No-See-Ums: tiny biting flies that often live near water. You often see many of them swarming together in a cloud. Keep your mouth shut or you might breathe some in or swallow them! (It won’t hurt you, but it will probably make you cough.) Biting midges are called no-see-ums because they’re so tiny that it is hard to see ‘um. No-see-ums are less than ¼ of an inch long. (source: http://pelotes.jea.com/AnimalFact/Arthropod/NOSEEUM.htm)
Don’t worry; this isn’t an intro to fly fishing for dentists or even an entomology 101 dental hobby discourse.
Recent events emanating out of the annals of local search bring together the annoyance of no-see-ums with the importance of local small businesses – of which your dental practice is one.
Annoyance or Importance?
In this age of digital interconnectivity we often make purchasing decisions based on what other people say.
From searching for a new dentist to buying a used car, the ubiquitous online review guides us toward a final decision more so now than any other time in recent history.
What is that old adage about word of mouth?
…customers happy with our products or services will share their experience with 3 other people; and customers not so happy with our products or services will share their experience with 12 others…or is it 3000?
“…blind praise is worthless in the absence of fair criticism.”
The preceding quote is credited to Bryant Gumble; it was enclosed in a wrap-up closing thoughts segment of a recent HBO® Real Sports with Bryant Gumble installment. The aforementioned host was examining the sexism evident in the general U.S. media response to the U.S. Women’s World Cup Final soccer match against Japan that took place back on July 17th.
Throughout time truer words probably have been spoken, “Give me liberty, or give me death” comes to mind.
When it comes to dentists and online reputation management, fear is often the overwhelming emotion preventing most dental practices from capitalizing on what is already most likely their number one new patient acquisition source – word of mouth.
Fear about what patients might say online about their practice, fear masses of people will see a negative review and immediately launch a county-wide boycott of their services, or maybe just fear that they’re going to be found out – maybe they’ve been faking it with hopes of making it all this time.
Good thing is, being a dentist there’s nothing really to fake – right?
Take it straight from the horse’s mouth; LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 100 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.
So how does that benefit your dental practice?
Do you know what appears on the search engine results pages when someone searches for your name, or that of your practice?
Hopefully your professionally designed dental website, practice Facebook page, and your professional LinkedIn profile.
As a dentist you are a local community health care expert, despite whatever nomenclature issues that presents to your political ideology. As a local dentistry expert you need to be part of the evolving LinkedIn community if only just to communicate your experience, education, and professional achievements. The bottom line is every community professional and business owner should have a LinkedIn professional profile.
LinkedIn gives you the online credibility and allows you to begin monitoring your good name, and that of your practice.
As a community dental expert, it is your primary responsibility to regularly monitor your online practice reputation. A little monitoring of your own name comes in a close second. A professional LinkedIn profile is the first step in monitoring your personal and practice online reputation. Take the necessary steps to begin controlling, monitoring, and participating in your professional online identity.
Isn’t that better than someone starting a profile in your name; can you imagine the irreparable harm that could do to your professional online identity?
If you currently get referrals from a specialist in town, or trade patients with a local colleague while you’re on vacation, you need to be on LinkedIn. Your professional profile can be the conduit to generating more new patient referral avenues, participating in online study groups and local news stories, broadcasting local philanthropic events, or even recruiting staff.
You are a local dental expert, act like one. If you don’t already have one, initiate your professional LinkedIn profile and stake your claim. Join the largest online professional network and immediately benefit from increased online visibility for your dental practice. It’s your responsibility; you owe it to your practice, your staff, and your patients.
Many a dentist is still dealing with the never-ending battle of increasing their Google placement and overall search engine visibility. Yahoo and Bing have also taken steps to rank the social factor into the search engine results pages. Basically what that means to you is this; having a Linked profile affords your dental practice a greater degree of online visibility than not having one.
While we’re at it, second that notion for Facebook and yes even Twitter. Think Twitter is for twits?
Think again. While you may regard tooth tweets as a novel idea, the search engines are quietly enveloping Twitter into their ranking formulas.
Getting back to LinkedIn, think of the search engine results pages – which some say will be unrecognizable in as little as 5 years – as parking lots for your professional identity. Initiating, updating, and monitoring your LinkedIn profile enables you to secure a parking spot you didn’t have before. It’s a competitive parking lot; you need to get in the game before all the spots are gone!
Why would the search engines be unrecognizable in 5 years?
Search has gone social, and local, and personal.
You can immediately increase your local dental practice online visibility with a LinkedIn professional profile. Take the beginning steps to securing your professional online reputation, communicate your practice specialties, experience, and location; develop profitable professional relationships and claim your name.
LinkedIn is a good start to communicating your practice credibility, and increasing your online visibility. But it’s your responsibility to devote the time, energy, and resources necessary to staking your claim. The sooner you do it, the sooner you can start benefiting from your increased digital practice signature.
Is it possible to recruit new patients using LinkedIn?