Google +: A Refreshing Chapter In Social Media

While hesitant to try yet another Social Media platform, I have left thousands of Facebook fans behind for Google + (and so should you...)!

Guest post by Craig Koniver MD

I know, I know, another social media platform is about all you need to read about these days. From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest to Instagram to Foursquare, it always seems as if there is another "latest" and "greatest" social media platform to pay attention to. But, trust me when I say this, I think Google + is THE one to pay attention to. And here are some reasons why...

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Is Social Media Worth Investing Your Time & Energy?

Is Social Media Worth Investing Your Time & Energy?

By Craig Coniver, MD

With the spreading of social media into nearly every aspects of our lives, it is worth pausing and reflecting upon their value.

Are you tweeting yet? Posting to your Facebook wall? How about connecting through LinkedIn? How big is your cirlce in Google+? With the onslaught of social media, there is mounting pressure to join each network, manage conections and monetize these various social media outlets. It seems as if social media has become the dominant measuring stick for how well you are doing as a business and how well you are connecting with others.

And while I think social media is something to be embraced, I do not think every outlet is for every person. Nor do I believe that social media serves as any type of barometer in your life (professional and personal). In fact, I think the more you are selective about where you garnish your social media energy and attention, the better you can use social media to your advantage.

Before I get to the specifics of the most popular social media outlets, I want you to come away from this article with one main point: social media presence does NOT equate to success. There is a lot of advice coming at us telling us to join all of the social media networks, trying to convince us that the only way to grow our business and connect with people is by creating these various outposts/hubs to connect with others.

The truth remains, however, that most of the time you can spend a lot of time and energy creating and maintaining these various social media outlets without actually realizing much results. And so while we embrace social media in medicine and beyond, we need to be cognizant as to the actual role of each social media outlet is providing for us. I think a better perspective is "what can I do for social media" not "what can social media do for me".

Let's review the major social media outlets. For each I will give you my personal experience and opinion:

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How To Run A Facebook Contest For Your Medical Spa

Facebook marketing is becoming a necessary marketing arm for successful medical spas and laser centers.

Facebook Marketing

By Cary M. Silverman MD

There are several reasons a medical practice should consider setting up a Facebook fan page:

  • It's free.
  • It gives you another way to communicate with potential patients through updates that will appear on their news feeds.
  • You can promote events and services in your office.
  • You can boost your SEO.
  • You can promote brand awareness for your practice.
  • Facebook can act as a funnel to your main practice web site.
  • You can build a community for your patients.

Once you decide to set up a fan page for your practice, the next task is to build a fan base. A Facebook contest is an excellent way to achieve this goal. These contests offer several benefits:

  • A highly cost effective way to build a database.
  • 50% of online users enter a contest once a month.
  • Contests can be highly targeted.
  • Creates positive brand awareness for your practice.
  • Patients can further spread word about the contest to all their friends.

Make Your Idea Social “Well my contest is on Facebook – so it’s social, right?” Wrong. Your Facebook fans are more excited to participate in a contest where they can help determine the outcome, than one where you pick the winner. Furthermore, when you require voting or involvement of some sort, that means your fans must find friends to join in their quest to win (hence “social word of mouth marketing”).

Keep it Simple

Do you fill out every field of surveys you get trapped into taking? Didn’t think so. Contests are the perfect way to gather important information about your fans (remember to tell them how you intend to use it), but only ask for the essentials so that you don’t miss out on any entrants. Remember that users will give you more information if you make it enjoyable, functional, and easy.


This one should be a given, but you’d be surprised how many times organizations run extremely similar campaigns back-to-back. Fans don’t want to enter the same contest or participate in the same campaign over and over again on Facebook, and if you don’t catch their attention, they sure won’t tell their friends about it. The greatest Facebook contests are the most creative and memorable ones (just don’t over-do it and forget to keep it simple).

Know the Rules

If Facebook catches you doing something illegal they will delete your page and ban your practice from using the platform. So remember first and foremost that you must run your contest on a third-party application. We use Shortstack, which is fully customizable and affordable. Others include: Offerpop, Wildfire, and many more. You cannot require Facebook users to submit any content or take any action on Facebook itself (i.e. posting a photo to your page’s wall, liking, commenting, or re-posting content, etc.). You cannot announce a winner on Facebook which is actually a good way to drive people to your blog or website. Here are the current Facebook Promotions Rules and Guidelines so that you can remain compliant (they are always changing, so be watching).

It Starts In-Office

What better access do you have to potential Facebook fans and contest entrants than your own office? In a past contest we ran on EyeCare 20/20's Facebook page called “The Eyeball Challenge”, we started by attracting the patients in the clinic. We filled a large glass jar with candy eyeballs, posted a photograph of it on our Facebook contest tab, and directed fans to guess how many eyes were in it in a commenting section on the tab. The winning guess would receive a pair of sunglasses. This way people who knew us both offline and online could participate.

We had in-store signage at the front desk with a call to action and QR code taking patients right to the Facebook page to enter. We trained the entire staff to know what the contest involved, rules, and prizes so that they could urge patients to submit their guesses. We also designed takeaway collateral pieces so that those without smartphones could be reminded to enter when they got home.

This was an exciting way for us to inform our patients that we were on Facebook, and for some was their very first introduction to the social network. [As a side note: remember to speak in laymen’s terms, and be prepared to assist novice Facebook users.]

Come With All Guns A’ Blazing

Just as it helps us to have all parts of our bodies to perform at our highest level, our social media presence and success depends on the coordination of many factors. Plan your contest launch with a timeline marked with a dedicated email blast to your current database (don’t hide this in a regular email, give it its own special delivery date, if you are able to, without inundating your recipients). Be sure to include Twitter updates (reaching out to influencers in your niche, or local organization/people), digital and social media press releases, maybe an image or interchangeable banner linked to the tab, and utilization of any other platforms or people that you have at your disposal.

The Buddy System

Join forces with another party (maybe a prize sponsor). Bring traffic from their website, stores, brand name, etc. to increase traffic to your contest tab. Maybe a few months later you can offer to sponsor a contest for them. You can even offer your contest as an on-site giveaway at a major community event where people must enter on Facebook, and you announce the winner at the end of the event. Get creative. Just remember that the buddy system expands your network exponentially. It’s Okay to Spend a Little $

Facebook ads are a very effective way to gain not only entrants, but fans in general. When we initiated an advertising campaign for EyeCare 20/20, we increased our fans by more than 60%. And our contest entries quadrupled! Ads can be tricky, so play around with titles, ad copy, images, landing pages, and your bids until you get the right combination. These ads are great for local practices and organizations, so set a little money (and time to monitor) aside to find out what will work best for you! Converting New Fans to Patients

Some people become so consumed with getting new fans in running their contests that they forget to focus on bringing in potential leads. Focus on spreading the word with your current patients, local places where your target market can be found, and use ads that involve ad copy that will catch the eyes of prospective patients. Although numbers are important for establishing credibility and providing an audience for your later initiatives, remember to make each fan count.

Effects of a Campaign

Although your campaign may not make the Top Ten Promotions of All Time list… remember to take with you what you learned. Yes, you are going to get those few fans who are “Contest-Hoppers”, liking you, winning or losing, and then unsubscribing. Prepare to lose a few fans, but not to worry, the majority will remain with you. Remember to thank all of your participants, maybe even post a few examples from your entries (if you have permission in your rules), and continue to speak in your fun voice, building anticipation for your next campaign as soon as your current one ends to keep fans engaged.

Bonus Point: When overwhelmed, Get some Help

Sounds like a lot of work? Trust me – it’s worth it! For years, we did all our social marketing at EyeCare 20/20 in house. When we saw how much time and energy we were expending we decided to seek the aid of a professional online marketing team. We still spend a lot of time with our social marketing, but having this professional support has helped you to attain social media perfection. There are many excellent ones out there.

About: Cary M Silverman, MD, MBA is Medical Director of EyeCare 20/20 in East Hanover, NJ. He specializes in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery. You can read his blog or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Medical Spa MD {4} Mr. Adrian Richards MBBS, MSc, FRCS (Plast.) - Cosmetic Medicine In The UK

A real eye-opener for physicians in the US... In this episode of the Medical Spa MD Podcast we discuss cosmetic medicine in the UK with plastic surgeon Mr. Adrian Richards.

Listen to this episide here.

Mr. Richards qualified as a Doctor in 1988 and for the last 12 years has specialised in plastic surgery. He has full registration with the General Medical Council No. 3286812 and is a Member of both the British Association of Plastic and Reconsructive Surgeons (BAPRAS) and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the leading British professional bodies for plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery. He is an author and has written a best-selling textbook ‘Keynotes on Plastic Surgery’. He is founder of Cosmetic Courses, a company accredited by the Royal College of Physicians, which provides training to medical practitioners entering the aesthetic market and was the lead investigator in recent clinical research into the use of Botulinum Toxin A (Botox) for cosmetic purposes.

In this episode we're discussing cosmetic medicine in the UK with Adrian Richards. It will probably come as something of an eye-opener for physicians in the US to learn that; most cosmetic surgeons in the UK don't really worry too much about informed consent, being sued by a patient is a rarity, filler injections are unregulated, and that physicians are routinely employed by non-physicians. I found the differences to be striking.

We also discuss how Adrian markets his services through social media, videos, and podcasts of his own as we delve into cosmetic surgery across the pond.

Some of what we talked about in this episode.

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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Protect your reputation. Get new patients. Medical Spa MD Members receive a special, full service Podium account that includes: no setup fee (save $300), a 10% discount forever (save $330/year) and on-demand patient review marketing training for your entire staff ($597 value).  This offer is not available anywhere else.