How one of America’s top surgeons used digital marketing to reshape the industry
Social media has revolutionized marketing on a global scale. From fashion to tech to travel, the most intrepid innovators and entrepreneurs are using digital platforms to build and share their coveted brands with the world, at the same time that influencers are racing to make their mark – and there are few players who aren’t rushing to adapt.
More than any industry in the world, it’s the fields of medical and cosmetic surgery that truly have been reshaped by image-centric platforms like Instagram. No longer do businesses need to rely on word-of-mouth, written testimonials, and traditional marketing tools to share their services with the world; now, video posts, digital celebrity endorsements, and hashtags rule the day, allowing potential clients to simply see and judge a company’s work for themselves. To take one example, research suggests that social media photo sharing of treatments leads to a more than 30 percent increase in requests for that surgery.
Until recently, however, few people understood how to harness digital marketing trends, with the exception of one of the worlds’ most sought-after cosmetic surgeons: Dr. Simon Ourian of Epione Beverly Hills.
Dr. Ourian isn’t just using social media to market his treatments. He is using it to reshape the industry and to ensure that potential patients are more informed, educated, and empowered to feel healthier, happier, and more fulfilled. Specifically, Dr. Ourian’s social media presence – led by his Instagram account, which has more than 3.5 million followers, focuses on dispelling myths that often trend, sharing real images and talking about more natural and safer alternatives to once common procedures. These posts help people think beyond the typical perception of cosmetic procedures as scary, invasive, and prohibitively expensive luxuries exclusively designed for the ultra-wealthy, and they steer clients away from unhealthy and even dangerous procedures that might seem trendy.
Dr. Ourian became fascinated with cosmetic surgery as a child, after watching Elizabeth Taylor undergo a treatment in the movie Ash Wednesday. He did his residency at UCLA, where his interest in aesthetics really grew. There, his curiosity in the field of laser and aesthetic surgery was sparked, inspiring him to establish Epione Beverly Hills, which is now a renowned cosmetic center.
Having led cosmetic procedures at Epione since 1998, Dr. Ourian has witnessed dramatic transformations in the industry. One of the biggest changes Dr. Ourian has recently noticed is that patients are requesting less dramatic treatments. Today, non-invasive aesthetic procedures are becoming more popular than ever, growing by 44 percent since 2011 and now accounting for 42 percent of the total expenditure on cosmetic procedures in North America. Patients are increasingly seeking a natural look and asking Dr. Ourian to enhance their features and make changes. Although he’s known for treating celebrities like the Kardashian-Jenner Family, these simple treatments are the essence of his business.
Dr. Ourian thinks social media has played an important part in the shift toward a more natural, realistic aesthetic; a shift that he himself is now accelerating. For example, one treatment Dr. Ourian frequently posts on social media is liquid rhinoplasty. Lasting just minutes, this non-invasive procedure can completely reshape an individual’s nose by creating symmetry or smoothing out bumps. Showcasing this treatment on Instagram helps Dr. Ourian highlight that patients don’t need to undergo dramatic, invasive procedures to look the way they want.
Dr. Ourian also believes that social media has dispelled many falsehoods and misconceptions regarding cosmetic procedures. The transparency of Dr. Ourian’s practices helps audiences understand that these treatments are common and nothing to be ashamed of. People are now more inclined to invest in these procedures because they understand they are socially acceptable. He is also using social media to reach out to new clients and markets, and in fact, 70 percent of his patients are now from outside the United States, mostly in the Gulf countries, UK and Russia.
Leaders in the field like Dr. Ourian are using the power of social media for good and Dr. Ourian also donates time every year to those with severe injuries who can’t afford treatment or who have survived cancer or other illnesses and need reconstructive work done. By giving back and illuminating the ease, safety, and potency of modern cosmetic treatments, he is truly redefining the field.