Podcast: Jeff Rock on the benefits of LinkedIn for dentists

Hello and welcome to Ascent Dental Radio. A program dedicated to the balance between the clinical aspect of healthcare and the business of healthcare. And now here is your host, Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Kevin: Welcome. This is Ascent-Dental-Solutions. You’re listening to Ascent Radio and my name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin.

Before I begin the podcast, I’d like to thank VOCO Dental Supply Company who has been providing sponsorship for this. They are one of the world leaders in some of the best dental products available for the clinical treatment of our patients, which is perhaps, our most important asset. I’d also like to give special thanks to Mr. Doug Foresta. He is the owner of Stand Out and Be Heard and without his expertise none of this podcast would be available.

I’m pleased today to introduce Mr. Jeff Rock. Although most of our listeners are dentists, we have business leaders and business people all over the world listening to this podcast. And I’m fortunate enough to have Mr. Rock, who is a story activist, a career coach, a personal branding consultant, speaker and workshop leader.

I’m fortunate to have Jeff today in particular, talk about LinkedIn and how it can affect our profession, how it can affect actually all businesses. You think after 34 years of operating a small business and owner of 14 dental practices and 160 employees, I would know more than I do about LinkedIn. That’s why I asked Jeff to speak today.

Mr. Rock, thank you so much for taking your valuable time to talk to our audience today. Can you just tell us what you think some of the best attributes of LinkedIn is for our audience.

Jeff: Sure, and please call me Jeff. I’m really glad to be here talking with you today, Kevin. I’m a big proponent of LinkedIn, not because LinkedIn pays me anything, but because I’ve seen what’s it has been able to do for my clients. So why would someone who owns a dental business want to be on LinkedIn? And there’s lots of reasons and we can go into them in more detail, time permitting, but if you look at LinkedIn in broader terms of social media, it’s the place for professionals. No one’s even close in terms of the number of professionals that are on there and active. It’s a place for you to establish and communicate your brand and your brand value.

Also, it’s a way to connect with others in the dental community and other business owners so that you can keep your practice current and keep in touch with what’s happening in the industry and again, maintain the brand of your practice.

Kevin: Jeff, in your experience and expertise, what are some of the biggest mistakes that we as professionals make using LinkedIn?

Jeff: The biggest mistake is not being on it. Disregarding it as part of your practice. I have a friend who’s probably one of the best known people in social media, Neal Schaffer, and he says social medial replaces nothing, yet compliments everything. I think that that’s absolutely true of dentistry as well. You have to show up and have a presence.

It’s trite to say that we are going through a lot of change technologically. We absolutely are, but it’s relevant to dental practices. Things change quickly and from a technology perspective, from a demographics perspective, it really pays to be plugged in. And LinkedIn is one of the places where you can have a presence.

I think the biggest mistake is not being there and then the second biggest mistake is ignoring your community. And if I had to put a third, I would say it’s not understanding that you’ve got multiple audiences. So your audiences are patients, but also potential employees.

You’ve had a lot of employees, Kevin, and I’m sure that you would attribute a lot of your success to having really good employees. Top talent is a differentiator. And being present on LinkedIn and establishing yourself as a great place to work is a competitive advantage and will be more so as the talent pool gets smaller and all the baby boomers retire.

Kevin: Let’s get into some of the nuts and bolts since our listeners have all different areas and levels of expertise when it comes to social media, but in particular LinkedIn. As far as your expertise and your Swift River Coaching expertise and experience, what would you say the contact frequency is? Should you be updating your LinkedIn profile weekly, monthly, quarterly, daily? What’s your recommendation?

Jeff: My recommendation is probably for something along a practice, weekly is fine. If you do it on a daily basis, once you get everything set up to your liking, and by set up I mean you’ve got a great headshot, professional headshot there, that your headline differentiates you to some degree, that there is a summary that expresses your brand and your personality and that you’re connected to the groups and the organizations and the thought leaders that you want to follow. Once all that is established, if you do a daily practice, ten minutes a day is plenty to keep in touch with your community and also to feed your community so that you are recognized as an active member. But realistically you could probably do an hour a week to keep on top of things.

Kevin: Do you create, Jeff, a master link or do you take the entire LinkedIn community that you’re associated with and break them into categories? For example, just self-promoting myself, do I break it down into being a speaker, a business leader, a clinician, or do you consider that as one group and you talk and educate that group as one single entity?

Jeff: I would say as one single entity. For yourself as example, those are all parts of you and who you are and what you do. Many of my clients have different aspects of their careers. Some are speakers, some are running their businesses, they are authors. They tend to have multiple disciplines or cross disciplines and different ways of expressing who they are. And maybe they’re doing soccer coaching on the side. I like to have it as one continuous cohesive message because it’s really all about who you are as a human being. And one of the things you want out of LinkedIn is to come across as a human. Not just a dentist, but someone who’s a real person with lots of interests and things that make them interesting and that are particular to the individual that brings a different perspective to the practice. So I like to see everything combined.

Kevin: Let me ask you a follow up question, Jeff. When you go onto LinkedIn and Dr. Jones or Dr. Smith says, “Will you accept?” And then after you accept them into your LinkedIn network, there is a multitude of other individuals who you may or may not know. Do you, as a general rule, recommend accepting all of these individuals? How do you determine which ones you should accept?

Or is it true of LinkedIn, like it is advertisement, there’s almost no bad advertisement and there’s no downside of connecting with pretty much anyone on LinkedIn? What would be your guidance and expertise to new people to LinkedIn or those considering joining LinkedIn to promote themselves and their businesses?

Jeff: What I tell people is that it’s very much a numbers game. Because the more people you’re connected to, the further your reach. The deeper you reach. I have, I think I’m closing in on something close to 1,400 direct connections where you see three levels down.

So that puts me in the many, many, many millions of people that I can then connect with or who can see me. It’s very rare where there is someone on LinkedIn who is fraudulent like you often get in Facebook. If somebody has a photo and there’s some history there and more than a couple of connections, if they look legit, then I accept them.

One of the other reasons that’s most compounding is, you don’t know who they’re connected to that will connect with you. There may be someone that’s two or three levels down that could make a huge difference in your life or their life that will happen because of that.

With all of the connections I have globally, I can see into most companies at some level in the world and particularly, in the United States because I have so many connections. So it behooves you to have a high number.

The other thing is once you hit 500, you get the 500 Plus badge in LinkedIn and so people who look at you will think of you as a super connector and that’s a positive aspect.

Kevin: You mentioned earlier in this podcast, Jeff, that as a general rule, you might want to reach out and update contacts on a weekly basis. When you’re updating either your own profile or expressing some kind of program or interest that you have, is there a certain volume, a certain number of words or paragraphs that we should stick to that gives you the most recognition or let’s just say, the biggest bang for your buck?

Jeff: When you’re reaching out to individuals directly, keep it short and on point. If you’re writing a post that you’re going to post on LinkedIn, generally speaking, 500 to 1,000 words is a good amount. If it’s much beyond 1,000 you’re going to lose people. And if it’s much below 500 then it’s hard to really get a point across.

Kevin: How long have you actually been a coach of Swift River Coaching? How long have you been doing this particular area of expertise?

Jeff: I started my company in 2010. I’ve been an official coach since 2006, but I had a lot of stuff when I was in Corporate America and coaching was part of my role. But as a career coach and story activist, it’s been seven years.

Kevin: That’s fantastic. If people wanted to reach out to you, Jeff, if they wanted your expertise and your knowledge, and particularly the healthcare community, but my area of expertise in the dental field, how would they reach you? How would they be able to get in touch for you to share your expertise and knowledge to get them started in LinkedIn so that it can be the most effective for their business and their team members?

Jeff: The easiest way is to visit my page which is www.swiftrivercoaching.com. I offer a free consultation for 30 minutes to tell you if and how I can help you. Or just send me an email jeff@swiftrivercoaching.com.

Kevin: Fantastic. And is there a number, a cell number or phone number you’d like to share?

Jeff: Sure. It’s 413-668-8433.

Kevin: I’d like to let the listeners know that if you’re new to my podcast, I am a practicing dentist. I work full time. I’ve been practicing since 1983. I have 14 locations, approximately 150 employees, and we see on average about 116,000 patient visits a year.

And for those healthcare professionals listening or any business people listening, a day does not go by where someone hasn’t connected with me or my office through social media, whether it’s LinkedIn, whether it’s Facebook.

Jeff, I cannot thank you enough. We’ve been fortunate enough to be listening to Mr. Jeff Rock. He’s the owner and creator of Swift River Coaching and his expertise is a career coach, personal branding consultant, speaker and workshop leader.

If you’d like to speak with Mr. Rock, he can be reached at 413668-8433 and his email is jeff@swiftrivercoaching.com. Jeff I can’t thank you enough for being with us today. I really appreciate your expertise and taking the time to educate our listeners.

My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. You’ve been listening to Ascent Radio with a focus on knowledge, development, expertise and training. This is Ascent Radio and my special thanks to VOCO, who’s been sponsoring our podcast. Their areas of expertise and their products in dental services and dental products is without compare. Thank you, VOCO.

And I’d also like to say thank you to Mr. Doug Foresta and his company, Stand Out and Be Heard. Without his expertise this podcast could not be available.

My name is Dr. Kevin Coughlin. Thank you so much for listening and I look forward to talking to you very soon. Thank you.