What does it mean to be an influencer? It used to be that someone would pay you thousands of dollars to pose with pretty purses to influence others to desire the merchandise you were posing with. Nice gig if you can get it, but for most of us in dentistry, it’s not what we are seeking. We want to be known for our knowledge and skills and how we can help the world, more often than for anything else. Plus, that is the influencer of old. Now there is a new influencer in town; the credible influencer. These credible and talented professionals are changing the world by selflessly and freely sharing their knowledge online through social media.
Influencer marketing is different from the traditional, commercial marketing we have been employing. Not only is it a different approach, it is more effective than anything that we have ever had in our arsenal. All you need in order to use influencer marketing is a means to convey your knowledge, a social media profile, and a little courage. I say courage because influencer marketing is not for the faint of heart – you are putting yourself out there for the world to judge whether your knowledge is worthy of consumption. Scary? Yes. Worthwhile? Definitely.
We all have little voices of doubt in our heads asking us if we are frauds in how our patients and the public perceive us. Are we really worthy of the accolades that we get? Are we worthy of the pedestal that we are pushed onto? Influencer marketing will reveal what you are made of and will help you to see your worthiness. If you have something that the world needs, if you put it out there and it is consumed, with people wanting more, then the world is telling you that you are worthy.
It is effective because it is different than any other carefully crafted marketing campaign you have ever used, where you are conveyed perfectly on a day that you had a great photographer or videographer to capture a moment in time. The old way of perfect marketing campaigns with the perfect message is gone. Now people seek authenticity. They want to know that you are credible and trustworthy. They also want to know the person behind the brand – what makes them tick, whether they are as smart as they seem, and whether they are consistent over a period of time. No perfect commercial marketing campaign can do that for you. But… influencer marketing can.
Social media is the ideal milieu for influencer marketing for several reasons. It is easy to use – unlike our websites that require massive training to execute changes well, social media can be updated easily. It is cost effective – you don’t necessarily need someone to do those updates for you. It is accessible – anyone can find you if you are putting yourself out there.
Because of these reasons, you have an opportunity to have your social media as up to date with you as your last post. There is no excuse for falling behind with your marketing when it is as easy as point, shoot, upload and caption.
So why are more professionals not leveraging social media for their brands in a way that allows them to be purveyors of knowledge? It comes back to the fear of this form of marketing. When you use your social media in a personal way, no one’s going to call you out for posting cute photos of your puppy on your feed. When you use your social media in a professional way, they may call you out if you express your knowledge – or lack thereof – on a topic.
Let’s take LinkedIn for example. LinkedIn is full of highly educated, successful individuals and thought leaders. Who would want to expose their potential lack of knowledge on a platform like that? Not many. That is why the opportunity exists for you with influencer marketing. The average and even above average professional is not willing to expose themselves to criticism of their knowledge on any public platform.
Here is why you should though. You can be the most talented professional in the world, but if no one knows that you exist, then what does it really matter how talented you are? This especially rings true if you have a talent that people need to access. Hiding your head in the sand and keeping your knowledge to yourself or only exposing it to your small group of patients who already know you, is doing the world a disservice. I would call it selfish. When you have invested in training that not many people know about which makes your care a scarce commodity, it is only fair to let more people know that it exists, if you believe you can truly help people with your skills.
If you do believe you have the ability and an obligation to help the world with your skills, the next step is getting your knowledge out there. How can you get yourself out there showing what you know? Start by figuring out what it is that patients get from your care. Let’s work through a specific example: sleep apnea. You can hang your shiny certificate out on social media and tell the world you are qualified to help them. You can list the diseases that your care can help prevent. You can explain the process. You can show the options for appliances. You can even take photos of the appliance in someone’s mouth. However, few will get what you actually do.
Instead, start thinking from your client’s perspective. The easiest way to do that is to talk to the clients who have benefitted from your care. Ask how your care changed their life. Did they go from dragging themselves through life to being full of vim and vigor? Did they go from being overweight and sluggish to being a healthy weight and wanting to move? Did they go from being average at work to being a super star because they can finally concentrate and be creative? Anything we do to purvey our knowledge can’t be like a lecture to our potential clients, where we spout how smart we are while talking above our audience’s head. Instead, we need to figure out what is in it for our clients because clients are self-centred when making buying decisions – even when it comes to buying decisions about healthcare. When they are shelling out time and cash for treatment, they want to know there will be some tangible changes in their lives when all is said and done. When you can convey your knowledge in a way that shows them what they get out of it rather than what you can do for them, you change the game for yourself.
Sharing knowledge about what you do is scary because there is always fear that knowledge will be stolen. It is one of the greatest roadblocks to talented professionals stepping into the spotlight with influencer marketing. When you can step into the spotlight and share your knowledge, you are seen as the expert. If your colleague beats you to it, they are seen as the expert.
Truthfully, there is always a risk that someone will copy your ideas or try to take credit for the knowledge you are purveying. So, the fear of knowledge being stolen is valid. But, think about those who are industry disruptors. Let’s take Tesla for example. They innovated the automotive industry and were so far ahead of their competition and seemed untouchable. It was shocking when they decided to reveal their secrets and publicly release their designs to the world. The world saw them as knowing even more than before because of their fearlessness.
I encourage you to be the same way. If you can be the Tesla of your industry, fearlessly sharing your knowledge secrets with the world, you will be seen as the go-to person for that knowledge. Whether that go-to position is just in your local area, your city, your province, or beyond, by being someone who contributes your knowledge to the world, you will be perceived as the expert. Even better, the people who need you will be able to find you.
Your knowledge combined with who you are is what really wins when marketing. Again, people want to know the person behind the brand. They don’t just want to know that you are smart and talented. They don’t just want to know what is in it for them. They also want to know that the person delivering the care is a relatable, flawed human being like them. Influencer marketing allows you to get that part across if you let your true self come through. Have those moments where you aren’t perfectly coiffed or dressed to the nines. Show those moments where you didn’t look perfect, but it was a good moment to capture a part of your life that shows what you do in a real way. Combine the real you, with your knowledge, and credentials, and you will be able to help more of the patients who need you than ever before.
About the Author
Dr. Angela Mulrooney turned a run-down clinic into a cutting edge practice that was referred to by colleagues for full-mouth reconstruction, I.V. sedation, and sleep apnea therapy. In doing so, she more than doubled her hourly production while working 50% fewer hours at 28 years of age. After sustaining a career ending injury, she decided to turn tragedy into opportunity by sharing her credibility and production-boosting secrets through practice management and social media marketing to help talented colleagues realize their full potential clinically and entrepreneurially.