Is a Friend by Any Other Name Still a Friend?
Connections. Friends. Followers. These are terms that we use a lot when we discuss social media but as you have likely learned by now, they don’t necessarily mean the same thing in the offline world as they do with social relationships. They suggest a depth to the relationship which may not actually exist and needs to be fostered.
Offline followers may be willing to listen to a speaker for a period of time, perhaps on TV or at a conference. However an online follower may give you a single second of their time before deciding whether or not to move on.
Relevance Breeds Authority
Who wants to listen to someone trying hard to sell themselves? We have to continually gain and keep respect by sharing good ideas and interesting content. Relevancy matters and we have to earn the right to share whatever message we have. Relevancy can breed respect and authority, and respect can generate traffic to your website and connect you with prospective patients.
I follow several physicians because they are sharing something of value; information and perspective from a professional on topics of interest to me. What I give these physicians in return is my loyalty. When I have the opportunity to refer someone, I’ll first turn to a practice I follow.
Friends Are Not Always Here to Stay
The Internet is a fickle environment and assuming that once you have connections they are there for good is risky.
The terms and definitions will evolve or be replaced over time to better capture the ways we relate online but the necessity of relevance will only increase.
There Are Real Connections Out There
My advice, be yourself. People will be more likely to listen to you and respond positively. And don’t forget that many of these connections are genuine and that real, valued relationships (and patients) can grow out of social media associations.