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Aesthet Surg J. 2019 Jul 30. pii: sjz204. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjz204. [Epub ahead of print]

Social Media Marketing: What Do Prospective Patients Want to See?

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Department for Plastic, Reconstructive, Aesthetic, and Hand Surgery, Fachklinik Hornheide, Münster, Germany.
Department of Dermatology, University of Bonn Medical Centre, Germany.
Head of the Department, Department of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München, München, Germany.
Department of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München; and a Scientist, Section for Plastic Surgery, Department of Trauma, Hand, and Reconstructive Surgery, University Hospital Münster, Münster, Germany.



Presently, access to platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ is near ubiquitous, providing an audience of almost 3 billion people. Society is dramatically changing, which marks the evolution of marketing strategies by plastic surgeons and aesthetic doctors alike. This unknown territory provides excellent opportunities, but many pitfalls as well, still leading to uncertainty in the most effective manner to promote ones practice/services.


We designed a social experiment using Instagram to give guidance for efficient self-promoting.


An Instagram account called "doctor.aesthetics" was created. Content was produced and categorized in four groups: Aesthetics, Private Life, Disease, and Science. No bots or other Instagram-based promotion were utilized. Every post was evaluated regarding likes, comments, clicks, new followers, impressions, and savings.


After 5 months and 37 posts, 10.5k people followed the account. Scientific posts were excluded from the analysis due to a low response rate. A significantly enhanced number of likes for private postings was found. Additionally, private posts led to most clicks and new followers, while aesthetic posts were saved by most people.


To benefit the most from social media advertising, it is required to give insight into private life. While aesthetic and disease postings showed similar response rate, scientific posts fail in attracting people.


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