Key activities to start successfully marketing your Medical Device company on LinkedIn
In principle, we implement social media activities for three main reasons: to increase brand awareness in various stakeholders (potential customers, hires, suppliers, investors), to generate new sales leads, or to reinforce the relationship with existing customers. The beauty of digital activity is that the same action (be it posting, website update, video, webinar or other) can generate results in all three areas. Mid-size, small, and start-up companies may need to increase the number of their investors, or struggle to attract talent, for example, because of their intrinsic low visibility. Well-designed digital activities can deliver these objectives, even with marginal addition to the standard physician-focussed plan. Medical Device companies are starting to deploy professional digital marketing activities more and more, and in general, the media of choice is LinkedIn.
The objective of this article is to illustrate the most important activities and provide some solid ground rules to help those (specifically) in the Medical Device field who are responsible for starting up a LinkedIn campaign, with special focus on the generation of sales leads.
In the Medical Device business (if we exclude very limited low value/low technology niches) the sales process takes months – in some cases more than a year – involves different functions and is led by a salesperson who acts as a project manager and relationship master. Digital activities are designed to provide much closer personalisation and proximity to the first steps (building awareness, generating interest), but they cannot replace the human interaction that remains pivotal in all high-value transitions. Bearing this in mind we can summarise the objective by saying that digital media is a tool in the company’s hands, to be used to warm the cold prospect, provide leads that have already expressed interest in the solution to the sales force, and to keep the prospect closer during the lengthy sales process.
The reason why LinkedIn has become more and more the media of choice in the healthcare industry is explained by the numbers:
- LinkedIn user statistics show that the platform currently counts over 722 million members and 310 million monthly active users (MAU). 40% of LinkedIn MAUs are using the platform daily that translate into 1 million daily professional users.
- Compared with other social media, LinkedIn is a business-related platform hence it is accepted that conversations are business-focused, the profiles are more likely to be real and the targeting easier
- There are more than 6.2M clinicians on the platform. Over 67 per cent of physicians use social media for professional use, and according to the Journal of Medical Research, more than half of them perceive social media to be an effective way to access current, high-quality medical information.
- It is proven that LinkedIn can provide a powerful influence if you’re looking to illustrate the value of a product, showcase satisfaction among surgeons, hospitals, and patients, or are interested in providing promotional programs for sales teams.
- LinkedIn like all the social media can be SEO multipliers
- Social media is far less expensive than traditional marketing methods, making it even easier for medical technology organizations to reach surgeons through video and online promotion while remaining cost-efficient. With this regards, LinkedIn is very “democratic” giving the same visibility to all companies independent of size.
- Because it hosts more than 700 million professional profiles, companies can access an unlimited supply of network connections and job search opportunities.
This huge mass of information, profiles, posts, comments, and other assorted engagements is managed by a faceless puppet-master – the LinkedIn algorithms – that determines content presence on the user’s newsfeed, and therefore, its visibility. The good thing about this is that the puppet-master is not capricious but very logical indeed and responds to one key rule: retain the user in front of the screen for as long as possible by offering whatever has the highest probability to interest and engage. This probability is calculated by personal connections (we engage more with people we know), historical behaviour (there are profiles with whom we tend to engage more often than others and topics that we like more), and general interest (posts that are liked and shared by more people in the look-alike community are expected to have higher attraction). Our posting strategy should be based on these ground rules, and with a lot of discipline and a pinch of luck, we can easily create news that will become viral on the platform.
Before tackling day-to-day LinkedIn activities it is essential that some of the key strategic elements have been set. It would be impossible to define the focus message, the unique selling proposition if we do not already have clearly agreed Mission, Vision, Critical Success Factors and Strategy. Once these tasks are agreed upon and socialised within the company, we need to dive deeper into our LinkedIn strategy.
Firstly, we need to define what our LinkedIn business objective is: do we want to increase brand awareness, do we want to develop thought leadership, or do we want to generate leads? And if we want to achieve all three objectives, which objective is the priority, and can we split the objectives into phases? Secondly, it is vital that we clearly define our target customer; the beauty of social media compared with other digital tools is the ability and the possibility to talk directly with our viewers. It is extremely advantageous to define the target, profile it, and then be as personal as possible in our communication with it. It is also important that our posting has a consistency of tone, so we need to agree on what this is: do we prefer to be colloquial or academic, do we want to challenge readers with questions and assertive sentences, or do we want to be more accommodating and softer.
Another essential element of pre-preparation is clearly defining the resources available to back the project in terms of both people and content. A thorough posting strategy requires perseverance, consistency, and regularity. This cannot be achieved without a strong supporting team and already developed content, ideas, and concepts to be adapted for sharing. If your objective is lead generation, this cannot be achieved without a strong
partnership with your sales force, who should perceive the social media as complementary to their difficult daily work and therefore include it in their tasks to leverage the outcome.
As we said above, the introduction of digital tools does not change the standard process whereby marketing generates the content (video, brochure, article etc) and the sales team deploy it (to the appropriate prospect). A winning sales process is always the result of several teams working in sync, and this is not changed by Medical Device digital marketing.
More information will become available in the next articles. If you are planning to start a LinkedIn campaign or you are unsatisfied with the results of the existing program, do not hesitate to contact CommuniD!