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LinkedIn is not a selling tool. Rather, LinkedIn is a branding and relationship development tool that, when used properly, can help grow your dental practice brand within your community, while helping to separate your practice from the surrounding competition.
“If you’re a dentist in a local community, then reach out to the business community and talk about the importance of appearance, and how that impacts a business." -- Bill Corbett, Jr.
When you think social media or online marketing, the names that most readily come to mind are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and so on. But the name missing from that list is LinkedIn, which is primarily thought of as a business and employment-oriented service used mainly for professional networking.
But it’s much more than that. As of April 2017, LinkedIn claimed more than 500 million users.
“The number is huge,” says Bill Corbett, Jr., an entrepreneur publicist and president of Corbett Public Relations, Inc. “It should not be overlooked. When people search with Google, LinkedIn profiles come up. It’s a viable place to be.”
Corbett calls LinkedIn a branding and relationship development tool, and says the LinkedIn profile is where a brand lives.
“If you structure your LinkedIn profile effectively, it may push other people out of the top search rankings,” Corbett says.
What should go into your LinkedIn profile? Corbett notes that most dentists have a specialty, such as teeth whitening, or dental implants, or cosmetics. That specialty should be mentioned several times—in the title, in the summary, and in the experience section. And geographic location is equally important in a profile.
“People don’t want to travel too far to their dentist,” Corbett says. “You may want to say, ‘Our practice serves X, Y and Z communities.’ Because people are going to search for specific geographic areas so they don’t have to travel far.”
Too often, Corbett says, professionals across the board, not just in dentistry, waste a lot of time because they don’t have a strategy for their LinkedIn page. They apply the old approach of set it and forget it. They write a profile, which may or may not be very well done, put it online, and maybe come back once a year to tweak it.
Rather, Corbett believes a LinkedIn profile should be seen as a living thing.
“I’d love to see something new every day,” he says. “Whether that’s sharing an article on dental implants, or the importance of oral health, or information on a new procedure—things that match the dentist’s brand.”
LinkedIn has a publishing platform, a sort of internal blog, where users can write and post their own content. Corbett says an effective strategy should include what will be posted, and how often, as well as the audience.
“If you’re a dentist in a local community, then reach out to the business community and talk about the importance of appearance, and how that impacts a business,” he says.
In addition, many businesses today have corporate wellness programs, and corporate human resource departments may want to communicate with dentists about hygiene and oral health education. Connecting with those departments can facilitate relationships that can grow into excellent referral sources.
“If you go in once a year and do a dental hygiene program, or partner with a company to do something for underprivileged people, now you’re building relationships, and really building a brand,” Corbett says.
LinkedIn, not unlike Facebook and other social media sites, is another piece of real estate on the internet where people can find you and your practice. The eventual goal, Corbett explains, is to drive people back to your practice’s website, because that’s where you close the deal.
“You control content and the look and feel of your website,” he says. “LinkedIn should help educate people about who you are and what you do, but then drive people to your website, because that’s where you have more in-depth information about the practice.”
The LinkedIn profile, therefore, is an individual profile, not an office profile.
“It should talk about you, not the office,” Corbett says. “That’s how people make one-on-one connections.”
To that end, LinkedIn recently added video as an option. Dentists can use this feature to talk about themselves, or a particular procedure in which they specialize. It can help them be clear about who they are, and what they do.
“At the end of the day, video in a profile should answer the question, why should somebody come to my practice versus the one down the street?” Corbett says.
From here, measure the results. Chart how many people have viewed your profile, or how many users have looked at and shared your posts. And as part of a new patient questionnaire, include the question, how did you hear about the practice? Maybe even, are you connected with the dentist on LinkedIn?
“It’s part of the overall processes of the dentist becoming a known entity in their community,” Corbett says. “And that’s probably the number one reason why a dentist should be on LinkedIn, is that it helps their brand grow within their market.”
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