Q: How is your organization using social media to extend your marketing efforts?

Social Media Marketing

Richard Harper, Vice President, Marketing, Vectura

A: Social media is an important channel to engage with customers, current and prospective employees, shareholders, and investors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with in-person activities significantly curtailed, it has become more so. Vectura has a global customer base with companies of all sizes. Given the complexity of inhaled drug development, no two programs are identical, and customers expect high levels of expertise and specific, tailored solutions.

Our social media goals have been to extend our geographical reach, personalize customers’ experience by connecting them with our experts, build meaningful dialogue, and match our capabilities with their needs.

Engaging this community effectively requires building trust and delivering compelling content. Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter help us exchange insight and expertise, including articles from our development teams, scientific webinars, and insights from online congresses. We encourage colleagues to take an active role and share personal stories, allowing us to spotlight the energy and creativity of those who are delivering for customers, despite the pandemic challenges. In the past year, we have seen our LinkedIn and Twitter followers increase by 30% and 25% respectively.

Social media clearly offers a cost-effective means to engage globally. Customers use multiple digital platforms to communicate with us, so social media forms part of an overall global digital strategy.

When COVID restrictions relax and in-person activities return, social media will remain critical to the success of organizations in building communities and sharing stories. If anything, COVID has taught us these channels are vital to facilitate meaningful conversations.

Cora Kaiser, Ph.D., Senior Director Corporate Communication, Rentschler Biopharma SE

A: Raising awareness of our sector’s contribution in simplifying the complexities of drug development, in the face of the pandemic and beyond, has been my personal mission in communication. Therefore, this also guides our social media strategy. Ever since the pandemic triggered the shift to the home-office format, social media has become all the more important in bringing Rentschler Biopharma closer to the world. For clients, social media platforms support us in ensuring brand visibility as a global leading CDMO and in showcasing our expertise in translating medical research into outstanding biopharmaceuticals. As a company driven by excellence and not financial KPIs, we don’t measure success by lead generation or client acquisition alone. It’s how we shape the global conversation on biopharmaceutical manufacturing, on offering innovative solutions and forging collaborative partnerships — all with the aim of empowering our clients in helping patients with serious and rare diseases. This also contributes to our visibility as a unique employer. On this front, we communicate and demonstrate our purpose, as well as provide intimate insights into the inner workings of our company. Ultimately, I see social media as a means to positioning biopharmaceutical manufacturing, sharing knowledge and expertise, dispelling myths associated with our sector, and celebrating the great work being done at Rentschler Biopharma.

Valerie Van Hulle, Global Strategic Marketing Manager, BASF Pharma Solutions

A: Social media is a key pillar of BASF Pharma Solutions’ marketing communications strategy. Through LinkedIn, Twitter, and other platforms, we are able to reach a broad, global audience and develop a loyal follower base for our brand.

Our goals are to connect with people from the pharmaceutical industry and collaborate on complex problems, strengthen relationships, and share relevant content, such as industry insights and thought leadership. This means leveraging social media to understand and match our audience’s individual needs and challenges with BASF’s solutions and expertise. Our social media strategy is not a “one size fits all” approach, and we often test a variety of videos, graphics, and messaging to see what resonates with our audience. We are even more successful when we adapt our messaging and content to local languages and platforms.

When used correctly, social media is also a powerful networking resource for industry professionals. Many of our technical experts are active on social media and use these platforms to provide support and share knowledge and expertise with their networks. It’s a very effective way to connect with our customers, and we appreciate the valuable virtual engagements and conversations. From a talent attraction perspective, social media channels also play a relevant role. Today, candidates are being very active and strategic when looking for the next job opportunity, and the way companies position themselves and share their values will be determinant in attracting professionals that match the company's profile.

Matthew Bio, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Snapdragon Chemistry, Inc.

A: Snapdragon Chemistry uses social media in limited ways. I wouldn’t say we have a social media strategy. Most all our social media presence is through LinkedIn. We use social media to celebrate corporate milestones, announce new capabilities, and highlight news about the company that may be of interest to the chemistry community. As in any marketing, it is difficult to gauge success, but there have been a few occasions where new clients have indicated that they became aware of our services through our LinkedIn posts. 

We also use social media for recruiting. We routinely post job openings on LinkedIn and do find that it generates some leads. Social media is a way for Snapdragon Chemistry to keep up with news on our client companies and other news from pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing industry. Social media keeps us connected to our industry and our clients. I think of it more as an information source than a marketing tool. 

Emma Greenwood, Marketing Director, Sterling Pharma Solutions

A: Social media is an important part of a wider digital marketing strategy for Sterling Pharma Solutions for both internal and external audiences. As a fast-growing business expanding into new markets and new service provision, brand awareness is key for attracting new customers and to reinforce the decision-making process of existing ones.

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of this strategy, with the need to overcome the challenges in prospecting and engaging with customers in the absence of in-person meetings and engaging with employees who were working remotely.

Social media is a vital tool to share content with audiences. It has allowed us to create new ways to engage, advertise, and communicate with our clients, as they changed the way they consumed information and searched for knowledge. We use social media to interact with our customers and our employees; sharing content that includes live webinars, video, whitepapers, and animations. Our Knowledge Hub provides something for everyone at every stage of their customer journey. Analysis of the interactions allows us to better understand our customers’ needs and tailor content and build an archive of information for our business development and partnership management teams.

Social media provides fantastic data to drive decision-making in our marketing strategy, and target specific audiences matched to lead generation mapping. From an employee perspective, social media assists greatly in recruitment, and for internal communities we use Facebook and Instagram rather than LinkedIn and Twitter. Our Facebook page was launched during the COVID-19 lockdowns when many people were working from home, and it received an excellent response from employees.

Read Part 1: Evolving Technologies

Richard Harper

Richard Harper is Vice President, Marketing at Vectura, a specialist CDMO focused on developing innovative inhaled drug development solutions. Richard has more than 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry in sales management, country/above country marketing and global commercial strategy roles, based in the UK and China. Richard has an MA in Natural Sciences (Chemistry) from Cambridge University, and an MBA from Warwick University.