Attention Specialists! LinkedIn is a Practice Open House Happening Online
When I deliver my continuing education courses on social media to a group of doctors, a specialist will approach me to say, “Social media is only for the general practitioners, not specialists since our patients only come from doctor referral.”
If social media is a cocktail party that’s happening online, then Facebook is the neighborhood party (better for generalists) and LinkedIn is the practice open house (better for specialists.)
And if you are not at the open house, you are missing out on big opportunities to connect with more referring doctors.
Here is a simple guide that explains to specialists how to use LinkedIn to build their practices:
Build your LinkedIn Network from Scratch
New to LinkedIn? Let’s get this party started! First, connect with those who already know and love you, then branch out:
- Search. In the search box, search for industry friends, competitors and current referrers. Anyone who you would invite to an open house today.
- Connect. Once you find people who are already familiar with you, click “Connect.” An invitation will be sent to them. Now sit back, relax, and watch as they accept your invitation and your online open house comes to life.
- Branch out. As your circle grows, browse your each of your connection’s contacts and connect with those folks, too. This is the same as introducing yourself to a friend’s friend at your open house. To do this online, first view your connection’s profile. Then scroll down to “Connections.” Search his or her connections and click “Connect” on potential referrers and anyone else you would like to get to know better. You can also send a private message to a connection, asking for an email introduction to a potential referrer who you see is a connection of theirs, but who you don’t yet know.
Build Your Network of Referring Doctors
Got the foundation down? Now, let’s make this open house work for us! Here’s how to attract more referring doctors than ever before:
- Drill down. Search for referring professions such as DDS or MD.
- Refine further. Limit your search to your city or cities from which you would like to receive referrals. Find “Location” on left side of screen and check boxes for desired cities. If your city is not listed, click “Add” and find your city or neighboring city.
- Go to the second level. Look for “2nd Connections” in the results and click “Connect.” An invitation will be sent to them. This time, watch carefully for acceptances.
- Reach out. Once they accept you connection request, send a friendly private message to their LinkedIn account (InMail). The notification of acceptance will have a button that says “Send a Message” – simply click there and follow the prompts. Remember to keep the email short, conversational and friendly – three to five sentences maximum. Ask for a lunch meeting or phone call and propose a date and time. And know that paying for an upgraded LinkedIn account will allow you to send an InMail to most LinkedIn members, regardless of degree of connection.
Once you get the appointment with your new connection, impress them with your affability and credibility and you will have a loyal referrer for years to come!