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Tapping into a business community is helping Philips to reach health professionals. The electronics manufacturer, which produces radiography and cardiology equipment, wants to encourage brand advocacy in this niche community by using the LinkedIn networking tool.
Hans Notenboom, Philips global director for online customer relationship management, says working with LinkedIn is part of the brand’s strategy to be recognised as the thought leader in the health and wellbeing sector. “Hosting a LinkedIn community is creating more brand advocates by building relationships with clinical staff and facilitating dialogue,” he explains.
Notenboom believes that within two years, 95% of brand engagement will happen through websites that have already attracted a critical mass. Its own LinkedIn group has 11,000 members. “You have to go where the audience is,” he says. “Healthcare professionals are registered on LinkedIn in large volumes, so this is a good start for us.”
The frame of mind users are in when they visit the site is important, says LinkedIn’s European managing director Kevin Eyres. “Because LinkedIn is a site where professionals come to establish their identity and exchange information, they are already in a certain mindset. Philips takes advantage of that and initiates the conversation in the right way,” he says.
Seeing social networks in their context is important, he adds: “Facebook is for social sharing, Twitter for public broadcast and LinkedIn about professional connections.”
Standing out among the growing number of brands coming to LinkedIn to converse with a target audience comes down to the quality of the discussion the brand can initiate, having the right types of people in the group, and having effective moderators.