It’s one thing to design an Instagram post and publish it, it’s an entirely different thing to craft a launch strategy and implement it successfully. Rick O’Neill gives 10 top “insider” tips for launching just about anything on Social Media…
Creating engagement for your Aesthetic clinic on Social Media is getting harder by the day it seems. Instagram and Facebook are more crowded than ever before with aesthetic clinics fighting for the precious “attention” of potential patients and clients online, and the ever-changing algorithms that determine your content’s success or failure can sometimes seem impossible to master. The truth is there is no magic pill when it comes to Social Media success, it’s just hard work, plain and simple, and it takes careful planning and consistent effort. In this guide to launching just about anything on Social Media, Rick walks us through the key stages and disciplines required for a successful treatment or service launch…
- First, Know Your Goals.
It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often I speak to people that haven’t really known what “success” actually means for a particular Social Media launch. They’ve skipped immediately to the “what shall we post” bit. But before you can plan, implement and measure any campaign, you need to know what success looks like.
Are you aiming for:
- More (relevant) Followers
- More Appointments?
- More “Likes”?
- More Clicks to a web page?
- More Comments and engagement?
Decide what you’ll measure, and be specific. If you’re launching a new treatment, and you’re seeking consultation bookings, decide the number of bookings that would make this a success. Is it 10? Is it 100? Be SMART about your goal. Specific, Measurable (how will you track this?), Attainable (Is it ‘doable’?), Realistic (do you have the skills or do you need help?), Time-bound (set a deadline to hit this target).
So, as an example, you might be launching a Social Media campaign to promote a new laser treatment your clinic is now offering. You want the campaign to achieve 20 consultation bookings for this new treatment in it’s first month, and you know you’re going to need some agency help to produce all of the creative for it.
So now you have your goal, and the specific parameters around it, next you need to know who you’re aiming it towards…
- Know your audience
Who are you trying to reach? (Clue: It’s not everyone!). Understand the demographic and the “profile” you ideally want to respond to this campaign. Pull together your ideal respondent, considering:
- Age bracket
- Interests (Sporty? Traveller?)
- Income bracket
- Conditions or issues they’re dealing with (i.e. skin conditions, signs of ageing etc)
This audience profile then gives you the ability to specifically tailor the targeting and messaging of your campaign. For example, if you’re targeting sporty women from Glasgow, who are in their 50s and want to look younger, then your campaign can use this to influence your choice of imagery, targeting criteria for any paid ads, and the messaging you use, for example “Are you tired of looking tired, even when you’re full of energy and living life to the full?”
You can also then dig further into the Social Media habits of your target audience. Which social platforms do they favour? What times and days of the week are they most active online? What format of content do they tend to respond to. There is lots of data out there about these things, so take the time to do some homework on the latest insights into your demographic and their social media habits.
- Map out the Content Calendar & Create the “Buzz” Effect
Now you’re well equipped to start mapping out your content calendar for the campaign from start to finish. The best in the world at building excitement are the great movie franchises, such as Marvel Studios. They know how to throw out signals, to entice, and to tease their releases. You need to do the same in order to optimise your campaign for success and achieve maximum engagement.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Establish the headings/messages of your posts for the 3 weeks leading up to your launch. Start with simple signals that “something” is coming. Then gradually release more details – hold the best back until the last minute. Setup a waiting list form that people can join to be the first to know more.
- Plan the dates and times they will be posted. Use your insights into the audience’s social media habits here. If women in their 50s are on Social Media at lunchtimes on a Monday, then this is when your posts need to go out.
- Collect or create the imagery or videos you will need for each post. Create a library that suit your messaging and target audience.
- Research and prepare the most relevant and active hashtags to accompany each post too. Use tools like Ingramer.com or the HashtagExpert App.
Create the posts in advance, in all the required formats, and use a scheduling tool such as Buffer or HootSuite to pull it all together and have it ready to go out automatically.
- Blog it
Social Media launches don’t just happen on Social Media! Plan, write and release a blog article each week during the campaign, giving a little more away in each article leading up to the big “go live”. Link back to these blogs in your Social Posts, and utilise them to generate email updates that compliment everything you’re doing on Social Media.
Post these blog updates into your Google My Business Profile too, so that those searching for your clinic, or related services, can instantly see that something new is coming and click through to find out more.
Optimise these blog articles for Search too, using the most pertinent keywords or phrases in the titles and body copy, so that those searching for such treatments or services are likely to find your website thanks to these articles.
- Video, Video and Video
Video is the most engaged with format of content online. Create video content for each step of the campaign, whether it be an Instagram Reel, a longer IGTV video, or Stories clips – video is the No.1 way to get your message across on Social. Use captions for the majority that consume Social Media on mute (make this easy using a service like ZubTitle), and ensure that your videos always include a Call to Action (CTA), for example “Subscribe to our waiting list to be the first to know when this new treatment goes live”.
Upload the same videos to your website and a YouTube channel in your clinic’s name to maximise your web presence on this type of treatment. Ensure that the titles that accompany these videos use the most searched keywords and phrases around this treatment, as well as the name of your clinic and the town you’re in.
- Partner Up!
Often it takes a great strategic partnership to see a Social Media campaign reach it’s true potential. So take a look around, who else is targeting the same audience as you, but doesn’t compete with you? If we go back to the sporty women in their 50s, then perhaps it’s the local leisure centre or country club? Research and list out all the potential partners that fit your goals, then reach out to them!
Partnerships like this can take many forms. Perhaps there is an influential person that fits your target audience, or with whom your target audience resonates, who you can invite onto an Instagram Live, or who would be prepared to share the content from your campaign or (even better), discuss it with their followers. Or perhaps you can arrange a “take over” of the Instagram of your local Tennis Club. Be creative, think about the ideal partner then just talk to them about how to make it work for everyone.
- Create a Challenge!
Some of the most successful Social Media campaigns in history have started as a #Challenge of some kind. Remember when everyone was throwing buckets of ice cold water over themselves??
The goal is to get your target audience engaged to the point where they are motivated to share content of their own to help raise awareness of your campaign. Sticking with the tennis-playing 50 year olds (well, why not!), this could perhaps involve a #challenge where they are encouraged to share photos of themselves playing their favourite sport along with a campaign #Hashtag that you create (#SmashingItInMy50s for example).
Ask participants to follow a few steps to help your campaign succeed:
- Use your campaign hashtag
- Tag a friend
- Tag your clinic Instagram
For a chance to benefit from a discounted consultation or gift voucher for your online store.
HiiT session today at the gym! Feeling great! #SmashingItInMy50s
- Be Super Responsive
Throughout your campaign, to keep engagement high, ensure you have the time (or help) to respond and react to comments, DMs, enquiries very quickly.
Your engagement levels have a direct impact on the engagement you’ll see from your followers. Engaging with your followers through their own content, or yours, also increases your “rank” with the Facebook and Instagram Algorithms’s meaning your content will be shown to more people. It also means that followers will feel drawn to your content in future as they know they’ll get a response from you and feel welcome.
- Live Stream Every Week!
No matter how scary it might be, going live on Facebook and Instagram is a must-do for the ultimate Social Media campaign. There is no better way to engage directly with your audience, keep them updated, and take their questions in real-time. Not only that but live-streamed content gets more reach and more engagement than any other format of content (although Instagram Reels are certainly giving it a run for its money – see my guide on Instagram Reels for more on that!).
Set a day and time and stick to it consistently so your followers come to expect your “show” and even have it in their diary! Bring guest on, keep it lively, and collect questions beforehand via your Instagram stories to keep the content and conversation flowing and to ensure people feel involved.
- The Launch is the Start, Not the End!
Remember, the launch date is the start, not the end. Keep the conversation going on Social Media, and engage with those that adopt the new product or service by having them submit testimonial content that you can use to further promote.
Build case studies with your patients for the new treatment, and diligently convert this into Social proof for your website, reviews for your Google Profile, and Social Media content to keep the awareness going.
Keep your audience informed. People love a success story, it gives them confidence to get involved too. Give regular updates on the new treatment and how it’s being received by patients, share your PR wins and be proud of your success.
So if you’re looking to launch or re-launch a treatment on Social Media, I hope this guide has given you a framework to follow and some top tips to help you succeed, and I look forward to seeing it hit Instagram soon!
Rick O’Neill, FRSA, is a digital consultant to the medical aesthetics, cosmetic surgery and pharma sectors. With over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing, O’Neill is the founder and owner of the award-winning digital agency ‘Look Touch & Feel’ based at Silverstone Race Circuit, a founding partner of The Aesthetic Entrepreneurs, and investor and advisor to several other digital businesses. Find him at www.rickyoneill.co.uk