As we move into a busy a few weeks of exhibitions and conferences, I wanted to explore why embracing social media is more important now than ever before.
Social media is still a hugely misunderstood factor for many when it comes to marketing. Some can see glimpses of how it can benefit product awareness but fail to understand it's not just about self-promotion and sales, some people know it simply to communicate with friends and family and others ignore it completely because they do not understand or are confused about it.
In a nutshell, social media is made up of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. The concept is extremely simple and allows you to seamlessly connect with other users.
Various types of social media networks exist, from the short micro-blogging style of Twitter and video viewing giant that is YouTube, to the more business based LinkedIn and instant messaging WhatsApp. In fact, 1000's of different social networks exist and all have a different user base, algorithm and purpose.
I am going to focus on LinkedIn and Twitter here as I believe these are two key platforms for the medical device industry and can be used to great effect to generate awareness, brand growth, engagement and exploring new sales avenues.
In their own words, they are 'the world's largest professional network with more than 562 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.'
Surgeons, patients, and medical device sales reps are utilising LinkedIn and other digital channels right now to view and share a variety of information. This not only is improving their profile but also driving product awareness and interaction through likes, shares and comments. All of this is happening digitally and can, therefore, be accurately measured and reported on, something that traditional media still struggles with today.
For businesses looking to increase their brand awareness encouraging your employees to interact with your page’s content is an incredibly quick and effective process. Employees are the biggest brand advocates and when they add your company to their work experience, they become followers and unlock each of their networks, expanding your reach and contents visibility.
Creating content, sharing and interacting on LinkedIn does not cost anything and can produce some incredible results over time. However, if you are looking to reach, even more, targeted users you can, of course, create a paid advertising campaign around your content. During this set up you can detail the exact audience you want to reach from demographic data to company profiling, this of course drastically increases the awareness, reach and interaction for your ideal audience and can produce results within hours.
5 LinkedIn Tips
- Update your profile with accurate information and a professional looking headshot.
- Grow your network by connecting with colleagues past and present.
- Engage other employees to interact with company page content.
- Spend 10-15 minutes per day interacting with your feed of content. This may include commenting, liking, sharing and adding new connections.
- Create your own meaningful content. Visual content works much better than anything else so try to include an image, infographic or video where possible.
Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now. As of the second quarter of 2018, the micro-blogging service averaged 335 million monthly active users1
If you attend conferences, exhibitions and large trade shows, Twitter will quickly become a go-to platform. The smartphone app is superb at allowing you access to huge amounts of live information by following hashtagged words or phrases. For example, if you are attending Eurospine in Barcelona this September you may want to follow along with the conversation that surgeons, brands and individuals will be having using #Eurospine2018.
The key to Twitter is to keep it short and simple. Providing snippets of information, again with the added benefit of a visual will see the best interaction. You should be prepared to post several times throughout the day for best results.
Many Twitter accounts are completely ad-hoc and posts are shared as and when they are fresh on the mind and breaking news. However, superb tools exist to help you understand the best times for you to optimise your posts based on your follower's activity.
5 Twitter Tips
- Have a clear profile with a concise bio and clear imagery.
- Follow other users that you will find interesting and engaging.
- Tweet 3 or more times a day about subjects that you are involved in.
- Do not repeat sales messages.
- Optimise your tweets at various times of the day.
For anyone that doesn't believe social media works, during the build-up to AAOS this year we secured meetings solely through our social media activity which has led to new business.