I’m realizing that almost every one of my post starts with ‘you may know that I’m a fan of’ and this is no exception. This post is about LinkedIn, which I absolutely love. I’ve built a great network and created groups, I keep in touch with colleagues and let them know what I’m up to. The result is that this ‘soft sell’ keeps me on peoples’ minds, so that when they need my services, hopefully Comprendia comes to mind. I started to think about how my clients could benefit if they started encouraging their marketing, business development, or even R&D team members to ‘work’ LinkedIn as much as I do. Most of your customers are likely on LinkedIn, why not encourage your team to engage them there? Think about the potential for spreading the word and getting leads if everyone in your team participated. Here are some tips to guide and motivate your group.
- Understand the ABC’s
- Build a Great Network
- Join Groups
- Start a Group
- Use Status Updates
- Find Leads
- Be a Good Citizen
There are many great resources to help you understand LinkedIn–see this overview, this video, and this blog that provides excellent LinkedIn advice. One of the most important things to understand, which we’ll cover in the last point, is that your team should always be cognizant of the etiquette on LinkedIn. A little common sense/golden rule goes a long way: don’t do things to others that you would find irritating. In general, the mantra is ‘it’s not all about you.’ Realize that LinkedIn, like other social media, is more about engaging people rather than broadcasting to them.
Everything starts with building a network. The more people you are connected to, the larger reach you’ll have. It may seem like you’re asking your team to do this with an ‘ulterior motive,’ but it’s very likely that the people they’ll be linking with will help them with their career growth in the future. Ask them to look for colleagues, ex-coworkers, friends, and to look in through their connections’ connections to find people they may not have thought of.
Joining groups has many benefits. Firstly, you’ll be able to contact anyone in the group directly. Also, you can post news to the group, and learn what is going on in the area. Here is a list of good groups to join in Biotech/Life Sciences.
|Group||No. of Members|
|American Chemical Society||5,400|
|BIO International Convention||6,400|
|Biotech & Pharma Professionals Network||73,000|
|Life Science Opportunities in US||19,300|
|The Life Science Executive Exchange||8,400|
This is an excellent way to build a community that ‘cares’ about your company and your industry. I’ve had success with the Biotech Marketing Group and the San Diego Biotechnology Network, and I am continually amazed with the quality of professionals that join the groups. It’s also an easy way to get into social media without having to make immediate changes to your website. Consider creating a group that is not expressly focused on your company. For example, if your team sells protein purification columns, create a protein purification group, and share news, events and tips pertinent to that area.
Encourage your team to look for ways to interact with others on LinkedIn. It could be looking through the questions and answers, commenting on group discussions, or connecting with colleagues or clients to see what they’re up to. For example, people often update their profile when changing positions, a time where they’re often looking for new providers–why not send a note to congratulate them? You’ll find that besides spreading the word, that your team will be more ‘in touch’ with what is going on in your industry.
A good way to keep your clients abreast of your companies’ news is to encourage your team to regularly update their status on LinkedIn. For example, they can post company news or blog posts, and even give updates on what they are doing. Of course, you need to make sure that your team is adhering to the company’s policies. Often, this is uncharted territory, but why not get the ball rolling so that the whole company can take part?
Recently I was talking to an account manager at a large life sciences company who told me that he ‘uses LinkedIn more than the company’s CRM.’ Wow. Google searches will likely give you ways to find leads on LinkedIn such as this one. The advanced search allows you to search by location, keywords, and specific groups that you’re a member of. Building a good network and joining groups increases your teams’ chances of finding good leads, as you won’t be able to find or contact people outside of your network and groups.
While you want your team to leverage LinkedIn, the absolute worst thing they can do is to give your company a bad name by not understanding protocol. Check out our post on social media etiquette for more information. In general, emphasize to your group that LinkedIn is a powerful tool which should be used but not abused to interact with your customers. Unwanted attention or posts are still unwanted, even if they come from LinkedIn, and damaging your reputation can be disastrous.
I stretched the truth a little bit when I said using LinkedIn is free–of course your employees will need to spend some time with it. I think that after they’ve spent a few hours learning about LinkedIn, and get the hang of it, that it should take no more than 30 minutes a day, depending on your goals. I suggest you have a few meetings, including some brainstorming time, and set some goals and structure for your team to leverage LinkedIn to improve your bottom line.
Want to get jump started? Contact us for a free consultation, and we can do an ‘audit’ of your company’s LinkedIn presence, make suggestions for improvement, and provide training. You can also sign up for email updates or check out our Biotechnology Marketing 101 blog often. Feel free to link with me on LinkedIn, as well, where you’ll find that I practice what I preach ;)