“But EVERYONE else is doing it!”

How a plastic surgery practice can benefit from herd behavior.

“But EVERYONE else is doing it!”

Do not follow the herd. It’s advice we’ve heard since grade school. Resist peer-pressure! Think for yourself! Freedom! While not unique, this “strike out on your own” mentality is inherently American. It’s manifest destiny we’ll bootstrap our way to independence – never followers, all of us leaders! And so it is with our great spirit of exceptionalism that we boldly do not follow our own advice.

First thing to know is that everybody follows the herd. It is an ingrained trait. In 2008, the University of Leeds documented that in a crowd of 200 people, five percent of the group can guide the rest without anyone realizing they are being herded. The inclination to follow is an incredibly useful part of learning. It is part of mimicry and imitation, which in turn are part of our survival instincts. In the wild, if you see birds eating berries, our brains say those berries are probably safe to eat. Herd behavior is a powerful force in marketing. “Over 99 billion served.” McDonalds knows how your brain works. They know some part of your brain asks, “how can billions and billions be wrong?

What you have to ask is: how can my practice take advantage of this?

How do you successfully herd? Shepherding Tips
First things first, you need a flock. If you do not have one immediately available, you have to create the feeling of a flock, the appearance of a crowd.

  • Put a counter on everything and let people know your stats. Part of the herd’s secret decision-making process is looking at what others have done, so provide the numbers on how many procedures you’ve done. Go further: ASPS says 30% of patients seek combination treatments, so show that third what treatment combos are popular with your patients. Try going deep with the data – set the stage for patients to think about long-term treatment by showing percentages of surgical patients who have returned for non-surgical treatments. It shows that you think long term, and you have loyal patients. Give us a call if you’d like more insights on data-mining gold.
  • Broadcast your stats through social media. Do you perform a BOTOX® treatment on a daily basis? Let people know. Tweet every time you administer a BOTOX injection. Post a status update/image on Facebook every 100th treatment. And when you get to the 500th, get a video camera and interview the patient about their experience before and after. Post it to YouTube, then cross post to FB and Twitter. We are here to support you. Talk to us about developing your strategy.
  • Speaking of social media… In light of Google algorithm’s Penguin release, your social buttons need to be on your webpages – and so do the “like” and “+1” totals. Let people see that you are popular, and you’ll see even more traffic. And if your numbers are not that high right now, well… it’s like having the lights on and an open sign in the window. “There might not be much going on at the moment, but we are open, come on in.”
  • Create a real crowd. Bring in groups. Hold seminars or sponsor a brunch, and bring in mixed groups of former and potential patients. Then have your guests like your FB page on the spot. Have a few former patients shoot video testimonials. Others will want to join in and the prospects will be excited to record one in the future.

How do I avoid getting trampled by the herd?
Getting caught up in the crowd can lead to getting caught under it. Our advice is to stick to your marketing plan. If you have a plan, you have something to follow other than the crowd. If you’d like help crafting your marketing plan, download and go through our “7-Step Marketing Plan” worksheet or give us a call.

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