Over the past decade, social media networks have proven their worth at letting us stay connected with our friends and family as well as connecting with businesses and brands.
However, it is only in the last few years that social media for brands has really shown its worth, providing a platform to build an audience, engage with them and convey brand messages.
When you think of social media, you often associate it with trendy or legacy brands, where building and reaching your audience is relatively easy.
However, there are more than enough reasons for businesses in the life science, biotech or pharmaceutical industries to get involved and have similar success.
In this post, I will discuss why social media is important for these industries, and how you can go about being successful.
Why Social Media?
From a digital marketing point of view, there are many reasons why social media is an important marketing tool.
Below are some of the reasons that you should consider a social media strategy:
Building a Following
It is easy to get focused on two things when managing social media accounts; the number of likes and the number of followers.
Yes, both metrics can be a good indication of how well you are ‘performing’, but they can be easily manipulated and not typically useful.
When building a following, focus on getting authentic, engaging followers rather than the total number of followers.
You cannot always control this, but being consistent and relevant to your brand will likely work here.
Posting on social media is well known to help your brand awareness.
Generally speaking, the more posts you make, the more people will see you.
And if you can consistently put your brand in front of the same people multiple times, you are slowly building brand awareness.
Convey Brand Messaging & Purpose
With every post you publish as a business, you should be following a consistent message or theme across all posts.
If your business has a brand purpose, you want to ensure that this is conveyed in your overall business messaging.
Engaging with an Audience
With every post, you should provide a CTA or reason for your followers to engage. Whether that is a like, comment or even better – a share.
Make sure to respond where possible; reply to comments, follow back or even reach out to DM where appropriate.
However, you should manage this carefully to ensure you don’t cause any negative PR storms!
Understanding Audience Demographics
Most social media networks now offer business rather than personal profiles and accounts.
You should utilise this, as there are often free reporting or analytics tools that will give you basic insights into demographics such as age, gender, location as well as individual post metrics such as engagement and reach.
Identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
The classic SWOT analysis framework is useful to think about once you are on social media.
Using similar or competitor accounts, identify your strength and weaknesses; not only on your social media strategy, but also your overall business model!
Which Social Media Network?
There are many different social media networks these days, yet it is impossible to say one is better than the others.
Each have their own advantages and disadvantages, including audience demographics and reach.
I have broken this down further and so you can understand where you might want to position yourselves based on your typical audience and customer profile.
When you think of LinkedIn, you think of corporate profiles that are business orientated.
This is reflected in the main age demographic of 46-55 across the 730 million users. On average, 63% of users use it monthly, whilst 22% of users use it on a weekly basis.
Therefore, LinkedIn may be the place to be present if you are looking to reach older people, who typical hold more senior business roles and have more influence over purchasing and spending!
Of all the ‘traditional’ social networks, Facebook is the site with the largest audience, with approximately 2.7 billion monthly users.
And the demographic age of the largest user base? 25-34 year olds.
This makes Facebook and ideal place to be present if you are targeting and audience that are likely to be at graduates or entry-level manager positions.
Twitter is one of the more ‘simplistic’ social media platforms, where tweets are short form posts that are easy to consume and engage with.
Twitter users typically spend about 4 minutes per session, with the main age demographic of users aged between 30 and 49.
Interestingly, 42% of twitter users have a degree – highlighting the fact that these users may be earning more than the general population.
Instagram has grow for just a simple photo sharing app, to become the 2nd biggest social media network after Facebook.
33% of users are aged between 25 and 34, and they spend almost 30 minutes on the app each day!
Rather than using written content here, images are the key. Examples to consider as a life science brand are definitely photos of science in action; interesting laboratory experiments or chemical reactions in action!
YouTube often gets referred to as the internet’s video search engine. And it is an accurate representation!
Owned by Google, it has over 2 billion active monthly users, although the main age demographic is on the younger age range of 15-25 years old. Retention time on the platform is good; over 40 minutes per user session!
Creating video content is typically harder than other forms of content, but it is possible to produce just about any sort of content; formal business announcements, how-to style science guides or even a behind the scenes company blog!
TikTok is the biggest breakthrough social media network over the last year and has seen a massive increase in users during worldwide lockdowns.
With less users at around 100 million, the main age demographic is 18-24 year olds.
Although these users may be too young to be considered for your business objectives, the fact that users spend over 45 minutes day on the platform shows it could have significant impact in the future.
Facts and statistics quoted in this section are from the following sources:
Getting Started with Social Media
I’ve shown you why you need to consider getting your life science business active and present on social media, as well as some of the popular channels to consider.
However, for the next and final part of this article, I want to discuss an overview of what to consider next to get started.
Define a Strategy
Think back to my very first section of this post; what are the reasons for getting involved?
Is it to improve brand visibility?
Is it to promote a new product or service?
Or is it to simply match your competitors?
Whatever it is, make sure you have some sort of tangible plan.
Understand What Success Looks Like
If you have your outlined strategy, you need to find a way to understand if you are being successful.
I’ve already mentioned that measuring the number of likes or follow is not the ideal way to go here, but can you can measure how many clicks to your website you generate, or the number of signups or leads that can be attributed to your website analytics.
A rough idea of your goal is better than no idea at all.
Make some initial targets; these can always be updated and reviewed.
Determine the Tools and Resources you Require
Managing social media accounts is not easy.
Especially if you have multiple social media profiles to post to, and comments and interactions to respond to in a timely manner.
Identify who is responsible for managing social media profiles, how much time they have and any tools you may need.
Using tools to schedule and manage your posts are probably useful here, as well as an budget that may be required for reactive PR.
Plan your Content
This ties in with the last post; how are you going to go about creating content that is suitable for social media and ensuring that the same piece of content is re-used appropriately for the network it will be shared on?
Much like a website blog content, having a schedule or calendar is useful here. If you can publish content in line with content that’s published on your website, even better.
Test and Review
Social media can be unpredictable – both in the positive and negative sense.
If you notice that a particular channel, or type of content, is outperforming others, maybe it is time to spend more time on that.
Likewise, if a social media channel isn’t working, is it time to leave it?
This article is a very top-level introduction to getting your brand on social media.
It can be used as a guide for most industries, yet businesses in the life science and science-related industries tend to have neglected it or not bothered.
There is definitely a case for getting involved in social media as a life science marketer, as demonstrated by the demographic profiles mentioned above.
If you are unsure of the direction to go, or you need help planning or implementing social media, do not hesitate to get in contact with me to see how I can help you get started today!