Social media plays an important role in marketing for an aesthetic practice. There aren’t many other ways to reach thousands of potential patients all over the world without spending a fortune on advertising and PR. However, this new way of marketing that seems to be constantly changing can be overwhelming, confusing and downright frustrating for the novice and the veteran alike. Social media marketing requires commitment and as a practitioner, your time is your most valuable resource. In the long run, social media is a more cost-effective strategy than any traditional form of advertising.

When considering social media marketing, it’s important to identify what your happy patients love about you, what makes you stand out from your competitors, and to figure out the most effective ways to encourage them to share their opinions. Social media channels offer new ways of talking to existing and future patients online. It’s a great way to strengthen existing relationships with colleagues, clients, media, and vendors, and build new ones.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the most popular sites, but Instagram, and Pinterest are also gaining traction. You don’t have to use all these platforms, but it is helpful to at least set up a profile on each.

Facebook: Proven to be a highly addictive connective platform that has changed the way we communicate, and the way we conduct business. It has become an essential component of a marketing program, especially for small businesses, but also for global brands.

Twitter: 140 characters or less has made this platform the leader in mobile social media. It’s an entirely portable form of communication, even more than Facebook, due to the character limit making it simpler to use on-the-go. It has emerged as a strong leader in terms of stimulating conversations about current events, pop culture, and brands. Users turn to Twitter when looking to speak directly to a brand or find out about other people’s experience with a brand.

Youtube: All about original video content. To get started, you need to create a channel for your practice and then upload video content. This content may take the form of educational videos, commentary about a procedure or treatment, footage of an actual procedure, or patient testimonials.

Pinterest: Curated inspiration boards where users “pin” their favorite images or videos. Use this platform to engage consumers with images of your practice, including products and treatments, and to offer up a more personal look at the doctors, staff, and mission.

Instagram: Photosharing platform that skews towards a younger audience. Great for sharing photos of your office, staff or beauty products. Keep in mind to use hashtags like Twitter to make your content searchable.

Choosing the right platforms for your social media presence is imperative so that you can reach the right targets and interact with the right audience, so choose wisely based on your needs and to link one platform to another.