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Vice President, The Go! Agency

LinkedIn for Healthcare: 5 Must-Haves

With everyone going on about the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, my poor friend LinkedIn sometimes gets left out in the cold.  While not the most visible of the major social media sites, it is definitely one of the most powerful.  With millions of people from all over the globe taking part in the conversation on LinkedIn, it is definitely a place online where your target healthcare audience thrives.

Whether your healthcare organization is B2B or B2C oriented, you can carve out your own audience on LinkedIn.

So if you have registered for a profile, why isn’t anything happening?

I have the answer.

Let’s get moving and create some stellar results!  Here are my 5 LinkedIn “Must Haves” for healthcare organizations who are looking to get the most out of their valuable time online.

1.  You MUST Fill Out Your Profile:  A name and title is not enough.  LinkedIn gives you ample opportunity to showcase yourself and your healthcare brand.  Instead of leaving half of the profile blank (the percentage of which LinkedIn will show you on the right hand side of your profile), why not take an hour or two and really fill it in properly.  Want people to call you?  Add a phone number.  Want people to look at your website?  Mention it with hyperlink at the drop of a hat.  Don’t skimp here…this is where people are going to find you credible or not credible.  Oh, and one final thing.  Have a professional profile picture, nothing wild and off brand.  No picture = no credibility in my book.

2.  You MUST Join Groups:  Not only must you join groups, you must also take part in them.  I know it seems like a tall order, but this is one of the areas where the magic happens on LinkedIn.  Now don’t get stuck on the fact that you have to find groups only within the healthcare sector only, you want to find those in addition to groups where your target consumers may be.  For example, if you are a cosmetic surgeon in NYC you may want to join 25 groups on cosmetic surgery and 25 groups based around the NYC area.  The idea is simple.  The professional ones will help you gain news and knowledge in your sector while the others will help you share your business and expertise with target consumers.  I say join as many as LinkedIn allows (50) and start working them!

3.  You MUST Ask Question and Answer Questions: There is a wonderful function of LinkedIn that allows you to answer and pose questions to your network as well as LinkedIn at large.  This is a great way to get in front of prospective supporters, consumers and referral partners – so don’t be afraid to jump in there and share your expertise by answering a few questions now and again.

4.  You MUST Reply:  Nothing drives a social media user up-the-wall more than sending messages that never are replied to.  I’m not saying the mass messages that start with those wonderful words “Dear Friends”, but rather those emails sent to your on LinkedIn.  Not interested in what they have to say?  Give them a polite “No thank you, but I appreciate your kind offer”, don’t say “Leave me alone” or ignore them completely.  This is networking.  Would you act like that in a cocktail party?  Not likely.

5.  You MUST Bring Your Profile Alive With Testimonials and Applications:  Even the most engaging profile can use a helping hand now and again.  First off, anyone that you have ever worked with or has known you professionally – ask for a recommendation, a mutual recommendation.  This is an eye-catching way of proving credibility and the quality of your work.  Never ask for testimonials from people you don’t know, never worked with, and just friended.  That’s tacky.  On the application side of things, go onto your profile and scroll until you see the Applications section and click “More Applications.”  This will take you to a section that allows you to not only integrate your Twitter account and your WordPress blogs, but also share pdf files and PowerPoint presentations.  These are wonderful ways of bringing your profile to life….not to mention adds to your credibility as a expert in your niche!

I’m sure I could go on with the wonders of LinkedIn, but these are definitely the ones I am most passionate about.  These steps will help your healthcare organization get the most out of LinkedIn in addition to helping you learn more about shaping your LinkedIn marketing strategy.  Its not easy at first and can be time consuming, but keep with it.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your social media following.  It is an ongoing effort that will bring you what your after, if you are patient.

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