My last post continues the initial discussion on personal branding and focuses on initial steps in your prescription to both build a strong personal brand and figure out what it’s worth.
So let’s continue with your treatment. You made those first six things happen – here are the next steps you can take to ramp up the strength of your personal brand and start to get an idea if it’s paying off.
And, mind you, these steps can be accomplished with a commitment of mere minutes at a time. I get these very same steps done for my own business in bite-sized, 5-10 minute periods each day.
7. Create a plan for sharing information with your patients and colleagues (or better yet talk with a marketing expert about it) – information about your credentials, media stories, social media presence, even recaps of conference sessions you attended. Don’t forget links to external stories and resources of relevance. There are many options for sharing this information, like a Facebook fan page for your practice or a monthly e-newsletter or simply building some additional pages on your practice website (hence why engaging an expert may make more sense). There are even social tools you can leverage, like Paper.li.
8. As part of that plan, create an anonymous way for patients or others – like friends/relatives of patients, since a recent Kantar Media study shows that 84% of women search on behalf of someone else – to submit questions to you, like a form on your website.
9. As part of that plan, use social media or your website to answer those questions (in a completely anonymous way) or point people to places they can find answers (include the standard professional disclaimers, of course).
10. As part of that plan, drive awareness of your information-sharing options by mentioning them in all your communications to others – on letterhead, on invoices, in emails, in the waiting area, on your business cards, etc.
11. Read online healthcare news each morning, in a tool like Google Reader, along with the Journal or Times or whatever else you currently read. Share informative articles and links.
12. Include RSS feeds from physician blogs in your reader, and post brief comments on stories that interest you. Subscribe via email to any further comments after yours, since this peer-to-peer dialogue is valuable.
13. Set up Google Alerts to email you whenever your name or your practice is mentioned online
14. Use polls in your communications (fan page, newsletter, website, etc.) to measure what people think about your personal brand – how they found out about you, did they have a good experience in their last visit, is your website useful, would they refer others to you, etc.
15. Keep track of basic, quantitative stats over time – followers on Twitter, ratings on physician-rating websites, positive comments, number of website visits, etc.
Steps 1-13 in this prescription are proactive steps you can take to build a strong personal brand through social dialogue and engagement.
Steps 14-15 let you begin to measure the results of your efforts, track their impact over time, see patterns, and react to negative dialogue or act upon any opportunities.
Again, these steps don’t replace professional expertise – they leverage your investment in your expertise to extract its full value. These steps don’t replace attending conferences, leading trials or research studies, or sitting in on Grand Rounds – they leverage your continued learning to create new value.
In one of my marketing blog posts, entitled Brand Y-O-U, I say this to marketers:
“Of course, you can sit back and prove what you know to anyone who asks – yet it’s a lot easier when you don’t have to prove it, because someone else who knows it has already made your case.”
The same logic applies to what you do as an oncology clinician. We all work too hard – and invest too much – to let our personal brands wither. Be proactive and build social capital that has long-term value.
Questions? Add your comments here and we’ll discuss.