Dr. Schulman has been at the forefront of technology for his entire career. This has helped he create the unique and exclusive surgical procedures that draw patients from around the world. He also recognized the value of social media for education of the existing and prospective patients. He had been active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope. In 2015, Dr. Schulman began experimenting with a less-known platform called Snapchat. At the time, it was mostly being used by teenagers who were interested in sending photos and messages secretly to their friends. Snapchat had just introduced a feature that allowed users to send “stories”. These were 10 seconds videos that could be viewed together to create a single story. This offered Dr. Schulman an opportunity to broadcast his entire day in what would essentially be just minutes for the viewer. These stories would remain for 24 hours only, making it essential that his viewers tune in daily…. like a reality show.
Dr. Schulman was not the first plastic surgeon to experiment with Snapchat. However, he developed a different philosophy to his account. He wanted his account to be about education. His primary focus was, and still is, educating prospective patients and existing patients. He wants to show “real” plastic surgery, not the edited and sugar-coated versions people are seeing on reality television. He wants people to know that with surgery comes blood, recovery, and even pain. The camera follows him into his operating room and shows his surgeries, his staff, and his patients. It is about the surgeries, all day, every day. His viewers appreciate his honest approach.
The Evolution of his content:
Based on the feedback of his viewers, Dr. Schulman has added several additional elements to his Snapchat. In addition to showing the surgeries, he now features his patients at their follow-up visits. This allows viewers to see the same patients they saw in the operating room, weeks or months later. He has also added his “Skin Squad”, composed of his Physician-Assistant and Medical Esthetician who demonstrate and discuss non-surgical treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, facials, fillers, and botox. This is a very popular part of his account. Because many of his followers are students interested in possibly pursuing a career in medicine, Dr. Schulman discusses topics pertinent to them. These include discussions about how to become a doctor, why he chose plastic surgery, and descriptions of his typical day. Even with all this content, viewers seem to always want more. To satisfy the incredible demand for content, Dr. Schulman has created his “SnapSquad”, consisting of Board Certified Physicians from all over. These physicians make weekly video appearances on his Snapchat to discuss and demonstrate procedures that viewers may not be commonly seeing. It has allowed him to expand his content for a diverse group of viewers.
In the Media:
This Snapchat account has been received extremely well by the media. In fact, this account has been listed in the US News and World Report and International Business Times as a top Snapchat account follow. He has also been featured in the NY Post, People Magazine and on countless television and news shows such as CBS, FOX, ABC, WPIX, etc. The emmy award-winning television show, The Doctors, has also featured Dr. Schulman and his Snapchat account.
Other plastic surgeons have now seen the type of success that can be achieved through Snapchat. This has caused some controversy as some surgeons have been accused of crossing the boundary of good taste and professionalism. Dr. Schulman has also been recognized by multiple professional organizations for his responsible and ethical use of social media and his account is widely regarded as the model for “how to do it right”. He is contacted daily by other surgeons asking for advice about how to implement and maintain a Snapchat account. He works closely with the governing body of plastic surgeons, The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), to create guidelines for use of social media. He has been invited to speak to multiple national and regional plastic surgery societies about the use of Snapchat. Dr. Schulman accepts this massive responsibility and will continue to maintain a Snapchat account the proudly represents all Board Certified Plastic Surgeons.
The number of daily views has grown significantly since 2015 and his videos are viewed over 3.5 million times per 24 hours.
On survey, 85% of people who come to see Dr. Schulman for consultation have viewed his Snapchat. 95% of patients consent to having the surgery shown on Snapchat, and every patient who appears on Snapchat signs an extensive written consent.