Unlike professionals in many other fields, physicians are much more discrete in terms of their willingness to openly engage on social media platforms. Considering the private nature of their work, it is likely doctors are reluctant to engage in too much detail to maintain the integrity of their patients as well as their practice, and it’s often deemed inappropriate for these professionals to engage with their clients on social networks.
However, the HealthLink Dimensions white paper “Breaking Through the Noise” revealed 36 percent of physicians use social networks to communicate with other healthcare professionals, and 59 percent said they see the value in social media and intend on using social media as a resource in the future.
” LinkedIn reaches over 40 percent of physicians and surgeons.”
One platform that definitely resonates with doctors is LinkedIn due to the control users have over the privacy of their profiles, discussions and groups. According to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog, the social platform reaches over 40 percent of physicians and surgeons with over 360,000 members in the U.S. alone. These professionals specialize in areas including pediatrics, cardiology and radiology. Additionally, at the end of 2013, there were over 4.4 million healthcare practitioners, executives, channel followers and opinion leaders on LinkedIn, which was a 30 percent increase from 2012.
Considering the draw toward LinkedIn by physicians, healthcare marketers should develop a strong set of strategies for engaging with them on the platform. Here are five strategies marketers should employ:
1. Proactively engage with groups
One opportunity LinkedIn provides to healthcare marketers is to participate in groups. Professionals in any field join industry-focused groups to engage with their peers, ask and answer questions, and network. Marketers can join groups relevant to their industry and participate in conversations that are already happening. Contributing insights, answers and opinions in groups will help marketers get their names out and build a relationship with potential clients.
2. Become thought leaders
LinkedIn is also an excellent forum for companies to build trust among potential leads and develop a position as thought leaders in their industry. Econsultancy cited data from Deloitte that revealed 52 percent of physicians are interested in interacting with pharmaceutical companies through social media. Additionally, the results showed 75 percent of doctors indicated a lack of trust in information provided by these companies. Healthcare marketers can meet the needs of doctors and establish greater trust by publishing influencer posts on LinkedIn. Since this content must come from an individual rather than a company, they add an important human dynamic and give marketers the opportunity to share their thoughts and drive inbound traffic.
3. Obtain recommendations
Recommendations and reviews are an integral part of business-to-business marketing strategy. In fact, a 2013 survey of B2B marketers conducted by LinkedIn reveals consumer testimonials and case studies are the two most effective marketing tactics. Companies that cater to physicians can obtain reviews from their clients to boost their credibility and earn new leads over time. When prospects land on a company’s LinkedIn page, they will see that other doctors in their field had positive experiences with the brand and be more likely to show interest in its products or services.
4. Use sponsored updates
When it comes to healthcare marketing, it can be quite difficult to break through the noise considering physicians are inundated with sales material at a near-constant rate each day. Coupled with social media and content marketing strategies, healthcare marketers can use sponsored updates to reach a wider audience on LinkedIn. This feature allows users to target their updates to a specific audience based on location, company, industry, role and seniority, which is more in-depth than segmentation on other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.
5. Conduct research
LinkedIn is also a valuable tool for marketers to conduct research about doctors’ specific interests, emerging technologies in the industry, common pain points and perceptions of certain medicines and devices, among other things. Companies can tap into this information to optimize their efforts. Take medical email marketing, for example. By going onto LinkedIn and researching the profiles of doctors in relevant fields, marketers have access to valuable information to segment their lists more effectively and deliver more personalized content.