The Bracken Marketing Approach to Social Media for Life Sciences Companies

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Social media can be a deceiving marketing channel, especially in an industry as nuanced as life science. On one hand, it’s a must-have channel for driving awareness and engagement with your brand and seems easy to execute. On the other, with so many social media marketing (SMM) options out there, it’s easy to get stuck putting in high-volumes of effort for very little results. Don’t get caught in the trap! Be judicious with your SMM efforts, and understand all  the options in front of you that will make it a successful channel.

Why Listen to Us?

Before we start dishing out advice, maybe we should tell you a little bit about why we’re qualified in this arena:

  • Bracken Marketing manages social media for many brands in the industry

  • Some of our staff have made a career out of the craft.

  • We have directly sourced customer for ourselves and our clients via LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • Bracken has directly sourced over $100,000 in software or services contracts from Twitter

  • Our team has personally managed over $500,000 in social media advertising to-date

Our Guide to using Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Overview

  1. Consider your audience: Who are your customers and where do they live online?  If you haven’t developed personas for your key customers or potential clients, do so.  This will guide your social media choices and messages

  2. Regulatory considerations: Yes, this is a boring but very necessary consideration if your business, products, or services are governed by the FDA or other health authorities.  Examples including the use of social media to recruit for a clinical trial, or to market a pharmaceutical product. Make sure you know the do’s and don’ts before stepping into this pool. 

  3. Focus on delivering value: Posting your own content is ok, and necessary for driving traffic. But to truly build an audience make sure every post delivers value in some way.

  4. Intimately know your best channels: There are four major social media avenues used in the life sciences industry.

    • LinkedIn

    • LinkedIn Groups

    • Twitter

    • Facebook

    There are other social platforms such as Instagram, Quora, and Snapchat.  While these are important to be aware of, these are not typically the platforms life science professionals use to consume information.

Now that you know where you want to concentrate your social media marketing, let’s talk about how to use these platforms to their fullest.

LinkedIn

  • Timing: Use LinkedIn for company related content at least twice per week; though once per business day is ideal. 

  • Mix up the content: Your own content (blogs, whitepapers, press releases), outside content relevant to your business, and images keep followers engaged.

  • Engagement rates: Aim for a rate of 2.5% or higher.  A healthy consistent engagement rate drives LinkedIn’s algorithm and keeps your content present in followers’ newsfeeds.

  • LinkedIn posts have a half-life in the range of 24-48 hours.

What Is Half-Life? In social media, the half-life of a post refers to the average length of time it takes for a post to have received half of the impressions it will acquire in its lifetime. The half-life of a LinkedIn post is 24-48 hours while the half-life of a tweet is about 2 hours.

LinkedIn Groups

  • What’s a LinkedIn Group: A group is defined by LinkedIn as a “place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.”

  • Placement matters: By placing content in the right, carefully selected, groups you can target your message to the people who need to “hear” it most.

  • Timing: Don’t post in a LinkedIn group more than once per week, to avoid being flagged as spam.

  • Get the message right: Tailor the messaging of a LinkedIn Groups post to actually address the audience and purpose of a group.

Twitter

  • Volume matters:  Twitter is the one platform where it’s actually difficult to become “too noisy”. Tweets get buried to never be seen again in a matter of hours. You should be tweeting at least 60 times per month, more if you can.  Tweeting every hour of every day is acceptable.

  • The half life of a tweet is about 2 hours. 

  • Tweet in batches:  Develop your tweets ahead of time.  Put them into a spreadsheet and use a tool such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or HubSpot which will allow you to bulk-upload tweets schedule them in advance.

  • Recycling is good:  And not just of bottles and cans!  We recommend recycling your tweets.  You get more “bang for your buck” and the possibility of more eyes seeing your message.  You can reuse tweets up to six times in a six-month period and not fear annoying your followers.

  • Retweet and engage with folks who take the time to share your content, or mention you publicly.

Facebook

  • Not the place for organic investment:  For life sciences, the return on the effort to create original Facebook posts, isn’t necessarily worth the effort when posted organically. However, if you’re willing to spend on Facebook advertising, and know how to target ads effectively, then you are likely to use the platform to generate valuable awareness.

  • Organic is boosted by advertising : All social media platforms today are a “pay to play” arena. These platforms are businesses after all, and are great at monetizing their users. There is a known correlation between the organic impressions a Facebook account receives, and the amount the account spends on advertising.

  • Use tools such as HubSpot or IFTTT to automate your Facebook posting by mirroring the content you’ve already built for LinkedIn.

I’ve mentioned a few tools to use that make social media marketing easier.  Here’s a more complete list to check out as you plan your social media strategy.

A Note about Advertising…

Today, social media platforms, especially LinkedIn and Facebook, favor accounts that use paid advertising. Some interesting statistics about LinkedIn…did you know that there are 500 million LinkedIn users of which approximately 40% of log in every day?  Of the current 500 million users, 40 million of those users are identified as decision makers.  This makes LinkedIn an important channel for reaching key life science decision makers.  A reminder, advertising is a different beast that organic SMM.  Check out our post on social advertising to learn more.

Now that you know what to consider when preparing your SMM posts, where you are going to publish them, and whether paid advertising is one of the methods that makes you sense for your business, let’s start posting! If you have any more questions on the subject, we’d love to chat. Schedule a free social media marketing consultation with Bracken.

 

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