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7 Ways Social Media Can Build Trust and Support for Biomedical Nonprofit

By Karan Cushman, April 8, 2014

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By now, most biomedical institutions are regularly using digital marketing tactics like websites and eNewsletters. But Development and Communications Marketing Directors may still be experiencing resistance to broader social networking. When trying to help higher ups understand the value of social media, you need to present solid reasons for implementing an SM strategy. A compelling reason is that raising your brand’s visibility can help gain trust and maintain the funding your biomedical nonprofit needs—especially when seeking federal or regional grants and funding. Highlighting industry leadership through social media is a great way to do it.

Here are 7 ways social media can help your biomedical nonprofit build its reputation as an industry thought leader and gain more visibility:

1. Tell Your Story to a Wider Audience
Focusing your online efforts on your institution’s website is limiting. One platform can’t be all things to all people. For instance, how can you ensure that your homepage is equally engaging to scientists, trustees and potential donors? It’s a challenge. Giving visitors the option to connect with your brand on a deeper level through social media sites demonstrates innovation and gives you the opportunity to tailor information and resources for each audience. Doing so will build stronger relationships with other scientific leaders, donors, and the general public.

2. Share Thought-Leading Content
Social media is a great way to disseminate content that highlights your biomedical nonprofit’s work and expertise, such as white papers, Slideshares, Infographics, and articles written by your institution’s top researchers. Regularly sharing valuable, informative content via your social media networks will create a buzz and keep that buzz going as your fans pass it on.

3. Invite Conversation
Social media is not a one-way marketing tactic. A good social media strategy creates space for open dialogues and shared learning. The goal is to create a sense of community and build a network of people who agree with and support your goals. Used well, social media can spark a swell of support among your existing donors, generate interest in potential donors, and even improve connectivity between researchers, post-docs, and other biomedical experts.

4. Create PR for Community Education Efforts
Biomedical nonprofits are usually savvy about organizing educational events to connect with the public. Many of these events, such as Science Cafés or public lectures, happen offline. But their impact shouldn’t stop there. Social Media gives you the opportunity to broadcast those successes to a larger audience, creating greater levels of interest in future events, and getting as much mileage as possible from the goodwill created by current events.

5. Promote Your Ideas
Social Media is a great way to disseminate branded information, but the real goal is to show thought leadership by sharing expert opinions and insights. When your biomedical nonprofit’s researchers and other experts are actively engaged with LinkedIn Groups or other social media think-tanks, they are able to promote your institutions ideas. Sharing your research goals and challenges in an open forum can lead to new channels of support or even scientific partnerships with other institutions.

6. Target Specific Audiences
Your biomedical nonprofit can choose different social media platforms for connecting with different audiences. For instance, you might use LinkedIn to recruit for scientific staff, board trustees, and advisors, while you favor Facebook for donor communications. Distinguishing between audiences allows you to tailor your messaging and engagement efforts for maximum impact. Just be sure that your branding elements (logo, tone, etc.) are the same on all platforms in case you have audience cross-over.

7. Give Your Institution a Human Side
Scientific institutions like biomedical nonprofits can benefit from involving the outside world with what goes on behind their walls. Transparency builds trust and invites participation, which can help potential donors feel more connected to your work and more willing to support it with their dollars. Being active on social media sends the message that your biomedical institution values open dialogue and will listen and react to other people’s ideas. It also gives your institution the opportunity to show how it is working for the greater good.

These are just some of the many ways that social media can build trust and support for your biomedical nonprofit. If you have questions about using social media effectively, post them here or contact me Karan Cushman, by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing karan@cushmancreative.com.

Tagged: Biomedical, Biotech, Branding, Nonprofit, Social Media

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