How can pharmacy businesses make the most of their LinkedIn profiles? John Whittam, digital marketing executive at Numark, offers some answers….
LinkedIn is a social networking site designed for the business community. It boasts the world’s largest professional network on the internet with more than 500 million members.Despite the large number of members, pharmacies on the whole have yet to fully exploit LinkedIn and as such there is an opportunity for your pharmacy to be heard and have an impact on a less crowded platform.These 10 simple tips will help you maximise the impact of your LinkedIn presence and build yourself a valuable following.
1. Utilise your ‘company specialities’ section to make your page easier to find
The specialities section within your company page offers you the chance to add up to 20 keywords or search terms that will increase the likelihood of your company page being found when users use the LinkedIn search functionality.Add words that best describe what your pharmacy has to offer to improve your visibility. You could try terms such as pharmacy, blood pressure, flu vaccine, medicines, Christmas gifts, travel health, prescriptions, minor ailments and lots more. It is advisable to use as many search terms as possible.
2. Set up ‘showcase pages’ for key campaigns and offerings
Showcase pages are a great way to highlight a particular element of your pharmacy offering.Companies often set up pages for a key product range or maybe for particular campaigns they are running.Why not set up a page that provides details about an upcoming health awareness campaign you are planning, e.g, set up a page to promote a ‘no smoking day’ campaign and update as and when the campaign develops. Another idea to try is setting up a page titled ‘pharmacy services available’ and include details of all the services your pharmacy provides.Although these are effectively subpages of your main company page – showcase pages act as stand-alone pages and therefore a particular audience segment interested in just this element of your offering can follow this page in isolation – meaning you can promote for and cater to the users specific to that Showcase page by providing content directly relevant to their interest.
Quick tip – Add a showcase page via the admin tools drop-down menu within your main company page. As this is a standalone page you will need to create and set it up in the same way you did your company page.
3. Post updates regularly to keep followers interested
Try and post at least five times a week with a mix of subject matters that appeal to different followers and prospective followers.
Quick tip – Do not compromise on quality just to ensure you are posting regularly. Ensure your content is interesting, up to date and relevant to the audience.Try posts that focus on company updates e.g, ‘new service launched’ along with perhaps some industry expertise e.g, post an opinion piece you have written or try a post with your expert opinion of an article you have read. Posting regularly is an extremely effective way to increase your audience and engage with (and therefore retain) your existing followers.
4. Comment regularly in groups to get noticed
Groups are a platform for professionals within the same industry or with like-minded interests to share content and find answers in the style of a forum. Commit time to contribute to groups you have joined. Try and post or comment at least once a day.As groups you join will be around subjects that are relevant to your pharmacy and the pharmacy industry you will be able to post comments/replies in order to contribute to bigger group discussion. As a result you will build a reputation within the group and industry and make potentially invaluable connections.Also using groups regularly can help for the purposes of research as peers will often post details of research they have conducted.
Quick tip – You will need to join groups using your individual account but can reference your company page within your posts.
5. Use photos in your posts to boost engagement
Using visual content in your posts is a great way to get noticed and increase engagement with contacts and potential followers. Images generally result in a 98% higher comment rate. Pictures make your post stand out visually more than a text only status and will grab the attention of users.It is important to ensure your images are clear, clean and reflect the professional nature of your business.
Quick tip – Try using high quality images you have taken within your pharmacy – the latest mobile phones tend to offer high spec cameras that will more than suffice. Alternatively you can use sites such as istockphoto.com to purchase various types of imagery, although this is a less cost effective option.
6. Sponsored content to reach a specific target market
LinkedIn allows you to target your company updates to the exact audience you choose through sponsored content.Whether your goal is to build relationships, raise awareness or drive leads, sponsored content can be a very effective tool.
Quick tip – LinkedIn allows you to stay in control by setting your own budget. Why not trial a sponsored post by adding a small amount of credit and target local businesses with more than 50 employees to let them know about the flu vaccination service you can provide?Search ‘Sponsoring Company Updates’ in linkedin.com/help for more information.
7. Post at the right time to get your content seen
Post during peak times and you are far more likely to make an impression and engage with users.LinkedIn is designed for the business community and is utilised mostly by professionals. Therefore the peak times differ from other social networks.Optimal times to post on LinkedIn are:- Midweek from 5–6pm.- Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:30–8:30am.Avoid 10pm-6am as this tends to have the least impact.
8. Follow local businesses
Follow local businesses and let them know how your pharmacy can benefit their team e.g, organising group vaccinations, care home staff training and other health initiatives specific to your pharmacy.By following and liking/sharing posts you are making local businesses aware of whom you are and increasing the likelihood of them reciprocating and following your page. Therefore meaning any posts from your company page will show up directly in their feed and they are kept up to date with the latest news from your pharmacy.
9. Promote on other social platforms
Post on your other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to encourage your existing contacts to follow your company page on LinkedIn too.This will serve to only further increase the exposure of your page and therefore increase your reach.
Quick tip – Ask your employees to do the same to increase your reach even further.
10. Strengthen your team
LinkedIn is the platform many professionals use to manage their career and therefore is the ideal vehicle to find the perfect employees for your pharmacy. With this in mind you can utilise LinkedIn to promote career opportunities within your pharmacy and attract a high calibre of candidate.When you post a job LinkedIn will help you target your vacancy to reach appropriate candidates and will then promote the vacancy on the homepage of these candidates through the ‘Jobs You May Be Interested In’ feature. Also the job will show on your company page and will be searchable within LinkedIn.To promote your available position even further you can send InMail messages that allow you to reach out to non-connections within your target candidates via a direct message (you will get 5 InMail messages with each post).
Quick tip – start by purchasing a single job posting, if the platform works for you consider purchasing a job credits pack for a discounted price.
Quick tip – Job postings expire automatically after 30 days. Make sure you renew or close your job posting if you want it to feature for more or less than 30 days.
Bonus tip – schedule your content
Posting regularly is important to increase and maintain your following; however in the busy pharmacy environment it’s not always achievable to find the time.Websites such as Hootsuite allows you to build your posts and dictate exactly when you want them to post to followers, therefore saving you time and also helping you plan and balance the type of content you post.If you are active on multiple social media platforms Hootsuite can serve to save you even more time as you can post to a number of platforms at once in next to no time.Try setting up posts for the next few days and schedule them to hit at peak times (see tip 7 for peak times).
Quick tip – Search Hootsuite on Google to find out more.