Northern Virginia Chiropractor Goes Social
Dr. William Booker, a chiropractor and small business owner, has only very recently embarked on his social media marketing journey. His social media efforts seek to expand his practice's reach, create awareness and build a sense of community with p
February 27, 2010 (Newswire.com) - Here is his story...
What specifically propelled you to move in the direction of social media marketing and more immersion in web 2.0?
Actually I first became interested this past spring while reading a book titled "Barack Inc." The book discussed in great detail how President Obama used social media to build both a fundraising and support network unmatched in the history of American politics. The best lesson was that the techniques used by the Obama campaign translate very well to almost any type of business. I started asking around and made a connection with a long time friend who has used social marketing very effectively to build her own business. She introduced me to all of the tremendous resources available and to the person she was using to help coordinate her efforts. At that point, you could say that the writing was more than just on the wall.
Describe your industry and how you believe your social media marketing efforts will make an impact, impression and meaningful difference to your practice.
I am a chiropractor and I have built a group of multidiscipline practices. As the healthcare industry changes, so does the relationship between doctor and patient. As this relationship becomes more remote, patients are spending more time seeking out professional relationships that they can trust. Social marketing provides venues for people to seek out quality professionals, but it also allows doctors and patients to enter a much closer interpersonal space. A space that allows people to once again KNOW their doctor. This is a paradigm shift that is favorable to those professionals who work hard to foster these relationships and develop trust. Gone are the days of yellow pages and tv ads, if people are going to trust their health to a doctor, they are going to want to trust that doctor first.
Since you began to become more familiar with social media, what are some of the challenges you are finding and how are you trying to overcome them?
The biggest challenge has been organizing my thoughts, but this is my general challenge in life as well. I find the social networking so interesting because it really speaks to how diverse communication is in our society. Having been in practice for 12 years, I find myself repeating a lot of the same things over and over again. The problem is I can't always remember who I said what to. Additionally, social media provides all of these resources with which to pass information. My problem is I am not always certain which avenue would be most effective. Do I blog this? Do I tweet that? Do I post to Facebook? Once I get a better hang of the "flow" of the social media, I think I'll be alright.
Have any myths about social media networking and marketing been dispelled since you started immersing yourself onto the social scene? What did you think of social media before you began engaging and how do you see it now as you find yourself involved regularly?
I remember when I was first asked to join Facebook, my initial response was "isn't that where middle aged men go to pick up women half their age?" My buddy attempted to put my mind at ease by responding, "No, that's MySpace." I am certain that there are many people who use social media just to tell their friends how good the coffee is at Cosi's. But the more I have involved myself in the process, the more I realize how community marketing has become a primary source of information for people. That is a big deal! As marketing goes, I don't think this is a trend, I think social media is quickly becoming the way we interact and the way we do business.
What advice would you give any small business owner as to how to work with an outsourced social media and digital marketer? What tips would you give in so far as what to look for in such a person to aid in this kind of more personalized form of marketing?
I would tell them to hire the person I use. But if that's not an appropriate answer I would add this: with regards to the Internet, there are no gurus, and no "all knowing" experts! What you will find is that there are many people who have developed a core competency in a particular piece of the internet. So make certain you find someone who is a social media marketing specialist, not just a tech guy or marketer guy who has dabbled in social media (with all due respect to tech guys and marketers.) I want my cardiologist to fix my heart; I don't want them to tell me they can floss teeth as well. Social media is THAT different.
What one or two specific things have you learned since starting on your social media marketing journey for your practice that you didn't know before you got started?
Hands down my answer here would be just how much people want to be involved. I have only been at this thing for a really short period of time, but the types of responses I have received are astonishing. I have people forwarding me articles; I have other doctors asking and suggesting advice. And most importantly, I have people who really appreciate that we care. Like I said earlier, one of the undesired effects of the way our healthcare is delivered is that people don't feel they are connected to their doctors. Social marketing changes that. I am pleasantly surprised and very excited about the possibilities for the future.