Dr. Bradley Schaeffer used social media to share his experience as a resident. His following grew when he appeared in TV shows, and he felt he had to put himself out there. Today, he shares how he manages his roles as a full-time doctor and content creator and the impact he wants to make in the LGBTQ Community.
About Dr. Bradley Schaeffer
Dr. Bradley Schaeffer is a foot and ankle surgeon based in New York. He competed on NBC’s The Titan Games in 2019 and now hosts his TV show, My Feet Are Killing Me, on TLC. He recently opened his wellness center in New York City.
Like most content creators, Brad didn’t expect his content to blow up online, but it did. He started posting content right out of residency, discussing his journey as a young professional doctor and the struggles of residency and looking at it from different points of view.
He shares, “I was really honest about everyone, about my struggles and failures in different things. I started to resonate with people and preached a lot about health and wellness and how physical fitness impacted me in various ways. I put that out there, and it started to catch on a little bit. I was happy to see that and just kind of ran with it.”
Balancing His Role as a Doctor and Content Creator
Although Brad loves being a content creator, he admits it’s another job. He continues, “Creating content and putting out a lot of things that people can relate to is another job. I find it fun, but I need to dedicate a lot of time to it.”
And Brad is right. One Instagram post can take a few minutes to a couple of days to make. Influencers need this much time as they have to brainstorm ideas, create the image material, and make edits.
One thing that keeps Brad going as a content creator is understanding the industry’s requirements and having fun. For him, “If you enjoy it, it’s not too big of a deal.”
Brad’s Goal as a Content Creator
Brad dived into the content creator space with a different goal in mind — he wants to put himself out there in a different way. This goal came after the success of the TV shows he appeared in.
“The first one was called The Titan Games on NBC, and it was a reality show. It’s a competition, like American Ninja Warrior, and that was with Dwayne Johnson. I was fortunate enough to be on that. That was very fun and exciting.”
The Titan Games aired from January 2019 to August 2020. Brad appeared on the 7th and 8th episodes of the show.
Now, he hosts My Feet Are Killing Me on TLC with two other doctors, Dr. Ebonie Vincent and Dr. Sarah Haller. Brad is a podiatrist or a foot and ankle specialist and is very passionate about the show because it shows who he is as a doctor.
He gives us more details about the show by explaining, “It’s really just filming the patient’s journey from their foot pain to finally leaving the treatment room happy and able to walk pain-free.”
How Brad Got Selected to Appear on a TV Show
Brad’s ability to wear different hats — being a doctor and content creator — made him a good candidate to appear on TV shows.
“They wanted doctors who were reputable and could deliver the results that a TV show needed and the patients needed for success. So, I would say it would be 90% that, and maybe the way I was influencing people on social media is what brought me to the table.”
Brad also believed that being a content creator put him on the radar and made him more marketable. He adds, “So I would say everything — me just being a good doctor and having marketability.”
His Approach to Creating Content
Brad creates different content on social media but all under the same umbrella. His contents are either centered on giving medical advice or talking about fitness.
His content creation process is about filming and creating content about everything he’s passionate about but making it more fun.
He explains, “During the day, I’ll create content about me being a doctor and the things I do during the day, including patient journeys and their struggles. And I’ll film content while I’m in the car, singing and doing lip-sync videos. And then when I’m in the gym, I’ll film videos of me in the gym.”
How Brad’s Content Changed Since He Started
The type of content Brad posts on social media today is different from the content he posted when he was still starting. He explains, “I guess in the beginning state, it was just pretty basic, just pictures of me in scrubs. Sometimes with a quote and why that quote resonated with me.”
Today, Brad shares that he’s doing a lot of videos to seem relatable to other people.
Besides the type of content, Brad mentions that his mindset on content creation also changed through the years. When he started, he felt it was necessary to figure out algorithms and how to put himself out there. This was a challenge for him, given that algorithms are always changing.
Right now, Brad has other priorities when it comes to content creation. He adds, “I don’t really pay attention to the algorithms as much as I did in the beginning stages. In the beginning, I was making sure I responded to everyone and messaged back people with intelligent responses and gave my time that way.”
Because Brad now has gained a lot of followers from his TV show, he admits that it’s very hard to reply to every single person online, especially since he doesn’t have a social media manager. Instead, he tries to like everything and leave comments when he can.
Content on Different Platforms
“Straight up, I don’t do a ton on TikTok because there’s just no way at this point in my life I could wear that many hats unless I had a social media manager.”
Brad utilizes Instagram to post content. As of this writing, he has over 600 posts and 152,000 followers on the platform. He has a decent Twitter account but says that it’s not something he can focus on. He wants to get more involved in TikTok and made it his goal in 2023.
Taking this route is definitely a must for content creators like Brad. According to Statista, TikTok will generate about $8 billion in advertising revenue by 2024 and $12 billion by 2026.
The Messages Brad Wants to Convey
Brad wants to use his platform to convey the importance of perseverance. His ability to persevere contributed to his success as a doctor, as he had tons of failures in the past.
“I’ve failed a lot of tests and board exams and had different failures in life. I put that out there, and I’m very honest about those failures. But with perseverance, you’ll eventually succeed; you just have to keep pushing.”
Brad’s main message of perseverance applies to businesses and him being a doctor. He continues, “It might not be a straight line, but if you keep pushing, you’ll get there one way or another; I promise you that.”
Advocacy for the LGBTQ Community
Brad is a proud member of the LGBTQ community and has been out for about ten years. He publicly came out in 2022 but admits that his journey, especially when growing up, was tough.
Brad had a religious background and was married to a woman. Brad says, “I brought her into the rabbit hole that I should not have. But in a variety of ways, it [the marriage] was positive. She’s my best friend to this day.”
Brad wants to use his role as a doctor and content creator to reshape people’s perception of what a male is. Brad believes that you don’t have to fit in the box that you grew up in because life changes and evolves in a beautiful way.
“Not everyone has to act a certain way or look a certain way and be masculine or feminine. It is what it is. You can be who you are and still be successful and loved. And that’s what I hope for our future — a different way of thinking and a different way a male can be.”
The Importance of Storytelling
Brad harnesses the power of storytelling to relate to other people. He tells it how it is not just on social media but with his patients in real life, as well.
Brad adds, “I tell them straight up if I can help them or I can’t. I just sit there and talk to them like they’re my friend and have an open dialogue.”
Brad does the same on social media. He posts photos where he’s seen happy but doesn’t portray his life as perfect. He’s open with people and hopes that more people will do the same.
Managing Hate or Negativity Online
Although Brad doesn’t receive a lot of hate or negativity online, he has some experiences. And instead of letting these get to him, he chooses not to respond or comment.
“There’s no reason to engage with somebody that wants to do that. I’ve had different things like death treats sent to my office, but I don’t get it daily, just from time to time. It happens when you have a practice, and your address is everywhere.”
Brad markets himself and his business daily and chooses to handle negativities and hate in a professional way and hopes it goes away. And based on his experience, most of the time, it does.
Challenges as a Medical Influencer
Since Brad is representing the medical community, he wants to make sure that he’s putting out the right message, whether it be in different types of surgeries or how these surgeries are performed. Doctors get a lot of criticism when they talk about the wrong technique, and Brad wants to avoid that.
“Podiatry is a small group of doctors. We’re foot and ankle surgeons, and I just want to represent my community in a positive way and do right by them because I’m part of their community. I love podia, and I love being a doctor.”
In general, Brad’s experience as a medical influencer is going well so far. He has received more positive than negative comments and is happy about that.
Projects for the LGBTQ Community
Brad has a lot of things on his plate. He recently did a fashion show for prostate cancer, where there were plenty of LQBTG people. The show was headlined by Don Lennon, a CNN anchor.
He continues by sharing a published article about him on Men’s Health. In the article, Brad openly talked about his experience of being a gay man and how it was growing up.
In the future, Brad wants to spread awareness about the LGBTQ community since it’s something he can relate to. To quote Brad, “It’s my story, my journey.”
To achieve that goal, Brad understands that he has to work non-stop. He has to talk to people on social media, patients, friends, and family, and just continue the dialogue and show the alternate way people can be and have a different version of what a gay man is.
Besides using his platform for content on medical advice and fitness, Brad also uses it to work with different brands. He worked with BodyHealth, a brand that sells different health and wellness supplements.
His more recent collaboration was with a new company called Manna. It’s also about vitamins like curcumin, anti-inflammatories, probiotics, and many others. He also mentioned his partnership with Hempvana, a company producing pain relief cream.
Brad is constantly looking for new opportunities that he’s passionate about — and the brands he worked with align with his profession and the type of content he makes.
Brad’s Favorite Collabs
Giving back is Brad’s favorite when it comes to doing collaborations with brands. He feels people love giveaways, especially if the products are from a reputable company.
One of his most recent giveaways was with Unagi Scooters, where he gave two scooters. That was a proud moment for Brad, and he shares, “The electric scooters are a great way to get around and help with the environment.”
Brad had collabs with other medical- and workout-based brands, but the one with Unagi Scooters is his favorite and largest to date.
Brad’s Advice for Aspiring Doctors
“Be relatable to someone and have nice dialogue. Your patients are going to understand you more rather than just being very black and white and dull. Just have that human connection because I think that’s what patients deserve.”
Brad lives by his words and tries to have a human connection with all of his patients. He understands that this is really important, especially for someone working in the medical industry.
He also advises aspiring doctors to exert all of their efforts into being the best doctors they can be, to train, read up, and be real with patients. Brad emphasizes that giving patients a little time to know you will help them respond well.
What’s Missing in the Medical Influencer Space
In the future, Brad wants to look for and seize as many opportunities as possible to put himself out there, whether that be with a TV show, being a doctor or competing in a TV show. He aims to show his personality in different ways.
He explains further, “Stephen Colbert hosts a pickleball tournament for celebrities. I would like to do that. I like pickleball.” Brad loves these types of competitions because they’re fun and allow people to see his fun side.
He also reiterates the importance of human connection and how people should be in the future.
What’s in Store for Brad
Brad recently opened Central Park SOLE in New York City and aims to turn it into a wellness center. He wants everybody to feel like they’re coming into a safe space and feel right throughout their bodies, not just their feet, but overall health and wellness.
He will continue to do work for and in the LGBTQ community as he believes there’s still a long way to go. He then shares his experience of him coming out, saying:
“People ask me why I came out publicly last year. It’s because it’s important, and it’s not a gain of myself; it’s important to show other people that doctors, professionals, and athletes don’t need to be in one box.”
This is his message in the article he did with Men’s Health. He adds, “I just want to blow up all the boxes because I just think they’re crap. Boxes do not need to exist. If I can help with that, one way or another, I feel that I would’ve loved to see a version of myself when I was ten years old.”