In the age of high-speed Internet, constant contact is considered normal. With a smart phone in almost every pocket, customers expect answers at the push of a button. Social media is a great way to communicate with customers quickly. According to Hubspot, 72% of adult Internet users use Facebook, 25% of adult Internet users use LinkedIn, and 23% of adult Internet users use Twitter. A life science social media channel can support your life science marketing effort, but only if done the right way.
First, you may ask how to justify spending time on a life science social media channel. Here are some statistics from Hubspot that show that social media is worth the effort:
- More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least two years report it helped them improve sales.
- By spending as little as six hours per week, 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.
- 90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses.
- Nearly one-third of the world uses social networks regularly.
- 92% of marketers say that social media is important to their business.
In later blogs, I will discuss best practices for individual social channels like Twitter or Facebook. For now, I want to discuss general best practices for all life science social media channels. Your life science social media channel is a gateway for direct communication with customers, targeted advertisements towards prospects, and increased brand exposure for your company. In the life sciences, it can be difficult to differentiate yourself due to regulatory pressure. A well-run life science social media channel can make you stand out if done correctly. With this in mind, here are some best practices for any life science social media channel.
DO: Invest Time into your Life Science Social Media Channel An effective life science social media channel takes time. Someone running a life science social media channel needs to be able to write the content, monitor the content, monitor analytics, and of course, communicate with customers. If more than one person is working on your life science social media channel, everyone involved should have these skills. Whoever you choose to manage your life science social media channel must take the time to do it correctly.
Regular, timely content is important to create meaningful ROI for your company. Think of it this way: a life science social media channel is like a pipe, while the content shared on that social media channel is what flows through the pipe. If the content flowing out of the pipe is good and timely, people will line up. If the content flowing out of the pipe is poorly written, inaccurate, or inconsistent, there will not be much ROI. You must invest the time into keeping content flowing consistently through the pipe. If your company cannot make the commitment, consider hiring someone to do it for you.
DON’T: Use your Life Science Social Media Channel Strictly for Sales
Like any form of thought leadership, do not use your life science social media channel strictly for sales. Give your audience thought leadership content to increase their knowledge. This includes your own thought leadership and shares from other thought leaders in your industry. If your company is a contract manufacturing organization, perhaps post a white paper about best practices when tech transferring a molecule to a CMO. Another option might be to share an article about the latest FDA regulations on aseptic fill finish. If you work for a CRO, a news article about clinical trial results, or a case study could be good thought leadership to share.
This does not mean you should never post sales-based content. Social media is an excellent platform for informing your audience about upcoming deals, new offerings, or news about FDA approvals. Just make sure that your life science social media channel is not entirely sales-based. Keep a balance between sales and original content. If done properly, your social channels can complement both sales and marketing.
DO: Use Visuals throughout your Life Science Social Media Channel Posts
When crafting life science social media channel posts, use visuals. Whether you use an infographic, a video, or just a picture, images perform better than text. William C. Bradford says that 65% of the population are visual learners. These people use visuals to learn and retain information. According to Chute and Digiday, posts with visuals performed on average 4.4 times better than just text. Take a picture of a team member working in the lab. Film your VP of Quality Assurance reviewing the latest FDA audit reports. Make an infographic about your company’s manufacturing process. Show the latest equipment being installed in your facility.
Each social media channel has specific dimensions for graphics. Research these dimensions before posting, because you do not want a graphic that is cut off or blurry. I will cover specific dimensions in later blog posts. Just remember, just because you aren’t a designer doesn’t mean you can’t produce simple graphics, clear photographs, or short video clips. If you’re willing to put a little time into it, visuals can provide a boost to your life science social media channel.
DON’T: Create a Life Science Social Media Channel that you don’t need
Do your research before you create a life science social media channel. Is the majority of your audience over the age of 50? Snapchat will not be your best option. Research your audience before building a new channel. Who are you trying to reach? Who is your current customer base? What are your goals for this social platform? Other questions to consider:
- What social platforms are your prospects on?
- What types of content would your prospects find valuable?
- What content does your company have available?
- Does your company plan on creating new content?
- How many people are available to help manage your social media presence?
- How will this life science social media platform help my company?
After you answer these questions and any others you might have, review the answers, and then create your new life science social media channel. Remember, using a life science social media channel you do not need might not help, and in fact may hurt, your marketing efforts.
DO: Invest in a Social Media Management Platform
If you are running a life science social media channel, you are likely busy with other responsibilities. Invest in a social media management platform like Hootsuite to help manage all your social channels. Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts in advance, respond to comments, and even monitor keywords. Using a social media management platform makes it less likely that an important post or response falls through the cracks.
For example, let’s say that you work for a CMO, and you are looking for possible clients. You could monitor keywords like “IND”, “small molecule”, “API”, or “new drug product”. If you are a CRO, you could look for phrases like “clinical trials”, “phase I”, or even just “clinical”. A social media management platform can help you qualify leads and monitor phrases that are important to your life science company.
DON’T: Ignore Analytics
Social media platforms have many options for in-depth analytics. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have internal options to view trends and demographics. Other sites such as Hootsuite, Google Analytics, and even Salesforce have options to integrate social media and view analytics. Use these numbers to adjust your content strategy. Are a few posts doing very well organically? Look at the content, time posted, and comments, and try planning your content calendar based on this information. Your analytics help prove the ROI of your life science social media channel.
DO: Keep your messaging consistent
Make sure that your life science social media channel stays consistent with your position, messaging, and your company tone of voice. Perhaps your company uses language that is wise, prudent, and uses objective analysis. Using funny gifs or joke posts would not fit. You should use content that demonstrates your wisdom. However, if your company uses a tone of voice that is socially facile, funny, or mischievous, a funny gif might fit your organization.
Pay attention to your other company touchpoints. Remember, your life science social media channel is a company touchpoint, just like your website and brochure. If social media is a prospect’s first interaction with your company, they should see your position in your content. Keep this in mind while you write your life science social media content. If you keep your company’s message and position consistent, social media can become another company touchpoint.
DO: Create Goals for your Life Science Social Media Channel
Like you would for any marketing project, create goals for your life science social media channel. Create specific numerical goals with a deadline. Perhaps your goal is to grow your Twitter following. An example goal could be: Grow our Twitter following by 15% in the first quarter of the year. Proper goals give your life science social media team milestones to work towards. With these goals in mind, it will be easier to use your life science social media channel to support your marketing efforts. Do not post content just because someone told you that you should post content.
- Social media can support your company’s marketing efforts, but only if done the right way.
- Using a life science social media channel can increase lead generation, sales, and overall exposure to your business.
- Invest time into your life science social media channel.
- While some sales content is ok on your life science social media channel, don’t make your channel entirely sales-focused. Be helpful by offering thought leadership that is relevant and timely.
- Use visuals in your social media posts.
- Don’t make a life science social media channel that you do not need or won’t maintain. Remember, a dead channel is worse than a nonexistent channel.
- Invest in a social media management platform. It makes running multiple channels simple.
- Most social channels offer in-depth analytics. Take advantage of these to adjust your social strategy.
- Keep your messaging consistent with the rest of your brand/story.
- Create specific goals with deadlines for your life science social media channel.
In future posts, I will discuss the best practices for using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube in the life sciences. Each platform has different best practices due to audience, platform specifications, and style. If you use these channels the right way, they will help your life science marketing efforts.