You Need a LinkedIn Strategy
Simple, because as the largest professional network on the Internet you will find anyone who matters to your business on there — from customers to prospects, from business partners to employees. The network adds two new members every second and is home to more than 250 million members worldwide. LinkedIn has become the place for professionals to gather. And, when you have so many interconnected entities gathering in one place, you need to have a plan.
LinkedIn Has Gone Beyond the Job Search
Your employees? They’re all over LinkedIn. From sales reps to the people in the back office. Most are on it weekly, many are on it a few times each day. They check it on their smartphones during breakfast and on their laptops during conference calls.
LinkedIn – Can you afford to ignore it?
Sure, some employees will be job-hunting, yet the majority are using LinkedIn in many other ways. Ways that could benefit your business. They’re getting management advice from business thought leaders. They’re keeping up with industry trends. They’re searching for prospects. They’re building relationships with business professionals who will: buy from you, sell to you,or work for you. LinkedIn is bigger than the recruiting department. It touches all aspects of your business.
The People You Want to Connect with are on LinkedIn
People don’t buy from brands. They buy from people. When a client or prospect searches for people they’ve met, their LinkedIn profiles are likely to come up first. Employees use LinkedIn to represent both themselves and indirectly your company too. From a brand perspective, those profiles should be compelling. Ask your employees and most will reply, “I should do more with LinkedIn.” Yet, most of them are doing it poorly. Their photos aren’t professional looking, their profiles undersell their experience, and their networks are not relevant. These are the people who help create your brand, and they are often part of the first impression others will form of your business.
Help Yourself and Your Employees
There isn’t a simple solution to this issue. Each person’s use of LinkedIn depends on his or her role, as well as the industry, your company go-to-market strategy, and your overall company branding and messaging. For your company to get value from LinkedIn you will need to know what you want to accomplish, how your organization will get there, and how you will measure success. In other words, you’ll need a strategy.
Like all marketing programs (and make no mistake about it, this is also a marketing program) you have to set a strategy, then work toward implementation in a clear and deliberate way. Start small, focus on bang-for-the-buck; create a consistent brand message about your organization then ask your staff to use it in their profile. Develop a company page, so that when other people run across your employees the company information is clickable and exactly how you want it. Encourage your teams to build relevant industry contacts and ensure they are connected to one another right away. These are all solid building blocks.
Also, allow time for exploration and investigation. That time your staff is using to learn a leadership skill will manifest itself positively if you let it. The industry contacts that are cultivated from posting to related groups and interacting with regularity will have long-term value. Even the job hunting activities are beneficial in some ways, as keeping employees happy is often a matter of having a realistic perspective on market conditions.
Regardless of what you do, or how you prioritize it, give LinkedIn the respect it deserves. Craft a strategy then set about making it happen.
There are a handful of excuses that people claim as valid reasons for not creating video.
- I don’t look good on camera or I don’t like my voice.
- I don’t have anything valuable to share.
- I am not popular enough or I am not brave enough
- I cannot afford to buy video equipment.
- I just don’t have enough time.
You don’t need to be a ‘boy band’ to create your own website informational video.
I don’t look good on camera
You probably don’t like having your picture taken either. Some of us are not that comfortable in front of a camera, still or video. However, as a business owner and a Subject Matter Expert [SME] it isn’t a beauty contest, it’s an opportunity to inform and educate prospective patients. Alternatively, you can create screencast videos that do not require you to sit in front of the camera. These are presentations and computer-based videos from screen imagery, with a bit of voice-over added. Which brings us to… I don’t like my voice – Again, you may not relish the idea of hearing yourself speak on camera, but unless it truly is the sound of fingernails on a blackboard you need to objectively consider the goal before succumbing to this excuse. As an SME it’s more about your audience and what you can do for them and less about you, after all there are people who need your help.
I don’t have anything valuable to share
If this were true, you would not be a trained professional. So, sharing this information in spoken form via direct conversations MUST be part of your daily routine…No?Video is just another media to deliver the same information to a wider group of patients who you have not yet met. This is the essence of being an SME, who else could claim Subject Matter Expertise?
I am not popular enough
Video marketing is not about popularity (for the most part), yet we all are aware of some folks who have raised the media to near cult status. For hearing healthcare professionals your reputation will grow as you continue to share relevant information for viewers to consume. So with that in mind do you really mean: I am not brave enough? Go ahead, be afraid. BUT, do it anyway. Your fears will subside as you immerse yourself in the topic and the process. If it helps, have a trusted individual sit just off-camera and direct your conversation toward them instead.
Providing useful information to prospective patients makes the effort worthwhile.
I cannot afford to buy video equipment
If you need to, use a cell phone or iPad. These devices will do just fine for creating a quick 1 or 2-minute video. The effort will get you started, then from there the value of video may become more obvious — and worthy of a modest investment. If you don’t want to capture video with any device, Microsoft PowerPoint provides a presentation platform that is more anonymous. You could also download a copy of OpenOffice, which offers presentation capabilities similar to PowerPoint without the expense of buying the software.
I don’t have enough time
This isnt a task that requires hours on end. Finding an extra 30 minutes to capture the message to video could easily provide more value than many of the tasks we all perform daily out of habit. Push that email sifting back 30 minutes and see for yourself. Another option: get up earlier in the morning to give yourself the gift of time. Waking up 30 minutes earlier to record a short video is reasonable; you may not even miss the extra half hour of sleep and your business may profit from the sacrifice.
Start with a plan
Having a video content strategy is great for building authority, branding your business and gaining loyal followers. Some people prefer to read while others favor content through video. Serve your audience the kind of content they prefer and you will find it much easier to attract a community that likes, trusts and buys from you.
What Can Public Relations Do For Me?
A strong and effective public relations plan can build your practice’s reputation and position you in the best light with your community/target audience. With a competitive market especially in the hearing device industry, you need to determine strategies to stand out among your competitors. Incorporating public relations into your marketing plan increases awareness and highlights why your hearing healthcare services are the best.
Successful Public Relations is the development and telling of a good “story.” You may be curious as to how you can turn industry news or clinical information into a compelling story? The key is finding the hook.
Oticon recently unveiled its new Alta hearing device. Ask yourself:
- How can this hearing aid make a difference in the lives of my current and prospective customers?
- What new technologies does it feature?
- How can it improve the quality of life for customers?
The stronger you develop the “story,” the greater the acceptance by the media and public, which will add to the success of your public relations strategy.
Positioning Yourself as an Industry Expert
The importance of integrating public relations into your overall marketing strategy continues to evolve. According to The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR (Harper Business) – American marketing strategists argue that public relations has become the most effective way to build a brand. Business owners, like you, become known in their respective fields of concentration through public relations and the associated media generated. Therefore, integrating a public relations strategy into your overall business plan will help solidify you as an industry leader while bringing focus to your individual services.
Explore the Benefits of PR
Public Relations, if done right, can reach a large audience without the traditional expense associated with advertising and marketing. A few of the significant public relations benefits include the following:
- An economical way to reach your target audience in masses
- The awareness of, and the demand for, your company’s products or services
- Strengthening your company image and perception
- Painting the picture of a company that is active and innovative
- Creating additional credibility within your community
- Giving you an advantage over competitors that are not utilizing PR effectively
- Increasing online visibility, when integrated into your digital marketing strategy
If PR is not a part of your marketing plan currently, it may be time to consider implementing a public relations campaign to complement your existing initiatives. PR is an influential and cost-effective way to reach key audiences and influencers. PR focuses on promoting your company, establishing your business’ identity, and maintaining credibility – all with the end result of building an engaged and happy customer base!
For additional information on getting a PR campaign started, please check out our other PR blog post here: Public Relations: Beyond the Parties & On a Budget or contact marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore Consult YHN’s PR archives and ‘How Tos.’
Each year, across every industry, there are numerous tradeshows, conferences, seminars and meetings that can help you run your business. When you attend an event related to your area of expertise, you get opportunities to communicate with nationally known leaders of your profession; meet colleagues you recognize by reputation, through industry articles and case studies; and often, by accessing a new environment, you feel energized, reconnected and ready to implement change. But once you determine which events to attend, based on your goals and objectives, how do you maximize your time at each?
Before you arrive, make sure you prepare yourself to get the most value from your experience:
One: Read the agenda and select the sessions that will be most likely to improve your skills and help you “stretch” beyond your comfort zone by dabbling in topics you have not yet mastered.
Two: Seek out a professional colleague to become your event buddy; so you can share and discuss what you’ve learned. Collaboration brings special benefits when you talk about presentations that only one of you attended.
Three: Stay for the entire event. You never know what good information you might miss by arriving late or leaving early.
Four: Stay at the event’s designated hotel. You need to be where you can network most effectively and where you can use your time wisely; i.e. don’t spend a half hour in a cab or shuttle every morning and evening and miss portions of the event.
Five: Become an active participant, asking questions and making comments. The more you put into any event, the more you will get out of it.
BONUS: Seek out and meet those who served on the event planning committee. They deserve your feedback – positive or negative. And when you thank them, you will definitely stand out as one of the few who did.
Also: The trade-show portion of any conference provides extraordinary value. Not only is it an excellent opportunity to save money on “Show Specials,” but visiting the booths and vendors is also invaluable. Prepare for this part of any event by checking with your staff and bringing their questions with you. Have the vendors address everything on your list and find out what’s new/what can benefit your business. Remember, your vendors want to work with you to succeed.
Plan ahead for next year and consider registering for Consult YHN’s Convention, February 19-22, 2014 in Dallas, TX. Register now and be entered to win prizes in our early registration program. Click here to register today!
Consult YHN Associates at Convention in Las Vegas
It’s a great feeling when you get positive feedback in life. Whether it’s kudos on a job well done, a compliment on the way you look or a ‘thank you’ for a good deed accomplished. The same feeling applies to your practice, except it doesn’t have to be a passing note of gratitude. Testimonials are a great and [semi] permanent way to tell the rest of the world how much your practice is loved, what a wonderful job you do and how satisfied your customers are – and even better, it’s feedback coming right from the consumer for other consumers to see!
If a customer gives you a ‘thumbs up,’ let the world know!
Testimonials from customers can be used across various marketing mediums: in direct mailers, newspaper ads, on your website, in flyers [to physicians or the community] – the sky’s the limit! The fist step is to ask for them. A satisfied customer will be happy to compliment your practice. Just ask them to fill out a compliment slip, complete a form on your website, write a recommendation letter or give a verbal testimonial – depending on the best format for them. Always have the customer sign a release form so you can use said testimonials across all marketing and PR channels. It’s no time to be modest – if you are providing excellent customer service while enhancing the quality of life for your patients the world has a right to know!
What happens if someone’s not satisfied? Asking for feedback will eventually result in some negative comments as well. But that’s okay. This is an opportunity to find out what is dissatisfying the customer and quickly remedy the problem, turning a negative experience into a positive one for both the customer and you.
And what to do once you have all of these glowing testimonials collected? Start integrating them into your marketing materials – where appropriate – based on the message. For instance, in a direct mailer or newspaper ad, you’ll want to focus on the positive feedback regarding service and how long you’ve been serving the community [the mature and Boomers audiences LOVE this type of information]; for web based marketing, you want to show how you can save time for the Boomer audience and a sense of ‘well roundedness’ for the influencer audience; for physician marketing, you’ll want to showcase how important it is to the patient that their doctors work together to provide the best overall care possible. You can utilize the testimonial in a variety of ways and speak to a number of audiences.
The best part is this is a free tactic that can be integrated into your messaging. It’s the details in these testimonials that will set you apart from your competitors – positive feedback about your practice from your customers.
Get started today!