With more than 500m registered users, LinkedIn is a key platform for peer-to-peer communication and B2B lead generation. But how is it useful to community pharmacists? John Whittam, digital marketing executive at Numark, answers some of the most common questions ICP readers have about the platform
Q: Should I be on LinkedIn?
A: Absolutely! Being on LinkedIn allows you to connect with fellow community pharmacists, share and access interesting sector-related content such as news stories, opinion pieces and research conducted by peers, and be part of conversations happening within the sector. In addition, LinkedIn can be a good way to reach out to local businesses and share information about the services you can provide, such as group flu vaccinations for staff..
Q: Who should I connect with on LinkedIn and what’s the best way to do this?
A: Connect with your colleagues and other professionals within the community pharmacy sector by sending them an invitation to connect. It is against LinkedIn etiquette to send a connection request to someone you do not personally know. So, if you do want to connect with someone you don’t know, see if you have any common connections with the individual and request an introduction through the common contact – LinkedIn is very clever in that it can ‘spot’ if you have current connections and it will automatically tell you this. To increase followers on your pharmacy’s LinkedIn page, include a link to the page in any emails you send to your professional database by adding it to the footer of your emails. If you have a pharmacy website add a ‘Follow us on LinkedIn’ button on the homepage or a ‘Contact us’ section so it’s easy for visitors to follow your pharmacy page. You could also request that colleagues share content from the company page on their personal profi les regularly to maximise its reach.
Q: Will my customers be on LinkedIn?
A: Individual customers are likely to be on LinkedIn but not in a consumer capacity, ie, they are not expecting to be contacted by their local community pharmacist about matters concerning their health on the platform. However, you could target local businesses that could benefi t from community pharmacy services as a team. In this context, ensure you follow as many local businesses in your area on LinkedIn as you can. Following peers and local businesses, as well as liking and sharing their content as appropriate, is likely to encourage them to do the same.
Q: What is the difference between my company page and my personal page, and do I need both?
A: Your personal “page” is actually your personal LinkedIn account and you need this to be able to set up a company page – so yes, you do need both. Once you have joined LinkedIn and set up your profi le, you can create a company page dedicated to your business and invite your contacts to follow it. One thing to bear in mind is that, unlike your company page title, your URL (aka website address) will need to be unique within LinkedIn, therefore the URL you proceed with may need to be slightly different to your page name.
Q: What type of content should I post and how often?
A: Anyone who views your profi le or company page on LinkedIn is most likely a potential business contact. Therefore, keep your content professional and business and/or health/community related. Ensure content is interesting, up to date and relevant to your audience. Essentially, your content should add value to anyone visiting your profi le or company page, ie, provide them with knowledge or insight that they won’t necessarily be able to access elsewhere. News about business growth, positive developments within the pharmacy team and ‘call to action’ posts encouraging LinkedIn members to download specifi c information from your website are all good examples of content you can share. You can also use LinkedIn to promote career opportunities within your pharmacy by posting relevant jobs and encouraging potential candidates to contact you. Try to post at least 2-3 times a week. That said, it is more important to share strong content less often than mediocre content regularly!
Q: Will LinkedIn help me grow my business?
A: LinkedIn can help you connect with industry peers and local businesses, raise awareness about your pharmacy business and drive traffi c to your website by sharing links to relevant pages. Therefore, if used correctly, LinkedIn could help you form the right network, which can be instrumental in creating new B2B opportunities.