This continues the discussion about personal branding started in my last post. Now let’s focus on what’s required to build a strong personal brand.
Like building the value of any brand, it doesn’t happen overnight and it requires an investment on your part. The good news is the investment doesn’t cost a lot and its return is much greater than what you put in.
First let me make an important underlying point. For any professional, certainly the value of your brand is strongly determined by your expertise in what you do. And while I can’t help you become a better clinician in terms of skills, I can tell you that it’s important to not only remain current with innovative techniques and maintain your level of competence, it’s also important to let your patients and colleagues know about it.
That’s the whole issue about why personal branding is so critical now. In today’s social-sharing world where patients and clinicians across the globe are connected in real time, communicating your excellence as a professional is as important as having it.
Nowadays true expertise can literally be overshadowed by perceived expertise, since social media has empowered everyone to leverage it effectively. So there’s not only opportunity to build a strong personal brand, there’s risk in having a personal brand diminished by not being proactive. The news cycle is shorter than ever -- what’s new is old fast.
Back to that point about social media empowerment. Many community-based clinicians are just as smart and savvy as their academic counterparts, and social media gives them opportunity to build credibility and strong personal brands that rival any academic appointments. Just ask Kevin Pho, the family practice physician in Nashua, NH who has created a globally recognizable brand through his blog KevinMd.com. For critical opinions on important healthcare issues, he’s the first call for many media and thought-leaders, not someone from Harvard or Stanford.
That said, back to building your brand. To do it you need to mix your expert professional knowledge with social-driven marketing principles that we marketers use every day to build brands.
Here’s the first part of your prescription to both build a strong personal brand and figure out what it’s worth:
1. Invest 30 minutes any time in the next week to setup and become acclimated to a Twitter account. Use this guide as a starting point.
2. Invest an additional 30 minutes the week after to follow all the oncology experts mentioned in this post, and find any additional experts you’re interested in.
3. After that, invest 15 minutes in the morning and at night, 4 days per week, following the conversation and weighing in with comments on key issues.
4. Invest 30 minutes per month setting up and maintaining profiles on key social networking sites -- LinkedIn and Sermo are two notable ones for healthcare professionals.
5. When you have those profiles initially set up, create an email signature that includes links to your profiles on those sites.
6. Invest 30 minutes per month in monitoring and maintaining your information on popular physician-rating websites, like Healthgrades and Vitals.com.
Those are the initial steps you need to take. This gives you a presence in the social world, lists your key information in important communities, and gets you involved in dialogue. Further steps are built upon establishing this foothold.
We’ll discuss those in my next post.