On July 16, 2006, Twitter had its official public launch. On that day, 224 Tweets went out. Today, the same number of tweets goes out in less than 1/10th of a second, and it has changed aesthetic medicine forever. In fact, according to the International Association of Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine, “42 percent of patients received most of their information about cosmetic procedures from social media [in 2012].” That’s a game changer.
Twitter is a vital part of this social media scene. There are about billion Twitter users in the world, a third of whom live in the United States. A great number of these people are your patients or potential patients, particularly among millenials (30 percent on Twitter) and increasingly among GenXers (almost 20 percent).
As noted above, many of these patients are getting their recommendations for aesthetic procedures, not through
traditional channels (friends, family, radio and television adverts), but through social media, including Twitter. Your cosmetic dental, dermatological or plastic surgery practice needs to be there, especially if you have any kind of focus on the under-thirty, or even under forty crowd.
But how do you begin? Here are three quick tips for getting started on Twitter:
- Set up a great profile. Your profile houses the story of your aesthetic practice, so leverage it fully. Create a username that matches or syncs with your practice. Don’t neglect to add physical and website addresses, so potential patients can find you. Use that 160 word bio to the max by highlighting your accomplishments and service expertise. Get a flattering head shot to use for your profile photo.
- Start following: Follow your favorite cosmetic and medical specialty journals, your medical specialty organizations, leaders in your field, and even the manufacturers of your best-selling skin-care products. Listening first will give you great ideas for how Twitter works – and who it works for. Remember, your own Twitter experience will be shaped by the people you follow, not the people who follow you. So use discernment and choose wisely. During this process, you may find you have great information to retweet and offer commentary on.
- Start talking – and use images. After following others for a few weeks (and retweeting and commenting), you’re ready to begin. Have a great blog that’s languishing? A before and after photo that you’d love to share (and have permission to post)? A video of a procedure? Amplify your message by tweeting and linking to it. Remember that using an image will increase engagement five times over simple text. This will mean greater traffic to your website and improved SEO.
We hope that’s enough to help get you started. But remember, if you’d rather not manage Twitter every day, you can always let us establish a baseline Twitter feed, as well as baselines for Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. We can do the heavy lifting, so you (and your staff) don’t have to.
For more on Twitter and small businesses, complete stats, see this piece from social media today.