When you consider social media marketing for your dental practice, you likely think of Facebook or Instagram. LinkedIn probably isn’t your top priority, and it possibly isn’t even part of your marketing strategy. For more than a decade, it has been regarded as little more than a job-hunting website, or perhaps a place for your online resume.
As recently as 2016, there was widespread speculation that LinkedIn would shut down after Microsoft purchased it. Instead, the network has experienced explosive growth, with a broad user demographic.
What does this mean for your dental practice? It means opportunities, not only for professional networking but also for patient retention and acquisition. With half a billion users and more than 9 million companies represented, LinkedIn has quietly grown into a social marketing powerhouse.
Who Uses LinkedIn?
There are millions of healthcare professionals active on LinkedIn, so it should come as no surprise that it is an excellent place for establishing professional connections and finding quality employees. However, it also is a rich marketing opportunity.
The average LinkedIn user is an adult over the age of 30, with an annual income exceeding $75,000. Membership is nearly equally divided between males and females. These people are typically college educated, working professionals.
LinkedIn demographics probably resemble your target market. Statistics show that people with higher incomes and more education are more health conscious. Additionally, career-oriented individuals tend to be image conscious, making them an excellent market for cosmetic dentistry.
One of the most unique features on LinkedIn is the user profile. Whereas most networks offer little more than a short biography and basic contact information, on LinkedIn, you can detail your entire professional history.
When you join, it seems like you face an unending barrage of questions to answer and information to fill in. Most users skip some, or most, of these questions during the initial signup process. Unfortunately, many of them neglect to complete their profiles later. This is one of the most common mistakes.
Review your profile, and add any missing information. The most important aspects include:
- A photo: A high-quality, professional profile picture is essential.
- Headline: Instead of a general term like “dentist,” make your headline descriptive and distinctive. For example, “holistic dentist, thought leader, and founder of My Practice.”
- Keywords: Search engine optimization is not just for websites. Google often includes results from social networks, including LinkedIn. Include your top, targeted keywords in the headline and summary, as well as in your content.
- Summary: Use this area to describe your qualifications, special areas of interest, and experience. It should be clear, concise, and well-written.
- Business page: Your own profile is about you. Create a business page for your practice.
Content for LinkedIn
The rapid growth of LinkedIn is partially attributable to changes in the network, which made it more versatile and user-friendly. In 2015, the Pulse app was fully integrated with LinkedIn, giving industry experts and influencers a unique platform and targeted audience. A more recent and possibly more significant update came late last year, when native video was introduced.
On most social networks, the best performing content is friendly, casual, relatable, and maybe even humorous. The goal is to humanize your practice and create an emotional connection with your audience. LinkedIn is different. It is designed for business, and the most effective content is professional, informative, and valuable.
Use LinkedIn to post information that is of interest to your peers as well as patients. The goal of content marketing here is to showcase your knowledge and position yourself as an expert in the field. A few examples of topics well-suited to this professional atmosphere include:
- Insights and advice about practice management
- Original dental research
- Discussion of clinical trials
- Case studies
- Oral health advice for working professionals
- Topics of interest to local businesspeople
- Job openings at your practice
Choosing and Using Groups
One of the most useful features of LinkedIn is groups. Although some forms of groups are available on most networks, they are typically dominated by hobby enthusiasts, cultural or political topics, and general chit-chat. LinkedIn groups are all business.
A quick search will reveal thousands of dental related groups, ranging from practice management topics to those focused on a specific sub-specialty. They present endless opportunities for networking, inspiration, research, and exchange of ideas. However, you don’t need to limit yourself to dental groups.
General healthcare groups can help you connect with potential referral sources. They also can boost your brand awareness within the medical community. Plus, look for regional and local groups. Connecting with business owners and professionals in your community will help increase brand awareness for your practice.
Choose your groups wisely. Select topics that are relevant and of interest to you. Groups are not the place for promotional content. Your contributions should add value to the conversation. The goal here is making connections, as well as gaining and sharing knowledge.
Don’t simply join and then ignore your groups, though. To benefit from these groups, as well as from the entire network, you need to be an active participant. In 2018, trends continue moving toward customized content, highly targeted marketing, and reputation building. LinkedIn is perfect for today’s dental marketing strategy.
Mr. Arulrajah is president and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete Internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education, and the online reputations of dentists. With a team of more than 140 full-time marketers, ekwa.com helps dentists who know where they want to go get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year. If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call (855) 598-3320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.