As always, part of my job is to spot trends and when a question like this appears more than once in different countries, I know that the landscape is shifting.
The innovators, of course, would be asking whether a TikTok account, featuring dentists, team and patients dancing up flights of stairs would be a good idea - technically the answer is "yes - if you think it will make you happy."
The early adopters have been running their own Instagram feeds for ages and there are some wonderful examples featured in Shaz Memon's fantastic book "Instagram for Dentists" - if you don't have a copy, you are falling behind (all of my 2020 coaching clients have already received a complimentary copy from me, including those in South Africa last week).
My friends at Dental Focus are also building simple (but very lovely) personal web sites for associates.
So Principals are now asking me two questions:
How should I feel about my associate having their own personally branded web site?
How should I feel about my associate having their own Instagram feed, featuring stories about patients they have treated at my practice?
To cut to the chase - my response is:
Get over it.
Encourage and support it.
There's a simple reason for that - your response as a Principal indicates whether you are living in scarcity or abundance mentality.
I've spent years building the brand and reputation of this practice and I don't see why my associate should then promote themselves. It feels like betrayal.
The patients are MY patients.
What happens if the associate jiggers off down the road and sets up her own practice, then steals MY ideas, MY team and MY patients?
I spend thousands on marketing the practice and the associate benefits from the new patients we allocate to them - I feel as if this in undermining all that hard work.
The team are confused and don't know where the associate's loyalties are.
Thank God I've actually found an associate who wants to get up off their backside and do something about their own development and promotion.
Equally, that I've found an associate who is interested in internal marketing and is taking on board the systems and good habits that we have been encouraging.
If the associate does set up on her own, that will be because I haven't created a good enough environment to keep her - I'm going to work on that and maybe enter into a conversation about her buying in to the practice and/or buying it off me when I'm ready.
The patients are loving it that they are engaged.
The team are buzzing off the example and it has encouraged them to do more internal marketing for the overall practice.
The other associates are watching the example and it is sorting out wheat from chaff.
Which mentality are you?
There was a saying in the good old days that the more dentists there were in a town, the more people went to the dentist. Competition stimulated demand.
The same now goes for social media. The more dentists there are online, the more people will see what they can do.
If my associate wanted her own Instagram account, I would ask what the team could do to help.