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Here’s what you thought about LinkedIn for dentists

Sept. 11, 2017
Is LinkedIn a good tool for dentists? Dr. Chris Salierno asked for your opinions, and he shares what some of you had to say about LinkedIn here.
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Editor, Dental Economics

Is LinkedIn a good tool for dentists? Dr. Chris Salierno asked for your opinions, and he shares what some of you had to say about LinkedIn here.


This article originally appeared in the Principles of Practice Management e-newsletter. Subscribe to this informative twice monthly practice management ENL here.

I recently asked “Does anyone around here actually use LinkedIn?” The responses were overwhelming. Unfortunately, I received more frustrations than insights, but perhaps this will serve as a starting point for improving dentists’ LinkedIn experiences.

Dr. Rodney Marshall from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, summed up the dilemma well when he wrote, “LinkedIn seems to be one of those resources that many younger people start when they’re in college because some professor told them they should do it. I follow many of these people and find that, once they set up LinkedIn, they rarely go back to it.”

I did hear from a few of you who saw the advantages of using this online Rolodex. Dr. Norman Medina from Camden, Maine, set up his LinkedIn page for some of the same reasons we all did. “If patients are doing Google searches for my name or variations of the search phrase, then I want to have some control over what pops up. LinkedIn is a friendly link. The more friendly a link, the better.”

Chris Bevel, the Director of Digital Marketing and Research Programs for the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, has had success engaging his alumni and positioning the university as a thought leader in oral health.

Many of you noted that LinkedIn’s interface is more clumsy than other social media networks. Dr. Marshall said, “Not being a personal Facebooker, I prefer Instagram and Twitter with a spattering of Snapchat rather than LinkedIn. All three are faster and have more user friendly platforms than LinkedIn.”

So, we have what many of you call “Facebook for business,” with an interface that leaves a bit to be desired. That seems harmless enough. Well, some of you said that you don’t like how LinkedIn asks for your personal contact lists, and you don’t want to spam your email groups. Others are bothered by the concept of connecting to people who are outside of your useful network.

Dr. George Williams from Houston, Texas vented, “Personally, I think LinkedIn is becoming like AOL, since everyone on the system is requesting that people they don’t know, have never met, and will never meet, become their ‘connection.’ It’s so diluted.” Is there really any benefit for a dentist in Houston to connect with a mortgage broker in St. Paul? Sure, maybe the mortgage broker can sell the dentist something, but that’s one-sided and most likely a waste of the dentist’s time.

Several of you shared that the majority of the new connections you do make are not what they seem to be. Dr. Elizabeth Reiter from Las Vegas, Nevada, is upset that, “The connections I have made all seem to just want to sell me their services.” There’s certainly a need for an online Rolodex, but at least a Rolodex is full of business cards from people you’ve actually met. Perhaps it’s too easy for salesmen to connect with large groups of people and offer them nothing in return.

How about using LinkedIn for finding employees? Dr. Joseph Graskemper from Bellport, New York, would love to make the best of this functionality. However, he said, “To hire someone on LinkedIn such as an assistant is not doable since the contact may be out of range or even out of state. However, I do see it being used as such if I were a very large office often looking for employee dentists.”

Where does this leave us? It doesn’t take much effort to build a LinkedIn profile that will potentially help populate the results page when people search for you or your business. There are many industries that make great use of LinkedIn, but it does seem that small, more local businesses such as dental practices won’t be able to reap those same benefits. Craigslist helps with our employment searches because it’s built to be hyper-local. Facebook and Instagram allow us to engage our growing social networks because our patients use them daily.

I was contacted by a couple of businesses that are creating products to enhance the LinkedIn experience. Until that happens, I foresee that dentistry will maintain its current relationship with this platform. It’s nice to have but it doesn’t really do much for us right now.



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