When you think about social media marketing, Google AdWords and Facebook will probably spring to mind as obvious channels to get your message across. However, other social platforms, including LinkedIn, can provide a cost-effective means of expanding the client base of a dental office.
One way how LinkedIn can help your dental practice is by establishing a consistent, businesslike presence on the social networking site to help you maintain a trustworthy reputation that can ultimately result in more referrals and repeat patients.
Launched in 2003, LinkedIn focuses on business and employment, and is now the world’s biggest network for professional interaction, with employers posting vacancies, and job-seekers uploading CVs. It is considered the fastest-growing online business network platform – the Facebook of the professional world – providing a valuable resource of professional expertise and advice.
LinkedIn currently boasts 500 million members across 200 countries. However, figures for 2016 showed that only 106 million LinkedIn accounts were active.
According to technology information resource Lifewire, many people who set up a LinkedIn account abandon it on realizing they have no idea how it should be used, because they don’t have a clue about the benefits of the social networking service.
The fact that so many professionals are still in the dark about the strengths of LinkedIn marketing presents an opportunity for small businesses such as your dental office to attract new patients via a platform probably overlooked or underused by your competitors, yet still commanding a large audience.
LinkedIn offers two types of advertising: traditional ads and sponsored updates, which can both be effective for dental offices. The format is extremely affordable and similar to that of Facebook.
Traditional adverts appear on your profile or home page. You can use written content and images, or video footage, to link to your LinkedIn company page and your own website. Sponsored ads are like promoted tweets on Twitter: you create a LinkedIn post and then pay to widen its reach.
Because LinkedIn advertising allows you to target people’s interests, you can focus on only those likely to need your services – your current and prospective patients – based on the details of their profile.
You can fine-tune your promotional campaign by concentrating on aspects like location, gender and age. For example, you might want to engage with older people in your location with gum problems, or young couples within your catchment area who may be seeking orthodontic services for their kids.
The price of a LinkedIn ad is determined by auction as you compete with other advertisers who want to reach a similar audience.
LinkedIn gives you three ways to control your advertising expenditure: a daily budget, total budget, and maximum bids. Setting the maximum figure you're willing to pay for impressions and clicks means you won’t pay more than the price you bid, and you can stop and restart your adverts at any time.
Effective direct advertising is not the only way how LinkedIn can help your dental practice. The platform offers many other benefits, so let’s take a look at some of them…
LinkedIn is a powerful asset for business-to-business (B2B) companies, but how effective is it for business-to-consumer (B2C) operations like dental practices?
As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn connects people who hold prominent positions within companies. Engaging with these decision-makers is an important step if your practice wants to create affiliate connections.
You can also use your LinkedIn personal profile to connect with prospective patients by telling them how your education and background has shaped your practice culture and philosophy. If your profile contains relevant content and keywords, it will appear high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) of Google and other major search engines.
Other features of your profile that will help to generate more patients for your practice include:
Even if you do no more than set up a basic profile with your practice details and website address, having a LinkedIn presence is regarded as a sign of legitimacy, demonstrating your professionalism and strengthening your reputation, while reinforcing your dental office as a brand. Two LinkedIn profiles are opened every second.
However, you can also create business pages to promote your practice. You can use this resource to list your different dental services and specialties, and post updates across desktops, tablets and mobiles about any new developments within your dental office.
LinkedIn’s company pages – similar to business pages on other social platforms – enable you to consolidate your practice’s brand, attract followers and engage with potential patients through informative content.
Company pages on LinkedIn hold a few advantages over business pages on other platforms, including:
These features can be used to give extra value to LinkedIn users in general and more information about your practice to patients. LinkedIn company pages raise the brand image of your practice while boosting search engine optimization (SEO) to drive more traffic to your website and generate new patients.
One benefit of LinkedIn for dental practices is that it’s a place where you can share ideas with fellow dental professionals. Besides pooling thoughts and viewpoints, LinkedIn groups can also be used as a research tool to keep up to speed with developments in the profession, as you interact with other dentists. You can also showcase your expertise by answering people’s questions about dental topics, which can drive traffic to your website.
You can post recommendations about other dentists, and request endorsements for yourself, which will help you to gain more referrals from your fellow professionals while establishing your trustworthiness in the eyes of potential new patients.
As a social media platform that concentrates on business relationships, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to provide valuable information and assert yourself as an expert willing to help people by providing content on dental advice and industry trends, and links to helpful dental resources.
Furthermore, LinkedIn news feeds can be an informative source to keep abreast of the latest health and technology developments.
Although your ultimate goal is to generate more patients, it pays to bear in mind that first you need to build a rapport with your LinkedIn audience so they will accept that you’re trustworthy.
Social media promotional tools are faster, cheaper and more effective than traditional dental practice marketing channels. That’s why many dentists use social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You may already have a LinkedIn account but don’t make use of its full potential as a marketing tool. At the very least, try to share LinkedIn updates regularly.
It’s important to invest resources and time to establish a strong presence on LinkedIn, and there are numerous benefits of LinkedIn advertising for dental practices. However, remember that as a network for professionals, LinkedIn is largely a B2B network, so set realistic goals and don’t expect results overnight.
If used in a smart way, LinkedIn can promote your practice, boost your Google rankings, and drive prospective new patients to your website. DentalROI will be able to show you exactly how LinkedIn can help your dental practice by conveying the professionalism, personality and reputation of your practice to an audience interested in your services. Give us a call today to get started!