The Marketing Expert – the agony of self-promotion

Shaz Memon, the Marketing Expert, explains why the dental profession needs to look at self-promotion in a different way.

More people dislike self-promotion than those who are comfortable with it. Indeed, there are more people who dislike those who self-promote than those who appreciate such individuals (especially in dentistry!)

After all, it’s a profession that values academic achievements, clinical advancements, and painstakingly curated research trials more than a perfectly staged Instagram selfie.

Detractors shudder at the sight of someone posing effortlessly-yet-full-of-effort for a lift selfie, a glimpse of a mechanical watch peeking through (the kind you can’t buy unless your great-grandfather joined a waiting list).

Do you desire public image?

There are dentists who respect academic and clinical advancements but also admire the concept of a desirable public image, which in turn makes them more appealing to a patient base.

Some dentists are business-focused. They don’t take selfies, they don’t obsess over being the best. They seem to lead quite content lives.

Then there are those who fit into more than one of the above categories, and those who would create their own unique classifications.

In the midst of latex gloves and scanners, there are dentists who see the value in crafting a compelling public image — an aesthetic that attracts patients like money-launderers to a laundromat.

As a nation, we don’t celebrate others wealth, grand houses, and flashy cars. That’s just how it is.

I’m not an expert on this topic, but I do know this: in the Middle East, it’s unusual not to be impressed by all the trappings of flamboyance. I personally dislike constant displays of the tacky ‘look at me wealth’. It gives birth to an embryonic ball of vomit in my throat.

So it’s no surprise that if you’re considering ‘getting out there more’ to grow your brand, you’re mentally confronted with all kinds of blocks. I certainly used to and, to an extent, still do.

It was only when I grasped a single simple concept that I was able to accelerate any dream I had. I noticed those who were succeeding were also considering self-promotion in the same way.

It’s not bragging if you’re being yourself

If you visit my Instagram, you are unlikely to see watches, cars, houses, business class check-ins, or yachts. I am private – it’s just not me.

However, you will see my love for my work, humanitarian efforts, family, and the simple pleasures in life. This is who I am offline. All I do well is transfer it online (I admit I am very much a work in progress).

To succeed with self-promotion, you simply need to transfer your offline self to the online realm. There’s nothing to overthink here. You do you. We aren’t all the same. How boring would that be?

The most successful dentists and entrepreneurs that have mastered this are exactly the same online as they are offline. When there is a disconnect, we sense it.

I’ve met some online extroverts, hilarious dentists, who, in person, make me feel like stabbing myself in the eye with a rusty needle a paragraph into the conversation. They are putting on a show online and, as humans, we don’t like it – because we can’t understand it.

Share your human side

Be yourself online so that the people who already gravitate towards you can do so in greater numbers.

Don’t look to the left or right; you don’t need to care about what anyone else is doing. You are not them, they are not you, and evaluating their approach (unless you idolise them) isn’t benefiting anyone.

Change the word ‘showing-off’ to ‘reporting’. Change the word ‘influencing’ to ‘brand building’.

Reporting fulfils the nation’s voyeuristic pleasure. Share your day, your experiences, your human side. By doing so, you’re opening up to the very people who already appreciate you – only now on a grander scale.

You don’t need to be liked by people you don’t connect well with or have chemistry with. Who wants patients like that? There are enough mouths attached to personalities you like, and you can attract those with the right kind of brand building.

Thus, the ‘agony of self-promotion’ is merely a phantom of our psyche, an irksome voice whispering tales of potential judgement. But let’s hit the stop button on that, shall we?

Be yourself. That’s it. You can thank me later.

Catch Shaz’s previous Marketing Expert columns:

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