Recently, the C&EN Marketing Elements blog posted a piece entitled, Rethinking Social Media for Scientists, which details specific platforms scientists use and the benefits of joining in these communities. When it comes to creating content for these channels and social media marketing, there are, of course, a number of internal strategies science marketers can develop. This next post will dive a bit deeper in to this area, and outline the benefits of creating specific outlets for your message.
On this topic of corporate social media strategy, there are two important avenues to negotiate: the “dyed in wool” corporate account, and the accounts of individual users that represent your company. When explaining to other marketers why employee’s social media accounts are important to a business’s social media strategy, a song lyric by the iconic, prosperous, and somewhat enigmatic hip hop artist, Jay Z (yes, we’re serious) always pops into our heads, as it alludes to the relationship between a professional image and sales:
I’m not a businessman;
I’m a business, man!
While it’s important to maintain corporate social media accounts, it can be equally beneficial for willing employees to establish personally branded accounts as a representative of your organization. Of particular interest are sites like Twitter and LinkedIn, which lend themselves particularly well to the “professional” conversation. Why, you ask?
People buy from people. The job of a salesperson still exists in our current digitally-driven marketing environment; whether on or offline, positive interactions with salespeople reinforce the value of your products. Ultimately, customers are buying into other people—whether they meet face to face with those people, or read articles that they have written and posted on social media. Maintaining “real people” social media accounts—accounts personally branded but representative of an organization—adds a reassuring human touch to an otherwise sterile marketing landscape. It also makes it one step easier for customers to contact your company when they are ready to buy.
Your Company + Individual Thought Leaders = Good for Business. If you run a chemical, life science, or instrumentation company that employs supremely intelligent scientific minds, then you need to tout that to the public you serve! Setting your best thinkers up to engage your best customers in your social media space—regardless of whether they are in sales or marketing—is usually a win-win scenario. Starting conversations about relevant issues affecting the scientists you serve, addressing their challenges and successes, and always keeping the dialogue free from sales pitches is a great way to begin.
Like all marketing campaigns, there are best practices you should keep in mind when creating and maintain individual social media accounts. Follow the guidelines below to avoid public relations disasters like this one.
Guidelines and polices are a must when it comes to individual social media accounts. Drafting a social media strategy that is communicated to all active participants within your company is very important in order to stay professional and on message. A social media strategy should address an overall strategic direction for the organization, best practices, policies, and crisis management protocols to handle any inappropriate or potentially damaging dialogue that occurs.
Posts to individual accounts need to be relevant to your business. Posting about cooking shows or celebrity gossip on a Twitter feed targeted to laboratory managers is probably not going to help your brand, and in some cases, may even hurt it. Reminding individual social media users to keep posts close to the topic area your company supports is crucial for gaining followers and influence in the social media sphere. Even more, employees need to be mindful that any opinions or personal information they disclose about themselves or colleagues may be linked to the organization’s name. As such, ensure the company’s social media strategy clearly outlines policy that manages this sphere in a clean, simple way.
For more social media marketing advice from the C&EN Media Group, check out The Right Way to Go Digital: 3 Steps to Effective Science Marketing on the Web. Feel free to follow Wendy at @Wndywise or @CENMediaGroup for more tips and best practices for the scientific marketer.
Manager, Webinars and Lead Gen, C&EN