Everybody is doing it. At least that’s what it looks like. But the reality is that not every company is on the social media marketing bandwagon.
Should you get active on social media? And if yes, how exactly? That’s what we’re going to tackle here. The points below are applicable to organic social media activities and paid advertising on social media platforms.
Is Everybody on Social Media?
A 2019 survey showed that more than one third of small businesses don’t have social media accounts. So no, not every company is on social media. But 22% of them plan to be.
What about biotech and medtech companies? A 2021 McKinsey survey found that 82% of the US and 76% of the European companies surveyed used social media for new product launches.
Social media marketing has become a prominent digital marketing channel in biotech and medtech.
Should My Company Join?
If you’ve been on the fence, it’s probably for a good reason.
Most companies who are not engaged in social media marketing have not joined for one these reasons:
- You don’t know where to start and how far to go. You don’t have anybody on staff who can put together a social media strategy for your company.
- You don’t think your customers are on social media.
- You don’t believe social media marketing will generate any qualified leads or revenue for your company.
- You have ideas on what you’d like to do but no time or people to execute them.
These are all super valid points so let’s explore them in more detail.
No Social Media Strategy
If you don’t have a social media strategy, odds are that you don’t have a digital marketing strategy either. Maybe you don’t even have a marketing strategy.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t do any marketing for your business; you just haven’t taken the time to put a plan together. And again, you’re not alone. Many small and even medium sized companies haven’t either.
In my experience, the number one reason why companies don’t have a marketing strategy is that business owners fear the task. They think it’s too big and too expensive.
This is exactly where things get kind of comical!
A great marketing strategist KNOWS how to devise a plan that’s perfectly suited for where a company is at. That means within budget, resources, and time availability.
The plan may not have all the bells and whistles and will most likely not include everything the strategist would LIKE to do but it will reflect where the company is at and its priorities.
So approach your social media marketing strategy in the same way. Work with a strategist who will listen closely, stay focused on company objectives, and take into account what’s within reach. And remember to adjust your expectations accordingly.
Your Customers Are Not on Social Media
You might be thinking that your customers are not on social media. This might be the case for some medtech and biotech businesses. But most likely, that’s not the case.
Or perhaps you know that your customers are on social media but only for personal reasons. Maybe they are on Facebook so they can get regular updates about how their grandkids are doing. But they don’t use social media for business.
There is one way to find out!
Take your customer list and search for them in the major social media platforms, starting with LinkedIn.
If you want to get scientific about it and get a statistically significant sample size, this can be a lot of work. For example, if you have 1,000 customers and want a 95% confidence level (with 5% margin of error), you’d need to randomly select 278 names! Qualtrics has a nifty online calculator you can use to figure out sample size.
The point is, don’t just check a couple of names and call it a day. Randomly pick a decent sample size before you make a decision.
But don’t forget about the people you’re trying to target. Are your PROSPECTIVE customers on social media? Maybe you’re going after a new market segment with a new product launch. Make sure to check this group as well.
Where’s the Revenue?
This is probably the biggest criticism I hear about social media.
And it is a totally legit one.
Social media marketing is the long road to revenue for many businesses. Not for all though. Some see revenue bumps right away. But for most biotech and medtech companies, it’s going to be a long road.
So if your goal is instant revenue results, this marketing channel might not be it. Experiment with a different marketing activity so you don’t end up frustrated and mad at social. 🙂
But if you have the patience for building a social media marketing foundation with the goal of revenue generation, you have two big options you can invest in. Organic and paid.
Organic is essentially any activity on social that’s not a paid promotion. Paid social offers significant targeting capabilities, especially on platforms like LinkedIn.
Setting clear goals and metrics for organic and paid is critical. Obviously, your main goal is probably revenue. But it could be two to three months before you see revenue that you can attribute to social. What are some leading indicators you can use to know if you’re on track for revenue generation? Perhaps you track product page views from social, article downloads, engagement metrics or some other leading indicator that makes sense for your business.
Many pre-revenue biotech and medtech companies are on social. They use the platforms to engage with future customers and get input about new product development, connect with investors, or find partners. Social media marketing goals can be quite diverse and extend way beyond revenue generation.
Who’s Going to Do It?
If you’re like the businesses surveyed who PLAN on getting on social media but haven’t yet, you probably don’t have the time or people.
So if you’re concerned about who’s going to do it and how much it’s going to cost, you need to stack it up against other things your team is working on and other marketing activities you’re spending money on.
How does social media marketing rank against those other activities?
Are you happy with the marketing results you’re currently getting? Or do you keep investing in some marketing activities that have not yielded any results in a long time?
Perhaps it’s time to divert those dollars and resources to a new channel.
A word of caution here: a lot of companies outsource their social media marketing.
Please remember that your customers and your prospective customers want to engage with you and your business, not with an outsider who knows nothing about your industry.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t outsource. What I am saying is that you and/or your team members should also engage and not outsource 100% of your social media marketing efforts. Get help if you need it but stay involved.
I believe that social media marketing is here to stay.
I also believe that it can become a huge waste of time.
And as a certified social media strategist, I think that it is critical to evaluate where you are as a company, where you’re trying to go, and what resources you have available before a social media marketing plan is developed.
Perhaps it’s not the right time for you to engage in social media. That option should be on the table. Or you pick one thing to do that’s going to have the most impact and is within your reach.
Just remember: if you choose to engage, BE SOCIAL!
Avoid the one-way company speak communication at all costs. You know the company posts I am talking about: non-stop impersonal blurbs about the company and its products and no other engagement with social content.
You don’t have to be on the platforms all day long, but when you do log in, make sure you’re engaging in an other-serving and not just in a self-serving way.