Published in Non-Clinical

How to Build a Brand with Drs. Jennifer Tsai and William To

This is editorially independent content
5 min read
In this video interview, Drs. Jennifer Tsai and William To discuss how to build a personal and professional brand.
Drs. Jennifer Tsai and William To, @drjenandjuice and @thetravelingOD, join the CovalentCareers team to discuss building their own brands in the eyecare space.

How does having a brand help your career?

Developing a personal brand and social media presence has allowed both Dr. To and Dr. Tsai to expand their engagement in the industry. This expansion includes a larger pool of opportunities to network and connect with other healthcare professionals as well as chances to engage with current and future patients! Dr. To did not set out with the intention of creating a brand; he set out to share the stories of his travels, but he realized that it was a chance to bond with others.
Similarly, Dr. Tsai loved being able to narrate her own story. When you share your story, inevitably there will be others who can connect with that story. You can live your life, do what you want to do, and build a craft while you do it! The bet part of the process for Dr. Tsai is being able to take time to connect with those who do resonate with her experiences; for example, she's able to regularly speak with other female ODs who reach out to her and tell her how inspired they are by her work.

Is it important to build your own brand?

Dr. Tsai believes that “anyone should, in any career or field, build a personal brand,” and Dr. To agrees! Your brand — your online presence and voice — is synonymous with your reputation, and no matter who you are or where you are, you’re representing yourself.
Sharing your life with the world may seem like it’s reserved for hardcore extroverts, but Dr. To emphasizes that anyone can and should build a brand. The most important aspect of that brand is to be authentic and true to who you are. If you do what makes you comfortable and share your true self, there are plenty of people that will find that relatable!
For more insight into the eyecare influencer space, check out these Social Media Tips for Optometrists with Dr. Harbir Sian, OD!
This doesn’t just include prospective followers. Throughout your career, your online presence will also act as an extension of your resume. Prospective employers will be able to get some insight into your personality beyond what you’ve recorded on paper; they can see your character, goals, and even learn a bit about what you do in your free time.
Keep in mind that your brand doesn’t have to be photos of yourself and your adventures. Putting yourself out there for the world to see can be overwhelming, and if it isn’t your brand, think about other ways to curate yourself. You can express yourself through poetry, music, or stories (Dr. Tsai follows a poet, R.M. Drake) These other forms of media can be just as impactful and can create a clear picture of you!

Do you have to build your brand on multiple platforms?

While there is value in building up your brand across different platforms, Dr. Tsai says it all comes down to “ much time you have and what you’re looking for.”
YouTube can be a great channel for folks looking to showcase products and tools, Twitter can reach millions of users quickly; Instagram may be the most popular platform for many influencers at the moment, but you should fully embrace what platform (or platforms) work for you! The process of creating and distributing content as well as the way that users communicate with you will vary from channel to channel, so finding your own niche is essential!

How much time should you dedicate to maintaining your brand?

“Should” is difficult to gauge, but Drs. Tsai and To dedicate a significant portion of their free time to expanding their brand. “So 24 hours in a day, minus eight hours of sleep, minus nine hours at work … the rest of the time is Instagram,” Dr. Tsai laughs.
Dr. To’s philosophy is one of consistency over intensity. He posts frequently and focuses on engaging his followers rather than dedicating hours to crafting a perfect post. Dr. Tsai agrees that efficiency is important in her approach as well, and she feels the most valuable piece of her overall brand is the captions that she develops alongside the photos rather than just the images themselves.
Ready to take these tips and start marketing your own brand? Here's our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Optometry Practice!

Take home tips from Drs. Tsai and To

Dr. Tsai
  • Be a master of one or two crafts and hone in on them.
  • Let those processes come naturally because...
  • You should focus on why this creative process makes you happy
Dr. To
  • Doing this should be something that you enjoy
  • If it becomes work, it shows because authenticity is such a core part of this.
  • Your job isn’t to be liked, your job is to be you and be the best you that you can be
Are you ready to get started on your personal brand? Or are you a social media master with a few tips that we didn't cover here? Let us know in the comments!
Dyllan Thweatt
About Dyllan Thweatt

Dyllan is a UC San Diego graduate and the Associate Editor for NewGradOptometry and CovalentCareers. In his time out of the office he is also a full-time Dungeon Master, pet dad, and an avid tea drinker.

Dyllan Thweatt
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