crimes of linoleum.
For their part, sellers and their brokers are seething over what they perceive as a lack of accountability, hidden or misanthropic motives, and the fact that defending one’s property — even correcting a factual error — can prolong or aggravate its turn under the collective microscope. Sellers also object to being typecast as Marie Antoinette in the French Revolution-style discourse.
That accusation is not exactly refuted by the commenters themselves.
“All of us who were renters have endured a fair amount of ridicule from owners for our caution,” said Michael Waxenberg, 46, an information technology director and renter who is shopping for a three-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. “There is an element of vindication in what’s happening now — maybe we were right in trying to play it safe.
Medical Spa MD has now been around for almost 4 years and has the largest community of nonsurgical cosmetic medical practitioners that I'm aware of. The laser companies have noticed and there are some that already interact on the site. There are others who monitor Medical Spa MD but are sitting on the fence since they don't want to put themselves in a situation where they become a target. Nasty comments on the web live forever.
The number of times that Medical Spa MD has been contacted by named individuals and laser companies with requests to edit or remove comments has grown considerably. (I have yet to hear from any laser company or individual that they feel that Medical Spa MD has not been fair with them.) There are growing pains with any community and Medical Spa MD has had it's share. In looking at how to best address companies and individuals legitimate concerns there are some potential changes we're looking at. I'm not interested in Medical Spa MD becomming an attack site for individuals with a grudge. (If I wanted that we wouldn't remove the comments we do.)
As Medical Spa MD moves forward we're adding increasing capabilites and functionaily, from the ability to buy Botox, Restylane and Perlane in bulk or with group purchasing power, to offering targeted SEO & SEM for your web site, to building out a companion site that targets potential patients for your cosmetic practice. All of these additions are scheduled to be up within the next 30 days.
That being said, Medical Spa MD should continue to grow as the most trusted cosmetic physician community on the web... even if there are some changes needed.
Your patients are busy, and in order to gain and keep readership on your site you need to provide your existing and potential patients with information that makes their lives better, easier, and less stressful. Laser clinic or cosmetic surgery websites face the temptation of turning every post into a dry marketing appeal. It’s up to you as the physician or clinic owner to overcome that obstacle and provide your med spa patients information about your services in a quick and easily digestible way.
So the question is... How do you do that? Here are seven ways you can engage readers of your med spa or plastic surgery blog and keep them coming back.
1. Offer Real Medical Advice
You've got real medical experience, share it. (Yes, you do have to be careful so you don't get sued but post a clear disclaimer and be smart about your 'opinion'.) If you like Thermage or Fraxel, say it. The very best way to gain loyal readers is by sharing your knowledge and giving them practical information they can use to make decisions. You can give your readers an instant benefit by avoiding abstract ideas and providing specific tips, advice and tools they can use right away.
2. Talk to Your Existing Patients
You’re already ahead of the game with this one, because your existing plastic surgery or med spa patients already have a connection to you, otherwise they wouldn’t be reading your blog. Better yet, impressing them leads to greater word of mouth referral. Get to know them by keeping an eye on comments (allow comments on your blog and don't delete them unless they're way over the line), watching for trackbacks and listening to feedback in other forums. All of this input can be material you can use to make your posts resonate with your individual readers.
3. Share Personal Stories
Business is business and personal is personal, right? Not anymore. Today there is an increasing amount of overlap between the two, and people want to know a little more about the person behind the med spa, laser clinic or plastic surgery center, beyond a cv and medical marketing speak. So give a little of yourself to create a stronger relationship with your readers. Women (and our market is women) want to know that they can trust you. If all you ever post is your latest laser hair removal ad, you're just not as trustworthy as a the plastic surgeon who loves his kids and has a dog.
4. Go Non-Surgical Again
Throw in an occasional post that’s not exactly med spa or plastic surgery related. If it bombs, it bombs and you know to go a different route next time. But if it is successful, you can insert some comic relief, mindless banter and maybe even a personal story as listed above to give your patients a brief change of pace. Talk about how expensive Botox is. How Thermage charges for every tip you burn. How you worry about providing the best patient care.
5. Keep It Short and Sweet
You could probably write some very long posts when you’re discussing your latest business endeavor or what it took to build out your med spa or plastic surgery practice. If that much information is necessary, split it up into a multi-part series. Use lists, subheads and images to break up heavy content whenever possible.
6. Share The Conversation With Your Patients
Ask directed and specific questions at the end of your posts to encourage reader commentary. For every few posts where you provide advice, throw in a post that asks for the answer. Involving your readers will give them an opportunity to take an active role in your blog. Ask them if they'd like a membership as part of your offering. Talk about your patient referral perks. Ask who they think provides the best patient care. Ask if they can help your med spa provide better care...
7. Give Potential Patients What They Want
Carefully read the comments provided by your existing and potential patients. They are invaluable because they allow you to tailor your posts to the information your readers are asking you to provide. Acknowledge the comments, answer the questions, and address the requests and you’re on your way to building great relationships with your readers.
8. Bonus: Protect Your Med Spa or Plastic Surgery Practice
OK I said seven ways. Here's a bonus.
Of course I'm not a lawyer... (see how I carfully did that) but your medical opinions are your own. Keep a clearly defined page that states that the content of your site is not to be used as medical advice and shouldn't be acted on without consulting a physician. There are any number of medical blogs that write about specific cases with this kind of disclaimer in place.
If you've got a med spa, laser clinic or plastic surgery blog, how do you work it?
The chat below shows the details of the Baby Boomers rush to embrace social networks. In the last week at least three people have told me of a parent that has 'discoverd Facebook'. It's no longer the case that you can just have a web site and sit back to be found. The web is maturing and big business. The rush of Baby Boomers to embrace Facbook, Twitter and social networking in general is indicative of this move.
According to the study referenced below, Baby Boomers...
- Increased reading blogs and listening to podcasts by 67 percent year over year; nearly 80 times faster than Gen Y (1 percent)
- Posted a 59 percent increase in using social networking sites—more than 30 times faster than Gen Y (2 percent)
- Increased watching/posting videos on the Internet by 35 percent—while Gen Y usage decreased slightly (-2 percent)
- Accelerated playing video games on the go via mobile devices by 52 percent— 20 times faster than Gen Y (2 percent)
- Increased listening to music on an iPod or other portable music player by 49 percent—more than four times faster than Gen Y (12 percent)
Meanwhile, Gen Y...
- Participation slipped in virtual worlds from 23 percent to 19 percent
- Consumed no more video online than they did last year
- Clogged and contributed to wikis less (it's down from 35 to 33 percent)
Additional data from the latest Accenture report is summarized here from TWICE.
For medical spas, plastic surgeons and dermatologist, this represents a change in the way you'll need search engine marketing in order to get in front of your potential patient population. Yellow pages, newspaper... gone. Search, blogs, social networks allow you to harness technology and get it in front of your potential patinets; woment 35-60.
Medical and doctor blogs have power. Just ask the med spa and laser clinic franchises that have suffered at the hands of the physicians who bought into them, and then related their experience on Medical Spa MD.
Here's a CNN story about blogs and the travel industry that dove tails with the growing number of plastic surgery, dermatology and skin clinic blogs that are integrated into existing sites.
In the near future, Medical Spa MD will be rolling out a laser clinc, medspa, and cosmetic practice blog network as well as detailed courses on SEO, gaining traffic, keyword analytics and general how to information. If you' don't already have a highly trafficed medical blog, that will be the time to start.