I recently read a blog with five tips on how to be successful with LinkedIn, the largest professional networking site in the world. Normally I don’t do blog articles to disagree with things I read online. I generally only talk about things I DO agree with and translate how they apply to dentistry.
But I am concerned that dentists will see articles like the one I read and then be hoodwinked when other marketing companies tout how they can use social media to attract new patients. I will say again: you don’t find new patients on social media.
So let’s look at these five tips about why LinkedIn attracts new customers – and why the writer is wrong.
- “Build a strong foundation.” In short, the writer says that having a strong LinkedIn profile helps you make a good impression on others. Here’s the key word to that: “others.” What others?
Most likely other dentists or dental professionals because that is probably who is in your LinkedIn network. Remember, the people who see you are those in your network or those in groups where you post comments or information. When was the last time a new patient said, “I saw a comment you made in our conversation for small business owners and knew you were the dentist for me”?
- “Build an Intelligent Network.” The author says to have broad connections in your LinkedIn network, accepting anyone who makes personal and professional sense. The author uses an example of the kinds of people she has in her network:
- former coworkers and classmates
- people in her industry
- neighbors and fellow residents of her city
- her business “target markets”
So out of this set of four groups, is there any group that will bring you more and better patients? Target markets for dentists are patients who need the procedures you want to perform. How would those patients find you or you find them to add you as a LinkedIn contact in any volume? More importantly, why would they connect with you on LinkedIn?
- “Add Constant Value.” That means sharing the best and most relevant contact with your network. Here comes the common refrain: your network DOES NOT include very many prospects. Your LinkedIn network contains professional contacts.
- “Promote and Connect Others.” This means connect some of your contacts to other contacts. Here is one way that you might attract more patients; not significantly more, but a few more.
Since most of your LinkedIn contacts are likely from the dental industry, perhaps you can share patients IF you are a general dentist and your contacts are specialists or vice versa. But are you going to be able to fund your retirement on referrals from LinkedIn contacts?
- “Have a Relationship Mindset.” The author wants you to build relationships with members of your LinkedIn network. Really? Really? It’s fine to have individual conversations and get to know people in your network. But for the time that takes, will that bring in a large enough number of new patients to make it worth the effort?
No, of course not.
So, to boil it down, even adding your LinkedIn network and the networks of those in your network will not provide you with enough prospects to be worth the investment of time. People are not looking on LinkedIn (or Facebook, Twitter or any other social media) for a dentist. Stick to what returns the highest ROI.