Many physicians are being advised to initiate their new media journey by building out a presence on LinkedIn. LinkedIn-LogoFor the average physician, I personally I believe this is a bad idea.

Physicians offer up a lack of time as one of the primary reasons why they do not have a new media or social media presence. Many more report that they do not see that there is an upside to having a social media presence.  As a physician on LinkedIn, not only do you have a virtual “please sell to me” sign on your forehead, most will perceive their presence on LinkedIn as a huge waste of time.  Unless you are an aspiring entrepreneur, etc you will find that the connections you make on LinkedIn are weak at best. In addition, while your patients are looking you up online, for the most part they are not looking at your LinkedIn profile.  They are looking on other health oriented sites.

My personal experience:

  •  80 percent of interactions over one year were virtual sales calls. A few meaningful business relationships have started on LinkedIn, but my presence on LI, has not resulted in one patient entering my practice.. at least to my knowledge (and I do query people often).
  •  I have not been in contact with another physician about a medical related question … ever.

Online Reputation Management

Having a deep online presence will benefit you professionally.  No question. One of the main reasons to explore an online presence in the healthcare space is that your patients are looking for information about you and your practice.  Not only are they assessing your qualifications, they are looking for stories, they are looking for videos, they are looking for clues as to who you are and whether or not a visit to you is worth their time.  But guess what … Your patients are not looking for you on LinkedIn. Spend your valuable time elsewhere. –– Build out your presence on Doximity. Let other doctors reach you, and know who you are. –– Build out your presence, and areas of expertise on:

  1. HealthGrades
  2. Vitals
  3. ZocDoc ( subscription service)
  4. Yelp
  5. Google Places for Business

  There is plenty of information about you online.  Who do you want to be in control of that message?  Why not begin to control your message in an area that matters to you –– and many of your patients.

If you Google your name, you will see that the aforementioned sites rank very high on the list. In fact, Google Places for Business will have the most dramatic affect on search results in Google – taking up most of the right-hand column. If you build out your presence on LinkedIn and do not build your profiles elsewhere because you want to see how your LI presence works… you will be sorely disappointed, and you will be answering many sales calls.  That being said … If you are a physician entrepreneur, inventor, investor, or are interested in communicating with groups of like-minded people, then LinkedIn might be for you. But it will not contribute to your ORM strategy for your practice or brand, and it will leave you with a bitter taste regarding your first foray into the online space.