Patients have access to too much information now to simply choose doctors based on marketing catch phrases and gimmicks: “Get One Tummy Tuck and your Brazilian Butt Lift is Half Off!” These days, effective medical marketing for physicians is about building trust and gaining exposure in the medical community. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for doctors to build trust while reaching more patients and physician referral sources.
The professional network is 277 percent more effective for lead generation than Twitter and Facebook according to HubSpot. It offers a lot of opportunities for any medical business owner provided you implement effective strategies. As of October 2016, LinkedIn had over 10 billion endorsements in total, a geographical reach of over 200 nations, 106 million monthly visitors, 128 million U.S. users, and a total of 467 million users.
SalesForce indicated in 2015 that LinkedIn is the third social network that business owners are commonly using with 62 percent claiming to be active users and another 22 percent showing their intention to start doing so in the coming year. Obviously, it’s not a networking site you should ignore. Here are 5 effective ways doctors can get more business from LinkedIn:
1. Create a Killer Profile—Focus on Searchable Keywords
LinkedIn allows you to give your potential patients a much deeper understanding of the breadth and depth of your experience. The key to a successful LinkedIn profile isn’t to describe what you do as much as to describe what you do for others. It’s a subtle shift from a standard CV, but a significant one. However, you should not omit information that appears on a standard CV–including any areas that you or your practice specializes in as well as any research papers you may have authored and recognitions you have achieved. The more completely you fill in your profile, the more likely you are to be found in searches. LinkedIn will alert you about the strength of your profile, so shoot for “All-Star” status. When crafting your LinkedIn profile, make sure you identify your top 3-5 keywords. Include those keywords in your:
3. Job Titles
Sprinkle those keywords into other sections of your profile as well while using them organically in sentences. Profiles that are up to date perform better in search, so edit your profile at least once a month. Put effort into your profile picture and headline since these are the two major areas of your search result listing. Make sure your profile picture is a professional headshot and your headline–which can contain up to 120 characters–grabs attention. The more clicks on your search result listing indicates to LinkedIn that your profile is relevant. Edit your public LinkedIn URL to include your full name. This will make it easier for people to find you. Don’t forget to add specific skills to your profile. This will help optimize your profile for keyword searches and help you get endorsements from your network. Make sure that the box next to “Make My Public Profile Visible to Everyone” is checked and include a link to your LinkedIn profile on your email signature, your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ accounts and any of your websites.
2. Download the LinkedIn App
When you meet a new doctor who would like to send you patients, or if you make new connections with people who are interested in your medical services, immediately connect with them using the LinkedIn app. You are much more likely to retain the contact via LinkedIn as opposed to grabbing a business card that you will lose in less than 24 hours. It is also much more efficient to send a LinkedIn request on your smartphone app immediately than remembering to connect later on your desktop or laptop. Interact with your new LinkedIn connections and don’t forget to comment on their posts, endorse them for their strengths, recommend them for their contributions, and congratulate them on their meaningful milestones.
3. Join and Participate in LinkedIn Groups
As a healthcare provider, participation in LinkedIn groups is a major plus and there are so many you can join right away. Explore the profiles of physician influencers in your community and pay attention to the groups they have joined. You can also search for groups using LinkedIn’s search feature. You can belong to up to 100 groups at a time. Some of the common physician peer groups include Marketing and Networking for Business Professionals and Doctors, Medical Doctor (MD) Network, Medical Doctors (MD/DO) Group, Health 2.0, Healthcare Industry Professionals Group, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Physicians Practice, Healthcare Physician Practice Management, and the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs. You can also create your own healthcare groups which will allow you to connect with potential patients. For example, if you specialize in oncology, then a group bringing together cancer experts and patients can certainly help build your reputation. Groups can also make you a better doctor by giving you access to excellent advice and guidance from your peers.
Note that these forums aren’t the place where you post content about your medical practice and share everything about yourself. Some people consider that rude and egotistical and you could be thrown out. Be as human as you can. When appropriate, offer feedback to questions posted by members, “like” posts that sincerely move you, share reputable articles, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you join numerous groups, make sure to go to your LinkedIn privacy settings so you can limit the number of Group Digest Emails you receive or your inbox will get overloaded. One fabulous asset of joining many groups is If you’re a member of a LinkedIn group with someone, you’ll be able to send him a message through the group member list even if he is not a first degree connection.
4. Post Valuable Content
The blogging feature (LinkedIn Pulse) was introduced in 2014 and gives every single medical professional, who wants to put in the effort, a chance to be an influencer. Note that when you publish posts, you need to share personal original views and not just copy and paste material either from the web or your medical practice’s blog section. For expert tips on how to drive the most traffic to your LinkedIn post, check out How to Publish on LinkedIn Pulse—A Beginner’s Guide. Don’t forget to link valuable information in your post to your own practice website. Share well-researched information that your patients, potential referral sources, and others will find helpful. You can also share articles from other outlets, videos, and webinars through LinkedIn’s “share an update” feature. Make sure to analyze the data after you share any post: pay attention to the “likes” and comments you get on each post and continue posting material that has a pattern of getting the most favorable responses. With time, readers and viewers will start interacting with you—a thoughtful and knowledgeable person who cares about helping them.
5. Post Sponsored Updates
As a doctor, you can use sponsored updates to reach a targeted audience in the professional networking site. The beauty of sponsored updates is that you can actually tailor updates to reach a specific type of audience in terms of seniority and role, industry, company or location. This has been found to be more effective and detailed targeting than any other segmentation provided on other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Make sure you include CTAs (calls-to-action) in sponsored updates that will turn visitors into patients
6. Request Recommendations
You might hesitate to request recommendations out of sheer laziness. You may also be experiencing an internal dialogue of self-doubt and fear which holds you back from asking people to recommend you: “What if they say no? Do they even remember me? What if they write something negative?” You can be sure that your colleagues are getting recommendations and posting them on their LinkedIn profile pages. Request reviews from patients or colleagues whom you know will definitely provide a glowing recommendation due to the exceptional service you have provided them. The good news is you can handpick which recommendations you would like to include on your profile—in contrast to Yelp and other platforms where you have no control over what reviews about you get posted.
While LinkedIn can be powerful in driving business to your physician practice, it’s not a standalone marketing strategy. Include it in your practice’s marketing mix and remember that it is only as effective as the value you add to your network. If you simply focus on sharing extremely valuable information with your network and remaining authentic, then new business will surely come your way.