Updated 8/25/2013

LinkedIn allows people to create their ideal professional networks. It is a platform for developing yourself as a thought leader and positioning your product or company and content as important in contemporary discussions.

A key feature of LinkedIn are its groups — did you know you can share your content in all the groups you’re a member of with just one click?  Just under the video in your project page are a number of links, one of which is linked in.  Just click once and you can share a project you find interesting or support by posting it to all your groups, thereby keeping people excited about you and what you are doing.

So MedStartrs make a shortlist of groups who have interests similar to your innovation (you can find them using common keywords), connect with them and periodically broadcast your blog posts, event notifications or possibly crowdsource an article.  There is a great new tool for this called HackPad – see it in use here.

To get a quick crash course in LinkedIn, I have pasted in the suggestions from Brian Keith May, an expert in healthcare marketing.

Many of us have used LinkedIn in different, successful and some not so successful ways. Feel free to share your LinkedIn successes and failures with us by commenting on this blog post. And Now… drumroll please…

10 Great Tips for Healthcare Marketing on LinkedIn by Brian Keith May

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When you think of social media marketing which site first comes to mind?

If you answered Facebook or Twitter, you are not alone.

According to a recent survey by Inside View, 90% of marketers reported that they were actively using Facebook. Only 43% said they were using LinkedIn.  According to the Mayo Clinic Social Media List, only 651 hospitals are active on Linkedin. This could be a serious mistake, as the same study showed that LinkedIn produced more B2B leads for businesses than Facebook, Twitter or even blogs.

For healthcare professionals, LinkedIn should also be a priority for social media marketing. Unlike many other social networks, LinkedIn makes it easy to present a professional image for you and your practice. Patients who view your profile can see at a glance your credentials, education and the groups that you belong to. LinkedIn is also a great way to network with other healthcare professionals and vendors.

To help you get the most out of this social network, here are the top ten tips for healthcare marketing on LinkedIn:

Create a company page – If you do not already have a company page for your practice or hospital it is highly recommended that you create one. Your company page is a great place to introduce new clients to your business and release branded content. LinkedIn users who choose to follow your company page will be able to keep up to date with changes that are happening in your business and any available openings. This can help to overcome one of the biggest headaches in healthcare, which is recruiting talented employees.

Start your own group– Starting your own group takes more work than joining one but it also has more benefits. As the group owner you have the ability to send an announcement once a week. Essentially this is an opportunity to create a new email newsletter. It is a great way to establish you as a thought leader in your industry. When you create a group it is important to not to name it after your practice or hospital. Instead you should name it after a broader subject that your potential clients or vendors might be interested in.

Optimize your LinkedIn profile for keywords – You want to make sure that the right people are going to be able to find you. In order to do this you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile. While your primary concern should be to make your LinkedIn profile and company page compelling for human readers, you also want to add in keywords for your industry that you would like to target. This will aid to increase your presence in SEO results relevant to your consumers.

Add media to your summary – LinkedIn has recently introduced the ability to add media to your summary. You can now add slide share presentations, YouTube videos and other media. If you have a video from a speaking engagement or a great Powerpoint presentation, then this is an excellent place to share it.

Join a group – Before you join a group you want to make sure that it is going to be worth the time that you invest. The Group Statistics dashboard breaks down the demographics, the growth and activity of the group. The last of these is the most important. In particular look for the average number of comments. This is a good indication of how much actual interaction is taking place. In order to get the most out of groups you need to contribute on a consistent basis. I know most of us don’t have the time to be logging into LinkedIn everyday to do status updates, and there is a quick fix for that too. Hootsuite allows you schedule your posts to both your profile and your groups. Write your updates once a week and then schedule them for the week ahead.

Use sponsored updates – Sponsored leads are a powerful new way to attract new clients to your business. If you have a company page you are probably already aware that you can send updates to your followers. What sponsored updates allows you to do is to send updates to people who are not already following your company. Sponsored updates are perfect for promoting white papers and branded content.

Skills and expertise – This section is particularly important for healthcare professionals. You should add in as many skills or expertise as you believe to be relevant. Any skill that you place on your profile can be easily endorsed by visitors with a single click. They can even choose to endorse multiple skills at the same time. This can be a powerful way to build social proof of your medical expertise.

Add a banner to your company page – LinkedIn now allows you to add a banner graphic to the top of your company page. This can be linked through to a specific page on your website. A banner image with a compelling call to action can be a highly effective way of driving traffic back to your website. For example a dental clinic could create a banner video for their dental implant service. When the user clicks on the banner it would direct them to dental clinic’s website where they can book a consultation.

Use LinkedIn advertising – LinkedIn advertising platform allows you to get in front of high quality leads with an amazing amount of targeting. Using LinkedIn advertising you can target by job, skill, school, company and location. This is perfect for those of us in the B2B sector as it ensures that you aren’t wasting money on the wrong people (AF: Call me cheap, but I keep paying for traffic as a last resort activity.)

Increasing recommendations –Everyone in healthcare knows the power of personal referrals. LinkedIn allows you to formalize these referrals with its recommendations features. These recommendations are essentially testimonials for a specific job experience that is featured on your profile. One of the easiest ways to get recommendations is through reciprocation. Write a recommendation for someone else and LinkedIn will ask them if they want to write one for you in return.

The marketing power of LinkedIn is still under utilized by many healthcare professionals. If you implement some of the tips mentioned above you will find it isn’t difficult to stand out against your competition. LinkedIn is one of the best places on the internet to create a targeted network, brand your business and develop your position as a thought leader in your industry.

Thanks Brian. great stuff!