By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
[A Healthcare Success Educational Series] Social media facilitate patient engagement, service line awareness, new business development and other communications objectives. This educational series provides marketing professionals, hospital executives and medical practice providers with an overview for effective social media planning.
LinkedIn is particularly distinctive among the biggest social media (SM) formats. You might say that it’s the one wearing a business suit and a power tie.
Ranking third most popular social media (so says eBizMBA), LinkedIn enjoys about 200-million unique monthly visitors. But size alone isn’t the main point of differentiation. The analogy we offered in a previous post puts it this way: Twitter is a fast little sports car. Facebook is like a SUV/station wagon for family and friends.
But LinkedIn is an unassuming luxury sedan…comfortable, reliable and impressive. It’s the social media town car of physician marketing. Among the SM “biggies,” LinkedIn tends to represent a gathering spot for executives, professionals and, in the healthcare arena, it’s well suited for doctors, hospital and practice administrators and communications executives.
“The mission of LinkedIn is to connect the world’s professionals to enable them to be more productive and successful. To achieve our mission, we make services available through our website, mobile applications, and developer platform, to help you, your connections, and millions of other professionals meet, exchange ideas, learn, make deals, find opportunities or employees, work, and make decisions in a network of trusted relationships and groups. [LinkedIn User Agreement]
LinkedIn Pages and Groups
Individual: Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is expressly for people in professional occupations and functions as an online networking environment. Registered users posted resume-like individual descriptions based on their personal education, work history and business competencies.
Company: LinkedIn also provides for “Company Page” profiles suitable for information about a business, brand, products and services. (LinkedIn’s requirements for adding a Company Page are here.)
Showcase: More recently, LinkedIn now facilitates secondary “Showcase Pages” that spotlight, in their Help Center description, “allow you to extend your Company Page presence by creating a dedicated page for those aspects of your business. It makes sense to create a Showcase Page when you want to establish a dedicated page to represent a brand, business unit, or company initiative.”
Groups: Professionals in the same industry or with similar interests can share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts. [Help Center: Create a Group]
To illustrate, Healthcare Success created and maintains active discussions among members of the following seven LinkedIn Groups:
- Healthcare Success Medical Marketing Group
- Hospital Marketing and Advertising
- Physician Liaisons, Physicians Relations & Practice Representatives
- Dental Practice Management
- Medical Practice Management
- Reproductive Medicine Marketing – IVF ART Infertility
- Patient Experience
LinkedIn User/Member Demographics and Statistics
Each of the various social media platforms provides a unique means to engage, involve and inform a specific target audience. Quantcast—the digital audience measurement company—says: “LinkedIn connects marketers to over 50 million affluent, ambitious and influential professionals. Built upon trusted connections and relationships, LinkedIn has established the world’s largest and most powerful community of professionals…” User demographics in the United States:
- Male (64%)
- Female (36%)
Age: Middle Aged
- <18 (16%)
- 18-24 (8%)
- 25-34 (16%)
- 35-44 (23%)
- 45-54 (21%)
- 55-64 (11%)
Household Income: More Affluent
- $0-50k (33%)
- $50-100k (34%)
- $100-150k (18%)
- $150k+ (15%)
Education: Graduate and Post Graduates
- No College (25%)
- College (48%)
- Grad School (27%)
LinkedIn for Healthcare Professionals
With a concentrated emphasis on professionals and executives, LinkedIn has a valuable role in social media marketing, particularly for establishing the credentials and extending the reputation of doctors, administrators and healthcare executives…as well as their facilities and brands.
By differentiating itself in this significant way, LinkedIn’s role in social media marketing has a different character than other SM platforms, and it tends to speak with an authoritative voice to a more up-scale and business savvy audience. This audience includes patients, prospective patients and healthcare industry peers and colleagues.
For more in this series and related reading, see: