I want to challenge you to spend time in building up social media for your career. I’m not talking about your personal Snapchat; in fact, I think you should keep personal social media accounts separate from your public professional ones. I am advocating instead for you to invest in your professional social media accounts, a page that says to the world what kind of doctor you are and why people should view you as an expert in your field. Social media is the new form of communication and you should start experimenting with different social media formats and techniques early on so you can build a following and brand yourself.
Establish a Brand
• Decide on your brand name and use it consistently across all of your platforms. People who are familiar with your blog may want to look you up on Facebook or Instagram, and it’s easier if your username is the same. Also make sure to promote your various social media handles on each account; for example, sharing your blog or YouTube channel on your Instagram bio.
• Engagement is critical. The social media world is a community, and I’ve actually “met” so many other physicians through social media. You have to engage with them through comments and build a relationship with them, leading to opportunities to collaborate. The same goes for non-physicians who are posting on your accounts and asking you questions. You want to respond to them and interact with your followers to make it more meaningful.
Timing is Everything
• Post consistently and often. I aim for a blogpost a week (wish it could be more!) and an Instagram picture a day. Your readers and followers like routine and they like knowing when you will be providing content. The more often you post the more engagement you get with your community. Do not inundate your followers with posts though.
• Share aspects of your life from time to time. I’ve seen many doctors who have strict “business” social media accounts. Every photo on Instagram is a stock photo or a quote, and every post on Facebook is an ad for a procedure. What I think is more powerful and will help people (and potential patients) feel more connected to you is a doctor that appears more human. Share an occasional photo of you in the office or enjoying a meal. You don’t have to share all aspects of your life, but a photo here or there of yourself doing normal human things without trying to sell or advertise your business will go a long way.
• Experiment with Snapchat or Instagram stories. This one is a stretch, I know. There are articles out there that joke that Snapchat is not built for anyone over the age of 25. But I challenge you to try out Snapchat or Instagram stories as a new way to connect with younger patients. These two platforms are ways for you to post photos or short 10-second clips throughout your day that then play in a continuous loop to your followers in the app for 24 hours. It’s a fun insight for laypeople into what a typical day looks like for doctors, and they may feel more inclined to see you as their doctor since they’re comfortable with you.