41: How To Grow Your Practice & Increase Your Impact with Social Media

by Jen Barna MD | Leadership, Podcast

“We all know what a deep hole the Internet can be. A tremendous amount of misinformation, especially with medicine. So I personally think that the more physicians are out there really putting true evidence-based medicine, regardless of your field, it really does all of us a service.” – Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum

In today’s episode, Coach Jill Farmer talks with Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum about social media. Social media can be a great way to build your brand, build your practice and also educate. But for doctors, it can be tricky. How much do you share? Does your employer place parameters around how you use social media? Is it worth the trouble? Dr. Tenenbaum walks us through how she uses social media, how she makes time for it, what saves her time and the benefits she has seen and more! Tune in to hear how she aces social media and don’t forget to follow DocWorking

Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum is a board-certified plastic surgeon. She is an associate professor at Washington University School of Medicine. She is the program director of the Plastic Surgery Residency at Washington University. She is currently working at West County Plastic Surgeons


Follow Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum here!

DocWorking Podcast episode mentioned in the show: Episode 26 Physician Burnout: Proactive Steps You Can Take Today

Excerpts from the show:


“Marissa, the reason I wanted to chat with you today is you do an excellent job of getting out in the world with social media. I really love following you to see what you’re doing in work and life. I know from my own clients that I talk to all over the country that there can be a love-hate relationship with social media. So, I just want to talk to you a little bit about why you decided to use social media in your work and life and what it’s doing for you.” -Master Certified Coach Jill Farmer

“So, this is a great question and it’s such a hot topic. As a plastic surgeon I do think that in my particular field it really does lend itself to social media pretty well. Plastic surgery is very visual. So when you think about all the different channels of social media, I think Instagram is probably the most popular for us. For me, I certainly wasn’t an early adopter. I had a lot of colleagues around the country that were using social media really really well and I was intrigued. I was on social media, but more of a private account, really just more the typical share with your friends kind of social media. I made a conscious effort about a year ago actually to flip the switch and try to incorporate a lot more of my professional life and I think there’s a lot of different ways that you can do that in medicine. I’ll just tell you what I did, and we can talk about some of the different ways if you want to. But what I did was try to have a sort of combination of some professional advice with specific regard to plastic surgery. So surgery, non-surgical kind of aesthetics like skin care, and injections and Botox and lasers and things like that. As well as wellness, and I did that because I think it is a particular passion of mine. Wellness, fitness, health, nutritional eating, etc. That’s a particular passion of mine that I love sharing. But I also think it lends itself really well to plastic surgery and a plastic surgery audience and what they may be interested in. But then I also choose to share my personal life and my family. Not everybody does that. I think there are pros and cons to that. But the reason I chose to do that is because I think that one of the elements of social media for me and branding is for my patients or potential patients to get to know me as a person. I think in my field of plastic surgery that is a really important piece of it. You know, patients kind of feeling like they may have a connection with you, they kind of like your style, if you will. I think that can be really important, maybe less important in certain fields, but really important in plastic surgery. So that’s sort of why I did it and a small piece of how I do it.” – Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum


“Any downsides that either you’ve experienced or that you’ve seen colleagues experience that we need to chat about?” -Master Certified Coach Jill Farmer


“Absolutely. The downsides are that you’re putting yourself out there a bit, you’re making yourself vulnerable. Now if you do choose to (you can) really just focus on patient education, which just as a side note, I think is almost like a public service to all of us in medicine. I don’t want to get too far off on a tangent on this, but we all know what a deep hole the Internet can be. A tremendous amount of misinformation, especially with medicine. So I personally think that the more physicians are out there really putting true evidence-based medicine, regardless of your field, it really does all of us a service, not just the patients. Starting with that I think it’s a bit safer. But once you do start kind of going into the world of, ‘Ok, I’m going to show a little bit more of my personal life,’ obviously you’re making yourself a little more vulnerable. You’re putting yourself a little bit more at risk of trolls and different people maybe some more negative, that can be challenging. And then you do have to be incredibly careful about HIPPA, obviously. So if you’re discussing any patient issues, or again in plastic surgery we’re very visual, and so we do have some patients who consent very specifically to allowing us to use their images on a website or social media. But of course, you have to be incredibly careful about that. And I certainly do know colleagues who have been burned in that regard, where maybe they haven’t had the appropriate consent or something along those lines. That’s really really not a place any of us want to be. The biggest thing though, I think, is those trolls. I think the more followers people gain or I’ve seen colleagues have to deal with some tremendous negativity especially as they get more followers. And trying to handle that professionally can be really challenging.”  -Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum


“All of my physician clients are perfectionists, so a lot of times I have to remind them that this is not surgery where we need to have a really perfect outcome.”  -Master Certified Coach Jill Farmer


“Right, you can delete the post if you don’t like it. I think the other thing that is challenging for a lot of us in medicine is obviously a lot of our personalities aren’t necessarily personalities where we want to be on camera or we want to show off. It can feel really inauthentic to get on live stories or something. That does just take practice. Personally, if I’m being honest, I hate taking pictures of myself. I hate seeing myself on camera, I hate it. So I’m not as good at that part. I’m not good at going on stories every single day and walking you through my day. I see other people do that and I go, ‘Oh I wish I was better at that.’ But the more you do it, you get more comfortable just like anything, right? It’s practice.” -Dr. Marissa Tenenbaum 


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