American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Consumers

Social Media Focus: Opportunities on newer platforms?

It's now widely accepted that most businesses – including plastic surgery practices – should have a presence on social media. Prospective patients are increasingly turning to social media over other traditional forms of advertising when searching for a plastic surgeon. Still, posting on social media can be overwhelming for the practice and/or practitioner – a conundrum compounded by the arrival of newer platforms.

Although businesses typically post content on the older, more established platforms, newer platforms can provide alternative options for plastic surgeons to promote their practices. However, the mere existence of a platform doesn't guarantee that posting content to that site will provide a return on investment. All of which begs the question: Is it worthwhile for plastic surgeons to pay attention to these newer platforms?


TikTok exploded in popularity over the past year, becoming one of the world's fastest-growing apps that allows users to create and share video content. At the time of this writing, the hashtag #plasticsurgery has 7.3 billion views on TikTok. Other platforms allow editing and sharing videos, but TikTok allows users to view content from accounts relevant to them without having to go through the time-consuming process of finding them.

Regardless of whether you post-procedural videos, patient testimonials or educational content, there's a good chance that your marketing will have some value. However, you must consider your target audience. Almost two-thirds of TikTok users fall between age 10-29. Posting content about facelifts – not matter how educational – might not attract much attention from the typical user, whereas content related to breast augmentation could garner more interest. Also, in contrast to most other social media platforms, the majority of TikTok users reside outside the United States. So while it may be easy to grow your following based on the content you publish, that may not necessarily translate into prospective patients calling your office to schedule an appointment.


Clubhouse has enjoyed steady gains in influence and popularity since it was first launched last year. This platform allows users to share audio clips with one another in virtual rooms. When a user enters a room, the audio is turned on and interested users can join the discussion if the moderator allows them to participate. This format allows you to connect with other colleagues within plastic surgery, as well as others outside the specialty. The audio format makes Clubhouse feel like an interactive podcast, so there's an opportunity to create a more personal feel on the platform.

One of the current drawbacks of Clubhouse is that it's currently invite-only. Another user must invite you to enable access to the virtual rooms. If you're accepted, you will have instantaneous access to all other users – including some of the most prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs in the world. Although Clubhouse is currently business-centric, there could be an opportunity for plastic surgeons to reach out and interact directly with consumers. There might also be opportunities to educate the public about plastic surgery and to engage in patient safety initiatives. Another potential pitfall of the platform is that the moderator of the room must monitor what the participants are saying – since the content is completely audio-based, there could be the possibility of creating liability.


Launched in 2020, Parler is touted as an alternative to Twitter. Although the design and interface may be similar to Twitter, the functionality differs. For instance, Twitter posts are limited to 280 characters, but Parler allows up to 1,000 characters. Having the flexibility to say more is nice; sometimes it's best to get your point across with fewer words. Parler is also a hashtag-centric platform because its algorithm only searches for hashtags and usernames. This can make specific searches easier, but bear in mind that you also must tag content appropriately and hope that users are searching for that content using a variety of hashtags.


The COVID-19 pandemic provided plenty of runway for Telegram to take off. With more than 500 million active users, Telegram at the time of this writing ranked 11th among the most used social media platform worldwide, with more than 70 billion messages shared daily. Unlike WhatsApp, which limits the size of its groups to 200, there are no limits on Telegram groups. Thus, when you send a message on Telegram, it can significantly increase the reach of your brand. Telegram marketing operates within groups, so consumers feel like they're part of a broader community with similar interests. Marketing can be more impactful because customers feel like they are being communicated with directly.


Rumble is an online video platform alternative to YouTube. Although it has been around since 2013, it began to expand its user base last year after restrictions were placed by YouTube on content relating to the coronavirus pandemic and the United States election. It has recently attracted the attention of many content creators due to the flexibility that the platform offers, as well as the fewer restrictions on what can be posted to the site.

Like YouTube, viewers can vote on videos and leave comments. There's also the option to livestream content. Unlike YouTube, which often boosts content that has high engagement – thus giving popular creators an advantage – Rumble levels the playing field and displays videos in chronological order rather than recommending content.


For now, social media marketing is dominated by the traditional platforms of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Familiarity with these platforms, along with the levels of engagement they provide, likely means they aren't going to be overtaken anytime soon. Other platforms, such as Snapchat, seem to have fizzled-out almost as quickly as they were introduced.

Although alternatives to the conventional platforms exist, one needs to be cognizant of how they differ from the networks we've become accustomed to, as well as the particular demographic which populates these platforms. The latter is vitally important for effective marketing of your practice – both in what you do, and who you are. It's important to remember to publish content that's tasteful and educational, and to keep the messaging of your brand consistent across all platforms.

Dr. Hadeed is chair of the Social Media Subcommittee and is in private practice, splitting his time evenly between Beverly Hills and Miami. You can follow his social media channels via @josefhadeedmd.