Social Networking in Life Sciences

October 6, 2010

(the excerpt below is from the September 28, 2010 commentary entitled “Next Gen-Social Media” published in Bio-IT World and    The direct link to the full post can be found via:

Present day technology has enabled us to facilitate valuable online communities in all areas of our lives: commerce, sports, health, match making, product reviews, etc.   Social media is like the “networking cocktail reception” that never ends (just without the open bar). In business and science, easy-to-use communication platforms enable networking and important information exchange. This in turn positively impacts productivity and solution generation.

Patients participate in blogs, online advocacy groups, or third party communities like PatientsLikeMe. They are able to collaborate, share solutions and therapy options, physician referrals, and rehabilitation approaches. Physicians collaborate through “doctor only” communities like Medscape Connect and Sermo. They advise each other on treatment options and share new insights on medications and devices. The benefits are just as rich for R&D. Online peer-to-peer consulting and collaboration can streamline processes, improve efficiencies and reduce the overall costs in drug development.

The challenge is developing and maintaining a self-sustaining, member-driven community culture. This is especially difficult in the heavily-regulated, conservative culture of life sciences where leaders are less apt to express opinions. However there are some best practices for making a life sciences community successful.

  • Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and Evangelists
    Our niche communities feature advisory boards of key opinion leaders and evangelists representing government, academic/research centers, biopharmaceutical companies and leading technology and software providers The board will influence community policies, programming, and content, and board members will contribute content including online discussions, guest blog posts, webinars, and face-to-face events.
  • Programming and Member Participation
    Our communities feature live events that tackle subject matter that is highly relevant to members. Some members are invited to sit on panels during the webinars and others may also be asked to be “question askers” in the audience. In a recent industry survey conducted by CHA, 74% of respondent said discussion forums are a “must have” for a closed, industry-specific community. Thus we are asking KOLs and other subject matter experts that make up the membership to lead online discussions leading to member-driven online discussions. “Assigning” member involvement is a critical task during the first 12-18 months of a community’s life. The ancillary benefit to your hard work is it allows you to nurture relationships with your most important peers and colleagues.
  • Product Reviews
    Ill-advised investments in new technologies contribute to the rising cost of R&D. During our last industry survey, more than 90% of respondents agreed that an online product review or evaluation forum would be valuable. An easy-to-navigate product review feature harnesses the power of the community and translates into smarter investment decisions by R&D organizations. Our latest community (called NGS Leaders) will enable members to rate and comment on various technologies like sequencers, informatics software, hardware, and more. The site will also allow members to search products by type or rating.
  • Inclusivity and Promoting Other
    We believe it is important to promote good content no matter if it’s our own or someone else’s. The mission of NGS Leaders is to further fuel the progress of next-generation sequencing so it may positively impact patients sooner. To that end we will promote other sources—like SEQ Answers and Genomes Unzipped—that are important to fulfilling our mission.

Niche, online communities like provide an environment to build trust and exchange ideas around the industry’s shared challenges. James Surowiecki proclaims in The Wisdom of Crowds, that “groups are remarkably smart, smarter even sometimes than the smartest people in them.”  In many ways online communities tap into this dynamic.

(the above excerpt is from the September 28, 2010 commentary entitled “Next Gen-Social Media” published in Bio-IT World and    The direct link to the full post can be found via:

Follow-up to Utilizing Facebook for Small Business Lead Generation” held Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 27, 2009

The Marketing Studio hosted a webinar and expert panel entitled  “Utilizing Facebook for Small Business Lead Generation”  on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12 PM ET.   A sincere thank you to our panelists! View the slides here and  links to their Fan Pages below.  Visit the Marketing Studio’s new FB page here!

Rachel Levy, Rachel Levy Consulting on facebook

Susan Liddy, on facebook

Hasan Luongo, on facebook

Mike Volpe, HubSpot on facebook

Who Are You More Likely to Follow on Twitter?

March 2, 2009

(vote via Poll above — don’t be shy, just click on an open square)

arrowOn topic, view the full interview of Evan Willimas, Founder and CEO, Twitter on Charlie Rose via this VentureBeat blog post.

arrowMake sure you register for the upcoming webinar How to Leverage Twitter to Grow Your Small Business, March 12 @ 12 EST (60 minutes in duration).   The session is free!  Our expert panel includes:

 Aaron Strout, Chief Marketing Officer, Powered, Inc.
Blog: Citizen Marketer 2.1
Follow @AaronStrout  

Elliott Kosmicki, User Experience Manager,
Blog: Goodplum
@iElliott on |

Becky McCray, Small Town Entrepreneur
Blog: Small Biz Survival
Follow @BeckyMcCray

 Kyle Flarhety, Director of Marketing, BreakingPoint
Blog: Engage in PR
Follow @kyleflaherty  on

What We Will Cover
* What is Twitter and how does it fit in with other social media platforms?
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for your B2C small business
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for partnerships that will grow your small business 
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for partnerships that will grow your B2B small business 
* Good peeps to follow to get started or to grow!
* Summary and Q&A

Register for free.

Who should attend?  Owners and/or practitioners that are responsible for market their small business.  (For the purpose of this webinar, small businesses are loosely defined as businesses that generate less than $5M annually).  These may be lawyers, consultants, software vendors, accountants, insurance brokers, store owners, service providers, publishers, etc.

An Example of How Web 2.0 Can Make a Real Life Impact

November 4, 2008

Since my post on October 29, I have received a number requests for examples of organizations that have already Untapped the Power of Web 2.0.

What companies are making a real impact in their vertical B2B market?  My quick answer is look no further than your own doctor’s office!   A very tangible example of the Power of Web 2.0 is doctors collaborating with other doctors online.

Today social networks, like Medscape and Sermo, provide a valuable platform for health care providers to advise each other on treatment options and share new insights on medications/medical devices. Like anything in life, we are better equipped to apply a successful solution to a problem when we have seen the problem multiple times in the past. Medical care is of course no different. Communities, where true physician-to-physician consulting takes place, help improve patient care by enabling collaboration around cases when the doctor is unfamiliar with an array of symptoms or when the best treatment practices around a specific condition may yet to be established or are varying.  The result is better patient care which benefits all.

The pharma industry has been ahead of many other industries in leveraging social media to both build relationships with their core customer and gain market research intelligence.  Companies like Physicians’ Online (now a part of Medscape and Web MD) have been providing online, peer-to-peer forums for over a decade (yes, pharma marketers were involved in online communities before LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc).

Don’t be too concerned about the pharma “evangelists” on the payroll as most physician communities where doctors present, post or blog regarding treatment options do require “disclosures” of their affiliations. For example, “Dr. Smith has received research grants for clinical research and has served as an advisor or consultant for Abbott and Merck. She has received grants for educational activities from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lilly, Pfizer and sanofi-aventis.”

There remains much opportunity in the physician community space, and it goes beyond simply patient care.  The information and insights generated by a physician community can also be used to gage adoption trends and market perceptions around drugs, medical devices and technologies. This knowledge is of course gold if used appropriately by various stakeholders (i.e. the financial and investment community, drug companies, device companies, etc).

The core components of what make these doctor communities so powerful and impactful, can also transcend to other B2B communities.  Unleashing the true Power of Web 2.0 involves bringing peers together, in any profession or industry, to address areas of shared concern.  This enhances knowledge, improves efficiencies and ultimately has a positive impact on profits.

What companies do you know that are Untapping the Power of Web 2.0?


Examples of Physician Communities who are Untapping the Power of Web 2.0: – the premier professional networking site for physicians.

iMedicor – offers medical records, Physician CME and collaboration, patient record sharing, practice management.

Medscape – offers specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the Web’s most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools.

SpineConnect – the leading collaborative knowledge network for spine surgeons to collaborate on difficult and unusual cases.

Sermo – the fastest growing community created by physicians, for physicians.

(Please Note: I am presently not affiliated with iMedicor, Medscape, Sermo, SpineConnect, a pharma company or financial institution.)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.