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    It's a mistake if you're not on social media

    Editor's Note: Welcome to Medical Economics' blog section which features contributions from members of the medical community. These blogs are an opportunity for bloggers to engage with readers about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Jonathan Kaplan, MD, MPH, a board-certified plasic surgeon based in San Francisco, California. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Medical Economics or UBM Medica.

     

    As a healthcare provider, if you’re not on social media by now, you should seriously consider it. More patients are going from social media to surgery than ever before. As the story below will show, this is actually a reasonable way to find your doctor.

    First step: Lead generation

    Recently, a patient asked me a question on Instagram regarding the price of a procedure. She’s not alone. Whenever we post a photo or video of our services on Snapchat or Instagram, one of the first questions is, “how much does it cost?” And this doesn’t just apply to cosmetic services.

    Whether it’s a cosmetic procedure or a medically necessary procedure paid out of pocket before a deductible is met, everyone wants to know his or her out-of-pocket costs before committing to a non-emergent procedure. It’s no different than wanting to know the cost of a car before going to the dealership or the cost of a house before going to the showing.

    But back to my patient, and for that matter, all social media followers asking about cost. What if we simply replied to the patient’s question on social media and told them the price? We would have no way of following up with them. Sure we’d know their social media handle but following up with a patient on their social media page is a bit stalker-ish.

     

    RELATED: The definitive guide to sustained patient engagement

     

    In other words, a social media follower is comfortable with you answering their question on your page. They’re not OK with you as the provider following up with them on their page a week later to see if they have any additional questions. It’s an unwritten rule of social media.

    That’s why we redirect social media followers asking about price to the BuildMyBod Price Estimator on our site to check pricing. To check the price on a procedure-of-interest, they must first provide their contact info and opt in to our follow-up protocol. That protocol includes an instant, automated email with their estimate (shown below) as well as a phone call from my office to see if they have any questions. Because they’ve given us their contact info along with permission to contact them, we can. No such permission is given when simply answering their question on social media.

    The reason this works so well and generates so many leads for follow up is because there’s no better “hook” than pricing. Everyone wants to know how much this is gonna cost them!     
    

    Next: Moral of the story

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