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Over 400 million people now use LinkedIn, making it the third most visited social platform on the internet, behind Facebook and Twitter. When the site was first launched people were unsure of its purpose, but over recent years LinkedIn has become the go-to place for job hunters and recruiters, as well as a means of building and maintaining client and company relationships.

A recent survey found that employers who used social media platforms to hire for a role found a 49% improvement in candidate quality than those hired via traditional methods. LinkedIn has the greatest visitor-to-conversion rate of any social network site, but despite stats such as these, Pharma companies have been slow on the uptake of using the network. Even though it is the most useful B2B platform for the Pharma industry, many companies could be missing out on a free and convenient way of monitoring both their products and customers.

The majority of top Pharma companies are using LinkedIn, but it’s how they’re using it that really matters – and if they’re not using the network for social listening they’re missing out on a real trick, allowing them to hear what their customers are saying about their products. There’s even the ability for these companies to host their own forums for specific customer feedback via LinkedIn. With over 2.1 million LinkedIn groups it shouldn’t be difficult for these Pharma companies to start a discussion or engage in conversations with users.

Engaging with customers, as well as listening to their thoughts and searching for potential new hires, is also an important part of being on the network. Richard Branson and Bill Gates are renowned for the content they push out via their LinkedIn profiles, which not only help to promote their companies, but also gives a behind-the-scenes insight into their lives, spotlights the charity work they do, and offers hints and tips to other entrepreneurs and business people.

In 2014, Ian Read, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, was also made a LinkedIn Influencer, joining around 500 other professionals who publish content on the network – think of them as contributing editors to a magazine. Read publishes posts including tips for young job hunters as well as discussions on how the Pharma industry can be more reputable and is at the forefront of Pharma companies using LinkedIn.

By doing this, Read is giving his company greater visibility across one of the most used social channels. This helps to not only give people more faith and reassurance in the products Pfizer produces, but it also helps to attract stronger candidates to roles at the company, who have been offered a glimpse into the workings of the company via LinkedIn which wouldn’t have been available to them previously.

After all, 51% of workers who currently have a job are either actively seeking or are open to a new job, and would be more enticed to a new position if they had a better understanding of the company from their LinkedIn presence.

Pharma company executives may have begun to increase their presence on LinkedIn but company pages themselves now need to be brought to life better. Two years ago Miriam Shaviv tried to write an article on the top three Pharma company pages in the UK- yet she could only find two! Pharma still lags behind other industries for using social media, not just on LinkedIn but across the board. Improving upon this could help the Pharma industry become more efficient and more engaged with its customers.

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