LinkedIn is the 4th largest social network, coming in right behind Twitter in monthly users. With over 400 million users, 1.5 million in the health care industry, you definitely want to experiment with this social network when it comes to online marketing.
What makes LinkedIn unique is the fact that it is geared only towards professionals. LinkedIn is meant to be your personal rolodex. It is a way for you to keep track of people you meet professionally and a way they can keep track of you. It won’t matter if they change careers or contact information (or if one day you decide to open you own dental practice), because with LinkedIn you will always see everyone’s most recent information (as long as the profile is regularly updated!)
Social media sites may be daunting at first, but with a few basic tips you can be successful on LinkedIn and grow your network and practice at the same time.
Tip #1 Update Your Profile
LinkedIn is your online resume. People use LinkedIn to find jobs, employees, business connections, and professionals. LinkedIn uses your profile when looking for relevant profiles to show in a search result.
Complete Your Profile to All-Star Status
Your profile is also your first impression on LinkedIn, which is why you want to make sure it is filled out completely and you have “Allstar” status. LinkedIn will walk you through all the steps you need to make sure your profile is as full as LinkedIn would like you to have it. Here is also a great article on how to update your LinkedIn Profile to All-Star Status. If you follow the author’s instructions you won’t go wrong!
Add a Professional Photo
LinkedIn is not like Facebook, where you can have any old picture up as your profile picture. This is your first professional impression. Make sure you have a professional photo, ideally at your office before work. Smile, as a smile is worth 1,000 words.
Add Profile Cases
You have an opportunity to profile various cases on your LinkedIn profile. This is a great way to show your success stories and more complex cases to others in your network.
Add Volunteer Opportunities
This is a great opportunity to show off how you give back to the community. If you are a part of any local clubs or organizations that give back, make sure you highlight them in the area of your profile called Volunteer or Causes.
Remember, the more you have your file filled out, the better. Use LinkedIn’s prompts when possible to make sure your profile is the most up to date.
Tip #2 Connect with People
Connecting with the people you meet (and don’t meet, if you prefer), is what LinkedIn is all about.
The benefit is if somebody changes their job, contact information, or even their name, you will still be able to contact them through LinkedIn. There are various types of people you are going to want to connect to:
Why not? Most likely many of your patients are professionals as well. Stay connected to patients through LinkedIn is much more professional than connecting to them through Facebook, which wouldn’t be appropriate unless you were personal friends. Co-workers could easily ask each other if they have a dentist they recommend, and if you are connected and active on LinkedIn, you will be the first person that pops into your connections.
If not, they can search their LinkedIn connections for dentists, and you will show up. Not only that, once you are connected you can ask your patients for recommendations, which will then show up on your profile.
Professional Friends and Family
Professional is the keyword here. If your nephew is working in his garage, and doesn’t have a profile picture or a profile that is filled out completely, (or even if he does), you may not want to connect to him. It is always important to check the people you are saying yes to. It doesn’t necessarily matter if you have met them in person or not (that is up to you), but it does matter what kind of profiles you are connected to.
Profiles should have an image of some sorts, ideally a professional one. It should be relatively filled out well also. Sometimes, if I know a professional well, I will make an exception and connect to them even if they don’t have a profile image. That is more an exception than a rule.
People You Know in Groups
LinkedIn groups are all the rage right now, and there is a reason for it. When you are in a group with somebody, you can connect to them without having the other requirements needed for an immediate connection.
This is why it is always recommended to belong to the maximum amount of groups that LinkedIn allows, which at the time of this writing is 50.
Make sure you belong to groups that are relevant to your field in order to open up future connections through LinkedIn.
Tip #3 Be Active
In social networking, the keyword is “social”! Make sure you are social on LinkedIn in order to get the most out of it.
This does not necessarily mean spending (and wasting) tons of time on LinkedIn. You can allocate a certain amount of time each day or week in order to take time to connect, update your profile, and be active on LinkedIn so you know how much time you are taking to market on LinkedIn.
Being active, though, is more than just connecting to people you know. Here are three ways you can be active on LinkedIn.
Update Your Profile Status
Your profile status is a way for you to share what is professionally is on your mind. You can share articles that relate to business and dentistry, your own blog posts and/or articles when they are published, and other insights that may interest people who follow you.
LinkedIn is not like Facebook in the way that you should post personal information. LinkedIn is really only reserved for professional conversation, so make sure you keep it that way with your profile updates as well.
Comment on Other People’s Status
Again, LinkedIn is a social network, so be social! If you see a status update that interests you, start a conversation. Most likely the person’s profile you are commenting on will appreciate your comment, and will remember you. It is also a great way to be seen on other people’s networks (all of the their connections get their updates, and have access to the comments on that update).
Commenting on other people’s status in your network is a great way to get to know others that are connected to your network.
Be Active In Groups
As mentioned above , groups are a great way to meet people that you don’t know. Groups are formed by people on LinkedIn where members can discuss similar interests. You can use groups in order to educate yourself to expand your business, or you can use groups to educate others to help them expand their business!
As with any relationship, there is a give and a take. Make sure when you are active in groups you are both giving and taking. You wouldn’t go to a networking event and only talk about your business, so don’t do that in groups either. Be curious about others, give advice (if you have it), and don’t just promote yourself business.
Write Articles For LinkedIn
LinkedIn has an option where you can write articles that will show up on LinkedIn as well as your profile. This is a great way for people to get to know you and your knowledge. There are a couple of articles out there on how to write a good article for LinkedIn, I personally like this one. The jist? Write what you know, write often, spell check, make a great headline, and share!
Now, I don’t 100% agree that you need to write often. I think articles improve any profile, and I recommend you have at least 3. It does help to write often though if you enjoy writing. If you can whip up a great article in an hour or hour and a half, write once a month or every other month. If you hate writing, get the 3 there, spread them out over time, and then don’t worry about it for 6 months.
LinkedIn may seem daunting at first, but you only need to work on your profile once. Afterwards, it is just adding to it. And when you are connected to your patients on LinkedIn, if you move practices or decide to start your own, then you can easily update your network and notify everyone that is connected with you!