Dr. Roy Kim shares his thoughs on social media, marketing, technologies and treatments including the Iguide neck lift system.
Name: Roy Kim, MD
Location: San Francisco, CA
That's interesting: Dr. Kim has gone to Guatemala several times, and he has operated on patients from Rwanda as well.
Dr. Kim is also an investigator in several elite clinical trials regarding facial fillers, the Iguide system, and cohesive or “gummy bear” implants and is a member of Operation Access, a way for local San Franciscans to get free health care.
You've got a blog on your site, you're on Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn and Twitter. You seem to be comfortable with social media and reaching out to patients online. How much of your marketing efforts are now online and are they working?
Most of my marketing efforts are concentrated on word of mouth and internet marketing. Word of mouth is by far the most effective, but internet is the easiest and most cost effective way to generate interest in my practice.
Success with internet marketing takes time. Essentially, you can’t think that “if you build it, they will come”- you have to continually and consistently generate great content, then have people like it on Facebook/ talk about it on Twitter/ discuss it in plastic surgery forums/ generate backlinks to it via actual blog and media outreach. It’s a constant, daily task, but if you do a little every day, it all adds up to a really great, big, constantly changing website. My personal marketing efforts within internet marketing really took off when I decided to be consistent, and measure my progress. One of my favorite quotes is a geekly, engineering adage- “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
For me, that means:
- Daily and weekly thoughts on new content
- Answering questions from the internet or from patients in my office, which is a great way to generate content
- And measuring the success in Google Analytics and Google Adwords.
You were the first plastic surgeon in San Francisco to be trained in and offer the IGuide system. Why did you choose to learn and offer this technique?
I learned about this technique in 2010. I was intrigued by the pictures, but I was skeptical about them.
After learning the technique with the originator, I was convinced it would work. I tried it on some great candidate patients, and they have turned out great. I have now done several dozen cases, and the Iguide procedure has revolutionized my neck lift and facial rejuvenation procedures.
I feel that the Iguide system is a useful adjunct, and another weapon, to use in the world of facial rejuvenation. It’s great for minimal to moderate neck skin laxity. It’s perfect for younger patients who need neck skin support, but normally would not be happy with a long scar behind their ears. Since it can be done with a facelift or an eyelid lift, I can now offer the Iguide necklift in those patients as well, and have lesser incisional scars than my techniques from 3 years ago.
The iGuide system seems to have a lot in common with other suture techniques, some of which have fallen into disfavor or have been withdrawn from the market.
What does iGuide have going for it? Have your results met your expectations?
Iguide is a great option for patients with minimal to moderate neck skin laxity. It avoids over tightening, which has plagued other methods and types of sutures. Also, it actually creates a long-term scaffold, which helps the neck skin from relaxing too much.
A traditional necklift lacks scaffolding or sutures to hold up the actualy neck tissue. Instead, it relies on pulling the skin tight and anchoring to the ear and behind the ear. The Iguide actually creates scaffolding to the neck skin itself, which in my opinion, helps give a long lasting result.
So far, the Iguide has met or exceeded the expectations of my patients, as well as me!
Aside from filler injections, you are also offering skin care products and even Latisse. How did you decide on what skin care lines to provide to your patients? Do you actually make money on products or do you just offer them as a convenience?
In general, I like skin care products that are prescription and that can only be sold be a physician. I can’t compete on price in a spa environment where there is little to no physician oversight. So, my competitive advantage is that I only offer skin care that I know works, and requires a doctor to prescribe it and oversee the actual application of the skin care products.
I do make a profit on my skin care lines. In fact, I’m not a big believer in “loss leaders”- there are plenty of doctors that can take care of that for me. I’m a huge believer in being special, unique, and offering awesome customer service- having a great “USP/ unique selling proposition”, if you will.
(This shows I’ve been reading too many marketing books!)
Are there any technologies that you would recommend that physicians stay away from, either for medical or business reasons?
Absolutely, there are too many products and techniques which have failed to meet expectations. For example, many newer lasers that claim to remove fat and tighten skin are overhyped. Yes, they are FDA approved for what they claim to do. However, if you read the FDA fine print, these lasers don’t remove quite as much fat, or tighten as much skin, as many laser companies and providers claim they do.
Another area of technology to avoid is one that is low margin and swamped with competitors. I feel that laser hair removal is one of those fields. Laser hair removal works- but it seems that any machine made over the past 10 years will actually work effectively, and there are a lot of machines and nurses and med spas that offer that treatment.
Do you see a time when plastic surgery is going to be replaced at least in part by nonsurgical technologies? Is this an opportunity or threat for plastic surgeons?
We are already seeing technology replacing plastic surgery. Smarter software for lasers, the proliferation of cosmetic medicine courses, and the continued demand for cosmetic medicine services have replaced many plastic surgery operations in general. For example, it is much less common to do a forehead lift today than 20 years ago, due the advent of Botox/ Dysport/ neurotoxins.
I believe that any plastic surgeon willing to change with the times will view this as an opportunity. Constant re-education on old techniques, and learning about new technologies, can only increase the options that you can give patients. The only threat is in your own mind- the world of cosmetic surgery only continues to expand, so as long as you can learn and grow, you’ll be fine.
What's the best advice you've ever received as an entrepreneur and as a physician?
Really, it’s all in my mind. I don’t worry about my competitors, or the news, or about the Great Recession. Every day, I am thankful that I can learn something new, and that I can help someone achieve their aesthetic goals. There are no limits to my practice, except what I decide my limits are.
I know, it sounds very hokey and “new-Age-y”, but I feel it’s the truth- I’m blessed to live in the most affluent country in the history of the world, with unending freedom and opportunities. It’s up to me and my friends, employees, and family to learn more and take advantage of these opportunities.
About: Dr. Roy Kim holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, an MD from the University of Pittsburgh and has performed general surgery residency at University of Chicago Medical School as well as a Plastic Surgery residency at Wayne State University before moving to San Francisco.
Dr. Kim is a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Kim is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.
This interview is part of a series of interviews of physicians running medical spas, laser clinics and cosmetic surgery centers. If you'd like to be interviewed, just contact us.