I’m a huge advocate of personal branding. It’s how I built my online marketing consulting agency from the ground up, with no funding or investors, and it’s how I help my clients grow their brands.
Building a strong personal brand should be everyone’s focus. Why? Consumers want to connect with a person, not a faceless brand. A strong personal brand positions you as a thought leader in your industry, leading consumers to connect with your brand on a personal level.
Not only can your personal brand help attract new business, but it can help you connect with investors and put you in front of new opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t have been presented to you.
I consult with numerous celebrities, public figures and professionals across a wide variety of industries, but someone recently caught my attention online: a South Florida spine surgeon by the name of Dr. Michael Gleiber.
I wasn’t introduced to Dr. Gleiber from a medical-related Google search like you might assume. Instead, it was through Rolls-Royce’s Twitter feed. You see, Dr. Gleiber is a brand ambassador for the luxury automobile manufacturer— something I would consider to be huge personal branding leverage.
To be honest, I really haven’t seen too many medical professionals who are active on social media until I was introduced to you. Would you say that your activity on social media has helped your medical practice?
The short answer is no. To have a personal brand name that an audience can relate to is quite unique and special to me, but I don’t use it the same way as professionals in other industries would leverage it.
I make a concerted effort to never use my influence on social media to impact a patient’s decision making. The public’s trust in healthcare must be earned authentically by reputation, referrals within the community, clinical outcomes, and a genuine desire to care for patients within clinical medicine.
I’m often asked for medical advice on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. As medical professionals, we have an obligation to nurture and grow the public’s trust. One way of doing this is to not misrepresent yourself or the academies you’re affiliated with. Therefore, I never provide medical advice on social media. Rather, if asked a question, I will generally steer the patient to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) website, where there’s excellent information about conditions.
I believe engagement on social media must be authentic: instilling a level of trust in your audience. As I am often asked for my input on a breaking news story, as a medical expert, I have an obligation to be completely objective and not hold a personal bias.
So, is social media helping me? Yes, but not in a direct promotional situation.
Your affiliation with Rolls-Royce is what initially captured my attention. How did that relationship start and would you credit your personal brand to landing the brand ambassador role?
After the event, Head of Communications Gerry Spahn, Rich and I discussed our mutual excitement for joining forces to portray the iconic Rolls-Royce lineup in an authentic, yet original and edgy fashion, which has since has taken social media by storm.
To answer the second part of your question, absolutely yes. I believe that portraying yourself and your personal brand in a consistent and authentic way resonates with a larger audience, regardless of the industry you’re in. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was seeking to capture the attention of many luxury auto enthusiasts by communicating a message that speaks loudly to their targeted consumer.
As part of your personal branding efforts, how do you position yourself as the leader in spine surgery, apart from your credentials and experience?
The answer to this one might be surprising: nothing. Unlike in almost every other industry besides medicine, one can parlay the benefits of personal branding into being a thought leader or influencer. Because of the critical importance of garnering the public’s trust in their healthcare provider, one has to be vigilant to steer clear of communicating a false pretense through their own successful personal brand.
Fortunately, I became known within the spinal surgery field years before I was known for my personal brand. What I do best is take care of patients from around the world who have serious problems with their spine. As long as I continue practicing medicine, this will always take priority over personal branding.
Are there any entrepreneurs who you try to emulate when planning your own branding strategy?
There were many times I wished that I could speak with another entrepreneur in my field for advice on this topic. To my knowledge, this is uncharted territory in my industry. On the other hand, perhaps one day I’ll be able to offer personal branding strategy advice to those in my industry
Your personal brand is an asset that you simply cannot ignore. Put in the time and effort to build your personal brand online, and it can reward you on multiple levels, just like it has for Dr. Gleiber.
Written by: Jonathan Long