Every marketing professional has bought into the value of social media for their marketing strategy by now. We have all heard it a thousand times “the conversation about your company/product/brand is happening on social media whether you participate or not”. And as scary as this may sound, it’s a good thing, because what could be worse than being a social media non-event?
Life science marketers have embraced social media and are crafting and refining social media strategies for the various channels and ponder questions such as “Is it time to get on TikTok?” or “Should we spend part of our budget on paid advertisement in one or more of the “big three” social media channels for scientists?” (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) (1).
But social media is more than just another channel for your company that helps you create one more touchpoint for your customers and prospects or show your expertise by publishing a balanced mix of interesting, relevant and product-related content. Social media is a treasure trove of data that can be leveraged to identify key influencers, understand sentiment and attitudes towards your products, gain insights into trending issues and identify themes and content that drive engagement in these channels. Importantly, it is also a tool that can help you identify new prospects, start engaging them and keeping taps on your competition.
In this blog we discuss how Twitter data can inform many aspects of your marketing efforts from identifying relevant leads to monitoring competitive activity to creating a better experience for your leads as they make their way through the sales funnel. We are focusing on Twitter as the most relevant of the big three for actual exchange of scientific content and ideas (see Fig 1 for a somewhat casual but intuitive comparison of the three platforms).
What can Twitter do for you?
Accessing information on Twitter is straight forward – to an extent: finding a specific key customer or a competitor, seeing their feed, the accounts they follow and those who follow them plus information about those accounts is only a couple of clicks and a mouse-over away. Hashtags are a convenient way to follow and participate in the discussion around specific topics.
However, moving past that high level of listening and engaging will require a lot of time-consuming work to cut through the noise and to identify the relevant conversations and key influencers. Taking it to the next level, e.g. identifying trends and trending content, analyzing how your content is received and shared, or analyzing what your competitors are doing and how their followers interact with their content requires additional tools and applications. These tools are available but the cost add up over time: tracking hashtags, comprehensive analytics tools and network analysis won’t come cheap and you might end up subscribing to several of them generating disjointed sets of data which, inevitably, brings you back to that ubiquitous but dreaded and time-consuming tool that unifies it all: the spreadsheet.
There is an easier way of gaining relevant insights from Twitter and here is how.
Using Twitter inside-out
This inside-out approach starts with people you know in the real-world who have a digital footprint and goes broader from there by looking at their relationships and connections both online and off. To apply this approach efficiently an expert database like Monocl Professional that includes information about real-world relationships between scientists as well as basic Twitter information and a direct link to the Twitter accounts of all the researchers, scientists and healthcare providers is recommended.
While an expert database with these features does not provide specific Twitter related analytics such as hashtag tracking or sentiment analysis it allows you to start social media listening and engagement with a targeted and manageable list of customers and influencers you know and/or identify using Monocl Professional. Instead of wading into the information ocean that is Twitter armed with nothing more than a few names and hashtags, using an expert database you start with individuals who are important to you and/or influential in the relevant scientific communities and broaden your social listening and engagement from there based on both real-life relationships (e.g. co-authorship of papers) or social media relationships (e.g. following, retweeting).
The first step in this process is to use Monocl Professional to identify those key customers and influencers in your market space who have a Twitter account or a Twitter account with a minimum number of followers (see Fig 2 for how to filter for active Twitter users).
Starting with this core group of digital influencers you can:
- Follow them, subscribe to their Twitter lists or add them to a list of your own and engage in active listening to find out what they are talking about, identify followers or accounts they follow.
- Simultaneously follow all their other relevant activities, e.g. publications or presentations using the expert database.
- Engage key customers of influencers across platforms and channels. People tend to post content they consider important enough to share with the world, which provides you with a lot of information and insights about a scientist’s interests and passions and opens the possibility of engaging them off-line with targeted content.
- Identify prospects by analyzing your key customers’ Twitter followers and engage relevant ones on social media or through traditional marketing activities, e.g. at conferences.
- Identify trending issues and emerging content areas through hashtags key customers and influencers use. This information can inform your content strategy and the hashtags you should be using in order to disseminate your content broadly.
- Assess and monitor the competitive activity of your targeted influencers, e.g. how are they interacting with your competitors, what are they saying about your competitors’ products and what they are using them for.
- Better promote your brand and products by delivering targeted content to prospects that make you stand out from the noise and sets you apart from the competition.
- Actively listen to have the opportunity to intervene and correct misinformation, e.g. about your company and products, step in to address a customer complaint before it has the chance to spread or proactively answer a customer’s or prospect’s question.
This “inside-out” approach to engaging digital influencers has several advantages over the “outside-in” approach where you start with all of Twitter and then try and find the proverbial needle in the haystack. While saving time and arriving at a targeted list of digital influencers, trending topics and hashtags more quickly is certainly important, there is another critical aspect here: using an expert database gives you a comprehensive picture of an influencer’s or prospect’s entire relevant activity- on social media and in the real-world.
People do not exist in these two realms independently and their activities online and offline are closely linked, e.g. a scientist might be writing a paper and find an interesting, share-worthy reference, they might be at a conference and want to keep their followers in the loop, or they start a new research project which leads them to follow their new collaborators on social media. All these activities are tightly interlinked and need to be seen in context of each other.
Analyzing the relevant off-line and social media activities and relationships of an influencer, customer or prospect allows you to leverage the power of both in a synergistic way. By starting with who you know, you can identify and engage additional members of their real-life and social media networks and obtain a comprehensive overview of their activities and interest. All of that information is relevant to you as a marketing or sales professional who wants to identify and better understand new prospects, nurture them through the funnel and prove to them that you can solve their problems with one of your products or services.
There is no question anymore that social media information is important in life science sales and marketing, leveraging it in the context of everything else you know about a customer or influencer will give you a unique perspective that can make your marketing activities more efficient, effective and with that successful.
To learn how you can best utilize Monocl Professional for your marketing and sales efforts please contact us here.