Biotechnology & Social Media, Adapt or Die

Adapt or Die may be a little dramatic, but my Darwinian reference applies to the changing landscape in how the world communicates through social media, and how removed from that trend our industry is.

I started Catalyzing Illinois as an experiment, and what I have found is that our community is not really present. Sure there are a few members that are actively engaged, the big companies are all present and service firms are here. But what I wanted to see, and what I want to do with Catalyzing Illinois, is engagement. The benefits of social media over traditional communications (including emails) is your ability to participate, it is an interactive.

Other business segments have already adopted social media as a new marketing channel. For the first time the marketing mix in terms of channel use—digital channels combined for 54.7% and traditional media combined for 42.1%.  According to Nielsen, internet users continue to spend more time with social media sites than any other type of site. At the same time, the total time spent on social media in the U.S. across PC and mobile devices increased by 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012 compared to 88 billion minutes in July 2011. The three most popular uses of social media by other business segments:

  • Promotional Contest
  • Customer Feedback
  • Market Reach Extension

Edelman released their 10 social media essentials that can help guide brands to achieve success in 2013

 In order to succeed, brands will increasingly turn to real-time creative, analytics and paid media to ensure that high-performing content reaches as many people as possible, at the moment they are most interested, to spark conversations and deepen customer relationships. As media converges, brands will invest in ways to complement original, visual content with fan-sourced creative. Promoting high-performing content that aligns with new “real content” search drivers will become essential. Brands will host epic social events to excite the base and invest in tools that help them target and engage one-on-one more efficiently. And brands will have a little fun in the process, remembering that brandplay can go a long way to telling their story.

So to what extent does our community use social media? GEN conducted a survey in 2011, and they fund that 17.3 percent of respondents said they significantly used social media. Another roughly 60 percent claimed moderate or dabbling use of social media. Most surprisingly, nearly one-quarter of the people who responded claimed ‘no interest’ in social media.

The most common responses to why the 25% ‘no interest’ or even the 60% ‘moderate or dabbling’ are not more engaged through social media?

“I don’t know where to start.”

“I have a day job.”

“I don’t have time, or people, or money for that.”

Trends in the use of social media is going to force our industry to adopt it as a means of communication and marketing. And as I said earlier, there are some companies and groups who are doing a great job and can serve as examples for us.


I also want to mention UIUC EnterpriseWorks Incubator they do a great job on informing and educating the community and their tenants. But they don’t really have a logo so I couldn’t post it.

Using social media our community can connect with patients, and patient groups that match up with their therapeutic. It provides us with an opportunity to connect and interact with other community members and not just use it as a medium to send out press releases. It is a means of personal connection that can help companies and individuals. Yesterday I posted about a specific social media tool, crowdfunding, and strong social media networks is a must for a successful campaign. It is time for us to break down the walls of our lack of communication, and join the business community.

My goal for Catalyzing Illinois is to build a forum for our community to engage through social media, via online programming, videos, news, and advocacy campaigns.  Connecting industry, patient advocacy, elected officials and universities. 

This is a conversation, not an editorial. Did I forget something, get it wrong or do you agree? Please Comment, Like, Re-Tweet and Share

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