The fear of diving into social media is a common theme I repeatedly hear from my professional friends, especially the doctors I’m in touch with regularly. Starting out on our own social media journey is frightening, to say the least.
My peers are eagerly – or perhaps not so eagerly – watching us (those of us who have already been pushed in) all swim around them, paralyzed by the thought of even dipping in their feet.
It’s ok to feel that way. We all start somewhere, and many of us have experienced the same exact apprehension, at the start.
It dissipates, that fear; dissolving like an Alka Seltzer tablet, dropped into a glass of water.
But even when you convince yourself that the fear fizzles away over time, you’re still scared to make a move.
I know because I’ve been there.
Professionals are especially fearful of making an uncomfortable move like the ones I’m discussing here.
We like our safety, and we don’t like to compromise that by pushing nebulous boundaries. Simply put, we have a fear of the unknown.
It dissipates, that fear (of getting into social media); dissolving like an alka-seltzer tablet being dropped into a glass of water. Click To Tweet
Don’t rush it.
You can start things off preparing yourself for that “dive” by simply looking around you first.
Study what others just like you are doing, taking note of what works.
We can refer to this as “research”, something concrete that we in the scientific community truly believe in it. Gather up your data points, lay it all out in whatever way you need, and then interpret for yourself.
Better yet, join a community of others who are doing the same thing. You don’t have to necessarily do as they do (none of us want to be ‘copycats’ now, do we?), but you can at least look around and soak up their results.
A community like SoMeDocs can help ease you into things, as we’re filled with doctors who are in all stages of brand development; some of us are still early on in wading in, others completely immersed.
And while I absolutely encourage a period of planning (I’ve labelled an entire section of this commentary “Don’t rush it”, after all), the bottom line where it comes to social media is also this: the key to getting yourself out there is that there’s never a “good time” to dip into that water. Sometimes you have to just rip the bandaid right off.
I know I’m mixing metaphors. But it works.
Back in Time.
Think back to when you were young (which, for some of us means eons ago).
As children, we certainly didn’t wait until we were Olympic swimmers to get into the pool and wade around. No freaking way!
We got right into the nearest pool we could find and we got to work (which, at the time meant splashing around. Remember when work meant splashing around? I kind of miss those days.)
Even when we really didn’t know how to swim, we simply put on floaties (or had them put on for us by those hovering beings we like to call parents)!
We got in then, and splashed around like madmen (and not the Jon Hamm kind), having a grand ‘ole time doing it, at that.
We’d sometimes even Marco Polo our way through the water, splashing around blindly at the snap of a mere sound.
Somehow, back when we were much, much younger, we weren’t afraid.
But look at us now, standing at the edge of the metaphorical social media pool?
Isn’t life ironic?
As we got accustomed to the feel of the warm water that surrounded us, back then, we gathered up courage and shed our crutch.
Those very floaties that helped us bravely get in became obsolete, pushed aside for kind recycling to the next brave young soul who dared go in.
That’s what I built SoMeDocs for. We’re the floaties of physician branding.
“That’s what I built SoMeDocs for. We’re the floaties of physician branding.”
The Etiology of a Professional’s Social Media Fear
Many of you may think of exposure on social media as ‘out of your comfort zone‘.
But why consider it ‘outside’ at all? Isn’t it all in the perspective?
What I mean is that the space is only “outside‘”when you’re standing on the “inside”.
But with the majority of the world using social media, are you actually standing inside?
No! You’re actually the one who’s outside.
Playing it Safe
Are you playing it safe because you’re a doctor and you feel like you need to stick to office visits?
Or a lawyer that needs to hide behind the logistics of a courtroom case?
Are you a business man that suits up for work, leaving your ideas behind you, in the privacy of your boardroom?
We need to start shedding this What-Happens-In-Vegas-Stays-In-Vegas-type mentality of the professional world and embrace the amazing benefits that social media has to offer.
What’s so great about hiding that Vegas experience anyway?
I’m calling Vegas out here.
What happens in Vegas, shouldn’t stay there. It should be shared with the world!
What if your insight and knowledge could help others, from outside the immediate vicinity of your office?
What if you could do something fantastic with your experience, even within your profession?
This is exactly what social media sets out to achieve – to connect not only people, but also ideas, regardless of geographic location.
True or False: Professionals Should Stick to the Traditional Sense of their Profession.
It’s true that doctors on social media was never a ‘thing of the norm’. But that’s because social media itself is still fairly new, the concept relatively unexplored.
Besides, times evolve, and with it, we establish new norms.
Wouldn’t it be great to be part of the “new”?
I personally had good friends tell me, back when I started my own journey, that I shouldn’t do it.
“Doctors aren’t ‘supposed’ to be engaged in it. They’re ‘supposed’ to just ‘be doctors’.”
But… why? Who says?
Change is a good thing. Challenging the status quo is how we innovate in times of change, rather than conform to old standards of norm.
Where it comes to social media presence, especially, there’s a simple algorithm involved: if you’re not in it, you’re out.
Even if you’re not completely ready to fully step inside it, you can at least still be present on the edge, looking in. You never know when that inside will eventually draw you in, and you certainly want to be around when an amazing opportunity does arise.
Look, social media is here, and it’s here to stay. So you can either choose to utilize it to your own advantage, or miss out on the next wave of trend-setters, innovators, and creative influencers. Or you’re simply missing out on promoting your own business or brand.
My Own A-Ha Moment
To bring our advice outside of closed doors and away from the need of a co-pay is priceless.
I grasped this concept myself, long ago, and then braced myself for entry into the unknown – a social media world into which I dove head-first.
One could say that I listened to Nike and just did it.
And I’m so glad that I did.
With my experience behind me, I’ve put together 5 Steps to Diving into Social Media as a Professional. To the doctors out there, you may recognize parts of my method, as I’ve incorporated and tweaked pearls from countless ‘smoking cessation visit’ wins (priceless in achieving long-term success). You can basically apply similar principles to your social media journey in much the same way as you would when quitting a smoking addiction.
To bring physicians' advice outside of closed doors and away from the need of a co-pay is priceless. Click To Tweet
The bottom line of it all? Just Do It.
To all you professional (and also non-professional) people out there, on the fence about taking that dive, start taking advantage of the free forums at your disposal.
Make your own professional account.
Reach others, spread out, and build your future.
To the doctors out there, it may never replace the personalized care of the coveted and sacred office setting, but it’s an important medium in which we need our voices heard.
Step out from behind that veil today, and take a dive.