How Not to Social – Being Your Own Biggest Fan

This piece appeared in the December/January 2021 issue of Independent Practitioner Today as ‘The Danger of Too Much Showing Off.”

How Not To Social: Being Your Own Biggest Fan

Social media is, by nature, social – and like any social gathering, there are not only rules dictating acceptable conduct, but also ‘unwritten rules’ that encourage (or discourage) success. In today’s piece, we will focus on two classic faux pas in online self-promotion. 

We’ve all had the real-life experience of encountering those tiresome individuals who drone on about their experiences, expertise and achievements – mostly because they never stop talking. But how many of us genuinely want to listen to, or engage with those who speak exclusively about themselves? 

These individuals may appear to have an entourage, but I’d argue their audiences are comprised of 4 distinct groups: those who care; those who don’t; those who joined because they saw a large group of people; and those wondering how they got stuck listening, (and how they can extricate themselves.) 

While it’s universally agreed that such boorish behaviour in our social lives is intolerable (or at least, unlikely to win you any friends or repeat invites), somehow, this knowledge has failed to translate to social media – largely because it’s widely thought that the tools to success are right at everyone’s fingertips, making expertise seem just a few clicks away; and because the whole point seems to be ‘getting your brand out there.’ 

In my experience, it’s wise to focus on generating engaging promotional content to help clinics get the attention they deserve, organically, and for the right reasons. This may be controversial, but sometimes, nottalking about yourself can better establish rapport with a quality audience who genuinely cares what you have to say. 

The U.K. aesthetic sector is a wonderful, diverse, dedicated community comprised of highly intelligent, brilliant innovators – but with great innovation comes the great responsibility to recognise that a significant percentage of our ideas might …not be as great as we think. 

This news may come as a shock to some, but I promise it is 100% evidence-based: one perfect example of creativity and innovation going completely haywire is the clinic who enthusiastically approached me wanting to roll out their highly questionable concept of portraying injectable treatments as fast food – complete with a £99 menu. #TrueStory.

These medics strongly felt the low price point would serve to undercut competition, and the imagery would be a fun, creative way to disrupt the norm and help them stand out from the crowd. 

As they excitedly envisioned syringes of ketchup and mustard injecting volume into a 100% all-beef patty, I knew I was dealing with a serious case of AESTHETIC YIKES with strong potential to cause long-lasting damage their professional reputations, as well as to the brand. (The internet never forgets.)

Ultimately, the clinic agreed I had a point in saying this was perhaps not one of their greatest hits, but even then, the looming spectre of BotoxBurgergate continued to haunt us problematically. 

When trying to build anything – whether that’s a brand on social media, or a new technique of working – It’s essential that we’re open to receiving valuable, pragmatic and real-world feedback. Unfortunately, since these aesthetics experts had been so invested in their ‘amazing’ idea, justified criticism came across as hampering creativity – instead of allowing them to more accurately assess that they’d spent hours trudging into uncharted territory (that was unexplored for good reason),  and should have brought the concept to the social media expert first. #TopTip.

I’m loath to ever give the cosmetic cowboys anything resembling credit, but if they’ve taught us anything, it’s that just because someone has the tools to do something, doesn’t mean they should. While a poor social media strategy isn’t likely to land anyone in A&E, it can certainly do a lot of harm to a practice’s potential; as well as be costly and time-consuming to reverse. 

It is essential for clinics on social media to demonstrate their relevance while striving to deliver balanced content, because as we all know, constant self-promotion is off-putting, and desperation, much like a condiment-filled syringe, is never attractive.  

I previously postulated that 4 distinct audiences surround real-world egomaniacs, but like most social behaviours, these become expanded and amplified online. For aesthetic clinics, they can include rival clinics in sockpuppet attire, bots, and of course, the second-best friend of the virtually vainglorious: fake followers. These audiences are useless – and sometimes harmful. 

More than ever before, real audiences are hyperaware of the banquet of choice laid out in front of them, and savvy aesthetic practitioners know not all social media efforts are equal. Moreover, the savviest practitioners don’t waste their valuable time trying to master the minutiae of #SoMe – they hire an expert to brainstorm and execute proven strategies, and continue doing what they do best: providing excellence in aesthetic treatment to happy patients, who want to spread the word about their fantastic results.  

Nikki Milovanovic is the founder and managing director of Sophisticated Comms, a London based agency specialising in creative strategy, social media and public relations for the lifestyle, beauty, health and wellness sectors.