The Impact of Real-time Content in Modern Marketing Strategies for Medical Device and Medtech Companies

AAOS 2024 is just around the corner, and here’s why you should be ready to invest in real-time content during the meeting.

For medical device and MedTech companies, embracing real-time content sharing during congresses and events such as AAOS is key to standing out. It’s a unique chance to boost engagement, grow your online following, and gain traction in your channels.

Medical device and MedTech companies need to own the moment and harness real-time content marketing to make the most of the events and stand out.

Find out how to harness its power.

Real-time is the next level of a solid content marketing strategy. It’s just a logical step when you consider our fast-moving, mobile-centric world, and the instantaneous nature of news and communication.

And it’s not just consumer brands; multiple B2B companies like IBM and HubSpot are seizing the unique opportunity to engage their audiences with in-the-moment content to save their digital marketing strategies from stagnation and boredom.

But what’s the evidence behind real-time content marketing strategy?

The most compelling reason to integrate real-time content into your strategy is that audience engagement just skyrockets. A study conducted by Smart Insights demonstrated that:

  • 76% reported that real-time marketing increased audience engagement.

  • 56% said it increased positive brand sentiment.

  • 35% saw increased reach and followers.

  • 25% believe it improves conversion and ROI.


For medtech and medical device companies, embracing real-time content isn’t just a savvy move; it’s a strategic necessity. In an industry driven by innovation and rapid advancements, seizing the moment in digital conversations, especially during busy moments with events and congresses, is crucial for asserting market leadership.

By actively participating and delivering timely content, companies not only showcase their expertise but also establish themselves as agile, responsive, and ready for the game. It’s not just about staying relevant; it’s about setting the pace, asserting leadership, driving engagement, and ultimately, making a tangible impact in your communication efforts.

 

Interested in discovering how we can assist with your digital strategy or marketing needs? Let’s connect! We would be happy to discuss your case and help you fully harness the power of your digital communication. Speak today to our digital strategy experts!

How Digital Strategy is helping small and medium-sized medical device companies compete on an equal footing with the big market players?

Small to medium-sized medical device companies are being called on to develop relationships online with clients, suppliers, and stakeholders, or risk stagnating.

Medical device marketing company CommuniD has been tracking the activities of medical device companies and their online activities, particularly social media.

The findings are clear – Major MedTech companies have been ramping up their digital marketing capabilities to serve HCPs and healthcare systems more effectively. More specifically they have evolved their technical, product-based traditional marketing approach to run campaigns via email, social media, and other channels while increasing expertise in engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).

And it’s not just a recent phenomenon, according to a McKinsey report in 2017, large players have been breaking out of traditional medical marketing frameworks for several years.

The Medical Device Industry is characterised by high investment costs, competition, heavy regulation, and constant technological advancements. A tough environment for smaller companies with great ideas but finite resources.
However, there is a group of players who understand the challenges to marketing their products in a market where major device companies already have established sales and distribution networks and long-lasting relationships with physicians’ hospitals and greater resources to develop new medical devices or improve existing ones. And despite the trend to seek acquisition as soon as possible, they believe so much in their technology that they have chosen to remain independent, develop their unique life-changing devices at their own pace and retain ownership.

Digital Marketing and social media are powerful tools for these small to mid-size companies to compete against giants because, in digital marketing, although resources play an important role, competence, creativity, resilience and perseverance can often offset the power of a multibillion-expense budget. One such company is Aleva Neurotherapeutics. The Switzerland-based company has created a medical device to personalise patient therapy with Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) competing against 3 giants like Medtronic, Abbott, and Boston Scientific. Their innovative product delivers the highest precision in directional stimulation for patients suffering from neurological disorders.

Another small medical device company making waves in the industry for its innovation is Greenbone. The company has developed an innovative generation of bone substitutes that mirrors the structure of natural bone and is obtained from rattan wood by a unique process that preserves wood’s 3D structure. In a market dominated by Depuy-Synthes, Baxter and Allosources, Greenbone’s substitutes are designed for extensive bone damage in non-loaded and load-bearing skeletal segments such as long bone non-union fractures, spinal damage, trauma, and cancer-induced bone loss.

Last is the Australian company Osseointegration International. Osseointegration is a medical procedure that allows for the direct attachment of an external prosthesis to the skeleton through the surgical implantation of an intramedullary device. Osseointegration as a concept was introduced by Per-Ingvar Branemark, in 1969 and improved by the Australia-based surgeon Professor Munjed Al Muderis. Osseointegration International is paving its way in competing with large orthopedic corporations (Zimmer holding, Stryker Corporation).

Elvio Gramignano, founder of CommuniD says: “The Medical Device Industry is not a level playing feed, and smaller companies with innovative solutions must find ways of thriving in an industry that is already very competitive. Those who engage prospects and customers online will be able to go some way to level the pitch – those who rely only on old relationship models will soon stagnate.”

How orthopaedic surgeons are revolutionising communication with patients and colleagues through social media

A detailed analysis reveals an increasing number of orthopaedic surgeons present on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, gathering huge digital communities comprised of patients, doctors, and other professionals involved in the medical business.

The old days when a patient had to sit passively in the hospital’s waiting room to get advice from an inaccessible, old-fashioned doctor are gone. Surgeons are now proficient not only in their clinical practice but also in digital communication. The phenomenon is a natural result of the increased adoption of social media as a “real-time portfolio” for medical professionals. With a striking 4.9 billion users across the world in 2023, it’s not surprising that the orthopaedic community keeps turning to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms to showcase their professional expertise online. They use these platforms to help spread specialist knowledge to the wider public, create awareness about procedures, or expand their professional network.

Dr Robert Rozbruch is an example of the new generation of medical professionals who have built a massive online community. The NY-based professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery updates his Instagram profile almost daily, sharing photos and videos of successful limb-lengthening procedures and complex reconstruction surgery outcomes with his nearly 15 thousand followers.

Within a few clicks, you can find Professor Munjed Al Muderis, an Australian general lower limb surgeon and one of the world leaders in osseointegration procedures for amputees. On his YouTube channel with more than 2.7 million views, Prof. Al Muderis presents multiple cases of osseointegration intervention, complex limb reconstructions, knee replacements, muscle reinnervation, and ligament surgery. Al Muderis also shares fragments of his practice on Facebook, a platform where the doctor has over nine thousand followers.

Dr Neil Bradbury, a British knee specialist at Wellington Hospital in London and co-founder of the Biological Knee Society, is an expert in robotic-assisted joint replacement of the knee and regenerative surgery. He uses Twitter’s quick and sweet 144-character format to share insights on ligament reconstruction, meniscal transplant, and the latest innovations in non-surgical orthopaedic treatments.

In the professional realm of social media, Dr Russel Bodner, surgeon and sports medicine specialist, uses LinkedIn as an avenue to talk about Arthroscopic Surgery, hip, joint, and knee replacement, commenting on clinical cases and the use of technology to improve orthopaedic practice with his network of over 5000 followers.

In the past, medical information used to lay only in the hands of peer-reviewed or specialised journals, which also controlled the accuracy of the information transmitted and acted like gatekeepers. Although the advent of social media has created a valuable democratic and informal space for medical professionals and patients, such freedom comes with potential risks, especially in the medical environment. Reassuringly, the fact that medical professionals are highly regulated is a strong incentive to keep their claims evidenced and justifiable. However, it is always best to evaluate the authority of the post-writer visualising the clinical and scientific background on databases like PubMed (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ), EMBASE and MEDILINE.

Healthcare Market Watchers : Social Media ‘Not all Bad’

CommuniD, the medical device marketing company, today announced that social media is having an overwhelmingly positive effect on sufferers and patients in rehabilitation.

Despite numerous headlines about the destructive effect of social media, particularly on young people, there are many positive examples of the good it is doing for peer support between individuals and their families and friends facing similar pathologies or mental health problems.

CommuniD has been tracking several of these groups and has observed several common benefits:
• The ‘e-patients’ are highly knowledgeable with experience of conditions themselves
• The participants can help manage others’ expectations
• There are no borders such as location, and even language is assisted with in-built translation
• They can help healthcare professionals launch research initiatives and create care guidelines
• Although these groups are not moderated by healthcare specialists, each piece of content is reviewed by the rest of the users in the community. This is self-regulating while providing greater freedom of speech and transparency.

Commenting on the observations, Elvio Gramignano, MD of CommuniD said: “Many of these social media-based peer support groups have sprung up organically, previously they would have inhabited bulletin boards and forums, but now it’s social media, where so many people spend so much time.”

“From a wider perspective, social media is a powerful tool to improve health literacy and support patients in having a better understanding of health conditions. Furthermore, it provides an environment that is not constrained by the point of view of one healthcare company or an individual surgeon. The variety is huge, from the major conditions to extremely rare procedures and illnesses.”

Users can find groups to suit them, there are dozens of active Breast Cancer support groups with members ranging from tens of thousands to a few hundred. And it’s not just medical conditions that are supported, those experiencing a particular treatment or procedure are benefitting.

One such example is the Osseointegration Peer Support Group on Facebook currently supporting 3200 patients and their families following the procedure. Prof. Munjed Al Muderis, the leading osseointegration surgeon says: “Osseointegration is an extreme procedure that can have complications and requires patient´s motivation and continuous work to be successful. Having a place where patients and families in Australia can speak with patients and families in the US and Europe means they have access to the widest possible range of experiences and advice in this particular area.”

From Acne to Zika Virus in Australia to Zambia, support is at hand on social media, and that’s not at all bad.

7 Useful Tips For Your Video Making Strategy

IS IT REALLY WORTH INCLUDING A VIDEO IN YOUR LINKEDIN POST?

Today we want to talk about the video effect on LinkedIn posts. As we said in a previous article (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-linkedin-strategy-lessons-can-we-learn-from-leading-companies-/?trackingId=Yre5txhndXrcvaPNOR%2Beag%3D%3D), on average large medical device companies are using videos in 31% of their posts.  We are now going to dive deeper into this subject and examine what effect including a video has.  We will investigate which companies are using videos the most to see what the effect is, and we will also try to see if we can spot any magic bullets that have been used in making the videos.

It is important to note that we are not analysing impressions or views, we are simply analysing likes.  In essence we are trying to deduce the usefulness of a video from the engagement. Whilst this is clearly a very subjective method as there is not a straightforward relation, we could equally say that social media is affected by so many parameters that it can never be an exact science.

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What is the table is telling us?   

The first thing we can see very clearly is that there is a wide difference in the use of videos amongst the companies surveyed. We can see that 8% of the companies are using videos very frequently, in more than 75% of their posts. 4% of the companies are using videos frequently, which means in roughly 50% of their posts. 36%, are using videos often, which means in more than 33% of their posts.  44% use videos rarely, in less than 33% of their posts.  8% of the companies are not using videos at all, although this needs clarifying as of the two companies not using video at all, one is Abbott Diagnostics whose parent company (Abbott) uses videos relatively frequently. The holding company seems to post mostly in the relationship area, using videos, whilst the diagnostic arm tends to focus more on the promotion of products and seminars and doesn’t use videos at all.  Overall, Abbott seems to be the company that is using videos in the most effective way – the videos that they are posting show a significant improvement in appreciation with regard to engagements. 

The table also tells us that 16% of the companies seem to achieve a positive effect in terms of engagement through the use of videos, while 56% do not seem to receive any positive effect. By positive effect, we mean that the average engagement of posts with a video are significantly higher than the average engagement of a stand-alone post.  There is a large group of ‘not applicable’ and this has 2 meanings: 

  • They use videos so frequently that it is very difficult to differentiate between posts with videos and posts without videos,
  • The difference between posts with and without videos is not at all significant.

I wanted to take a deeper look at the companies that are showing a positive effect from their videos to see if there is something that we can learn from them.  Going into the Company section of LinkedIn and clicking on Videos, we get a very nice overview of all the videos that have been released over the last month, with views and engagement. This gives our analysis some additional elements to work with.

What can we learn from the Companies using videos effectively?   

MEDTRONIC

Medtronic videos have been well-planned and produced.  Money has been spent on a professional production, and the results show it.  Their videos are usually a bit longer than most of the other companies, and on average they tell a story and need to be watched with active engagement and participation: viewers need to listen to the story, focus, and concentrate.  This work pays off as they have an average appreciation higher than the posts without videos, although views do not seem to be incredibly high in relation to their number of followers – a month after posting most videos are still under 10,000 views.

What can we learn from Medtronic?  

  • Their videos are clearly internally focussed, targeting the satisfaction, recognition, and pride of their employees, rather than showing Medtronic solutions which we have learned is done by their business-specific company pages. They are celebrating diversity and inclusion, and engineers.  In fact, the video with the largest number of views and engagement features a collage of Medtronic people. Another popular video in their list is the story of one of their engineers with a disability who is working on products for people with disabilities.  This is an incredibly touching video, very interesting, and very well-built. But again, I would say mostly internally focused.
  • Their videos range between 10 seconds and 2 minutes long, with those of around 1 minute in length the most frequently posted.  

ABBOTT

Abbot has a very different fingerprint from Medtronic: the videos are a mix of internally and externally focused content – I would say roughly 50:50. Generally their videos feature a few key points highlighted over a musical soundtrack and are mainly emotional.  Abbott posts featuring videos are generally highly appreciated and Abbott video views are the highest in the industry.

What can we learn from Abbott?  

  • All their videos are within the one-minute mark – none of their videos exceed this, with the vast majority being around 30 seconds long. Only exception a series of videos called “UNLOCKING THE POSSIBILITIES OF YOU”
  • Their videos generally do not require a high attention span, a high level of concentration. They are relatively simple, short, with an intense soundtrack and no spoken words.
  • The production of this type of video is relatively achievable for most companies and does not require big-budget production. Their preferred video with more than 40,000 views was a very short, 22 second, video about babies born with a hole in their hearts.  The video did not contain technical information and was mainly emotional.  
  • Frequent use of 3D animation

FRESENIUS

Fresenius’s strategy is again slightly different. We see fewer emotional videos, and more videos related to product and technologies in their posts. This tends to make their videos more detailed and slightly longer. Compared to Abbott and Medtronic it seems that Fresenius’s videos are targeted externally, towards clients.

What can we learn from Fresenius?

  • Their videos range from 10 seconds to 3 minutes in length, with an average that is a little over a minute.   
  • Fresenius’s videos are a blend of emotional videos with no spoken words through to relatively long interviews.
  • Large use of “interview-like videos” to convey technical messages.

B BRAUN

The strategy of B Braun again seems very different from all the others, probably because it is a company with a different size, sales coverage, and with followers significantly lower than the companies we have mentioned before. Abbot and Medtronic have millions of followers, B Braun has approximately 300,000. Their videos often feature products, explaining characteristics and benefits in detail. Overall, the number of views is low, rarely reaching 10,000, with most of them achieving around 1,000 views, some even less.

What can we learn from B Braun?

  • The length of their videos is mainly less than 1 minute, and the great majority of their videos are product related, externally targeting the customer.   
  • Very limited use of interviews.

To complete the analysis, we also looked at the video strategy of the two companies that are using videos the most: Siemens, and Smith & Nephew Medical Education.   Siemens’ strategy is clearly externally focussed, concentrating on the promotion of corporate image and identity through the use of excellent quality videos. Videos are well designed and constructed, talking about products, talking about patients, all deploying emotions but also technical elements. Among the ”superpowers” Siemens seems to be the only one that targets clients and patients in their communication.

As we can see, 85% of Smith & Nephew Educational posts contain a video – a high percentage.  However, many are PowerPoint presentations that have been transformed into videos. Their videos are often used as invitations to their seminars and activities, but there are also some very nice, well-designed videos for more important and relevant activities.  The overall strategy of this company page is to invite external people and customers to seminars, and as such is fully externally focused. 

Take Home messages.

The use of video may depend significantly on your LinkedIn strategy: if you are using LinkedIn more as an HR arm and your objective is to keep your team together, raising awareness and increasing company pride, then videos can be extremely useful as Medtronic and Abbot are showing. In this case emotional stories about employees, real life situations, examples of employees sharing the same complications as the patients, seem to be popular and gain the best traction. 

If instead you are more externally focussed and you want to extend the knowledge of your solutions to the external market, then content seems to be more important than the media.  And whilst videos are as useful as all the LinkedIn experts say they are, in the medical device industry you can manage pretty well without using videos so long as you deliver interesting content.

If you want to use videos (and sometimes it is a plus) you need to be aware that complicated stories do not breakthrough on LinkedIn (although they might do on other media such as YouTube), the most successful videos rarely surpass a minute, they do not display complicated stories and often have no spoken words. The soundtrack is incredibly important in these type of video as we may imagine.

If you want to deliver deeper content, interviews seem to be very popular because they convey a message in a very direct way that is perceived as less “corporate”. There is an element of human touch that is always useful.

The quality of the video, the storytelling, the preparation, pays off on LinkedIn:  you can use animated slideshows, but you need to understand that you’re not gaining the same value as you would with a video.

3D animations seem to be incredibly useful because they add high clarification in an appealing way. They are nice to view, easy on the eye, and can also provide a lot of insight – meeting all the goals.

Last but not least: all the videos are fully embedded on LinkedIn platform. This is a LinkedIn suggestion and LinkedIn gives priority to embedded videos and most of the companies are now choosing this solution.

Five pitfalls to avoid in your Digital Marketing Strategy

It is clear, then, that digital marketing can help MedTech companies address the recent shifts in HCP engagement, whether as part of a focused marketing campaign or as an ongoing “always on” means of communication. However, we have seen a number of pitfalls that companies should take care to avoid if their efforts are to be successful in digital marketing:

Implementing digital marketing in isolation. The move to an omnichannel approach requires companies to link digital marketing to other channels, including inside sales and face-to-face sales reps. Proper change management should be implemented to ensure the onboarding of sales teams, customer service, and other commercial functions on digital-marketing tactics and agile ways of working. Effective communication with HCPs depends on a clear understanding of the purpose, timing, and method of engagement for each interaction.

Failing to define clear ownership. To present a globally unified message, digital-marketing content needs its own “home” in the organization, as well as its own budget. Best-practice companies set up a centre of excellence (CoE) or other central unit charged with driving the overall strategic vision and creating content tailored to the digital-marketing strategy and stored in a centrally available library.

Neglecting digital capabilities and tools. Building a digital-marketing channel requires the right talent. A CoE typically consists of a digital-marketing lead, product owners, user experience and user interface designers, campaign and channel experts, and data analysts. The regional teams responsible for implementation usually include campaign managers and content managers who tailor the strategies and content developed by global teams to fit local needs. 

Overlooking performance metrics. Without rigorous monitoring, a company won’t be able to assess the impact of digital marketing at the regional level or manage incentives and resource allocation effectively. Having a central team define and track key performance indicators (KPIs) helps to ensure that efforts achieve their intended goals and have a positive return on investment. 

Underestimating the power of digital engagement. Today’s HCPs are heavily invested in digital in general, and in particular, social-media business and networking platforms, physician-to-physician online communities, and search engines. The CoE or centralized unit overseeing digital strategy can ensure their company is benefiting from the power of digital engagement, identifying trends across channels, and designing a strategy for HCP prioritization with a message that addresses their unmet needs at the right moment via the right channel.

Developing a strong digital-marketing function takes time and effort and requires visible support from senior leaders. How effective it will be as a driver of HCP engagement depends on how well—and how quickly—MedTech companies can embed it in omnichannel customer journeys, build internal capabilities, and use data and analytics to personalize communications to meet individual healthcare professionals’ needs.

This is particularly true in the Medical Device industry where, compared to Pharma, the delay in the development and deployment of Digital Marketing campaigns is significant. In this industry, the biggest challenge is still to identify within the Marketing teams, professionals with the appropriate competencies that can be fully dedicated to the development of Digital Marketing activities. As the trend evolves and the digital marketing strategies are proving their efficacy, we expect the senior leader to focus more resources both on people and tools to deploy effective Digital Marketing Campaigns.  

The Growing Role of Digital Marketing in Healthcare Business

Healthcare professionals (HCPs), like many others, have been profoundly affected by the shift to remote work triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. As they have become more comfortable with remote work and digital communications, MedTech companies have realized the importance of adapting to digital to better engage with HCPs, including digital marketing, e-commerce, and virtual sales channels. In this article, we explore how leading MedTech companies are using digital marketing and analytics tools to tailor the content, timing, and format of their interactions with HCPs to improve the quality of engagement and the returns on their marketing investments.

To understand how digital marketing is evolving in Medtech, McKinsey conducted a survey of 100 companies (44 in the United States and 56 from the EU5) in early 2021. As recently as five years ago, the majority of MedTech companies (65 percent of the survey sample) spent no more than 20 percent of their marketing budget on digital marketing. However, by 2020, most of the companies surveyed (84 percent of those based in the United States and 74 percent in the EU5) had shifted more of their budget to digital marketing. What’s more, about one in five of this group had redirected at least 50 percent of their marketing budget to digital marketing. So, how are Medtech marketing teams using these increased budgets?

Product launches. With most trade shows and conferences cancelled because of the pandemic, Medtech product launches have largely shifted to digital channels. Among the companies in our survey, 80 percent reported having used email and social media campaigns to launch a new product in 2020, while 65 percent had launched products at online conferences. US and EU5 companies used much of the same digital platforms to launch their products, except that US companies were more likely to use online conferences than their peers in the EU5.

Lead generation. As HCPs embraced remote interactions, MedTech companies intensified to use digital marketing for lead generation. Among the companies in our survey, 45 percent believed that email campaigns were the most effective digital channel for generating new opportunities during launch, while another 40 percent favoured social-media campaigns.

‘Next-best-action’ analytics. In recent years, it has become important to convey a value proposition that goes beyond a single product to a broader portfolio of solutions. “Next-best-action” analytics can help enhance digital-marketing campaigns to work closer together with other marketing and sales channels. There is a strong need for that, highlighted by 74 percent of respondents.

Omnichannel campaigns. By using a coordinated, multichannel approach to marketing campaigns, MedTech companies are able to engage with HCPs at the right time with the right message in the right format. Successful companies are including digital campaigns along with more traditional channels, such as inside sales and face-to-face rep visits, as an important component of their omnichannel strategy to reach HCPs.

The Medical Device industry is only just taking the first steps in the development of a proper Digital Marketing strategy and our approach is far less sophisticated. In addition, the budget invested is, in most cases, far from the percentages seen in the Pharma business. A true Omnichannel approach is far from being a reality in 99% of the medical device industries. Most of them are just exploring the opportunities offered by LinkedIn, often not at full speed. As the trend evolves and digital marketing strategies prove their efficacy we expect growing resources and focus even from the Medical Device Industry.

The Power of Social Media Automation

If you are scaling up your social media activity, sooner or later you will realise that it is almost impossible to keep up with all the aspects of social media management; posting, managing contacts, interactions, engagements, and KPIs.

Not forgetting that Consistency is a must and this means that somehow you need to post with a defined frequency.

What if you had the opportunity to handle all these tasks automatically? Social Media Automation implies using different applications to automate the exercises on social media platforms.

This is Easier said than done!

When it comes to LinkedIn, we can automate or schedule the posting, but we cannot fully automate contacts and messaging interactions.

There are lots of players that can help you to automate posting each one with pros and cons. We have tested many of them and here are the basics:

  • They all work on a subscription
  • Hootsuite is the most famous and definitely complete but has recently raised the price significantly
  • The charge may vary from nothing to more than $100 per month depending on the tool. If your workload is low, you can still find valuable tools FOC or below $30 per month – search on Google for your choice, but we have chosen Plannable (www.planable.io)
  • Contacts and messaging can instead be made more efficient through Sales Navigator.

Sales Navigator

Sales navigator cannot be called an automation tool, but more a sort of CRM (customer relationship manager). It is a sales insights tool that allows you to find the right people and companies in your target market. Using the LinkedIn network, businesses can source recommended prospects and uncover real-time sales updates on all accounts and leads.

Ultimately what Sales Navigator does is:

  • Helps you to find target companies (by geography, type of business, number of employees) and give you a well-designed org chart – identifying the right people you should get in contact with
  • Creates lead lists (exactly like a CRM) – this can simplify sending messages or requesting for a contact
  • Allows you to monitor conversations, posts, activities of the targeted leads to evaluate their interests and needs and be more effective in your communication

While this does a lot of good, the CRM doesn’t come cheap.

You can find LinkedIn Sales Navigator at 3 levels:

  • The first level for $ 64.99 per month ($780 per year)
  • The second level for 103.00 per month ($1,250 per year)
  • The third one is a customisable project whose price is agreed upon with the LinkedIn sales force.

The difference between the level depends on the number of interactions you need or want to create and the integration with a customisable CRM.

Based on my experience the 2nd and third levels are designed for large corporations. If you are a mid-size medical device company – the first level is more than enough.

It is interesting to note that there are companies that have created what looks like copies of Sales Navigator. One called Lusha seems to have the same functionality as the Linkedin navigator but costs significantly less.

Would you like to Automate Messaging? Here are some Tips!

Have you ever tried to automate LinkedIn messaging? It is far more likely that you have received automated messages! This is possible on LinkedIn and there are multiple online services that can help you with this task. 

However, if you want to use this option, be careful to choose the right one because LinkedIn frowns upon automation and if you do it wrong, you can be thrown in LinkedIn jail (your account being restricted).

These tools generally play on 3 steps:

STAGE 1: FIRST TOUCH

The tool sends personalized invites to your 2nd and 3rd degree connection or the first message to your 1st degree connections.

STAGE 2: CHECK REPLIES

The tool detects any new connections and checks if they’ve replied. If there are any replies, the tool will stop messaging them. So, if you want to stop someone that is annoying you with multiple automated messaging, reply NO

STAGE 3: SEND FOLLOW-UPS

This is where the tool will send follow up messages to those who haven’t replied. The personalized follow ups will be sent based on the schedule you set up under the “Messages” tab of your campaign.

You can choose between; 

BROWSER-BASED LINKEDIN AUTOMATED MESSAGING TOOLS

To use this type, you need to open LinkedIn from your favourite browser and fire up the tool in the form of an extension. The implications are:

  • You can’t run the tool 24/7.
  • They rely on browser caching, which makes them easier to detect.
  • The use of different IP addresses every time you log in. This raises red flags.

Besides the safety implications mentioned above, browser-based LinkedIn automation tools are lacking when it comes to advanced features.

CLOUD-BASED LINKEDIN AUTOMATION TOOLS

Cloud-based LinkedIn automation tools are safer to use as they integrate with your LinkedIn account. You can log into your LinkedIn account from your automation tool and set filters and parameters for the activities you want to automate.

Some of the most significant advantages of using a cloud-based LinkedIn automation tool include:

  • Having a Dedicated IP address.
  • Harder to detect since it does not work on the front end like browser-based tools.
  • Access to advanced features (like personalization) that boost your conversion rates.

With the advantages of convenience and enhanced safety, cloud-based LinkedIn automation tools have the upper hand over their browser-based counterparts. The caveat, however, is they tend to be more expensive than browser-based tools.

So, if you have a large number of messages to send out and are shopping around for a tool to help you automate your LinkedIn activities, consider these factors.

The Price of Automation

What is the price of these automation tools?  Subscriptions vary a lot but you should consider paying a minimum of $50 per month. 

Is it useful to get automated tools? 

It would be useful for people with thousands of contacts and messages to send, but this is unlikely in the medical device industry. Ultimately, I cannot demonise automation tools since they are part of the game, but I think it lacks the human touch that makes the messaging strategy extremely powerful on LinkedIn.

In fact, whenever I sense that I have received an automated message, I immediately stop the conversation.

However, automated LinkedIn messaging could be useful only in very specific cases and only for first contact. For instance, in one campaign, we noticed that the physicians we targeted were responding only if contacted between 6 and 7am and that was forcing us to wake up extremely early. In this case, we thought it was useful to automate only the first message even though we knew we could be less effective because of the automation of the messages.

What LinkedIn Strategy Lessons Can We Learn From Leading Medical Device Companies?

We all know there are lessons we can learn from our industry leaders – the best, well-resourced, experienced, big-budget companies – that have a wealth of experience and talent to support their marketing strategies.  We particularly wanted to look at their LinkedIn strategies and analyse how they are communicating to see what strategy lessons we can adopt to improve our own LinkedIn pages.

To do this, we decided to look at the top 15 medical device companies by revenue.  As you may know, large corporations may use multiple LinkedIn pages – one for the holding company and others for specific business divisions or areas. We wanted to analyse this and therefore we expanded our investigation to incorporate 25 LinkedIn Company pages:

  1. Siemens Healthineers
  2. Smith & Nephew
  3. Smith & Nephew Medical Education
  4. Terumo Medical Corporation
  5. Olympus Corporation of the Americas
  6. Olympus Life Science
  7. Alcon
  8. Phillips
  9. Zimmer Biomet 
  10. B Braun Group
  11. Boston Scientific
  12. Boston Scientific Deep Brain Stimulation
  13. Abbott  
  14. Abbott Diagnostics
  15. BD
  16. Stryker
  17. Stryker Trauma
  18. Cardinal Health
  19. Fresenius Kabi
  20. Fresenius Medical Care
  21. Johnson & Johnson
  22. DePuys
  23. Medtronic
  24. Medtronic Brain and Spine Therapies
  25. Medtronic Cardiac and Vascular

We were curious to see what these industry leaders are doing with their LinkedIn pages.  How are they using it?  What are their goals?  Would they be using it to reach the 7.2 million healthcare professionals that are on LinkedIn, or as an HR tool to encourage and engage employees?  Or a mix of the two?  We wanted to understand the frequency of the posting activity, but also the content strategy.  To do this we tracked all of the selected 25 companies’ LinkedIn posts made over the last month. 

LinkedIn commodity market experts claim that to be successful with social media marketing, your business has to strike the correct balance between the amount of self-promotion it does and the amount of engagement and conversation that it participates in. Of course, you want to use your social media accounts to promote your own business, but if that is all you do, you won’t gain many followers and you won’t be very successful.   They devised a rule called 4-1-1 that suggests that you should post four pieces of new content, one re-post, and one self-serving post.  It is said that if you follow this pattern, you will achieve the ideal ratio of original posts, engagement, and self-serving posts. Is this rule valid for the Medical Device Industry?  To substantiate this, we categorised the tracked posts into 4 classes.  

PROMOTIONAL posts generally generate low engagement but are relevant to the company.  They include topics like new product launches and features, products and services, videos, participation in shows and congresses, corporate webinars, executives, meetings etc.

RELATIONSHIP posts favour high engagement and are easy for everyone to like – posts about charity and meetings, local and international donations, commemorative days like ‘Women’s Day’ or ‘Heart Month’, hiring posts, employee stories and participation in surgery.

INDUSTRY posts often result in high engagement, but sometimes not on the right target.  Things like updates on regulatory situations, market trends with comments, user preference, end customers’ appreciation, patient surveys, and patients’ stories (if not too promotional).

CLINICAL or EDUCATIONAL posts attract high engagement but are more difficult to generate.  Topics such as a summary of new and interesting studies, testimonials of surgical approaches (if not too promotional), white papers, case studies, etc.

What did we track?

  • Frequency of posting – how many posts over a one-month period?
  • How content type frequency was divided between Promotional, Relationship, Industry, and Clinical & Educational categories.
  • What types of posts are the most appreciated?
  • How common, and how successful, is the use of in-post videos?

How did we do this?

  • Compiled a list of 25 large, medium, and small companies in the medical devices industry
  • Went into LinkedIn, searched company name, clicked companies tag to bring up company options, then selected the relevant company from the list 
  • Once we had our target company’s page, we recorded the number of followers each company has
  • We clicked on Posts
  • Once the posts had loaded, we scrolled through each post time-stamped up to 3 weeks old (ie the last month of posting)
  • We categorised every post as either Promotional, Industry, Relationship or Clinical, and added a brief description to each.  
  • We recorded the number of Likes for each post
  • We noted every post that had a video included
  • Once we had compiled our data, we tallied the totals and transferred relevant data to a spread sheet to analyse any apparent trends.

What caveats are there?

  • We were looking for trends that could better our understanding and that we could share with you.  Our study is not an exact science, but we were as thorough and as comprehensive as we could be.  There will always be subjective decisions:  one person’s Clinical is another person’s Promotional.  
  • ‘Likes’ are continually changing, especially for the most recent posts.
  • Followers also fluctuate daily, usually upwards; J&J followers went up by 1,318 overnight.  
  • Posts appear to be ‘shuffled’ on LinkedIn pages (especially if you click on an in-post link); it seems that not all current posts are visible all the time.
  • Number of Likes is obviously proportionate to the number of followers.
  • Posting about emotional current events can (understandably) result in an unusually large spike in the number of Likes.  In our study posts showing solidarity with, and support for, Ukraine, attracted a huge number of Likes – sometimes 3 or 4 times higher than average.

What did we find?

As we quantified, this is not an exact science, but we did find interesting trends that can help us learn from the best.  

  • We found that holding company page tend to focus (often almost exclusively) on Relationship postswhilst their regional branches or specialist product branches posted more Promotional and Clinical / Educational posts. 
  • The average number of posts per month was 13 – almost 3 every week.  Does your posting performance mirror this, or do you need to increase the frequency of your posting?
  • About 31% of the total number of posts included videos.  We often see articles advising us that including a video in our posts will vastly increase engagement.  We were particularly interested to see if this applied to the companies in our study.  13 out of the 25 companies were impossible to evaluate, 9 of the 25 companies did not reflect any discernible impact from including videos, and in only 3 of the 25 companies did we did see a positive impact.    
  • Relationship posts had the most traction.  Overall, 52% of our industry leaders’ posts were Relationship posts. Relationship posts were also the most liked, attracting 60% of the total Likes scored.  As a general observation, diversity, inclusion, and equality posts feature predominantly in Relationship posts, and themes that are current, like Solidarity with Ukraine, Women’s Day, Black History Month etc, are well received.  Corporate news like winning an award, mergers, or publishing positive financial results also score well.     Are you posting Relationship posts frequently enough?
  • LinkedIn polls seemed to be well received and Votes are positively disproportionate to Likes.  Perhaps we see it as ‘just a bit of fun’, and of course it is easy, and impersonal (although not necessarily anonymous) to click on your preferred option.  Two pertinent examples are:
    • Phillips poll on sustainability garnered 215 likes, but 4,572 votes
    • Who founded Alcon?  226 likes and 3,076 votes