What did a social media strategy ever do for me (and my life sciences enterprise)?

Over the last 12 months, I’ve noticed that more and more business and academic leaders in life sciences in Scotland are asking about the social media opportunity for their organisation; what role does it have in the B2B world? Does it really apply to such a technical sector like life sciences? Will it require lots of additional resource? Does it really replace traditional marketing methods? My answer to these questions is yes, yes, not necessarily and, actually, it can increase the impact made and return on investment gained from traditional marketing methods.

Nowadays, not only is social media a big part of most people’s lives but, with 91 per cent of people in the UK aged 35-54 owning a smartphone, we no longer separate our work time from our personal time as clearly – people are more likely to check Twitter and LinkedIn before and after work and during their lunch break. The role of these platforms has changed significantly in recent years too; 41 per cent of internet users now use Twitter for news and business articles and 75 per cent of business decision-makers use their LinkedIn network in some form as part of the B2B buying process.

So, if you are in the business of engaging with adult (human) professionals, there is an opportunity with social media. But I think it’s even more relevant to life sciences in Scotland – for a couple of
reasons. Firstly, our sector is highly technical and, in my experience, this makes it tricky to anticipate what potential customers might be searching for on Google and, therefore, difficult to rely solely on search engine optimisation (SEO) of your website. Social media offers a much more proactive approach; providing the opportunity to share information with a wider audience at a much earlier stage in their thought process.

The other reason is to do with ambition. The ambition of life sciences in Scotland is clear and has no geographical boundaries. An acceleration in revenues requires a customer-dominated strategy and a marketing and sales funnel with high, international awareness at the top and optimised conversion rates throughout. That’s where a social media strategy can significantly help.

But the role of social media in a B2B marketing strategy is a specific one with golden rules to follow. That’s because people are on social media to find out information, to be entertained and to connect to others – not to be sold to. The good news is life sciences enterprises are in an excellent position to respond to this and I’m very much looking forward to introducing the factors critical to
successfully grasping the social media opportunity at the Life Sciences Scotland conference on November 12th.

*Alix Mackay provides marketing advice and strategy specific to life sciences enterprises and also co- leads the Marketing and Communications working group of the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group.