There is an increasing need for a better understanding of healthcare service marketing in social media. This paper aims to examine Under the framework of positioning theory, popular Instagram posts related to #plasticsurgery and their accounts were analyzed and the relationships between the posts’ attributes and the number of user comments and likes were examined.Design/methodology/approachA total of 272 posts associated with #plasticsurgery and their account profiles were analyzed.FindingsPlastic surgery procedures were positioned on Instagram primarily by doctors and celebrity patients who were motivated by self-promotion. Doctors often omitted their medical credential information from their account profile and posts while featuring their vanity photos, emojis and consultation solicitations. They showed patients as the objects of surgery. On the other hand, patients positioned themselves as individuals with the agency by showing their faces rather than focusing on their body parts. Instagram users responded better to the doctors who positioned themselves more as business owners than medical professionals by soliciting consultations, offering discounts, displaying surgery photos and using emojis. In responding to patient posts, Instagram users liked under-dressed images more than fully clothed images and commented more on before-and-after photos than others.Social implicationsIn Instagram, doctors positioned themselves as self-interested providers of plastic surgery services, whereas patients positioned themselves as active consumers. Medical professionals’ social media activities should be more closely monitored to protect patient safety and the trust between patients and doctors.Originality/valueThis study shed light on how doctors and patients position themselves on social media and how they are received by social media users in the context of #plasticsurgery on Instagram.
International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 27, 2021
Keywords: Positioning; Social media; Healthcare consumerism; Plastic surgery