No doubt you’ve heard — again and again — that social media marketing is a vital component of a successful veterinary practice.
And you have (hopefully) heeded this well-intentioned advice by posting updates to your practice Facebook page, retweeting veterinary experts on Twitter and sharing the latest cat memes on Instagram. In addition to what social media can do for your business, have you ever considered what it might do for your own personal brand?
Most people consider updating their LinkedIn page only when searching for a new job, but having an engaging and thorough profile does more than attract potential employers. LinkedIn can be a strong vehicle for bolstering your personal credibility as an expert in veterinary medicine, and creating a robust profile doesn’t take much effort. Here are four tips to get you started, plus three ways you can use your profile to benefit your business.
The Perfect Profile
Simply having a profile photo results in up to 21 times more views, which makes it a great place to start. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer, but the image should be of you alone — no “where’s Waldo” group shots — and the image should be brightly lit and in focus. To enhance the photo, LinkedIn offers built-in editing features and a menu of filter options.
Headline and Summary
The headline and summary sections of your LinkedIn profile are two important areas where you can show off your skills, your experience and a bit of your personality. Don’t waste the opportunity by making your headline mimic your current job title or pasting a few lines from your resume into the summary field. Write an interesting headline that separates you from the rest of the pack, and consider crafting your summary in first person. Don’t be afraid to show off some of your personality by adding a few lines about what you do outside the office — especially if it relates to the industry in some way.
Yes, your LinkedIn profile should include creden-tials, such as where you went to school, the roles you’ve held and continuing education you have pursued, but it shouldn’t mirror your resume completely. Be sure to add details that differentiate you from the other veterinarians in your area; brag a little. This could include lectures you have given, awards received and published articles with your byline.
Recommendations and Endorsements
It is one thing for you to write about what an amazing veterinarian you are, but the sentiment is much more credible when it comes from someone else. Don’t be shy about asking for recommendations and endorsements from LinkedIn connections who know you and your work ethic. It’s common to make these requests, and it doesn’t hurt to return the favor either.
Recommendations are written statements from a connection that will appear at the bottom of your profile. These serve as mini references for anyone interested in learning more about you. Endorsements are one-click opportunities for connections to confirm your skills. They are less personalized than recommendations but show that you’re proficient in the areas of veterinary medicine you’ve listed elsewhere in your profile.
Better Your Business
Improve Your Reputation
LinkedIn is another online touchpoint for pet owners to form an impression of you and your veterinary hospital. It also has the added benefit of being something you’ve created about yourself and not a review from years ago that a one-time visitor wrote. If pet owners come to your page and see a profile filled with accolades and endorsements, they may be more likely to schedule an appointment.
Expand Your Professional Network
Networking is important, but it can be difficult to attend face-to-face events when your waiting room is filled with cats and dogs vying for your attention. Through LinkedIn, you can join a variety of industry-related groups where you can share ideas and connect with like-minded veterinarians from the comfort of your home or practice. These groups and the content other members post offer the ability to stay up to date on veterinary news. And who knows, you may find new referral opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise have been available.
Attract the Best Talent
LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool when you are looking to hire new staff members. Not only can you search through pools of qualified candidates to get a snapshot of their experiences, but your own profile lets potential employees know that you’re worth working for. After all, if given the opportunity, wouldn’t you want to know that you’re agreeing to work for a professional who excels in the industry?