Social media is about being social. But when you first start out, no one knows who you are, and no one cares.
Dr. GreenbergSocial media is about being social. When I started Las Vegas Dermatology, I thought, “I’m a great physician, I just completed 11 years of schooling after college (medical school, an internal medicine residency, a dermatology research year and a dermatology residency), I have a sophisticated electronic medical record (EMR) and a patient-first philosophy. I should be busy right from day one.”
Sadly, the problem and truth of the matter was - and is - when you start out, no one knows who you are, and no one cares. You have no name, no reputation, and no word-of-mouth. As a new dermatology graduate and business owner, you are an unknown quantity despite your impressive credentials. You could have the best website in the world, but if no one ever visits that site, it’s a waste of resources.
That said, once someone has met you or is searching for you online, you need to have a great website - get help with this and choose a URL (website name) that is your practice’s name. Mine is http://lasvegasdermatology.com, and I own shortened (lvderm.com) and related websites, such as the .org and .net.
Pound the pavement, shake hands and give cards to everyone! The most effective thing that I did to get patients in the door when I started Las Vegas Dermatology was networking. I would visit other physician’s offices who were working in my building, introduce myself and hand out business cards and brochures.
Although I have now met all of the physicians in my building, I continue attending networking events like the Vegas Young Professionals, various charity events and Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce events. My business needs patients, and I consistently hand out cards to everyone I meet, whether they are a billionaire, busboy, business owner, colleague, cocktail server, or valet - you never know whose going to need a dermatologist.
You can also get your name out by using social networking sites. Facebook is a part of people’s daily routines and a means by which we can keep track of family and friends. It is possible to have your business or personal Facebook postings linked to your Twitter account; this is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone.
My office staff and I collaborate on all of our social media postings. Typically, my staff writes Facebook content, and I review, alter and then sign off on it. If, during the course of a day or week, I come across something relevant or newsworthy, I will post that on my business or personal Facebook or Twitter feed, depending on the content. Because posted content is a reflection of you and your practice, it is imperative that you are in control and aware of that message. At Las Vegas Dermatology, I review all social media postings because spelling errors, factual errors and unsubstantiated claims could be detrimental to a practice; it is important to ensure that your message is consistent and appropriate.
Don’t be creepy online. If your website, Facebook or Twitter posts are all about selling, no one is going to be interested in following what you’ve got to say. Many times, price isn’t even the issue; most people aren’t even aware of the services and products you have in the office.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been disappointed to discover that a patient I have been treating for years has been getting a service or product that we provide at another establishment because they didn’t know that we offered it - this includes Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA, Allergan), fillers, laser hair removal, laser tattoo removal, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc.
Making your patients aware of your services is a key first step in getting them to use your services. How many times have people told you, “I didn’t know that I needed it, but now I can’t live without it?” Educating a patient about the benefits of a product or service will go a much longer way then “selling” them on it.
YouTube is another avenue of expression that has the potential to drive business to your practice and educate would-be patients. YouTube is a video site where you can post original content or add already posted content to playlists. Las Vegas Dermatology’s YouTube channel has more than 80 videos posted, with the majority demonstrating original content.
Videos on our site include academic lectures I have given, patient videomonials and real patient surgical videos. I have had many patients explain to me that they chose me as their physician after watching a surgery I performed online. Claim your YouTube channel now; it should be the same name as your practice. Even if you post no videos, add videos to your playlist from the American Academy of Dermatology and my award-winning American Society for Dermatologic Surgery video on why you should choose a dermatologist for skincare problems.
Figure out what are you hoping to achieve with the messages you are putting out there, and make the magic happen.