With just two weeks to go until the inaugural National Cosmetic Medicine Summit, we spoke with blogger and General Manager of the Plastic Surgery Hub Trish Hammond to discuss the power of social media in providing cosmetic medicine consumers with more information and choice.
Tell me a bit about the Plastic Surgery Hub and how it works?
The Hub connects people with practitioners, surgeons and procedures. We have one of the biggest directories in Australia for quality plastic and cosmetic surgeons, non-surgical practitioners and cosmetic dentists. We believe in the benefits of quality procedures and treatments being performed by suitably qualified Australian practitioners. The website also posts a regularly updated feed of real life experiences from women and men who share their own stories of treatments and procedures. We have created a safe space for people to discuss their concerns, fears and experiences during their journey.
We are constantly expanding and evolving at the Hub to meet consumer and industry professional needs. We reach our readers by way of blogs, vlogs, social media, phone, email, newsletters, eblasts, articles and closed Facebook Groups. We have a YouTube channels, Podcast and videos of interviews with surgeons, practitioners, patients, advice on the latest devices, treatments, techniques, trends, advancement and industry news in the plastic surgery/aesthetic industries. We have embraced the modern world’s obsession with social media and sharing experiences through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus and Snapchat.
The Hub is also a place for people to discuss their concerns, fears and experiences with plastic and cosmetic surgery. The Hub provides a platform for those hard to ask questions and topics to be openly discussed, anonymously if desired. Our closed facebook forum creates an environment where people feel supported and can share their stories with others going through the same experiences. Being a part of a community is very important because communities help to remove stigma and at the same time provide a way for the easy transfer of wisdom and knowledge. The Forum is intended to enable the communication of ideas, experiences and suggestions within a diverse group of people who are all linked by their shared experience.
The Hub researches and provides objective but factual information on surgery, procedures, current trends and news relating to the cosmetic, plastic surgery, and aesthetics industry in order to better inform our community. We believe the more informed our readers are about the various surgeries/treatments on the market; the better able they are to make informed decisions and choices about what is right for them. We advise our readers that surgery is a serious matter that should not be entered into lightly, and believe all consumers considering surgery or cosmetic treatments should be aware of the risks and possible side effects as well as the benefits and outcomes.
What inspired you to set up this resource?
When I was recovering from my plastic surgery, I went through moments of feeling totally lost and alone… experiencing depression and even questioning my own beliefs and values. I can remember scouring the internet; hoping to find a resource or a place where I could get the information and the support that I needed to manage the emotional side of the plastic surgery process, but I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. I started realising there were probably others out there looking for the same thing I was.
I found that every website I went to was owned by a doctor, surgeon, clinic, or nurse, and I was not interested in what a professional had to say about it; I wanted to hear words from a person – someone real, who had been through the process just like I had. I wasn’t into open forums and didn’t want to be ‘out there’… I just wanted information and to talk to others like myself. I desperately wish I had more support when I was going through my plastic surgery journey.
We play a really important role in the consumer’s journey. People think “plastic surgery” is just for those wanting big boobs. It does have that side to it, but it’s so much more! We all do it for our own personal reasons. PSH is here to ‘hold their hand’ for as long and as much as people want or need us to. Support, both emotional and practical, is essential in determining whether or not someone has a positive or negative experience with plastic surgery.
It is estimated that Australians spend up to $1 billion on cosmetic surgery annually, and this number is only increasing. With the rapid technological advancements, massive industry growth and so many new products, procedures and techniques being released each year; a portal like the Hub has never been needed more.
What are some of the best cosmetic treatments that you have received?
That’s a tricky question. I’ve had some amazing treatments over the years. It’s so hard to pick! I am excited by the latest technologies we are seeing come onto the market. The different lasers, injectables, fat freezing, fat ‘melting’… all these techniques are having some wonderful results for different people and it means that consumers have more choices and options for their different concerns and beauty goals.
A few of my favourites would have to be the HydraFacial… this is a non-invasive treatment that made my skin feel delicious. I also love the DNA Renewal product range – these are an awesome range of serums that I can’t go without.
You are speaking on the topic social media and blogging. What’s the value of blogging and social media to cosmetic practitioners?
Reading blogs, we learn in a more exciting and engaging way because blogs are basic
ally just stories with essential information, and most of the time information that you are interested in or searching for. You learn and get entertained at the same time.
Clinics ask me, “Should we blog?” The Answer is a big Y-E-S! Definitely! Blogging can position cosmetic practitioners as an authority in their field. It builds trust. It engages their audience, and even when consumers are not engaging in the comments, believe me, they are still engaging. They’re remembering the clinic or practitioner, building a little step by step connection w
ith every blog post that they do. Potential clients reach out to blog posts to learn and ask questions before considering a clinic, practitioner, treatment or procedure. If the blogs are interesting and engaging, people will also keep a watch out for the next blog. It’s kind of like waiting for the next episode of your favourite TV series – how excited were you when you knew the next season of the Game Of Thrones was due out?
What changes have you seen in the cosmetic industry over the past decade, as a consumer?
I think the stigma of plastic surgery and aesthetic procedures is definitely being broken down. More and more people are undergoing procedures involving laser, injectables and the like. We are seeing them being offered in regular beauty salons and spas all over the country. They are on the menu right beside the massages and the facials. More and more people are having them done, even if they don’t tell anyone. Most of us know someone or a few people who are having aesthetic treatments. I think in another five years or so, it will be unusual to know someone who hasn’t had something done as part of their beauty journey.
I’m extremely pleased about the focus on regulating and making the industry safer for consumers, both with regards to the quality of the technologies, and the training our practitioners and clinicians should undergo before being allowed to practice in the industry.
Of course, technology plays a huge part in the changes we’ve seen. More and more devices, treatments and techniques are released all the time and it’s often hard to keep up with the latest and greatest beauty news. That’s where we try and help the consumer by researching and providing information on all the latest news and developments to keep them informed.
What tips would you give practitioners or consumers in relation to ensuring patient safety and patient happiness?
I think sometimes people want to look like someone else, or have too much of an escapist attitude; wanting perfection, or to have someone else’s lips, etc. We all have our little things we don’t like about ourselves. The thing in today’s world is that we can fix it if it bothers us enough, or it’s a big enough issue. If that means you want to have a breast reduction then have a breast reduction… if that means getting rid of those love handles then do it. We all wish we had a few less wrinkles as we get older and if you want to have laser or injectables then great! But have realistic expectations about what you can and can’t achieve and be the best person YOU can be, for yourself – and don’t go overboard. Oh, and if you don’t want to do any of those things, that’s great too!
Also, research research research!! Check out your practitioner’s credentials before you have anything done; make sure you know what device they’re using and what training they’ve had. Find a practitioner that has your best interests at heart… not their back pocket.
Trish will be discussing how-to create regular blogs, blog on topics that are trending and promote blogs effectively at the inaugural National Cosmetic Medicine Summit. For more information, including our current agenda, please head to our website.