The Top Five Things Social Media Isn’t


You know I am one of social media’s biggest cheerleaders, especially for life science and biotech as I see enormous potential. However, when planning a social media (SM) campaign, there are some important things to remember about what it isn’t. This list is meant to help you plan and to sell SM to your organization by understanding ways that it differs from what we might expect.

  1. Instant. Social media campaigns take time. If done correctly, the end result can be worth much more than what you’d get out of a traditional marketing campaign, but it’s not like flipping on a switch. Keep this in mind during planning, and and define clear objectives for the growth of your campaign, for example number of twitter followers or increase in web traffic. Of course, your ultimate objectives are likely to increase revenue, but these are good indicators that you’re on the right track.
  2. A No Brainer. You don’t have to look far to see social media campaigns that have not gained traction or have reflected badly on the company that implemented them. There are myriad consultancies who will claim that ‘it will be as easy as setting up some accounts,’ but the truth is that there is a lot of planning that needs to go into a campaign. Like traditional marketing, and in order to integrate with your existing strategy and tactics, you must understand the customer, your product’s positioning, the competition, and the tools to succeed.
  3. Your Mouthpiece. It is tempting to see a large LinkedIn group or a forum as a place where you can talk about yourself or your products…for free! However, if you are only using these venues for this purpose, it will soon become evident and the group members and moderator will tire (and may banish) you. What’s better? Create your own group and cultivate a community that cares about what you care about. Follow the 90/10 rule: spend 90% of the time helping, 10% promoting yourself–if people appreciate and respect you, they’ll listen to what you say. The absolute worst thing you can do in social media is to be labeled as a spammer or as only caring about yourself.
  4. A Free Lunch. Along the same vein as the usage of ‘free’ advertising such as LinkedIn groups, there are some that think that Social Media is their way to market their product for free. Now, I do think there are lots of ways that you can save money using social media, but…you may remember someone telling you that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and SM is no exception. Your costs will likely shift from print advertising to online, and from paying fees for broadcast-type Ads (banners, etc.) to strategies, tools, and perhaps consulting for building your campaign theme and implementing it correctly.
  5. A Panacea. Social media does not defy the rules of marketing or common sense. If you have a product that your customers do not need, no amount of SM will help you. What’s great about it, though, is that you’ll receive more feedback than you have ever had before, and you’ll be able to turn this information into products that your customers need.

Sound complicated? The best way to understand it is to get your feet wet and start participating. If you’d like a free consultation, we can help you better understand how to succeed in the social media landscape that your life science or biotechnology company operates in.

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