It was recently revealed that one out of every three dentists is active on LinkedIn. This may seem like a good portion of your colleagues but compared to the 83 percent of dentists on Facebook, LinkedIn seems to have been left behind. LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals – especially dentists. However, there is a certain notion or fear that it's too confusing, taking up too much time or being ineffective. As a dentist, you're a prime candidate to maximize on LinkedIn's benefits and become a social media success story. Here's why:

1. Networking. There are more than 100 million active users on LinkedIn. The majority of LinkedIn users have an account to create an online resume that can easily be accessed by potential employers. What this really means is that you get to interact with colleagues in a professional setting. There are multiple dentistry groups that act like forums making it easy to interact with fellow dentists.

2. Your business is perfect for it. Think about it – you're a service provider. LinkedIn allows you to manage your brand and your company profile to your liking. Patients can even use the search bar to find exceptional dentistry near their homes. More accessibility means more business.

3. Recruiting purposes. LinkedIn is one of the best tools to use when filling spots in your dental practice team. Since LinkedIn acts as a digital home to professional resumes, you can see the capabilities along with experience of possible future employees instantly. You can even actively search for employees by fine-tuning your search with specific filters to pinpoint you to the best candidates for that position.

4. Boosts your website's traffic and practice profile. It's important to point out that even though LinkedIn is grouped together with all social media hubs, LinkedIn is by far the least “social” of them all. Since everything on the site stays totally professional, there is no room for fluff making your professional profile strictly business-oriented. When contact information is clear, more people will be driven to access your website.

5. Recommendations and endorsements. Unlike other review sites that could potentially plague a practice because of one unsatisfied customer or a disgruntled employee, LinkedIn really only offers options for positive feedback. Patients and colleagues can easily write a recommendation for that painless and highly esthetic restoration that you did or how comfortable and educated your staff is. They can also “endorse” you by praising you with “skill tags” that you didn't think to put on your profile yourself.

Along with those five reasons, the best part about LinkedIn is that you have 100 percent control over what goes up on your site from dental practice mottos to what type of recommendations are left on your page. Allowing this kind of freedom in the social media world can enable you to maintain the true integrity of your practice. Do any of you use LinkedIn for your practice? If so, what other reasons do you find LinkedIn is useful for in the dental world?