A beginner’s guide to digital pharma: part 6 – LinkedIn

Faisal Ahmed and Paul Tunnah

pharmaphorum

Continued from “A beginner’s guide to digital pharma: part 5 – Facebook

As I’m typing this I get two LinkedIn emails from recruitment consultants and one invitation from an old colleague. Will I ignore them? NO, I respond as soon as I can!

LinkedIn in has taken the business world by storm, making it a more friendly and social way to keep in touch. In many ways it has even replaced the old business cards and Rolodex, because with over 5 million members in the UK and 100 million global users, LinkedIn is the social tool for keeping in touch in business.

If you’re not onboard with LinkedIn then you’re in a fast dwindling minority. Like all the best online tools, it really is very simple to get started – just visit www.linkedin.com to create an account, fill in your career history and education, add a picture and any other interests and that’s it!

 

“LinkedIn in has taken the business world by storm, making it a more friendly and social way to keep in touch.”

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You can now add connections, simply by allowing LinkedIn to see your email address book or by using the search functionality on the site (which is a really useful feature for when you are meeting someone for the first time and want to know a little about them). At the entry level, LinkedIn works by allowing you to “see” people within three connections of you, so you can very quickly build up a large sphere of visibility. But don’t forget, search engines can index your LinkedIn profile and others can also see you, so it can help raise your personal profile – just remember to keep your details up-to-date!

Now that you are up and running you can ask questions, look for service providers, update your company profile page whenever suits, join discussion groups and search for jobs. LinkedIn also offers the ability to add many additional applications to spice up your profile, such as polls, blogs, Twitter feeds and slideshare presentations, which can all be a great way to promote yourself to your connections.

To harness the power of LinkedIn fully you should look at the group functionality, a powerful feature that facilitates discussions around chosen subject areas. You can start by joining some existing groups (many of which are now open access, meaning you don’t need to be approved to join). If you want to join in the discussion simply search for groups in your field on the ‘Groups’ page, or check out the ‘Groups You May Like’ section. You will quickly discover some popular discussions and can get involved by liking discussions, commenting or simply start a new topic yourself.

 

“To harness the power of LinkedIn fully you should look at the group functionality, a powerful feature that facilitates discussions around chosen subject areas.”

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If you want to go a stage further and start you own group, it’s quite simple:

• Hover over the ‘Groups’ tab at the top and click on ‘Create a Group’.

• Fill in the information required, such as group name, logo, description etc.

• Choose whether you want an open (available to everyone) or members only group (where moderators must approve those who wish to join).

• That’s it – you’re done! Now start letting your connections know about your new group.

However, there are some things you can do to maximise your LinkedIn group, which can perform a very similar role to a Facebook fan page if managed in the right way:

• Add keywords in the description of your group to increase your search rankings on LinkedIn’s search section, bearing in mind who you want to discover your group.

• Add keywords to the title of the group so it can be found on search engines.

• If you have a blog or twitter page add the RSS feed to the group to keep the content fresh.

• Send out weekly or bi-weekly messages to update members, but don’t be pushy!

• Promote your group on other channels such as your company website or blog.

Another great feature on LinkedIn is the ‘Companies’ page, which can be especially helpful in job hunting or for promoting your own company. Similar to people, you can also follow the individual pages for a companies, to keep on top of what they are doing. For your own company page, you can take the opportunity to reveal some key facts about your background, top employees, post your own jobs or list your products and services (plus ask for recommendations of them).

One really useful new feature one LinkedIn is the ‘Skills’ tab (currently in beta testing), which is a great way for individuals to keep on top of what they need for their careers, here you can follow subjects, companies and leaders in your field.

 

“…you do have to focus where the fish are and with over 100 million users worldwide LinkedIn is really the leading force right now in business social networking.”

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LinkedIn has so many features and it grows daily, but like all social media websites, being on LinkedIn helps with your search engine optimisation and presence. For brands and individuals it allows you to voice an opinion, but most importantly you can track what people are saying about your brand.

As with most social media sites there are alternatives such as xing.com, which has more than 10 million users, and smaller sites such as ecademy.com, which promotes itself as an exclusive business network. We believe it’s good to be social and be on as many sites as possible, but you do have to focus where the fish are and with over 100 million users worldwide LinkedIn is really the leading force right now in business social networking.

We hope that’s been useful and, as always, welcome your feedback and experiences of using LinkedIn or other business social networking site. So don’t hesitate to add your comments below or Tweet @pharmaphorum.

Read part 7 – “YouTube” here

About the authors:

Faisal Ahmed is one of a handful of people in the UK that has been involved with digital for over 12 years, having been part of the start-up team at amazon, defining how we shop online. Faisal has launched digital strategies for 90 football Clubs, the ECB and WRC. He also launched Playboy’s mobile and social media platforms in 2006 and one of the first online social networks. Over the last 2 years Faisal has been Head of Digital at a leading healthcare agency winning over 15 awards and bringing to life both one of the first mobile apps and augmented reality in healthcare. Faisal can be found Tweeting here @sickonthenet.

Paul Tunnah is Founder and Managing Director of www.pharmaphorum.com, the dynamic online information and discussion portal for the pharmaceutical industry featuring news, articles, events / company listings and online discussion. For queries he can be reached through the site contact form or on Twitter @pharmaphorum.

How has LinkedIn worked for your business?