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I started looking for a plastic surgeon in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area, for a potential procedure that I may decide to have performed. So of course, I did what you do in 2014 and ’15:
- I searched for “plastic surgeon Cedar Rapids” on Google.
- I also posted this on Facebook: “Best plastic surgeons in Cedar Rapids? Anyone? (Of course I’m asking for a friend of a friend.) Feel free to private message.”
It was interesting to see that what I saw on both channels matched up: The same name kept coming up. It gave each channel more credibility.
On Facebook, I received numerous comments and private messages from people making recommendations. Some even gave examples of what this particular surgeon had done for them or somebody they know. Many offered their opinion on how great he is.
In Google search results and (I think) in the ads was the same name. Going back and forth between the two channels over the next day or so reinforced the thought that I should contact this particular surgeon.
I snooped around his website some, read what they had to offer and eventually gave them a call. I’m now contemplating setting up a consultation.
Now, we are a ways away from the actual procedure to take place and there are lots of questions for me to consider:
- Do I really want to?
- How long is the recovery time?
- Can I afford it? (Insurance doesn’t cover it.)
- Will it be painful? If yes, do I want to deal with that?
- Will it really be worth it?
So, it’s not a done deal, but it’s a great example of how important these two digital channels are. You may notice that I didn’t go to the surgeon’s Facebook or Twitter page. I have no idea if he even has one. Now that doesn’t mean it’s not important to have your own brand page or account on Twitter. It is and they serve their purposes.
But in this case, being ranked high on Google (paid and organic) and getting the endorsements from my friends – a group I trust as a whole – was enough to send me along in the buying process.
It was a great reminder that in today’s multi-channel world it’s not about one channel or another, it’s about figuring out the right mix of channels because the channels will likely work together in concert for the consumer.
You might ask, “but how can the surgeon influence the comments on Christoph’s Facebook wall?” Obviously, that’s hard, if not impossible, to do after I have posted my question. People’s responses are influenced by offline experiences long before the question is posed online. Offline and online interact.
A great reminder of how the different channels all play their role in people making decisions and helping each other with their knowledge.