Harnessing Facebook and Instagram During the Buyers’ Journey

Each phase of the buyer’s journey benefits from its own specialized marketing approach. Nowadays, social media has irrevocably transformed the face of advertising and plays a pivotal role in each phase of the buyer’s journey. One prominent study reported that 95 per cent of patients considering a cosmetic procedure had consulted an online source, including social media. The same study also emphasized that social media played a particularly powerful role in influencing people’s decisions about non-invasive procedures, such as dermal fillers and CoolSculpting. Moreover, search engines like Google are more likely to promote surgeons based on their social media presence rather than academic prestige. Like it or not, social media plays an undeniable role in the cosmetic buyer’s journey

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the two most effective social media marketing tools for aesthetic clinics are currently Facebook and Instagram. Successfully harnessing the revenue-boosting power of these platforms, however, requires time and commitment. In this guide, we will show you how to maximize your presence on these two platforms, and how to optimize their unique attributes to target buyers in various stages of the buyer’s journey.

1. Facebook

For small aesthetic businesses in particular, Facebook remains an essential element of any marketing approach. If you are just starting to dabble in social media, Facebook is the place to begin. Moreover, Facebook boasts a diverse global demographic base with close to 3 billion monthly active users on Facebook at last count in Q3 of 2022, making it the largest app in the world. This is an increase from 12 months prior in Q3 2021, when Facebook had 2.91 billion users.

Some of Facebook’s unique strengths include its versatility: you can post videos, images, links to blogs on your clinic website and include write-ups and bios about your staff and testimonials and reviews from clients. But how do you become an effective Facebook marketer, and moreover, how can you use Facebook to target buyers at each of the three stages of the buyer’s journey?

Here are some tips to help you create Facebook marketing content suited to each phase of the buyer’s journey.

Be Timely/Relevant In Your Facebook Posts: The Awareness Phase

Consider this Facebook post from Anand Medispa in New York which offers the reader insights into the ways in which Ultherapy can help treat sagging neck skin. This post is perfect for capturing buyers at the first stage of the journey (the awareness phase) who have identified a problem and are seeking more information to help determine a solution. It’s also ironically timed to intersect with Thanksgiving–appearance medicine holds very strong attraction during the holiday season when people endeavor to look their best!

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Use Video: The Consideration Phase

Educational video posts such as this one from Aesthetica Medical Spa are ideal for targeting buyers at the second stage of the buyer’s journey, the consideration stage.

In this second phase, the buyer has developed awareness of an aesthetic problem that they would like to resolve, and is looking for further expert content to help them consider a solution. 

Facebook Live videos or stories represent an engaging and easy way for prospective clients to absorb information. In the case of the Aesthetica Medical Spa (see screenshot of live Botox demo below) , this video allows a curious consumer to see what Botox is like from a patient and practitioner’s perspective, and also gain an idea of what they can expect during the procedure.

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Increase Credibility by Aggregating Content on Facebook and Educating Clients: The Consideration Phase

Facebook Posts represent an easy, regular way to curate and share factual and engaging content on your page. The nature of the content you share plays a critical role in positioning your business as a source of expert information and expertise and building your brand. The benefit? Great posted content can increase your following in the process. Post regularly  so that you remain at the forefront of your followers’ minds. Engage with your community by responding to their comments and questions on your posts.Award-winning Motykie Med Spa in L.A. posts links to educational blog pieces and articles such as this one below. This style of post is ideal for appealing to buyers in the consideration phase (the second stage of the buyer’s journey). Informative content that is abundant with helpful insights can inform potential clients about the options available to them. In Motykie’s post, clients are provided with information on the difference between Botox and dermal fillers, and how to determine which is the most suitable option for their needs.

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As another example, Kast Aesthetics posts highly informative posts profiling new products on a daily basis and demystifies the way that particular treatments work using high-quality content and before and after images of clients. Case-study style images such as the one below are particularly effective in targeting buyers in the second stage of the buyer’s journey, helping them to understand the potential outcomes of procedures they may be considering.

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Convert Clients with a Call-to-Action on Facebook Posts or Advertisements: The Decision Phase

Check out this striking post from Renew Medispa inviting clients to book a free consultation for Trusculpt treatment. This post is concise, punchy and calls the reader to action by making them an offer. Posts such as these would  work well in enticing buyers during the third stage of their journey: the decision phase. Note that the caption on this post emphasizes, “For most people, it only takes a single session to see results.” If results are almost guaranteed with a single session, the potential client has more impulse to try it. Are your social media posts creating compelling calls to action?

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Alternatively, Facebook Ads also represent another effective way to harness clients in the third and final stage of the buyers’ journey. Recent statistical data tells us that Facebook Ads reach 63.7% of all Americans over age 13–that’s some impressive scope. What’s more, Facebook Ads are perfectly positioned to appeal to buyers who are already armed with knowledge and are ready to make a decision–they just need that little push.

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2. Instagram

Users interact with Instagram differently to Facebook. 70.8% of users are under the age of 35, which resonates with the increasing number of millennials undertaking aesthetic procedures. 72% of plastic surgeons recently said that they had noticed an increase in patients under 30 years old.  Instagram’s natural visual aesthetic makes it an appealing marketing tool for those in the plastic surgery industry. Instagram’s strengths lie in its immediacy, simplicity, and ability to promote engagement. The app can generate more than 4000 times more interactions compared to Facebook. Users can share stories, posts and live feeds. Businesses can additionally pay for advertisements and even create online shopping options. 

Here are some tips to help you harness Instagram to convert more buyers during the decision phase of the buyer’s journey:

Increase Reach by Adding Multiple Hashtags to Images: The Awareness Phase

Instagram posts reach a far greater audience when you add relevant, trending, popular hashtags to the images and videos you upload. Posts that utilize at least 1 hashtag have a 12.6% increase in engagement in comparison to those without any. Hashtags offer cosmetic clinics the chance to put their content directly in front of their target audience while also connecting them to brand new users. 

If you’re unsure about how to create relevant hashtags, there are hashtag generators available online such as this site which shows the top ten hashtags for any keyword you type in. Hashtags help connect you to a greater diversity of potential clients and represent a helpful tool for building awareness–in other words, the first phase of the buyers’ journey.

Share Posts, Stories, Lives and Reels of Treatments: The Consideration Phase

Instagram is the perfect medium for posting before and after pictures or video material to show case studies or before and after shots of procedures. In the last few years, the app has added features such as Instagram Live and reels. You can also re-share user-generated content such as images and videos provided by clients. Before and after images such as those shared on the post below from Parfaire Aesthetics provide powerful insights for consumers at the consideration phase of the buyers’ journey, where they are currently weighing up their options and learning more about procedures.

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Alternatively, you can tag yourself or your staff members following treatments to showcase the expertise of your offering and bring another level of authenticity to your account. Check out this example from a staff member from Spa Vilamoura following a facial treatment:

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Create an Attractive Aesthetic that Resonates with Your Branding: The Decision Phase

On a similar note, also ensure that all your posts and stories adhere to a clear  branding/aesthetic strategy. Take a look at Clinic 1 Aesthetic’s account, which follows an aesthetic of neutral tones to create a subtle, classy effect. As mentioned earlier, Instagram is the platform most associated with aesthetics. Since the aesthetic medicine business is concerned with appearances, it’s vital that your clinic’s account and offering look well-curated and appealing across posts, stories, reels and lives. When it comes to helping customers make the decision of which clinic to go with, the overall appearance and aesthetics of your clinic’s profile will play a fundamental role.

Much of Instagram’s usefulness lies in its marketing appeal to buyers approaching the ultimate decision phase of the journey–the decision phase. Research tells us that Instagram helps 80% of users to decide whether they will buy a product or service. In this case, users simply need one last little push to make a purchase, and a well-organized and attractive profile grid may be the decisive factor.

Share High-Quality Content Regularly to Increase Your Followers: All Phases

To gain more followers on Instagram, you need to post frequently. According to a recent analysis, posting between 3-7 times per week is ideal.However often you decide to post, ensure you are consistent. Posting in random bursts does not help to build brand recognition. Find out when you have optimal engagement with your posts and endeavor to increase the frequency of your posts when your audience is more likely to view and respond. Timing matters: The best time to post on Instagram is between 8 AM -12 PM or 4-5 PM on weekdays.

Your audience wants to engage with content that’s helpful and inspiring. Design content that people will want to reshare. If someone embeds your Instagram posts in their blog, you’re exposed to a whole new audience of potential followers, and can potentially pique the interest of buyers at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.

A high number of followers carries weight, as it is seen by patients to be synonymous with credibility. While numbers may seem like vanity metrics, in the eyes of a prospective patient that has meaning and may be the decisive factor between the patient purchasing a treatment at your clinic rather than another.

Final thoughts on social media and the buyer’s journey

Facebook and Instagram represent the two largest social media tools, but by no means are they the only relevant platforms for creating marketing content for aesthetic clinics. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Twitter and TikTok are also fast emerging as influential platforms for aesthetic and cosmetic clinics. 

Overall, each platform boasts its own unique attributes, and all are capable of positively contributing to your online presence, expanding your audience, and gaining prospective clients. 

As ASPS articulates, it’s important to build your online resume with an awareness of which social media platforms best inform your target demographic and goals. While Facebook may be appropriate for clinics targeting a demographic 35 and older, TikTok and Instagram may be more appropriate for clinics serving Millennials and Generation Z. Get yourself familiar with all these platforms, then develop a strategy for harnessing their unique attributes to appeal to buyers at the three stages of the buyers’ journey.

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