What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social networking site designed for the business community.
It’s the world's largest professional network on the internet with more than 500 million members^. This increasing popularity means the potential reach is huge.
Businesses can set up a page to showcase what their business is all about and network with likeminded users to build relationships or gain industry insights. A company page helps others learn about your business, products, services and job opportunities. It’s an opportunity to build your brand and potentially attract new custom.
Individuals tend to use LinkedIn to connect with networks of people they know and trust professionally and leave endorsements or recommendations for each other. Also a person’s page acts as a virtual CV to enable people to let others, including prospective employees, know about their skills and professional experience.
As a general rule LinkedIn is better utilised as a business and networking tool and therefore if you are looking for the most effective way to communicate with prospective and current customers I would suggest utilising Facebook.
Read more about getting started with Facebook:
Why should I use LinkedIn?
Quick tip – Why not communicate with local businesses around the benefits of your offerings e.g. group flu vaccinations for staff.
As a pharmacist or pharmacy owner LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to connect with other users and businesses in the pharmacy sector and also those in your area to develop relationships and exploit potential opportunities.
Also as you build more connections and a following you will inevitably, through your company profile page, increase awareness of your pharmacy brand (link to your website is listed in ‘About us’ part of your profile) and drive more traffic to your website if you have one.
Quick tip – Try connecting with care homes in your area and let them know how you can assist with managing medicines and training of care home staff.
LinkedIn also offers the opportunity to view a vast database of user’s skills and professional experience to identify and connect with the ideal candidate for your pharmacy.
Alternatively you can promote career opportunities within your pharmacy by posting a job listing and let users contact you.
With the enormous reach of LinkedIn it is a practical, efficient and cost effective recruitment tool.
Quick tip - Individual users send invitations to connect to others they know. Once the other user accepts, that makes a connection to other businesses and users, encouraging them to follow your company profile or like a post.
How do I start using LinkedIn?
You will first need a personal account to be able to register a company page.
Joining is simple – visit www.linkedin.com and follow the on screen instructions.
LinkedIn will often verify your account by calling/texting your registered phone number.
Quick tip – Unlike your company page title your URL will need to be unique within LinkedIn, therefore the URL you proceed with may need to be slightly different to your page name.
Once you are up and running with your personal account you can now add a company page.
- Click the ‘Work’ icon in the top right corner of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Scroll down and click ‘Create a Company Page’
- You will then be prompted to add a company name, select a URL and add an email address associated with the company. URL is the page address and is what LinkedIn users and search engines such as Goggle will use to locate your page.
- Tick the verification box to verify that you are an official representative of your pharmacy and have the right to act on behalf of the company in the creation of this page.
- It’s as simple as that – now just click ‘Create Page’ and you are ready to go!
Populate your profile
Cover image (often referred to as background photo)
works in a similar way to your cover photo on Facebook in that it populates prime estate on your company page and is therefore an opportunity to engage with users and tell them what your pharmacy is all about.
Why not try a professional image that captures part of your shop floor or maybe a picture of pharmacy staff assisting a customer.
As with any social media profile it is critical the photo you use is good quality and not distorted or dark as this can portray an unprofessional image and harm the trust in your pharmacy page.
Quick tip – The recommended image size for your logo is 300 (w) x 300 (h) pixels and for your cover image 1536 (w) x 768 (h) pixels.
Your logo appears on your company page, as well as when members search for your company and on your employees' profiles (when they have connected with your pharmacy page).
Your company logo will also appear against any posts you publish.
Your logo is something that is instantly recognisable so users can easily identify it as you.
If you don’t have a company logo then try using a picture of your pharmacy fascia (if you have photo editing software you could edit this to look effective in the 300 x 300 size).
For individual accounts focus on using a professional headshot that portrays a smart image of yourself.
This appears in the ‘About us’ section on your company page and is an opportunity for you to tell any potential visitors to your page all about your pharmacy and what it offers.
Why not include details of services offered in your description to really sell your pharmacy to prospective business customers e.g. ‘Flu vaccination service: available to both individuals and groups – local business visits can be arranged.’
Quick tip – Keep your profile professional and business related. Anybody that sees your profile is a potential business associate or customer.
Add what your pharmacy does and what you have to offer e.g. list the services and support you offer.
Specialities act as keywords that improve your visibility within search results and therefore make your pharmacy page easier to find within LinkedIn.
How do I build my network?
Ask employees to add the pharmacy to their personal profiles – this will mean they are then followers of your pharmacy page.
As your colleagues/employees then like, comment and share they are in turn increasing the reach of your pharmacy page.
Add links to communication vehicles
An effective way of promoting your pharmacy page is to link to it from any emails you send – try adding it to the footer of your emails. If you have a pharmacy website add a ‘Follow us on LinkedIn’ button so it’s easy for visitors to follow your pharmacy page.
Posting regular company updates
Share your pharmacy news, any interesting industry articles you have read/published or insights you have – you could also encourage your followers to share their views on industry talking points. As well as appearing on your pharmacy page your posts will show in the news feed of each of your followers and therefore are exposed to lots more potential followers.
Send an invitation to connect
Quick tip – LinkedIn recommends only sending invitations to connect to people you know and trust as connections are given access to the primary email address on your account.
On your personal account search for people you know and connect with them.
There are lots of ways to search for users:
- Via the search bar
- Importing your email contacts
- Via the ‘People you may know’ page
Search ‘Inviting or Connecting with People on LinkedIn’ on www.linkedin.com/help for more information and further instructions.
Try adding business associates you work with or have worked with previously. The larger your network the bigger your reach and the more users that are likely to follow your pharmacy page and become prospective customers.
Commenting in groups
Quick tip – Under the work icon, select the option for groups and lots of suggested groups based on your industry and other profile data will be displayed.
Search for groups within relevant industries or geographical areas and click ‘Ask to join’ to allow you to expand your networks and contacts.
You will need to join groups using your individual account but can reference your company page within your posts.
The influence you have within a group discussion will reflect upon your pharmacy and as such groups act as a great way to highlight your pharmacy page and attract more followers.
Next time - Making the most of LinkedIn – 10 top tips
Take a look at our catalogue of social media guidance on NumarkNet for more info and tips to maximise your social media presence.
If you have any queries or would like any advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via email@example.com or on 0800 783 5709*.