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January 05, 2022

Trying to figure out how the digital world fits into your private practice can seem very overwhelming. Today, I had a great conversation with Dr. Dana Corriel, a board certified internist, entrepreneur, digital stratgeist and the founder of doctorsonsocialmedia.com to get her insights. 

Here are some of the key points we discussed: 

  • Social Media is Media. It's a form of advertising. Don't think about it as "Social"
  • Whatever content you put into the digital space represents you and your brand
  • Your priority is the prime real estate you own--your website
    • Make your website unique
    • Provide content geared to the audience you want to read it
  • You can re-purpose content from your website 
    • Post it on one of the social media channels--Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc.
    • Be consistent
  • Establish yourself as an expert
  • You never know who will see your content--patients, referral sources, others.
  • Use social media to drive people back to your website.
  • People may not find you on social media but your patients and referral sources will definitely check out your website before coming to see you or referring patients.

Dana Corriel, MD, is a board certified internist, entrepreneur & digital stratgeist. She is the founder of DoctorsonSocialMedia.com, an online platform that functions as a mix of media outlet, marketplace, & talent agency for “medical brains”, serving both a physicians and public audience. Over the years, Dr. Corriel has learned how to create truly stand-out content online & has expanded her own career in just a few short years, using simple online tools. Her company has helped numerous physician influencers and innovative new healthcare businesses grow, thanks to its communities and networking power. Many of these experts now successfully occupy top healthcare positions, appear in influential outlets, and accomplish feats doctors never thought possible.

If you'd like to hear more tips on how to start, run and grow your practice and related medical businesses, please sign up for my newsletter at https://www.thepracticebuildingmd.com.



00:00:00 Hi, it's Dr. Weitz. Thanks so much for joining me for this episode of the private medical practice academy. Today, I'm here with Donna Correale the founder of so many docs, and I'm so excited to have this conversation in part because you and I have this conversation on a repeat basis about the use of social media and how doctors can actually use social media effectively,

00:00:24 particularly for private practice physicians. So, Donna, thank you for joining me today. Absolutely. Thank you so much, Sandy. It is a pleasure to be here. So I thought we would talk about branding and use the social media. One of the conversations you and I have on a repeated basis is really about where does posting on Facebook, Instagram,

00:00:49 Tik, TOK fit in. And in your opinion, do you actually think that that drives patients to a private practice? Okay, so that question is two parts and I'll dissect it. So one is where, how can we use it as physicians? And that's quite simple for me, social media, as a professional, when you tackle it as a professional,

00:01:14 it should be viewed as media should not be viewed as social. The social part of it just kind of drives traffic to your postings, but it really is more media. So when we start to view social media as media, it is more of an advertising avenue for our practices. When you start to look at it in that way and view it in that way,

00:01:41 it'll be easier to build in this space and it's very confusing and vast and open space. Does it help doctors get more patients? It depends on how we use it. It's very time-consuming to grow a social media venture, to grow a social media account. It's very time consuming. You need to build the post. You need to make sure that the post actually says what you want it to say.

00:02:06 The messaging needs to be right. You've got to add a caption in it. If you're on Instagram, you've got to get it within 280 characters. If you're on Twitter, you got to add the hashtags. You got to do this, you got it. It's so much work. What I always suggest to physicians with thought leadership potential or with businesses or with private practices that they're trying to promote is to build on line property,

00:02:31 to build that prime real estate that represents your business, your idea, whatever you want to sell, to build it in one space and to own it. So that does not mean to go out to social media and start there, although you could do it, but that's kind of working backwards in my head, in my digital consulting head. It is backwards.

00:02:54 You want to build your space first. You can dabble first and experiment. That's totally fine, actually fully for exploration and exploration phase in a digital perspective, but build property that is yours. Get, take out the land for your website and then build the website that represents your private practice, your business, your idea, your portfolio. And then only then should you think about social media as a means to advertise that space?

00:03:30 And that's true for anybody including private practices. You don't want to just go and promote, try to promote your private practice on social media. You want people to get excited about your practice, but to be able to capture that interest digitally online, you don't want to have to count on capturing their interest when they call you. You want to be forward-thinking and actually have a digital footprint and a digital website that you own,

00:04:00 right? Your digital property that they visit, because you can convert them in a much wider perspective than just convert them to coming to visit you in your office. And you can essentially build followers and fans for future pups possibilities down the line. Well, and I think that to that end, sometimes people are not ready to schedule, but they heard about you from their friend and they want to check you out.

00:04:28 So, you know, I think people come and check out the website, even if they're not calling to schedule you. I love that. I mean, I really do. I love what you have to say here. Yeah. I mean, that's the whole beauty of the digital world is that again, it's media. So media is all about marketing,

00:04:44 right? At the end of the day, we are marketing ourselves as great thought leaders that are worth the, that are worthy of the attention of our potential clients, potential patients, potential followers, right? And at the end of the day, when someone comes to visit your office in real life, it is really it's the same as them coming to visit your quote office online,

00:05:09 your digital space can merely be a representation of your real life office. And if you kind of picture it that way as well, it's a great way to frame it so that you can start adding meaningful content to your digital space that is reflective of the amazingness of your potential in your digital space. Yeah. It, you know, one of the things that I talk about a lot is how do you get patients to want to come to see you?

00:05:38 How do you get physicians to want to refer to you and really boils down to the three A's availability affability and ability. So, you know, let's take for granted that most physicians have ability, right? What do you need to really convey is I have availability, right? Which means how do I schedule an appointment with you? How easy is it to schedule an appointment with you?

00:06:09 Are you accessible to me? Right? And then affability, you know, people in the marketing world talk about this know like, and trust relationship, you know, it's no different in medicine. Why does a patient keep coming to you? Because you develop a relationship with them. They know you, they like you. They trust you. They want to come see you.

00:06:31 And so in your mind, can you tell me a little bit about what content, when you talk about digital content, what do you think that people should have on their website that can help convey both? You know, that they're likable, that they are knowledgeable. How do they get people to trust them, to even make that first appointment? Well,

00:06:54 I see, as a mistake, that's being done a lot in the world of my colleagues or physicians is that they are doing things that are very cookie cutter. They are following trends, which has, which has positives along with the negatives. But what I see, especially in websites is there's nothing special about them. And that's what works online, right?

00:07:15 What works is that you are out of the box, then you are someone who was super interesting to someone enough to grab their attention and make that attention stay. And so to me, a website is a reflection on you. So you should absolutely tell people about you. That's one of the crucial sections of a website is an about me section, but you should also have interesting information that is not like others.

00:07:39 So if you are an endocrinologist, you want to do something quirky on your website or convey yourself in a way that makes you stand out. Whether that means like sharing a part of you, that wouldn't typically be shared, whether it means that your user experience is different than someone else. Who's building a website, who's going to a website and experiencing like just a boring endocrinologist website where all it talks about is just maybe like diabetes or hormones,

00:08:10 et cetera. You really want to take advantage of marketing concepts to be able to grab people's attention, potential clients, potential patients, so that they stay there and that they keep coming back. So a website allows you to do that. It allows you really to market yourself as any media company would do. So again, you put yourself in the shoes of a media company.

00:08:35 What makes people come back to visit a media company? It's interesting concepts. It's, it's, it's content that stands out that regularly changes that regularly gets updated. And that's a perfect way to describe it because if you're really doing this the right way, you really should be posting that on your website directly where you can really not only capture it, but you can have it showcased there in an easy to find space.

00:09:05 And then if you want to use social media from there, great, you should be focused however, on building it on your space directly and just using these social media satellites as billboards, to bring attention back to your website. And that's actually what my venture does is I created so many docs which can be [email protected] as a potential satellite. And I'm saying that because I don't look to own anyone's property.

00:09:38 In fact, I am always advising physicians as a digital consultant to build their own space. So many docs is there to simply promote individuals spaces. Everybody should own their digital property, whether it's for their private practice or for their thought leadership potential. And what I mean by saying that just so people aren't confused as like you want to build yourself, you can build yourself a personal brand online,

00:10:04 like online, like Oprah, or like Dr. Oz, where they are maybe looked up to as experts. You may agree or disagree with some of those, but if they are looked up to as experts, people will go to them to find answers for things and start to click in for solutions. You want to do that as a doctor, you want to become an what,

00:10:26 wouldn't it be amazing to become like an Oprah where someone comes to visit your site, your doctor x.com like oprah.com, Dr. x.com and actually find solutions for their medical problems that are relevant to the niche that you're an expert in. You should do that yourself in your own space, but of course you need to then use satellites, like the ones I'm building to help promote your space and bring eyeballs to it very much like the New York times can help you to build thought leadership as an author or as an expert,

00:11:02 or, you know, any other really big media company can help you. If you show up there, then that brings a lot of eyeballs and interest to your work Well, and I know that you have a lot of experience with writing your own posts, as well as working with other writers. One of the things that I see on people's websites, or even in articles that they write for their websites is that they're very formal and they're impersonal.

00:11:35 And do you have any thoughts about, you know, basically writing style so that it's engaging for the patient who's going to, or whoever's going to come to this site? And then I think the other, the follow-up question to that is, or the thing I want to say is you, they can take that article and then take snippets of it and posted on social media,

00:12:00 I think is what you're saying. They can also take that article and post it on doctors on social media. Correct. So hopefully they could take any content that they've built. They can just posted on doctors on social media.com, which I call a collective marketing solution because at the end of the day, if we get all the doctors on there and my work is to simply categorize it and make it look beautiful.

00:12:23 So now I am leveraging my strength, which is digital creation. I created that website from the ground up and can make changes in the split of a second, right? I, my job is to amplify the doctors work, but the doctors I've set it up where the doctors can just upload their work into there and get amplified. And we use some of the social media platforms.

00:12:44 We have a LinkedIn page for so many docs and we have a Facebook and LinkedIn and a Twitter page, and we have a really large following. I've grown it to 40,000 followers organically. Why not as a physician, that's trying to get the word out, use us for our, for our audience, because that's really what I've built it for is as a collective marketing solution,

00:13:07 right? I'm not looking to promote Donna Corey, I'll on there. I called it so many docs for a reason because I really did want it to be a business that represented the collective physician voices instead of calling it Dr. Corey yell. Now you can find my personal work at Dr. cornell.com and that's an important branding lesson too, is that you have to think through the purpose of what you're building and the name and what it represents for someone like me.

00:13:30 It was important for me to build a business that was separate from me, from Dr. Corey yell, right? If I wanted to grow a podcast or a video series that represented me and Dr. Cornell's work, I can still do it, but I could showcase it on Dr. cornell.com. And I can also likewise upload my content and to so many docs,

00:13:54 but it's not about me. It's about me and the other colleagues that are doing fabulous things just like me, but we're collectively innovating and trying to make change Well. So, and I want you to come back and comment on the writing style, but I have a follow-up question. So can you talk about writing style on a website and articles? Yeah.

00:14:16 So writing style is completely dependent on the business model. You are trying to grow. Everyone has their own trajectory. Everyone has their own purpose. And so there is no one size fits all ever for my answers. Your purpose could be that you really do want to connect with a layman audience. And what I mean is a public audience that doesn't understand,

00:14:37 like the nomenclature we use, the verbiage we use day to day. And in that case, yeah, you can use, you know, a lighter tone words that are easier to understand so that your audience can connect with what you're writing, as opposed to if your target audience are other physicians, let's say you're a consultant and your target client is another physician.

00:15:01 Then you may want to make it a bit, not more formal. You still want to be connected with, but use words that your doctors can understand, because maybe you want to show that you're an expert and not just some Joe Schmo, that's saying that you're a consultant to physicians and that that's what delineates your services from any run of the mill, other person who could do it.

00:15:23 So again, a business model grown out online is something to absolutely think about. That's why many businesses do raise capital from, let's say someone who's willing to back that venture and then bring in consultants and digital strategists like me and others who can work through the specifics of what they're growing. And then we can build digital content that really works best for what you're trying to do.

00:15:55 That for the average person who is running a private practice, they don't have those funds. So realistically, you know, you're going to want to have a website that has content for patients. You probably want to have a separate page for referrals or physicians who are referring to you to your point. That may be somewhat more formal, but really I think that the content needs to be written in a friendly,

00:16:26 approachable style, because the majority of the people who are going to land on your website are actually the public people who are going to come see you. Yeah. And I agree with that. I think it's in the marketing. I think what's really funny is as you're talking, I'm thinking of an analogy, an analogy that might not be as clear to the people listening as to me.

00:16:47 And I'm hoping I can convey myself well, but it makes me think of, for example, like the cars that the car that a physician drives, right? Like if you have a doctor like a cardiologist and he is driving a car and is choosing which car to buy, right. A lot of doctors just want comfort and want something that is affordable and feel like if patients were to see what car they drove or to pull into the parking lot and see what cars sitting there in the doctor space,

00:17:18 if they saw like a cheaper model, maybe they would connect. Cause they would be like, Ooh, they're just like me. On the other hand, you may want the car that reflects you and represents you to be a high-end car because you want to show them that you're a successful in that that's like a mark of a successful professional. And so it's how we are conveying ourselves and putting ourselves in our target client's shoes and thinking what will help to grow the business.

00:17:48 That's a great, because you can have people on both sides of the coin, but those are marketing concepts that all of us should be thinking through. Same thing with representing our practice. Right? You want to build it, the, the physical practice you want to build it in a way that really connects with your target clients or patients. Oh no,

00:18:10 absolutely. And I talk about understanding the demographics of your ideal client, because for example, to your point about the cars, right? If you are a family practice physician in a rural town, you probably should not be driving the most souped up Ferrari or Lamborghini, right? On the other hand, if you are a plastic surgeon on rodeo drive, you probably should not show up in a Prius and You could,

00:18:45 and again, you could, But it's about, it's not about the cars. It's about understanding to your point, who am I trying to target? What do I want them to think about me? How do I convey that message? We've all been part of a crowd that, you know, whispers to each other about how come that person, you know,

00:19:07 we've all been a part of that. And as much as we don't like it, and it feels yucky because at the end of the day, it is so judgmental. It is just the reality of where we live. We are judgmental beings that look at one another and size each other up, you know, when we choose a mate, we size the other mate up.

00:19:24 We want what works for us. And so that's important for you to consider in any marketing decision. And it's always important to put yourself in the shoes of the other side and the specifics of your venture, including the setting in which it's at and the clients, which you're trying to attract. And I think to that end, you know, if you Google,

00:19:47 let's say internal medicine doctors in my area, you may get a list of 20 people. How do I, how do I differentiate? You know, if it, some of it is word of mouth, actually, I will tell you that most of how do I get to a doctor is word of mouth. All right, bye. But yeah, but That's a use the car analogy again,

00:20:13 with this instance, if you are a patient who finds 20 internal medicine doctors and you click into all 20 websites and one of the website is amazingly pazazz and sticks out in a very interesting way to the patient where they really connect. Cause it's got some great stuff on it. It really, the analogy really hits home because it's the same as an amazing car that connects with a patient.

00:20:39 You can have an amazing website that connects with the, with the patient and the patient clicks you've converted that patient. Well, that's what I actually was going to say. You know, there were 20, there are 20 people right now. It may be that your neighbor says, oh, go see Dr. Smith they're phenomenal. Or your neighbor says,

00:20:58 don't go see Dr. Jones. I had a terrible experience with them. So word of mouth has a lot to do with how patients get to you. But if your neighbor says, go see Dr. Smith, you're probably going to click on Dr. Smith's website to check out Dr. Smith before you ever make that appointment. And this is where really understanding kind of how do I differentiate myself is so important.

00:21:24 I do. I do also want to come back to the reason to connect with other doctors. And I cannot stress this enough. If you are trying to grow a practice and you are doing it by word of mouth, or you're trying to do it by social media and you're attracting one patient at a time, it takes much longer than connecting with other physicians.

00:21:49 Because if you hit on a referral source, let's say you're an endocrinologist. And you have a PCP who decides that they love you. They probably have multiple diabetic patients to refer to you as compared to trying to get the one patient at a time by word of mouth. So connect, you know, one of the things in medicine that drives me nuts is that doctors sometimes have this attitude of every man for himself that is,

00:22:20 could not be a less productive way of thinking about things. It actually, the more we meet and greet our colleagues, the more we're going to actually learn from one another, but also the higher, the likelihood that you're going to hit on a referral source, that's going to help you fuel your practice. And I think that's where, you know, being in a,

00:22:43 in a group like so many docs networks, or posting your articles for other people to see on doctors on social media actually gives you an opportunity for other doctors to go, oh, I remember you. I remember seeing you in such and such a place because now I may not see you at Starbucks, but I may see you online. And to your point,

00:23:04 that is just another way of advertising.Oh, 100%. And, you know, listen, there's also, there's different tips and advice for people that are trying to grow brick and mortar practices. It's a different kind of advice than I would give. Let's say a business that's more digital, like maybe a tele-health consulting agency, which does not necessarily rely on the geographic potential clients converting it's different strategies,

00:23:34 right? Because if you are a brick and mortar, then it's, it's more important to get the eyeballs locally. Whereas if you're a of a digital consultancy, right? Like for example, a psychologist who, or a psychiatrist who can meet, or also a psychologist by the way, but anybody that doesn't have to necessarily always meet in person with someone there's different rules that they can follow to grow their,

00:24:03 their businesses. Oh, for sure. But you know, the people who are listening to us today are trying to grow brick and mortar for the most part. And at the end of the day, you know, trying to grow a presence on, let's say Facebook where people are in some other country, not terribly beneficial to you. No. And I agree now what I will touch on though,

00:24:28 and what a lot of doctors don't always understand right away, just because we didn't train in this digital space is that there are still benefits to growing digitally. Even if you're a brick and mortar from in these groups is the networking. Like you say, but also it's that the thought leader that there are so many entities that are now growing online and are checking online,

00:24:56 that you can get incredible fuel for your own expertise and so many cool things and opportunities can open up just by putting your ideas out there. What I mean is that if you engage on LinkedIn or in, in, you know, Facebook group that makes sense, someone could know someone that has an in, with something that could really benefit you in your career or that business could even be right on,

00:25:27 let's say LinkedIn and looking for their next paid speaker and could see that what you write in the posts that you share are just incredibly valuable and insightful, and that your expertise would really benefit their project and elevate it and just quickly make that connection. And Hey, hire you. And right then, and there you've bumped up your career because first of all,

00:25:51 you're potentially getting paid for a speaking gig. You're also able to add it to your CV and who knows what other opportunities that could lead to. And that is what that's, what doctors on social media.com is trying to do is not only to teach doctors this, but to also promote them in that way. Hey, put your speaking, put your lecture on here and we will amplify it or put your articles here so we can market it.

00:26:16 And then we will help those important eyeballs land on your stuff so that they can convert and go to your individual property and hire you straight from there on your terms. Well, but to bring this back to private practice, because these people are really not looking at the moment for other ventures were trying to run a private practice. Right. But I will tell you from personal experience when you are out there,

00:26:44 you, if people know your name, right, because you are writing articles, you're posting stuff. Then let's say a doctor in California has a patient who's moving to Louisiana and needs your specialty. They say, oh, I don't know anybody in Louisiana. Oh yes, I do. Wait a minute. I remember I saw this article by this woman,

00:27:11 and this is her name and this is how you find her. Okay. So you never, to your point, you never know who's out there. Who's connected to so-and-so who can end up referring that patient to you come in multiple ways. But, but the other thing it can do is it is relevant because op an opportunity like that, let's say you do get to speak at a really great venture,

00:27:36 like at a really great event, first of all, that plumps up your CV. But secondly, it serves as marketing material for you to market your expertise. Now, if someone lands on your website, that's just another notch in your belt that you can say you have done and lends to thought leadership. And, and it serves to convince a patient that you are even more worthy.

00:28:02 Sure. I have a grit. What if you don't have a great website? What if the website is not enough to convince the patient to come see you, but that participation in that event, that you are a speaker in it. And again, it depends on how you market yourself and how you put it into words. But what if you're participating in a really great,

00:28:18 amazing, like national conference, push that patient over the edge and has convinced them to come see you. Those little opportunities really can make all the difference in the world in plumping up our CV and in us as thought leaders. And if you think about it from that angle and reframe it, of course it can, it can really, you know, add to our worth.

00:28:44 So, So two, two points to that. Number one, I want to say to everybody, who's listening, your website is a living entity. You know, it's not that you set it and go, and you never come back to it. So when you do have that talk at that conference, you have to actually go in and have that website updated.

00:29:07 Right? The other thing I want to segue to is a Facebook page because you need to have a business Facebook page. One of the things that I think is very hard is that I think you're going to speak to this in a second, the Facebook algorithms and getting people to the Facebook page. So it may not be that people find you on Facebook because Facebook doesn't show you the post.

00:29:36 But if they're coming to see you just like, they go to your website, they're probably going to go your Facebook page. And on many levels, it's much easier to have that. Hey, I'm giving a talk at such and such thing or I'm, you know, going to be on TV. It's much easier to update it on Facebook, on your Facebook page than it is on your website.

00:29:58 Right. So where do you think a Facebook Page? Right? I don't think it's easy. It does require time. I do think it can have a good return on your time investment. What I would suggest is, again, frame it in a way that that equates every social media platform and account outside of your website as billboards. So your website is the prime location where you will be converting,

00:30:29 interested, eyeballs into actual patients. Those Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, Twitter pages, whatever, all the other social media platforms require work, because you do need to go in and post and word it, right, and use the right hashtags, et cetera, but serve as a billboard to bringing the eyeballs back to your website. If you frame it like that,

00:30:53 then it's easier to understand it's not easy to do because it still requires you to build that billboard content. But the nice part is that a lot of them are free of charge. And a lot of them are very like low lying or you can, you know, also hire somebody to do that for you, especially nowadays where I highly suggest it because it's just a very gimme kind of marketing tactic.

00:31:23 So, so I've really kept you for a long time. This has been terrific. Thank you so much for joining me today. Absolutely. Thank you so, so much for having me on and I love being in touch with you and watching you succeed as well. Thank you. I'll talk to you soon. Bye bye. Thanks for joining me.

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