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MARKETING MATTERS

Connecting with Your Community

How to leverage the power of social media to build a successful clinical and professional career

As a new retina specialist, you have many options for jobs or career paths. You may be well on your way down a certain path, or your future may be somewhat unknown. Establishing a firm and lasting connection with your community is key, and it’s something you can do right away — even if you’re unsure what your future holds. This connection will help build trust, credibility, and reputation — all of which are vitally important to career success.

Social media is an excellent way to build this connection: you can choose your audience and you can choose your topic. The reach you can personally achieve is dramatic and can extend far beyond what you could otherwise attain through other methods. I believe that leveraging the power of social media can help propel you to a more successful clinical and professional career.

There are many physicians who have thousands or tens of thousands of social media connections on their professional accounts. Just imagine the impact you can have with that kind of reach on a daily basis. With a professional social media presence, you can be the thought leader you know you are and have an impact far beyond the physical world you exist in every day.

CHOOSE YOUR AUDIENCE AND TOPIC

In my opinion, the most important aspects of successful social media are to carefully choose your audience and topic and stay consistent. Choose a topic you have a passion for, something that you can commit to posting about for years, without wavering.

Think of talk radio or a podcast: if you listen to a sports show and one day you tune in and they’re talking about cooking, you probably would move on. With social media “Unfriending” or “Unfollowing” takes just a click, and you probably will never get that person back. Also, posting about your passion ensures you have staying power, rather than posting for a couple weeks about a particular article you read and then quickly fading off into oblivion.

Keep in mind that your topic doesn’t even have to be about the retina. Of course, choosing a clinical topic, like general eye and retina care, is the best for connecting with patients, if that’s your goal. Posts for this would typically be more basic, such as “Sunlight and Your Retina” or “AMD Basics.”

With this type of message, you probably won’t have many fellow retina doctors or researchers as followers, because your message is likely not what they’re interested in. But, by fostering this kind of connection with patients or potential patients, you can have a Dr. Oz-like online persona, as well as create a patient following that transcends your current job. In this case, remember your audience is interested in eye care, not on the score of your alma mater’s homecoming game.

You can also create a professional audience of fellow retina specialists, ophthalmologists, referring providers, researchers, or innovators. For this audience, you might want to post clinical cases with compelling images, or run an online “Two-minute Journal Club.” Maybe it's ethics, rants for or against the healthcare system, financing tips for physicians, or eyecare comedy. Pretty much whatever you want to talk about, you will find an audience of some kind.

SOCIAL BUTTERFLY

It goes without saying that you need the technical know-how to be active on multiple platforms, with maximum messaging impact and minimal time. None of us can afford more than a few minutes a day to manage our social media.

Over the past few years, I’ve been very pleased with the growth of my professional social media following. I post about “Health Tech for Eye Care,” with a slant toward artificial intelligence and new health tech, which is something I really like thinking and talking about.

I’ve made connections and had opportunities that I never would have found without social media. For me, it has been rewarding in many ways so I recommend you give it a try. NRP