When you consider marketing strategies, you probably think in terms of an audience made up of prospective patients. In fact, however, it may be more important from a business perspective to market yourself to fellow medical professionals. Reliance on referrals, of course, varies by discipline -- but every medical professional can benefit from maintaining a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn offers a unique social media presence that’s very different from those offered by Facebook and Twitter; rather than focusing on providing helpful content to patients or developing a persuasive voice, LinkedIn offers an opportunity to connect professionally with your peers. Here are five ways to market yourself on LinkedIn that can boost your visibility within the medical field and bring your name more quickly to mind when colleagues need to make referrals:
1. Showcase your resume
Resumes are the core of LinkedIn. Of course, there are a lot of sophisticated channels for networking and analytics that the platform provides, but everything starts with the resume. Until now, the only way you could publicize the breadth of your training and experience was to mount framed diplomas on your wall; now you can post those achievements on LinkedIn, together with areas of special expertise and unique perspective. Finally you have the chance to convey your full professional identity with nothing edited out!
2. Demonstrate thought leadership
If you have developed innovative ideas and methods that you’ve incorporated into your practice, you can write articles and blog entries that you share with a growing network of professional peers. Furthermore, unlike medical associations (which often limit dialog to physicians who share a practice discipline) LinkedIn allows you to connect with hospital administrators, marketing executives, and doctors in unrelated fields. You’ll come to mind when they have someone who needs your particular specialty.
3. Maintain your professional edge - and let people know it!
Continuing education can now expand past those solitary credits you have to earn in order to keep your license valid. LinkedIn includes a publishing engine, along with its other functions. Aggregated articles from more than 1 million publications are on offer, depending on the preferences that you express. Now you can talk with colleagues about what you’re studying, and share the information in a way that lets potential referrers know that you’re up to date on the latest information in your field.
4. Develop relationships
You and your colleagues are all busy, and probably don’t have a lot of time to engage in professional networking. Since social media interactions don’t have to happen in real time, you can grab a few minutes here and there during the day to write recommendations for colleagues whom you want to build rapport with. You can also locate someone you met at a conference, send them a message or invite them into a group. You never know where referrals are going to come from.
5. Provide accurate information
Practice names change, offices switch to new buildings, information posted in directories goes out of date. It may sound simplistic, but getting referrals does depend partly on the referring physician having easy access to reliable, up-to-date contact information for you. LinkedIn streamlines the entire referral process, and opens a channel for the referring doc to easily reach you to give some background information on a patient they’re sending to you.
With over 200 million unique monthly views, LinkedIn is a giant worldwide professional network. Add your voice and stake out your section of digital real estate; once other doctors can see who you are, they’ll feel good about referring their patients to you.