Social Media and Life Science Marketing

By David Chapin

What role do social media play in your life science marketing mix? If you can’t shake the vision of Facebook and Twitter from your mind’s eye, read on.

Many B2B companies – life science organizations among them – have created Facebook pages and tweeted a time or two and seen little value from their efforts.

Enter LinkedIn, which pulls in a reported two new users a second and surpassed the 200 million member mark earlier this year. While their user count pales in comparison to the hundreds of billions of Facebook and Twitter members, a 2011 study of more than 5,000 businesses found that LinkedIn was 277% more effective than either of them for lead generation, making the social channel significantly more valuable for professionals responsible for business development, sales, and marketing.

More recently, LinkedIn users have been found to be:

  • influential, affluent business decision makers with twice the buying power of those on Facebook and Twitter
  • 26 percent more interested in receiving updates from brands than they are on other social sites

In the last year alone, LinkedIn functionality has evolved significantly. Products & Services tabs and other features give companies a way to transform once-drab Profile pages into veritable microsites. Brand analytics track page performance, and targeting options to reach sub-segments of your target audience.

But don’t overlook the features that make LinkedIn such a solid tool for individual users. After you’ve mastered your Profile, and getting and giving Endorsements or Recommendations, tune into the Groups function, which I find to be one of LinkedIn’s most valuable features. Here, you can build your network by rubbing virtual elbows with others who share your role in the industry, complement your skill set, and understand the challenges you face in the marketplace. The wealth and range of LinkedIn Groups related to the life sciences is astounding.

My affiliation with life sciences-based Groups on LinkedIn has generated some of my most recent invitations to Connect. But better yet, Forma’s business development team is getting more and more inbound leads – simply by joining, listening to, asking questions of, and sharing relevant and informative bits of industry news and commentary among their own Groups.

Gone are the days when ROI on social media in the life science marketing mix nearly impossible to measure. No social channel will ever be all things to all users, but experimenting with the ones with the greatest potential and proven effectiveness is worth the effort — and LinkedIn is a great place to start.

Read more about planning, writing for, and implementing social media.