Imagine your surgeon had to rely on social media to build confidence with his or her patients.

Just roll with me a minute.

She’d probably update her “about” section with her credentials: where she studied for undergrad, perhaps, but definitely whoever put the stamp on the piece of paper saying she could be a doctor. She’d list where she’s practicing now and perhaps link to some papers she wrote or researched for. Rifle through some photos on her computer to find the one where she’s smiling and not blinking.

Now, what to post. Images do well on Facebook. And she’s trying to show off her superior surgical skills. There aren’t any cameras in the OR, but maybe she can find a decent stock photo of a pristine suture? After all, that’s the work she does and wants to generate credibility and trust through social media.

As you’re probably aware, she’s utterly missed the point. But why?

You’d be surprised how often our clients propose similar strategies. They’re passionate about what they do and know why they’re good at it, which is great for business. The problem is when they bring that excitement about their expertise, raw product or service to social media or any marketing efforts.

Go back to the concept of a professional Facebook page for a surgeon. Why does that seem utterly absurd? Because any skills or credentials a medical professional has to showcase on social media are to be expected. By stepping into a hospital, a patient can (hopefully) assume they will receive standard if not above standard care from a qualified medical professional. A patient really doesn’t care where their surgeon received their degree or did their internship. They definitely don’t need to see a play-by-play video of the operation.

In today’s market, unless it’s your number one selling point, expertise and quality are assumed.

So what should you post?

It all comes back to my favorite word: branding. Well, one of my favorite words. I also enjoy how “palace” rolls off the tongue.

Who are you as a company, and what do you promise to your clients? Who are your clients? Who would you like your clients to be? These questions inform your brand positioning and all marketing efforts at their core.

When you’re building your website or posting to Facebook, take those questions to the next logical step. Once you know who you’re marketing to, consider what they’d be interested in. Do they buy your product because it looks pretty? Does it make them feel good? How does it produce those emotions?

Branding is the emotion a company promises to deliver when you use their product or service. Hospitals and medical professionals have one already built in: either you are taken care of in a pristine facility in an efficient and hospitable manner or you aren’t. Either you get better or you don’t. Whenever you see a sign with the “H” for a hospital, it communicates safety, emergency care and medical excellence. And you’re just on the way to the grocery store.

Unfortunately, most brands don’t have that kind of universal equity. That’s why your business has a Facebook page and your general practitioner does not, at least for business. So when you post to Facebook, consider what you’re promising. What do you want your customers to feel when they see your brand? Do you want them to feel safe? Unique? Cool? Hungry? Or is your service something people don’t want to have to worry about? Building a brand takes time, so keep your promises in mind when you post.

Curious about how other small businesses are approaching social media? Check out the results of our 2017 Small Business Internet Marketing Report.