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Using Social Media in Cosmetic Medicine

Plastic surgeons and cosmetic medicine professionals who use social media to attract patients should know their audience’s preferred social media platforms and the types of posts which generate interest, according to a survey study published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery medical journal.

The survey recommends that cosmetic physicians best utilise social media when they consider their target audience’s perspective, including the platforms patients engage with and the content they are most interested in seeing.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons surveyed 100 patients of aesthetic medicine practices regarding social media habits and preferences. The patients’ average age was 44 years and they were nearly all women. Most were interested in facial cosmetic surgery.

Among six social media platforms listed in the survey, Facebook was the most frequently used and engaged with. Around half of patients said they checked Facebook at least once a day, while 30 percent of patients reported daily use of Instagram.

Most patients used YouTube and Pinterest, but engagement was low. A quarter of patients were on Snapchat and used it daily. Twitter was the least popular social media platform.

The practice’s website trumped all social media platforms as the go-to source of online information. More than half of patients said they were influenced by the website when selecting a cosmetic practice, compared to just eight percent for Facebook. More than 60 percent of patients checked the practice website on the day of their visit.

Patients were most interested in seeing before-and-after photos of cosmetic procedures, while a quarter of patients wanted to find more information about the procedures. Very few were interested in didactic types of information.

The survey recommended that plastic surgeons and cosmetic medicine professionals can better reach and engage with their target audience if they use the social media networks popular with their patients’ demographic. For example, Facebook is popular among the age group of women most likely to be interested in cosmetic procedures. Twitter is widely used by medical professionals to share and discuss research, but the study suggests that it is the least successful platform for engaging patients.

However, the fleeting content on social media is less important than the information provided by the practice’s website, which suggests that the website should be considered the “centrepiece” of a practice’s online content “while social media is an adjunct to attract users”, according to the survey.

Read more latest news in cosmetic medicine.


November 8, 2017. “Cosmetic surgery on social media – patients rate preferred social media sites and content.” Prime Journal.

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