Who are you Doctor Joe Schmo on Twitter?

As I sit here and drink my morning coffee…I am browsing through the healthcare column of my Twitter account. I have a healthcare list that follows many healthcare organizations, hospitals, doctors, healthcare marketing professionals, nurses, and any one talking healthcare and social media. One thing I have been noticing is how awkward it seems to me to watch tweets from healthcare groups using doctors names in a tweet for promotion or awareness. Well, weird that I cannot click the name to learn more.

Side Note:
If you look above, there is no link to read about Dr. March Seabrook or even an article to learn more about the award. It is not my intention to pick on Dr. March Seabrook or the hospital that posted this link. That is why I am not making it obvious the name of the hospital. I am sure Dr. Seabrook is a fine chap…so he deserves a link of some kind. So, here is where you can read more about the award…CLICK HERE.

What seems so weird about using just the name, well it is that I have no frame of reference to this person, no link, no Twitter account…just a random doctor with a name…in a sea of Tweets. If he walked past me down the road, I would have no idea who this person is and if they were even a doctor. Twitter is a good way to inform the public at-large about a doctor, their services, and even activities they are taking part. BUT, Twitter is still a place that moves so fast and crosses so many geographical boundaries. So if I am in South Carolina and a healthcare organization talks about a great piece of research or service from a doctor with no link in the Tweet…he is like “Joe Schmo” to me.

Ideas to help
Most of the time, healthcare organizations included links in Tweets to a referenced article or an event that includes verbiage and sometimes a picture of the doctor. This is good…so atleast one click can provide me with a little more information about this doctor. So how can we make these doctors names more personal on this social media platform?

1) Well, first of all…I think they should consider having a social media account (Twitter account) so that the audience at-large can click the name, see a picture of the doctor, and find more information.

2) Every time you talk about a doctor, and they do not have a social media account…include a link to read more.

3) Include the doctor in a regularly scheduled chat hosted by the health care organization. Regularly scheduled chats are a great place to build a community and then engage the audience with that program and doctor.

4) The doctor should have his own bio page inside the health care organizations web presence. This should include his/her picture, background, information about their specialties, and how they can reach them in the future (email, phone, and/or social media accounts for professional use).

5) A blog is a great way for a doctor to communicate with patients and the public at-large. This can be time consuming for a doctor, but it is a great way to write short posts that relate to the practice and their interests.

Social Media platforms like Twitter have developed their own language especially in 140 characters, so it is important for us as professionals to frame the conversation in the context of the end reader/user/community.

Doctors using Social Media
There is a time management issue that is hard to tackle when implementing these ideas, but putting together a plan is the most important to make this experience successful. Doctors barely have time for their families given their long hours of working, so their are ways to make this successful. If the doctor is interested, put together a plan to create the accounts and how often they need to be touched. Many marketing groups ghost write and ghost tweet for professionals, I am not a big proponent of this solution. The only way to be genuine is through genuine, heart felt writing.

1) Set-up a time frame to create and establish the blog and other social media accounts. This should include finding an appropriate picture.
2) Set-up a plan to engage online. Talk in terms of how often a week to get online to write a post and possibly spend with the social media account.
3) Engage the doctors in hospital chats so that they can  take part in the online experience. When I mean chats, use Twitter or any other chat platform to engage with the community. Use a hashtag for the chat so that audience understands it is a chat and that they can track the conversation.
4) Track followers, hits, and conversation created to show success.

Here are a few doctors I follow, who I think do a good job with their Social Media accounts:
1) Kevin Pho, MD – @kevinmdhttp://KevinMD.com
2) Bryan Vartabedian, MD – @Doctor_Vhttp://www.33charts.com
3) Wendy Sue Swanson, MD – @SeattleMamaDochttp://seattlemamadoc.seattlechildrens.org

organize this digital life…the digital divide

Hi my name is Bobby and according to my wife, I am gadget freak. Yes, I have an iPhone, iPad, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, PS3, AppleTV and on and on and on. I love gadgets. I love the accessories that go with these gadgets.

I love bags. No…I am not a guy with tons on man bags. I have tons of camera equipment, lighting equipment, cords, gizmos, and gadgets to do my job. Oh yeah…I have other bags for my laptop, iPad, books, etc. So I love the idea of finding the best bag possible to organize these things and make them  quickly assessable.  My life…my entrepreneurial life…my small business life…quickly assessable.

Digital Dependancy
Everyday, I use these things that we depend on so much in this new digital life. Google Calendar, Google Docs, MS Word, iCal, BaseCamp, Quickbooks, Mobile Me, iMail, etc, etc, etc. I use these everyday to organize and execute my life to serve my clients. OK…are you annoyed? Yes…I am. My head is spinning.

Think about your day. If you are a technology person or live in this Corporate Americano…we are influenced to use so many digital tools. We check our email, update our calendar, take notes, use the CRM, pull out the iPad, take notes on paper, save our contacts in three places…we try so hard. This is a true digital divide…dividing us between all the devices/software and efficiency.

Have you tallied up your communication and online communication costs?  How about the time invested in creating the best tool from a piece of open source code? Oh yeah, how much time do you spend sifting through emails or even multiple email accounts? How many newsletters are you getting each day? How many different passwords do you have to remember for each login between all of those technologies?

So…I put my foot down.
I spent more time stressing out about what I am doing next and where to find what I am doing next. Notice the last sentence was in past tense! Yes…I have an assistant, but using the “digital” to find the “digital” is creating a huge digital dependancy. Why do think we text, Tweet, and consistently review our digital device while driving…because we can and we hope we can stay in-tune with our information. We do not have a clear plan.

So I went old school!
Yep…I did it and I have a planner again. Yes, you know that organizer that is a day timer? Yep, it is about the size of my graduate school classical rhetoric book. Guess…what, it is WORKING. Also…It has me thinking about all this digital dependancy.

Because if you are surrounded by the crowd I am around (offline and online), then you are always hearing about the next big tool, next big CRM, next gadget, next organizational “do-dad”…and we try it. We are entrepreneurs, small business owners, and we want the edge…the edge to get ahead. We live technology and we are conditioned to believe that killing trees is not the answer…just a better gadget.

Back to basics.
Yes…I have moved to the planner full of paper, a calendar, organizational tools, place to take notes, place to journal. Oh, I still use my iPhone and iPad with the calendar so my assistant can keep up with what I am doing. I am getting rid of all the stupid newsletters and blog posts delivered. I am also using my hand to write. It is amazing how much this helps me clear my head and articulate my thoughts. Plus…if I can add 30 minutes of time back to my life each day, then that is more time with the things I love…my family.

our little pitch

We spend so much time trying to pitch. Whether you like it or not, we are pitching. Selling an idea, trying to get a job, trying to convince our significant others to buy a gadget…we are pitching.

I have so many students asking me and sending my questions, wondering why people are not hiring, people are not buying, just plain not accepting their pitch. But why? Economics and supply/demand tell us that this is one hell of a competitive market. We have to be on our “A” game. We better have all of our “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed…we better dress for success and make sure we can sell ourselves. We must make sure we position ourselves as “thought leaders” with a piece of differentiation that makes us rise to the top. But does this really make us relevant?

why pitch?
I have been thinking through this little “elevator pitch” concept. Get it down in 60 seconds so if we are trapped in an elevator with that one person…they might be interested and buy what we are selling. We are selling…selling…pushing…selling…pushing….CREATING NOISE! Why? Because we are conditioned.

During NetworkBash Excite at Clemson University, my friend Robbin Phillips took the time to talk about the relevance of Social Media in the job search today. She shared a piece of paper with some notes…her “Sixty Second Speech.” The first line:

“Let your passion shine. Share who you are and what you stand for with the world. Your hopes, your dreams, your life. Then like magic, you’re going to start drawing kindred spirits and like minds towards you.”

what are we seeking?
Hmm…why are we selling what we are not passionate about? Why are seeking jobs that are just jobs, not careers. Why are we not chasing the dreams, finding like minded people like our tomorrow is our last? Why are we pushing our stuff instead of learning more about the people we share a common interest. Why are we not trying to create our lasting legacy?

Each time we spend more time selling and less time learning about the people that might have a common interest…it is like cold calling at 7pm when the person answering is having dinner. It is like we did not take the time to do the research and put the “To Whom It May Concern” at the top of the letter.

So what is your story? Now think…who are the people we are trying to connect with daily? What is their story? How do you know you can help them until you know their story? I am just as much a victim to this un-human approach to connecting.

my little confession…
Over a year ago, I went to a conference in North Carolina. When I walked in, they gave me a great list of all the people that attended and their email address. These people were decision makers. So when I got back from the conference…I defaulted to my old way of thinking. Created a boiler-plate email, changed out the name and email address, and off to the races. I sent out about five emails…but I had a slight twinge in the back of my mind that just did not settle well. It was confirmed in about five minutes. A response that indicated that they did not attend at the last second. I was embarrassed. NEVER AGAIN!

It is about people…STUPID! I am talking to myself.

Next time…I will just call, say hello, introduce myself, and ask to take them out to coffee…then LISTEN.

Below is Robbin Phillips’s little paper called “My Sixty second speech.” Enjoy!

My 60 Second Pitch

It is all about a Thank You Note!

So today I found a little surprise in my mailbox, a thank you note. Well, there was more than just one thank you note…two. Below you can read the thank you note from one of my students. The note was not to me.

I teach Business Writing at Clemson. It is my goal to teach students more than just how to write, but how to use writing to build relationships. I teach them to think like entrepreneurs. I teach them to think about building career relationships. This thank you note is not only just a representation of a student thanking and praising a teacher, but using the knowledge learned in the classroom. Today, I am the student! It has come full circle!

There are so many times if we wonder if we are making an impact, but tonight…this one student made me shed some tears. I love teaching! Thanks Kelly!

Read below!

Sometimes we creatives are not good leaders? Are we?

We are visionaries!
We are creative and we are strategic. We have passion and willingness to work infinite amount of hours to execute an idea. But sometimes, it is hard to lead. Seriously! This is by means no admission that I have not tried or will try again to successfully lead a group with a common mission/goal. It is a self-reflection that I realize that I was not pre-disposed to be a natural born leader. I think? We just believe in tomorrow’s human capital!

We generate great ideas!
We live in a world that beats to many different drums. We feel our path and not objectively understand how to get to the final resting place. But we understand that the path is so much fun. Our ideas do not come to us during a planning session, they happen in the middle of the night when we least expect. They happen in the shower or when we are screaming down the road at 85 mph with the windows down. But the logical side of our brain knows and understands that we must capitalize on that very moment of true epiphany. We must implement the creative thought right when it pops in our brain. You will find us running through the house stark naked to jot down the idea, draw that vision, create that master piece. We will cut across five lanes of traffic under creative transcendental inspiration, just to get to the side of the interstate to jot it down. We are passionate about our ideas.

We need implementors!
We need help. We see the vision and can articulate the vision, but we rely on those who have the expertise to help us implement the vision. The vision is clear in our head…so clear we can almost reach out and touch it. But, we need those who can decipher our vision into a palatable final product. Yes, we can be technicians of our trade, but as practitioners we understand to rely on those have the technical expertise to make the final product shine!

We like living within our creative freedom!
We know when to turn on that perfect song to get us into a creative rhythm. We like to spread our wings and let the emotion of the story influence the direction. We get so in-tune with our creative thoughts that those looking in have a hard time communicating with us during the moments of inspiration. We can see the lips flapping, but the words just do not register. We are in the zone. We are in the place where we so connected with our big “T” truth, that it only makes sense to us. It feeds our ego and separates us from others. We love our passion.

Structure is a necessary evil!
We understand that organization is the one thing that still keeps us human. It is that calendar or the to-do list that brings us back to reality. It is that assistant that is so OCD about keeping structure, that we knew when we hired them…it was necessary for not only our mental sanity but to ensure we kept our business thriving. We find value in the other side of the brain, just sometimes it is hard to make it happen.

Our minds rationalize differently!
We articulate our thoughts verbally so that we when hear ourselves say it out loud, we can then find the holes in the idea. We speak in tangents and outliers that ultimately have meaning to the bigger story, but we have to rationalize it in our own brains just to get to the final point. We chose to take the road less traveled because sometimes we do not like to feel mainstreamed. We like the opposing argument, just to argue that position with out any pre-disposition…because we can! We like a-typical. We want to be in the minds of those we are trying to influence, so we can understand how to truly create and influential piece of creative. We are flat out manic!

We do not create on a timeline!
What is a timeline…oh, that thing that keeps us on task. We just cannot force our inspiration…it just happens at 3am when the dog happened to lick our face and that is the one little thing that made it all click. We procrastinate because we work better under pressure, knowing we have to deliver the best thing since sliced bread in the next few hours. It is like a drug…the ability to create a masterpiece in a tight timeframe knowing inspiration will hit us at that an unknown moment. Then we deliver and sleep like no tomorrow.

We lead by example!
We lead from our hearts, our passions, and our past experiences. We want to create a community of ideas, bring people together with a common vision, and allow them to create more pieces of fine art. We have been down that road before. Living the dream with bad bosses, bad corporate structure…and it is our hope to make it a little better for those that will lead us to the next millennium. Why, because we believe in our future. We believe we must give back because those we are trying to inspire will be the ones who decide how our legacy(s) will live for the next millennium.

Say NO TO FOLLOW! A little self-reflecting rant.

Enough of this Follow Me stuff! Seriously, I follow enough stuff already. Follow me tells me you are going to push your brand, your thoughts, your ideology on me…one tweet, one post, one update at a time. Really, are we so self-indulged to think that everyone has something so important to say that we must follow everything. That is not social…it is a dictatorship of push notifications.

Say yes to join! Join the conversation, join the community, join the fun…join not follow.

Think about it the next time you set-up a campaign. But who really wants to create a campaign, everyone creates campaigns. Why not create communities. Communities do not follow everyone in the group, they join a conversation. They area community of people with common conversation.

How about just share! Share the conversation.

We are so excited that we have created a social media account, we want to stamp it on every freaking media outlet from television, print, websites, post card, etc. We place icons on these pieces with something that says “Follow Us.” But how do we follow you when you do not even put the URL for us to click and type. I guess “you” spent so much money on these campaigns, you feel like you have to tell everyone and include the social networks to make sure the “target audience” follows the message. But what happens after you follow? Seriously, what do I do after I follow. Should I sit back and feel excited that you are now going to overwhelm me with updates and not even let me join the conversation. Because when I follow you, you do not even have the common courtesy to respond with a conversation after all of your push notifications.

We are so excited that we created these campaigns, we do not even think of the un-sustainable effect they will have with a “Follow” mentality. Why…because what is going to happen when the person who is pushing the information leaves, changes, looses interest in the campaign. If it is all push, then the community is not leading the charge…the community is the sustainable part of the message.

Say no to Follow and yes to Share! Go find the community and build the technology around the community to facilitate engagement.

Innovation: Print & Social Media Working Together

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with one of the Social Media team members with Greenville Hospital System. They showed me this little idea they created! Little cards that had intriguing little quotes that complimented a Social Media outlet they were trying to promote. These cards were  used to hand out, place around town, used to give out in the hospital, or even at events.

How cool! They are almost the size of playing cards using the branded colors of the Greenville Hospital System. Each card had a different phrase or quote promoting a Social Media account, whether it was the Careers Twitter Account (@ghs_careers) or the main Facebook account for the hospital (Facebook.com/GreenvilleHospitalSystem).

What a fun little way to spread the word or even prompt a conversation about  the information or community surrounding a Social Media account. So simple, thoughtful, and intriguing. It is so hard to find intriguing ways to promote Social Media accounts. So many organizations and people are using Social Media to promote Social Media. When you are trying to build community, you have to assume that most people have not used these platforms or do not know the actual URL (account username) to find these accounts online.

I even see many organizations advertise on billboards/flyers and use the Twitter bird or the Facebook logo with the phrase “Follow Us.” FAIL! Nice Try! You cannot assume that people reading these promotions know how or where to find these accounts online. If you look at the bottom of each of these cards, you will see the actual URL address for the Social Media account they are promoting. Even the Facebook cards have an image with the thumbs up “Like” logo indicating the action item desired.

I just think these is so smart, it is fun to watch organizations find innovative ways to use media to engage a community with new forms of media.

To learn more about Greenville Hospital Systems Social Media presence, CLICK HERE or go to http://www.ghs.org/socialmedia

Something to be learned from the Spiro Institute

Today, I was invited to attend the first in a series of First Friday Speaker Presentations by the Spiro Institute at the new campus for Clemson University called Clemson At The Falls. It is a center for Professional Advancement and Continuing Education located in downtown Greenville, SC. Today’s speaker was Steve Edwards talking about “Amazing!!! Simple Tools to Transform Your Life from Ordinary to Amazing.” I talked more about my thoughts and reactions to the insightful presentation in the above video.

To download the flyer for the event, CLICK HERE!

The next event by the Spiro Institute will be October 15th at the Brooks Center for Performing Arts. The event is titled Entrepreneurship Tomorrow and will be featuring:

Nikki Haley – Republican Nominee for Governor of South Carolina
Steve Edwards – CEO of the Edwards Group
Greg Smith – VP & GM of Xerox Mortgage Services

It will be moderated by Claude Lilly who is the Dean of the College of Business and Behavioral Science. To learn more about the event, CLICK HERE.