Below is an article from our friend Debra Seidel-Bittke, founder of Dental Practice Solutions.
I began thinking that in this new world we live in, we’re all just a Google search away from one another. We live in a world now where we’re all intrinsically connected. Suddenly, everything you say becomes part of your personal legacy and your personal brand. You are now guilty — until proven innocent — in the court of public opinion. Your brand isn’t what you say it is; it’s what Google says it is. We’re all connected.
I like the concept of branding; it’s another layer of one’s reputation. Branding exercises us into thinking broadly about what we represent. As a dental professional we should be accessible, friendly and practical at the same time. Keeping it simple is important as well. How should the next generation approach building their brand and career, balancing personal interests and individuality with working well in teams and groups? We either brand ourselves or let others develop that brand for us. A brand doesn’t need to be dominant or exclusive but should have humility and be giving.
When speaking to many of my colleagues lately they call themselves “Servant Leaders.” I like those two words: Servant and Leader. Put them together and you have a very positive image of someone who has an IQ over 100 and approachable as well.
Developing a personal brand includes understanding how people individually communicate with you and understanding how you can take that and share it with the world. It forces a much better relationship for people to have between themselves and their community, whether personal or business driven.
Once you begin a written or verbal conversation about yourself and your dental practice, such as a service or the great treatment you provide, you need to come up with a marketing plan as if remaking your image or changing the tone of conversation about the new product that you are launching.
I just looked on a clients’ website today and he is promoting numerous oral hygiene products and photographs of flossing and toothbrushing techniques. He also had a lot of great information on the website for his patients to read about cosmetic or esthetic dentistry, he offers his patients. After looking at his website I walked away with a great feeling, knowing he was an outstanding dentist and most likely on the leading edge in the small community where he practices in Northern California.
Here are some of the tools you might use to flood the web with new information, keywords and search results for the “new you.”
1. Press releases. Flooding your market with press releases is best accomplished by using all the free and paid press release services available online. This not only gets people who read releases frequently on the networks to see the new you but also earns you publicity via potential interviews, guest blog posts and a myriad of other side benefits from creating a new and exciting story about yourself or your company.
2. Guest blog posting. Offer to guest post anywhere and everywhere you can get exposure. Bloggers love great, original and exclusive content targeted to their demographics. It is not hard at all to find guest posting gigs in any market to help change minds.
3. Podcast interviews. Use places like BlogTalkRadio.com to find podcasters who are directly in front of your target market and offer you as a guest on their shows. Invite your office team members, office team, or office administrator, etc., to send letters to each and every podcaster on such a network that would be beneficial to you and schedule as many interviews as you can. Ask them to link back to your “Fan Page” so that people can learn about you and you can take control of what is being said about you on the web. Be sure to prepare and execute this carefully, and by reaching out to your network, you are most likely to succeed.
4. Facebook and Twitter. Utilize at least these two so your patients can learn what is happening at your dental office. Facebook and Twitter are just two social networks receiving a lot of attention and much conversation these days. I suggest that you have a FAN PAGE and not a personal page for the dental practice to invite patients to participate in. The FAN PAGE tends to be only about the dental practice and can be kept business only. You are able to upload photographs of your office and possibly special photographs regarding something new in your office you want everyone to know about on the FAN PAGE. You can have a link (Looks like a filing tab) to share information, etc. Be sure to add the “Join our FAN PAGE” or “SHARE TWEETS WITH US”, in everything you send your patients and especially place the wiki on your webpage so patients are just a “click” away.
5. NewDocs.com. While we are on the topic of social networking I have found NewDocs.com to be an excellent area to share my knowledge and learn from other dental professionals. Regarding the topic of knowledge sharing, I want to be an advocate of this new social network for dental professionals. Pass along this information to all your colleagues. This is a great place to network with other dental professionals. If you are part of a study club, invite them to be a part of this growing community. Your study club can have their own “Group” within this social network.
Social media is not to be thought of as one more chore but I want to suggest that you invite the entire team to become a part of social media for the dental practice. Team members may feel empowered and definitely a part of a fun and innovative group when they are invited to participate in posting information about the dental practice daily or weekly on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog.
Debra Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS
Founder: Dental Practice Solutions