How to use LinkedIn to grow your private practice

How to use LinkedIn to grow your private practice

LinkedIn is a great way to build your personal brand. Whether you are on the start of your journey in private practice or if you are growing your private medical business, having a personal brand will give your practice strong foundations.

Not so long ago, LinkedIn was the weird cousin of the cooler, bigger social networking kids. Used mainly for job-hoppers and head hunters, LinkedIn has worked on its own personal brand over the last few years to become the social network of choice for professionals.

As you are already an expert in your particular field, LinkedIn bolsters this by pushing you forward as a thought leader.  Sharing your insights as a subject matter expert is not only helpful but establishes your name as that go-to person for questions in your specialist area. Private hospitals and businesses within the medical profession are already connecting on LinkedIn, establishing partnerships and networking with specialists like you.

Your industry peers are meeting patients who are seeking support every day, and it’s in our nature to want to help. Be the go-to practice that other consultants can recommend to patients. By establishing and nurturing your presence on LinkedIn, you can reach and engage with peers all over the world, and they can reach out to you.

This is why, if you are building your private practice, you need to be paying attention to LinkedIn.

 

LinkedIn facts

Almost half of LinkedIn’s 585 million users access the site on a daily basis. And with over 25 million users in the UK alone, that’s a lot of networking.

LinkedIn has also got a pretty great track record of converting your page visitors to leads. Three times higher than Facebook or Twitter, making it one of the best performing platforms out there.

 

Personal brand vs business brand

But should you pump your time and effort into your personal LinkedIn profile or try to build up your practice page on the platform?

LinkedIn is about networking. The personal connection. Posts by people are favoured more than posts by businesses. This is for good reason because as humans, we tend to trust personal connections more than we do businesses.

Share some of your personal flair as well. You don’t need to be all business and no humour. While putting up your meal plans for the day might be frowned upon, sharing some of the moments that have made your day interesting can remind your network of who you are and what you do.

 

Ways in which to use LinkedIn

By now, you have established that LinkedIn is a powerful way to network. You see the value in adding a personal voice, but what can you do on LinkedIn to get the most out of the platform?

LinkedIn has worked hard to give you the tools you need to reach your future audience.  Make sure you use as many of them as you can.

 

Review your profile

Start by reviewing your personal profile. Your job description and introduction are the first things that people will read about you.  Within this short word count, someone will make a decision to either read more or move on. Make those words count.

Think of it as a headline-grabbing moment. Tell your story and pull your audience in to read more.  Once they are in make sure your profile is polished and up to date.

 

Post content

One of the most important things you can do on LinkedIn is to post content that people want to read. An easy way to start is to post an article that you find interesting or relevant to your field of work. Use this to make a statement and ask a question.

Your network only needs to like or comment on it for it to be shared amongst your third level of network and for people to see your name.

Try to post once a day and start having conversations with your network.  If you have a particular goal in mind, such as gaining new connections, then you might want to get a LinkedIn strategy that fine-tunes your activities towards this goal.

 

Articles

Don’t forget to write an article once in a while, too. Articles are a great way to share your best performing content. You’ll find that articles get traffic for a much longer period of time than posts.

 

Get in touch

This is just scratching the surface of the potential on LinkedIn. If you are launching a product or service, holding an event, or looking to get new business leads, our marketing team can advise on the best LinkedIn strategy to achieve your goals. Get in touch to find out more.

 

How does your practice grow?

How does your practice grow?

top-tips-jigsaw

 

TopTips2Jane Braithwaite’s latest article in her series about managing your private practice puts the spotlight on the broad area of business development.

 

We often see or hear the term ‘business development’, but it is little understood and often it is confused with sales.

Well, I see business development as all the activities that lead to developing your practice or clinic in terms of growth and expansion.

Anyone who has their own private practice or medical company will understand that the healthcare landscape changes all the time.

To grow and develop, we need to change with it. One of the key reasons for business decline is a failure to spot change and exploit the new opportunities that change offers.

Business development is broadly considering what we need to do to ensure we have insight into upcoming markets, services and/or technology that could make an impact on our current businesses.

This month, I am going to explore the various options that are open to all of us and I hope one or more of these ideas resonate with you.

Developing and growing your practice or clinic further might mean offering additional services to your existing patients or looking at new channels to appeal to a new set of patients for your existing services. It might be a mixture of both. In either case, there are numerous options.

Expensive overhead

top-tips-jigsaw-smallPerhaps there is a complementary aspect of healthcare that your existing patients would appreciate. You could enable this by inviting another practitioner to make use of your facilities.

Physical consulting space is an expensive overhead and it is always wise to consider how you can make better use of the space you have in a way that might complement your practice. Do some market research or competitor research to find out what your options might be.

You may feel there is an opportunity to grow by servicing a wider geography. Could you add another clinic at a hospital in a different location, if your schedule allows?

It might also be worthwhile considering different age groups and identifying the differing needs of each group. Consider the age range of your current population.

If the patients at your clinic tend to be 40-plus, do you need to review your marketing activities to attract potential patients below the age of 40?

A good understanding of the different requirements of differing age groups will assist you when it comes to marketing your services at a broader age group. Perhaps the message to younger patients is about preventive healthcare rather than specific treatment plans.

New offerings

Technology now offers us different ways to communicate with patients and this may enable new service offerings such as telephone, email or skype consultations.

Embracing these technologies may allow you to offer more frequent support to your current patients and allow you to reach patients who are unable to see you in person. There are several very successful companies offering only ‘virtual’ consultations.

There may well be a greater opportunity for doctors who are able to offer both face-to-face and virtual services in a complementary manner.

Regardless of how you decide you should develop and grow your practice, there are numerous ways in which you can ensure you meet your objectives.

Networking wins

top-tips-jigsaw-smallOne of the main ways to identify and research new opportunities for business development, and to progress them, is to invest time in networking.

It’s a core part of business development, as leveraging relationships is critical to success. How do you maintain relationships with patients, staff, suppliers, organisations, the local community, hospitals and other doctors?

Traditional networking is about communicating in person with patients, colleagues, suppliers and peers. There are numerous events that provide such opportunities and often provide valuable opportunities for education and reflection.

Do you arrange regular events at your practice and invite your own contacts to attend? This requires a real investment in time and effort, but can provide valuable opportunities for referrers, patients and prospective patients to get to know you.

You will also get some valuable feedback this way – people are far more forthcoming in person than on a feedback form.

Networking these days also includes your online network. Your practice may have several different social media channels that allow you to communicate with a wider audience. The most personal networking tool is probably LinkedIn.

It’s a valuable tool, especially for keeping in contact with your peer group. Most people check LinkedIn at least once each week to accept connection requests and check on messages, but you could maximise its power by contributing to conversations daily so that your name comes to mind at the right time.

Presenting at conferences and events only suits certain individuals, but if this type of activity appeals to you, it is a powerful way to reach a far wider group of people. If presenting is not especially attractive to you, then perhaps publishing articles is more realistic and enjoyable.

Powerful communication

top-tips-jigsaw-smallVideo is a very powerful way of communicating with your audience. Like presenting, you will either love it or hate it, but it is a very wise investment. Ideally, you would create regular videos, upload them on You Tube and link to your website. This is an area that is going to grow and grow in popularity.

Healthcare marketing is rapidly becoming more focused on digital, but still relies significantly on print advertising. Whether you’re handling your own marketing or outsourcing it, you must be clear on what your audience and goals are before starting.

Without an awareness of whom you want to reach and what you want to achieve, any money spent is wasted.

You also need to bear in mind the guidelines issued by the GMC and the BMA around ethics and confidentiality when it comes to marketing your services.

Below, I have highlighted some important marketing areas to keep in mind, but it’s important to get a full assessment of your marketing needs, as every business is different.

Business website

I suspect that anyone reading this has a website of some description, but is it doing a good job for you? Is your website helping you to reach your desired audience? Once potential patients visit your website, do they follow through to book an appointment?

A website should not be a static tool but should evolve and change over time to better suit your purpose. For a start, any website which isn’t enhanced for mobiles is not going to appeal to users – you may lose them before they have got past the homepage.

Does your website allow users to book an appointment online? If competitors have this option, so should you.

What capability do you have to record testimonials from your site or include reviews from other sites such as Trustpilot, Facebook or Doctify?

Patient reviews are key to build your reputation, and therefore your business.

Finally, a key way for new patients to find your website is a Google search, but this relies on your site being optimised for search engines (SEO).

Many people think that SEO is a one-off activity, but it’s best to review every six months to make sure that your brand is still appearing near the top. This is where it does pay to hire an SEO expert, as it’s a science which relies on many factors and changes often.

Business blogs

One of the main factors which affects SEO is ‘freshness’ of content – a website which never changes will not score highly and won’t appear on the first page of results. This is one of the reasons why so many businesses embrace regular blogs.

Blogs, if marketed properly and consistently, can attract new patients. But this is if they’re written to add value for the reader, rather than simply advertise the business.

One of the most successful blogs written for my business, Design­ated Medical, was about the EU’s General Data Protection Regul­ation. It contained helpful information for our audience and brought new visitors to our website. It wasn’t about the services we offer or salesy in any way. Writing content which is valuable for your audience is key for blogs.

Are you using GMB?

Don’t forget about Google My Business, which is an excellent – and free – way to boost your business online. GMB is basically your business profile on Google, where you can add your opening hours, photos and short posts.

It’s also where you can respond to Google Reviews. It’s quick work to set up your GMB profile, but well worth it to control your image on the biggest search engine.

Social media

Social media marketing is a very cost-effective marketing method, and for most private doctors it can be a very successful way to grow networks and attract patients.

As before, knowing your audience and goals is essential to make social media work for you. If you’re looking to establish more business connections or thinking of branching out to other markets, LinkedIn will be a key platform for you.

Twitter also works very well in terms of business relationships, as it’s more conversational and ties in well with events. Facebook is ubiquitous for businesses but using its low-cost, super-targeted advertising is the key to success.

You can also get impressive reach via free Facebook events listings. Finally, Instagram can work very well for beauty and aesthetics clinics, with image-driven high engagement.

 

Jane Braithwaite is Managing Director at Designated Medical and regularly contributes to the Independent Practitioner Today publication.

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Designated Group are finalists in the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards

Designated Group are finalists in the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards

The Designated Group has been named as a finalist in the Best for Embedded Flexibility category of the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards.

Employers large and small from many sectors compete annually to reach the shortlist for the unique business awards for flexible, agile organisations. Established in 2010, the Working Families’ Best Practice Awards showcase and celebrate UK employers who are offering flexibility for all their people and going the extra mile in their support for parents and carers.

The Designated Group has been shortlisted for Best for Embedded Flexibility.

In our entry we highlighted that we are tapping into a vastly under-utilised, under-estimated and overlooked pool of huge talent, skill, expertise and experience: professionals (in our case PAs, EAs, marketers, medical secretaries and finance assistants) who, for a variety of reasons, do not wish to work within “inflexible flexible” work arrangements such as job-sharing, reduced (but still rigid) hours, working-from-home days etc. By offering flexibility in the truest sense of the word to our employees/contractors; our business is centred around the ethos that work is an activity not a location; we trust the people we hire to deliver the agreed output to a high standard; and we focus on productivity – the quality of the work that is produced rather than where or when it is produced. Of course, we focus on client satisfaction but ultimately this cannot happen without a happy, productive, efficient team – professional people who are freed from commutes, office-based restrictions, inflexible old-fashioned policies and corporate bureaucracy.

Jane Braithwaite, Founder & Managing Director of the Designated Group, said:

“It’s an honour to be chosen as a finalist in these important awards, alongside such influential and eminent companies. There is a movement – both culturally and in business – for a new way of working; one that truly benefits both workers and businesses alike, and Designated are leading the way with genuine flexibility in every corner of the company. We look forward to celebrating with our fellow finalists in June!”

Sarah Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of Working Families and Chair of the judging panel, said:

“Congratulations to The Designated Group whose flexible, agile approach has earnt them a much-coveted place in the shortlist of this year’s Best Practice Awards. We had a record-breaking number of entries in 2018, but The Designated Group’s outstanding entry in the Best for Embedded Flexibility category caught the eye of the judging panel…”

“..Our research shows that for nearly three quarters of parents, family is their number one priority. With 11 million working parents in the UK making up more than a third of the workforce, it’s initiatives like these that will help them balance work and family life and progress in their careers.”

The winners of each category will be announced at a prestigious champagne afternoon tea on 20th June at London’s Vintners’ Hall.


The full shortlist for the 13 categories:

Best for Embedded Flexibility
Barclays
Oliver Wyman
Designated Group

My Family Care Best for Mothers
Millwood Servicing
Royal Air Force
Westfield Europe

UBS Best for Fathers
Westfield Europe
Pinsent Masons

The Carers UK Best for Carers & Eldercare
Centrica

Cityparents Best Family Network
Santander
Barclays
Sky

Cityparents Best Innovation
The Difference Collective
Barclays
Lewis Silkin

Best for Flexible Recruitment
KnownFour

The Government Equalities Office Best Returner Programme
Deloitte
Morgan Stanley
UBS
Lloyds Banking Group

Best Flexible Working Initiative
Public Health England
Yorkshire Building Society
Ministry of Justice

Best for Line Manager Support
Royal Air Force
Barclays
Westfield Europe

Best Large Private Sector Employer
Morgan Sindall
Westfield Europe
Lloyds Banking Group

Best Small Employer
Independent Living Fund Scotland
LUC
Pursuit Marketing

Best Public Sector Employer
Crown Prosecution Service
Royal Air Force
Highlands & Islands Enterprise


Online appointment booking platforms – how can they help your medical practice?

Online appointment booking platforms – how can they help your medical practice?

eHealth is a growing sector, and innovative tech ideas are regularly being introduced into the healthcare industry. A particularly popular type of service, and one that seems to be growing with the rest of the eHealth market, is the online appointment booking platform. These sites and apps provide patients with directories of specialists, reviews and recommendations. Many also offer the option to book a chosen specialist through the site or app. These sites are a useful one-stop-shop for patients, but private practices can also benefit from these services.

The main online booking platforms

Popular platforms include:

Top Doctors – Arguably one of the biggest companies of this kind, Top Doctors is a global brand. It represents more than 60,000 specialists across the world. The site sees an impressive 500,000 appointments booked through their service every year.

myHealthSpecialist – This online recommendation and bookings site boasts the largest database of recommended specialists at almost 13,000 registered doctors. The free service aims to make it easier for both patients and GPs to find specialists and request appointments.

Doctify – Doctify features over 3,800 specialists across London and the South East. They provide guidance and information to enable patients to find the right specialist. In 2016 the company secured a seven-figure investment to help them scale up their operations and realise their goal of becoming the largest online booking service.

Benefits of collaboration

The benefits to patients are very clear. They can make an informed decision about a physician based on recommendations from both fellow patients and other doctors. They can book an appointment quickly and easily, and leave reviews themselves following their appointment.

Collaborating with these platforms can be very beneficial for consultants too. With bespoke profiles, patient testimonials, and online booking capability, these sites can really help to build a private practice and develop a consultant’s brand. Consultants can make the best use of their time by using one of the services to fill last minute cancellations and ad hoc clinic appointments. Each website has an impressive online presence that consultants can tap into by being a part of their network.

Any consultant can benefit from using these services – whether a clinic is established or just starting out.  The exposure will help consultants reach out to new patients and build their practice reputation. Whilst the review systems gives existing patients the opportunity to share their experiences. Of course, word of mouth is still a major source of referrals for many consultants. But as the eHealth market grows and patients become more familiar with using digital health platforms, it really is worth considering how these services can help your practice.

MHealth: Healthcare apps empower patients & improve care

MHealth: Healthcare apps empower patients & improve care

Healthcare apps have never been more popular, or more widely available. A recent IQVIA report states that over the last two years the number of healthcare apps has increased from 165,000 to 318,500. The top selling 41 apps have around 10 million downloads each, and it’s thought that around 200 new apps are being added to Google Play and Apple Store every day.

What’s new?

A few examples of these new healthcare apps include:

  • Active 10 – Part of Public Health England’s “One You” campaign, this app is aimed at encouraging people to do at least 10 minutes brisk walking a day. People living in the UK are on average walking 15 miles less than they were 20 years ago. This app encourages adults to incorporate brisk walking into their lifestyles as a simple way of improving health.
  • Evergreen Life – Fully approved by the NHS, Evergreen Life’s medical app is now connected to three major GP systems in the UK – EMIS, TPP and Vision – and has more than a quarter of a million users. The app allows users to book GP appointments, view their test results and order repeat prescriptions.
  • Ada – Marketed as a “personal health companion app”, Ada aims to offer personalised care by combining doctor’s medical insight with artificial intelligence. With private investments in the enterprise recently topping £35 million, it is clear that investors consider digital health to be a growing industry that it is worth being a part of.

Top healthcare apps

The recent IQVIA report looked into the best health apps based on the top-rated free and publicly available apps as well as the top clinical rating apps (with the clinical ratings being calculated on reviews of the app’s content, usability, accuracy, efficacy and safety). Some of the best apps available based on their clinical rating are:

  • Fitbit – This GPS-enabled app allows users to track their fitness activity and log their food intake. IQVIA’s report ranked this app as the top clinically rated app for exercise. Its goal is to “empower and inspire” people to live active and healthy lives.
  • Echo – Users can request repeat prescriptions, and set reminders to take medication. The app is compatible with all NHS GP surgeries and so far more than 45,000 people have downloaded it.
  • Headspace – This app provides users with guided meditation exercises and educational videos, and was rated top in the IQVIA report for stress management.

How do they benefit patients and healthcare?

Many of these apps fit into the area of “wellness”. They allow people to monitor their food intake, sleep patterns and exercise routine. By providing information and useful functions, these apps help guide people to decisions that will ultimately improve their health. For example, research has shown that improve adherence to medication can result in lower levels of healthcare utilisation and a decreased risk of hospitalisation. Apps which remind users to take their medication could help save the healthcare system money and contribute to improved outcomes.

In addition to this, mHealth apps have been used in more than 800 clinical trials worldwide. Thus they are also contributing to scientific advancement, using real-world evidence to potentially help to bring life-changing products to market.

Where next?

The benefits of these apps are wide-ranging and their use is becoming more mainstream than ever. Authorities and national organisations are lending their support to these services in addition to private investors. The industry is growing rapidly and it’s likely that more companies will bring innovative healthcare products to market. MHealth should continue to empower patients and help to improve care.

Medical marketing & social media – ethics & guidelines for doctors & private practices

Medical marketing & social media – ethics & guidelines for doctors & private practices

Running a private medical practice involves more than just clinical activities. It’s crucial for consultants and managers to stay up to date on any changes to relevant regulations, such as the new General Data Protection Regulations, coming into effect in May 2018. It is also vital that the activities of the practice are conducted in line with guidance from the authorities (such as the GMC and the BMA). Services need to be marketed appropriately, especially when growing a practice. This week, we’ll be taking a look at what needs to be considered when assessing and implementing your private practice’s medical marketing and social media strategy.

Social media

A cost-effective medical marketing method, a huge part of many people’s lives, and a main way of communicating for many businesses. However, for doctors there are issues that need to be kept in mind when communicating in a professional capacity with patients, clients and colleagues over social media. These platforms are easy to use and can generate great levels of interested in your practice, but there are guidelines that need to be followed in relation to their ethical use.

  • Confidentiality – GMC guidelines state that doctors must be honest in all communications with patients, clients and colleagues. When using social media doctors need to be aware that a patient’s network may be able to see any communications between the two parties – confidentiality, therefore, is key.
  • Stay professional – Act with integrity, be honest and be trustworthy. As well as being good rules to play by in business, doctors are professionally obliged to act in this way in line with good medical practice guidelines.
  • Know your sites – Designated Medical’s MD, Jane Braithwaite, has written previously about the need to understand social media. Facebook and Twitter are of course two of the most popular sites for businesses and are the best platforms to use to connect with potential patients and clients, with LinkedIn providing a channel for communications with colleagues primarily.

Doctors need to assess the possible risks when using social media, and have a good understanding of the fact that misusing this tool could impact adversely on patient-doctor relationships and your professional reputation.

Medical marketing & advertising

The use of social media may involve more than just communicating with patients. As mentioned above, it is also a great tool for marketing and for advertising your practice. However, there are GMC guidelines to keep in mind for this area, too:

  • Any adverts for your practice must be factual and should not take advantage of your patients’ lack of medical knowledge.
  • The marketing of certain services and specialities is subject to specific guidelines. For cosmetic surgery, for example, surgeons need to make sure that their marketing makes it clear that a medical assessment will be conducted before any treatments are carried out. Treatments and services cannot be offered as prizes, and surgeons must be upfront about the results of any cosmetic procedure. This is crucial in terms of managing patient expectations.

 

Designated Medical

 

Our team at Designated Medical know how important it is to work within these guidelines. As part of our thorough induction process are required to read and sign our in-house medical marketing and social media policy. We also have a talented digital marketing team, who specialise in social media strategy and management and search engine optimisation. You can read more about the services available here.

For more information about how we can help you grow your practice through online marketing contact us here or call 020 7952 1008.