LinkedIn and the Power of Connecting

When it comes to your individual and business brands, LinkedIn is king of the social media platforms. It's your best face forward, and is an effective way to connect with people in your community – and to keep your connections up to date on your practice and dental trends. While Facebook and Twitter can also be used for business, their best uses are very different.

Facebook is very much about personal and social relationships, and Twitter is most commonly used as a platform for short, informative updates. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is all about making – and nurturing - professional connections. You’re going to connect with potential clients, customers, peers, mentors and referrers. As a result, your LinkedIn strategy will be different than other social channels.

LinkedIn can be a great resource to find a job, but that’s only a small part of how to use it to support your career. LinkedIn has reported more than 80 percent of its users are either researching individuals and/or companies, or looking to network with peers or others in the community (Seiter, 2015). It has also become a solid source to share business information such as articles, case studies, white papers and news updates. 

With this in mind, it is important to use your personal profile to tell people about you. Your LinkedIn profile shares some of the features of a resume, but is a living thing. A well designed profile allows you to reinforce your personal and professional brand. 

Here are some keys to a top-performing personal LinkedIn profile:

  • Make sure your headline is clear and simple. Whereas a Vice President of Sales might brag about achievements, it’s best to be straightforward. For example, “Pediatric Dentist at Sunshine Dental” is just fine.
  • Choose a headshot photo that isn’t too casual, or too formal. Make sure you come across as approachable. No one wants to visit a dentist whose serious photo face makes them nervous. 
  • Share current information about you and your dental practice.
  • Uses the professional summary as a mini commercial.  Be creative about how you talk about your values, beliefs and experiences. If you specialize in kids, or fearful patients, this is the place to talk about that. 
  • Demonstrates both professional and community involvement. If you’re on a board or volunteer for a local nonprofit, talk about what you’ve done with and for them. If your hobby is writing political thrillers, feel free to drop a teaser. You can also talk about any awards you’ve won or certificates you’ve earned, whether for your professional work, or for personal interests. 
  • Update regularly with links to interesting articles. This allows you to provide insight into your values and beliefs, as well as how you run your dental practice. And people appreciate discovering new things that may benefit them. 
  • Once you have your profile up, be sure to connect with people you know – patients, friends, business acquaintances from the community and family. LinkedIn makes this easy if you use their “connect” feature. They will look through the email addresses on your computer or phone and find LinkedIn matches. Then you can reach out. 
  • When connecting with someone on LinkedIn, you may choose the canned “send invite” or you can include a personal note. When possible, it’s a good idea to write a very short note, especially if it’s not someone you see or talk with regularly.
  • Once you’ve connected with people you know, and you start to post and share interesting articles, you have an opportunity to be discovered by friends of your friends.
  • LinkedIn will also suggest you connect with “someone you might know” but be thoughtful here. Many people don’t respond to requests from strangers. 
  • Also, don’t be afraid to join LinkedIn groups. These are great places to ask questions, as well as provide information about topics you’re comfortable with.
  • You can also ask friends, patients and colleagues to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you. These can be powerful sources of new business.

As you can see, LinkedIn is a great marketing tool that allows you to tell others about your dental practice and yourself.  It’s easy, and it’s free. As with all social media, consistency is the key.