One of the most common questions students ask as they begin their career is, “How can I start building my audience and brand before or right after I graduate?”
And it’s not just student DCs wondering how to position themselves and their practice for success. Building a brand is essential whether you have been in practice only one day or for 50 years.
A brand is how you distinguish your practice from your competitors in your consumer’s eyes; it’s how someone will choose you as their chiropractor. Here is the good news— there has never been a time when it has been easier or cheaper to build your brand and position yourself as a local health care leader.
Back in the day, you needed a lot of money and influence to build a brand. And today, given the high cost of tuition, most new DCs don’t have tens of thousands of dollars per month to spend on branding. So where is the underpriced attention? It’s on your smartphone. You can find an audience’s attention across popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Documenting the process of starting your practice may be one of the most potent branding strategies you can implement because people love watching other people tackle challenges. We are all voyeuristic; it’s a part of our natural psychology and one reason reality TV became so popular. But you don’t need a film crew following you around 24/7 to make an impact. Rather, just start using platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to document your daily life.
While being in chiropractic school may not seem so exciting to you and your classmates, most people are fascinated by the process of becoming a doctor. Then, you can continue documenting your journey as you look for a location to practice and start your journey as a doctor of chiropractic.
Showing your progress, exposing the struggles and challenges, and highlighting how you overcome them will help you build trust and rapport with your community. People will see that you are real, that you care, and that you are willing to go above and beyond to become a local leader.
Think of the advantage you will have in the marketplace as you document meeting with local contractors for your practice build-out, chatting with local journalists for articles featuring your practice opening, and mingling with other local business owners as you work toward your grand opening. Highlighting and tagging them will not only give them exposure and build goodwill, but they will, in turn, share those posts on their platforms, and you will get exposure to their audience. And that is how you grow exponentially.
Everyone loves being featured and promoted. And when you highlight others on your channels, people will share those posts with their audience. Joint ventures and cobranding are easier after you’ve provided value for others and their businesses.
What if you intend on becoming an associate? Building your brand may be even more important. If you start to document your lifestyle by posting your daily workouts, tagging and highlighting local grocery stores and restaurants with your healthy meal choices, and showcasing some of your health knowledge, you will build a following.
With thoughtful tagging and careful use of hashtags, within a few months you can quickly create an audience of a few thousand people on Instagram and other social media. A large or even modest audience has the potential to give you massive leverage when negotiating an associate contract. Exposure to that audience could be extremely valuable to a chiropractic practice. Especially if members of your online audience are the ideal patients for that practice.
Jeff Langmaid , DC, is the founder of the Evidence Based Chiropractor and co-founder of the Smart Chiropractor and Body Signals, which provide research-based marketing solutions for chiropractors around the world. As a leader in the profession, Langmaid has been featured on Yahoo Health, Prevention Magazine, Chiropractic Economics, BS News, MSN Health and more.