Social Media: A Direct Line to Biotech Stakeholders

Social media of some sort has become part of everyday life for almost everyone – whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter. For example, nearly 80% of journalists regularly use social media and nearly half (48%) feel they could not carry out their work without it.

This creates tremendous opportunity for emerging biotech companies to be part of the conversation, communicating directly about company milestones, scientific progress and culture. According to a recent study by Pew Research Center, since 2013 the average number of tweets by pharmaceutical companies has increased by 730%. It’s no coincidence.

However, social media is often overlooked as a communications channel, with the erroneous perception that users are there primarily for pleasure – not business.

And it shouldn’t be. For example, did you know that Twitter has a highly engaged audience of investment and finance professionals?

  • Over 3.5 million finance professionals (in industries including finance, accounting, banking, investment banking and more)
  • Over 200,000 investment banking professionals
  • Over 6.51 million investors
  • Over 26 million media professionals

Even knowing that many people choose not to self-identify their industry in that channel, that’s a healthy audience size.

We can also see how engaged they are. Search behavior indicates an interest in biotech information on the site: the keyword biotech is used in 1,000 to 10,000 tweets globally every day; the #biotech or #biotechnology hashtag is used roughly 2,000 times every day; and the words “press release” or “for immediate release” were used alongside biotech/biotechnology 2,834 times in the past year.

Assuming that LinkedIn, a platform used for professional purposes, would have users similarly interested in biotech information, the amount of self-identified users in relevant audience categories is even larger, suggesting plenty of potential:

  • 830,000 members in biotechnology industry
  • 5,100,000 members in the financial services industry
  • 160,000 members in investment banking
  • 780,000 members in investment management
  • 600,000 members in broadcast media
  • 250,000 members in online media

So, now that we’ve established that emerging biotechs should want to take advantage of Twitter and LinkedIn as platforms to join industry conversation and thus reach their target audience, we recommend they get active!

There are 4 key phases we take in creating a successful online presence:

  1. Social Listening – Conduct a deep analysis of online conversations around a disease state or company
  2. Insight-Based Social Strategy – Trends and insights found in conversation inform platform strategy, content strategy and tactical ideas
  3. Content Development & Engagement – Custom content is developed based on what will provide value to the targeted audience, then amplified through strategically executed paid and promoted units
  4. Measurement – Content and strategy are evaluated on an ongoing basis using our proprietary tool, Galileo6, to measure the success of campaigns and ways to optimize content

Sound daunting? It’s not – though it requires a strategy and proper planning to drive results. Social media is an ideal place for observing and participating in the conversations in the biotech industry, reaching potential new investors and partners, boosting recruitment efforts and engaging with media. And for emerging companies, social media can serve as a platform to provide a real-time, direct line to key stakeholders.


This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Christopher Rizzo, Social Media Director. For more insight into telling your company’s science story, check out our full series on why success starts with strategy.

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