If you haven’t thought about it before, there is serious cause for concern. It’s situation critical, you could be missing out on new patients, and losing long-time-once-loyal existing patients. All for not properly monitoring what is being said about you and your dental practice online.
What’s in a name?
Even if you don’t care what others say about you and prefer not to sink to any finger pointing level, the fact is online patient reviews are here to stay. You have a lot invested in your name, and the first step to protecting your good name should be a LinkedIn account. You can sign up for one free, populate your profile with professional accomplishments, join industry or community groups, and basically take the first step in securing your good name. With online reputation management becoming increasingly necessary for the average dental practice, LinkedIn is a good place to start.
It doesn’t take any advanced degree or CE time to fill out a profile and upload a photo. Here is a list of the Top 3 mistakes most dentists make with their LinkedIn profile.
1. Your Photo – or lack thereof
You’d be surprised how many dentists prefer to remain anonymous. Here’s the rub, its social media – you need to be out there. It all starts with your photo, don’t use a logo file and don’t use a personal or family photo in that space meant for your mug. You can go at it yourself with any smartphone on the market, but lighting and background present the most challenges for the DIY phone photographer. Your best bet is to invest the time and money to get a professional portrait done if you don’t have something recent. Lab coat, shirt and tie works. Jacket and tie works. Scrubs do not. Get the picture?
2. No Social Connections
Join relevant groups and seek out connections. Your online study group is on LinkedIn, your suppliers and product reps are on LinkedIn, the dental association you belong to is on LinkedIn…go forth and mingle. You can easily search for professional connections by email, keyword, schools you attended, and already existing connections. There are no more excuses. Furthermore, with all of these new found connections should come a request for a recommendation. Recommendations are like LinkedIn currency, what ‘tweets’ are to your practice Twitter account, and what ‘Likes’ are to your practice Facebook page. Make sure those PRACTICE social media profiles are connected to YOUR professional LinkedIn profile. Be sure to ask for recommendations from all of your connections, and keep doing so.
3. Zero Participation
With teeth to fill and staff to drill, you certainly don’t need to be checking your LinkedIn profile every day, but once a week shouldn’t interfere too much with tee times and tennis matches. One key point most dental practices miss with social media is, the aim to share valuable and beneficial information to the rest of us. Give without the expectation of receiving, your practice will benefit from the online visibility alone. Believe it or not, people ask questions on LinkedIn – and they use LinkedIn Answers to find just that. Maybe a specialist in town is searching for a new referral pipeline, or maybe your sister’s neighbor asked why he should ‘Like’ your practice Facebook page. Or maybe you can answer a dental related question out there and direct inquisitive people back to your practice website or blog as reference. Even if you answer a question from halfway around the world at least you were able to help point them in the right direction. More importantly, since your ANSWER is linked to your profile, anyone in your local community can see your answer…when they search for your name online. Can you see how this may impact someone’s perception of you?
It seems no matter what we buy these days, someone is asking for customer reviews on everything from TVs to restaurants. People even take to the Internet airwaves to rave (or gripe) about their last dental experience. Do yourself a favor and at the very least secure your good name today by initiating your LinkedIn professional profile. You owe it to your practice, to your community, and to yourself.
How is your practice handling online patient reviews?