This past Friday Plastic Surgery Studios held a day-long seminar for its sales and support teams to further educate them on the benefits of total Internet marketing and social media. During the discussion of social media, a topic was raised that stirred up a lot of questions, surrounding one of social’s biggest newcomers: Pinterest.
It was named one of Time Magazine’s “50 Best Websites of 2011,” and by January 2012 it had hit the 11.7 million unique visitors mark, making it the first website in U.S.history to break the 10 million unique visitors mark in such a short time. It has been adopted as part of the social media strategy for a number of big brands like HGTV, Gap, and The Today Show…but what is it?
At its core, Pinterest is a bookmarking site that lets you store and share imagery of your favorite things, using what’s called a “pin.” But unlike similar sites like Delicious or Stumble Upon, Pinterest has developed a heavily engaged community.
Using the Pinterest Bookmarklet or iPhone App, people can quickly pin their favorite images and videos from around the Web to themed boards they’ve created. Boards can be themed around anything you want, from items for the home to recipes and inspirational quotes. Once something has been pinned other users can like it or “repin” it to share it with their followers.
Why Pinterest Matters
Not only has the site seen amazing growth, but the foundation of Pinterest was built upon some of the most compelling elements of social media: imagery, self-expression, and discovery.
Some of the most popular content on established social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter is visual. Remove the status updates, check-ins and added fluff, and you get Pinterest. An entire social network built around the fact that people love to share and interact with visual content that matters to them most. By categorizing these images the site opens the door for discovery and inspiration from users with similar interests from around the globe. Best of all: Its inspiration doesn’t require the use of a search engine to connect you with content.
The Benefits of Pinterest
While the core of the Pinterest audience is made up of DIY-ers and niche lifestyle enthusiasts, there is one statistic that will appeal to cosmetic and plastic surgeons. The bulk of Pinterest’s growth is coming from 18 to 34-year-old, upper income women. Meaning the Pinterest audience is also the aesthetic surgery audience.
Early adopters who use the service effectively could reap the benefits in the long run, providing there is an opportunity for your practice to engage the Pinterest audience visually. Medical practices or hospitals that use Pinterest could easily use the service to:
Drive more traffic – In a personal test I ran, I was able to bump Pinterest as one of the top 10 referrers to my website with only a couple of original images I pinned.
Resurrect old content – As I outlined in a post on Search News Central, Pinterest allows you to connect with the visual segment of your audience, which may not be familiar with your original content.
Build links – For now, Pinterest displays not only an image from a website, but also a link. Meaning if an image gets enough pins and repins it could garner a decent amount of backlinks. (Although, I imagine these links will be nofollowed in the near future)
Increase brand/name awareness – It’s just one more place that can get your name in front of people if used effectively.
Most of all, it’s easier and less time-consuming than other forms of social media, as it doesn’t require moderation or much engagement. Simply pin, categorize, and tag images and you can call it a day!
Using Pinterest For Your Medical Practice
Health, fitness, beauty, skin care, diet and exercise are all major categories on Pinterest. Pinning or repining content related to these things can greatly increase your visibility on the social network. Additionally, you can think about generating content around these topics and add appealing imagery to the content in order to help drive traffic to your website. Unfortunately the plastic and cosmetic surgery categories tends to deliver nothing more than jokes or bad plastic surgery images at this stage in the game, so playing up your presence based on related subjects is probably your best bet if you are interested in getting involved in Pinterest now.
Remember, at the end of the day, people want personal interaction when it comes to social media – not advertising. Be real, and abide by the rules of social media and you too can reap the benefits that so many other brands are experiencing.
For the last few years, Google has put structured data markup and rich snippets at the forefront of much of what they are doing. Introducing rich snippets in 2009 and then with the adoption of shema.org mid-2011, it was clear that Google and the rest of the search engines were dedicated to the semantic web. Shortly after the announcement of schema.org support, Google unveiled their support for authorship markup in its search results.
Authorship markup helps to connect authors with their content around the web and can be used as an authority signal when it comes to website content. The authorship markup uses HTML5 standards known as (rel=”author”) to enable information retrieval systems like search engines to identify work by an author. As a bonus, your content has the opportunity to show up with an author rich snippet in the search results and will appear similar to the result below. As you can see, the rich snippets featuring authors have a number of benefits.
By having your photo appear in the search results next to your content you increase the chances of your content being clicked on. A photo can make a listing appear more trustworthy since they can put a face to the content, ultimately increasing the chance of greater clickthrough.
In addition to standing out more, the authorship markup makes your content more visible. As you can see in the search results, you can read more content from the author directly from a single listing. This can make your content as a whole more visible in search even if it’s not directly related to what the person is looking for.
If the image you use for your author page matches the image used on your website, using authorship markup can be a great way to increase brand awareness. As searchers click through pages of content about the procedure they are considering and see your face, they will begin to associate that content and those procedures with you and your practice – ultimately increasing your brand awareness.
Authorship Markup for Local
Additionally, there have been recent reports that author photos have shown up in local results putting faces to businesses in localized markets. This could be the first case of Google+ and Google Places integration that we mentioned last month. Though this doesn’t appear to be a full rollout yet, this is definitely something Google is experimenting with.
Setting Up Rel=Author
To setup rel=author on your blog, there are three options; however, they all require the setup of a Google+ profile. If you’d like to setup the rel=author markup on your blog, you can follow the directions from Google, or you can follow the directions from AJ Kohn that are a bit more intuitive.
If you’re not comfortable setting up rel=author yourself, we invite you to reach out to Plastic Surgery Studios and we would be happy to assist you in setting this up on your blog. Simply contact us or your sales rep for more details.
Note: Adding the rel=author markup does not guarantee an author rich snippet will appear in the search results.
When it comes to social media, many doctors are still in the mindset that it’s just another marketing channel. Too often the idea is just to push content and hope the patients will flock to it. However, data released from from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) suggest that now, more than ever, plastic surgeons need to take a proactive approach to social media and be at the forefront of patient education. According to their findings roughly 42 percent of patients got information about plastic surgery from social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter in 2011, a substantial increase from 29 percent of patients in 2010. More astounding is the finding that the number of patients who sought information from friends fell from 63 percent in 2010 to 48 percent in 2011.
Doctors Should Use Social Media To Spread Health Information
As Dr. Kevin Pho pointed out in his keynote at the 2011 Texas Medical Association Winter Conference, “Social media is extremely powerful in spreading the news. We need to tap into that. We need to spread reputable medical information on social media and get it in front of as many people as possible.” The internet is an amazing thing, it offers us a doorway into endless amounts of knowledge and information, however it also leaves us susceptible to misinformation. In the clip below from the same keynote, Dr. Kevin Pho explains how social media levels the playing field for not only strong, relevant information, but also for misinformed agendas.
With nearly half of the patients in the AAFPRS study using social media as a means of research plastic surgery, it is more important than ever for doctors to be at the forefront of plastic surgery information online. Doctors need to be thought leaders, share insight, and be proactive when it comes to patient education through social media channels. Use alerts, searches, and other tools to find out where conversations are happening about plastic surgery and get involved.