Insight from 130 of the largest health and wellness brandsArticle
3, Jun 2020. 05:56am
When I ask people “What’s your favorite networking platform?” few say LinkedIn. Which tells us that LinkedIn is probably one of your most underleveraged brand assets. Especially now, in a world where direct sales, in-person meetings, conferences, and other traditional strategies have all shifted to digital media.
LinkedIn is more than a networking platform. It’s hiring, networking, marketing, and sales generation all in one. And half of the health, wellness, and fitness businesses we’ve evaluated don’t have any LinkedIn strategy to speak of. That should probably change.
Based on an analysis of LinkedIn sales and marketing strategies at the 130 largest healthcare, wellness, diagnostic, therapeutics, and pharmaceuticals companies, we’ve identified myriad key insights. You can use them to take advantage of this preeminent professional networking platform to attract talent, engage your audience, build brand awareness, and increase direct sales.
There’s more to LinkedIn than jobs…
Although 79% of the companies we analyzed use LinkedIn for hiring, there’s much more to the platform. Job postings represent only about 6.6% of postings. Content impressions are 15x higher. The platform has become a news-worthy source, which is why engagement with posts increased 50%, year over year in 2018-2019.
User affluence is high. It’s where most Fortune 500 decision-makers and executives like to spend their spare time, and about 45% of LinkedIn article readers are in upper-level positions: managers, VPs, Directors, and C-suite.
Industry thought leaders like, Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, posts insightful articles, resources, and anecdotes daily. His content generates high engagement and inspires insightful comments from his audience.
In a recent qualitative research engagement, we reached out to hundreds of healthcare human resources professionals on LinkedIn, successfully connecting with 24% and engaging with 11%. More professional than Instagram and Facebook, LinkedIn offers one of the only social networking channels that authentically connects with people (sans baby pics and cat memes).
Talent acquisition beyond paid ads
Many businesses post career ads on LinkedIn. That’s a straightforward enough strategy. Few take advantage of their network of employees to share ads to their network or update their profiles. Like sharing content, sharing career ads can boost visibility and fill seats faster. Especially considering that employees who share the ads probably have people with related jobs in their networks.
Companies who want to hire executives and others can radically increase the number of applications they get with a simple, no-cost tactic—add “We’re Hiring” to their personal profile headline. Clients we’ve worked with report increased awareness of the openings, more connection requests, and more applications.
More than connection requests: merging personal profiles and business pages
Your network can be developed for vanity status or valuable brand impressions. It depends on the connections. LinkedIn was initially built to connect with people already in your network. It’s now being used by savvy brands to connect with prospects and generate direct sales with key decision makers.
Through advanced filtering and search, it’s possible to segment LinkedIn’s users by a variety of valuable data points. From geography, company, and title, to function, seniority, and—my favorite—activity (when they last logged on). In our research, we found that 78% of the companies analyzed were active in the last week. The remaining 21%? Crickets.
Building a robust network of targeted prospects yields greater brand awareness through content marketing. Employees that share company-posted articles on their personal profiles, get 8x more engagement than the corporate LinkedIn page and are re-shared 24x more. And this is organic. Yet, 41% of companies don’t encourage their senior executives to post company descriptions on their personal profiles. This is a huge missed opportunity for getting valuable brand impressions.
Use Showcase pages to segment audiences
Segmenting audiences into their appropriate buckets helps improve effectiveness of owned and paid media. With Showcase pages, brands can setup affiliate pages to organize sub brands or services. Kaiser Permanente has over 600K Followers on their primary business page, and a small segment of 7k people on their Showcase page, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. Paid and owned media can be targeted to either audience, carefully and methodically providing relevant content. This is where most of the companies we evaluated failed. Only 4% utilized a Showcase page for a sub brand, product or service. The remaining 96% are missing out on opportunities, such as having a Lifestyle section that showcases powerful cultural insights, or employee testimonials that can help with both hiring talent and engaging customers.
Leverage events as brand touchpoints
LinkedIn Events now provides another low-cost touchpoint to generate awareness, entice interest, and drive actions, such as registering for events. In conjunction with an editorial calendar, an event scheduling strategy should be developed to promote and host events through the LinkedIn Events module. For instance, inviting applicable connections and promoting events through LinkedIn. Events can be posted on the primary business page as well as on Showcase pages. LinkedIn recently updated the Events module to allow for virtual events, a critical necessity now, and a valuable strategy for inspiring direct sales.
Savvy brands use LinkedIn ads to generate initial awareness, and pair them with InMails and re-marketing strategies to push prospects into the evaluation phase. 56% of the companies we evaluated were using such ads. A few of the most popular formats include:
- Medium Rectangle (300×250 pixels): Appears across the site on the home page, profile pages, group page and company pages
- Skyscraper (160×600 pixels): Appears on members’ Inbox and Messages Pages
- Leaderboard (728×90 pixels): Appears at the bottom of the page as potentially the last piece of content users see
- Text link: Appears at the top of the page across the site including the home page, group pages, company pages and inbox
Many brands we work with have clear LinkedIn and Social Media policies that outline account ownership. They identify who owns the connections, they clarify how their employees should use LinkedIn, and they implement clear policies that set out precisely what data they retain as their own property and confidential information.
We’re all navigating this forced digital transformation together. Some started earlier and are ahead of the game—which means they’re siphoning market share from their competitors. As with countless opportunities in the past, those who embrace digital ecosystems, including LinkedIn, won’t be caught flat-footed when the next big shift in the market comes along.