Consider this. You can toot your own horn all day long. You can hire a brilliant publicist to get the word out, send press releases, reach out to local media to talk about your newest laser or clinical study. You can go crazy on Instagram and Snapchat, have a billboard right in the center of town, and host seminars to get people excited about what you offer.

All of these strategies will go far to get your name out there and keep your practice top of mind, but what actually sends patients into your clinic faster than anything else is other patients talking about how great you are. In digital speak that is called ‘User Generated Content (UGC)’. Think of UGC as the new word of mouth.

We all know how powerful social media has become as a key marketing tool for practices and medspas. Just think about the powerful effect when one patient tells another patient who tells another patient about the beautiful lips you gave her or how happy she is with her slim thighs, or taut neck from a facelift. In digital terms that involves a patient posting about his or her experience in your practice on their social media channels and broadcasting it to thousands of fans and followers. What’s even better than words and images? Video testimonials is the gold standard of UGC.

It is well documented that user generated content is way more influential on purchasing decisions than any other forms of media. The key is transparency. Real people talking to other real people is the most powerful form of UGC, even more convincing than celebrity influencers who most consumers will assume have been paid for their promotion or at a minimum, have received free products and services. This can be accomplished in the form of a quick video taken with an iPhone showing the area or treatment the patient has had done and explaining, in their own words and non-scripted, how happy they are and how the experience felt. Feelings are so much more important than just showing a good technical result.

Humans are emotional beings. We relate best to other humans sharing their emotions in a natural and unfiltered way, complete with imperfect grammar. This is the very essence of why social media has become so popular. And it doesn’t have to be a professional video clip with the best lighting and a team of pros behind the scenes. In fact, I would recommend against all of that. It just has to be real to resonate.

So the next time a patient tells you how happy she is or how she feels about the treatment you provided, simply ask if they are willing to post about it. Remember that it is far more impactful to have a patient post about you on his or her social media channels, rather than reposting or regramming the content to your channels. It will ring true to consumers coming from someone who does not work for you or who is not being incentivized to give you a great review. Then, if you like what you see, you can always thank them after they have posted with a complimentary treatment or a bonus credit to their account. This strategy will keep the transaction clean and pure, rather than having someone persuaded by monetary gain or free stuff to sing your praises.