There is little questioning the value of LinkedIn as a powerful social network for life science marketing professionals. But are you taking advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer?
Although you can certainly use the platform to connect with colleagues, the real benefit of LinkedIn lies in the vast global networking opportunities it provides. One of the best ways to unlock the social network’s potential is by participating in groups that are highly relevant to your specific industry sector.
Networking through LinkedIn groups can help you position yourself as a thought leader, highlight your company’s expertise and obtain useful industry insights. Here, we’ve gathered a few top tips to help you make the most of the LinkedIn groups’ functionality to boost the effectiveness of your life science marketing programmes.
Why are LinkedIn groups powerful life science marketing tools?
As the LinkedIn team puts it, “LinkedIn groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts”. With each LinkedIn member allowed to participate in up to 100 groups, and with a limit of 20,000 members per group, the possibilities to influence your peers and prospects are limitless.
Some of the key benefits of utilising LinkedIn groups as part of a life science marketing campaign include:
- Establish yourself as a thought leader: By regularly posting interesting, relevant and timely content and thoughtfully answering questions asked by fellow group members, you can demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as a thought leader within a specific field of interest.
- Enhanced brand awareness and credibility: If viewed as a reliable resource within a given group, you can drive visitors and prospects to your company’s website where they can learn more about how they could work with you.
- Valuable industry insights: Group discussions can help you keep abreast of the latest market developments and get informed about your competitors’ current activities.
- A better understanding of your customers: Participation in LinkedIn groups can help you learn more about your buyer personas’ pain points and needs, and you can use this knowledge to inform your wider content marketing strategy.
It’s clear that LinkedIn groups can serve as powerful life science marketing tools. However, in order to take advantage of the platform’s huge potential, it is necessary to implement certain best practices, which we have outlined below. So, why don’t you bookmark this page, for ease of reference when building your LinkedIn groups strategy?
Just because LinkedIn allows you to participate in up to 100 groups, that doesn’t mean you have to join every single one suggested by the platform’s search functionality. Instead, you should narrow down your choices to those that seem to be highly relevant to your specific industry sector or interest. Taking a targeted approach to your group selection will enable you to mingle and network with the most influential peers and your ideal customers. It may be that you opt for a group that has half of the members than another, but those members might be a far better fit for your company.
It’s important to decide what you wish to achieve by joining these groups. Do you want to connect with other industry experts to keep up to date with the latest market developments, or would you like to learn more about your buyer personas? Once you’ve set your goals, you should be able to use specific search terms using relevant keywords to generate a list of potential groups to join. Are any of them preferred by the people you follow? This could be an indication that a certain group is attracting people with interests similar to yours. Reading the groups’ brief descriptions and reviewing a few of the discussion threads are also advisable (so long as the group is open access and this information isn’t hidden behind a members' area) as they can help you understand the groups’ purpose, membership profile, topics covered and depth of discussions.
Once you’ve identified the groups of which you’d like to become a member, you’ll need to send a request to join. Before you get accepted, group admins will most likely want to know a bit about you to make sure you meet their membership criteria. Make sure to optimise your LinkedIn profile, as that’s where they will likely be pulling information from! If group admins think you’re an interesting and valuable addition to the group, they will accept and welcome you, which will signal to other members that you’re worth connecting and engaging with.
Getting accepted to the group of your choice is the first step towards being recognised as an influential member of the community. But being an active group member by regularly stimulating interesting and engaging discussions is what will help you stand out from the crowd. This is your chance to position yourself as a thought leader and respected expert in your field of interest. Someone to whom other group members will regularly turn to to hear about the latest news, trends and developments that are set to reshape the industry.
Just like with every other piece of content, when creating your next LinkedIn post, you’ll need to follow a certain set of rules to ensure your post will attract and engage other group members:
- Choose variety for greater impact – Be the first to share relevant industry news, but also share your own educational content such as blog posts, articles and whitepapers, to demonstrate just how diverse you are.
- Add value – Whatever the topic of your post, you need to ensure it adds value to readers. Don’t just share or re-share content, but rather highlight why this is of interest to the community and how it could potentially address people’s pain points.
- Demonstrate thought leadership – Share your own thoughts and ideas on each particular topic, actively adding to the discussion as it progresses. Be provocative, but always in a positive, motivating way.
- Avoid sales-y language – Avoid posting content that will be considered as a direct sales pitch. This could go against the group’s rules and could get you banned, which would be detrimental to your reputation as a respectable thought-leader. You could instead start a discussion about current application-relevant challenges and indirectly describe your solution as a means of addressing these.
- Ask questions – Inviting people to share their knowledge and expertise is an excellent way to encourage engagement with your posts. Out of respect to the group members’ limited time, you could ask a multiple-choice question, prompting people to select the answer that most closely matches their opinion.
- Use bulleted/numbered lists – If applicable, lists can be particularly effective, as they are easy to read and digest. Busy people, who would like to be able to quickly scan your post and pull the key takeaways, will especially appreciate lists.
- Use visuals – Complement your posts with relevant visuals, such as images, videos and infographics, which will draw attention to your story and help make it more memorable.
Just like with face-to-face conversations, discussions taking place online should be based on and guided by mutual and genuine respect for each other’s ideas. We also need to be open-minded and willing to embrace another person’s point of view, even if it contradicts our own. This approach will help you create strong personal relationships with other group members and have truly valuable discussions with them that will serve as learning experiences and better inform your perspective on a variety of issues.
Once you’ve started a discussion, make sure to respond to all comments showing people that you value them and their ideas. Implying point-blank that you know better than everyone else won’t position you as a modest expert, and could result in a missed opportunity for a productive and respectful exchange of thoughts. This doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree with other participants’ views, even engaging in a dynamic debate, but you should do so in a respectful and fair manner.
Social media platforms are not to be used in isolation, rather complement each other to increase reach and maximise impact. Share your posts and group discussions on Twitter, Facebook and other channels, linking back to the original ones on LinkedIn. This is an excellent way to attract more readers and contributors, who in turn will add even more value to your ongoing discussions.
Don’t share a discussion just for the sake of it. Instead, make sure it’s of direct interest to the users of your other social networks. And when sharing a post, don’t forget to accompany it with a relevant commentary/introduction that will help set the scene and show people why they should be reading the original post and contributing to the discussion.
The power of being an active LinkedIn group member
LinkedIn groups can be powerful tools in the life science marketing toolbox. Carefully selecting and actively participating in groups that are relevant to your industry sector can establish you and your company as the knowledgeable go-to experts. At the same time, LinkedIn groups can provide you with valuable industry and buyer persona insights, which you could then use to inform your wider content marketing campaign.
If you're looking to boost your life science marketing efforts and would like to know more about our integrated marketing services, then why not contact us for a free consultation?