THE BLOG

5 Lessons in Mindful Communication From the Top 30 Social Influencers in Biotech

12/17/2014 02:35 pm ET | Updated Feb 16, 2015

I am by no means a social media expert, but I strive to engage in meaningful, 'in the moment' conversations with people every day about money mindfulness and topics that can make a real difference in their lives. I'm fascinated to see new ways that social technology can be used to move entire industries towards greater consciousness and new ways of connecting.

I recently participated in one such event. During last month's #RetireeNextDoor,"Tweet Jam" more than two dozen CFPs, CPAs, wealth managers and other financial experts came together to share their insights in hopes of helping people increase their odds of one day retiring in comfort. The one-hour Twitter event moved well beyond the pursuit of material prosperity for its own sake into empowerment and practical tips, free of charge. The public forum reached more than 4 million people and allowed us to form bonds to serve the greater good.

"What people want are insights from the people they know and trust about the topics they care about most," explained influencer relations pro Jenna Dobkin, who produced the Jam. "Communities can be far more effective at sharing knowledge and mobilizing people than any individual can accomplish on his or her own."

Having seen the power of bringing people together for these mindful conversations, I can't help but wonder where else they will be taking place in the future. In 2015, Jenna is hopeful you'll see these kinds of meaningful collaborations in the biotech and biopharma communities, where genuine engagement have been limited up until now.

A recent study entitled "Engaging Patients Through Social Media" found that among the top 50 pharmaceutical companies worldwide, only 10 of them use all three of the top social media channels - Facebook, Twitter and YouTube -- for communicating about healthcare topics.

"Doctors, patients, advocates and investors want to learn as much as they can about the medicines and devices that may one day cure, treat or manage an illness or condition that they or their loved ones are suffering from," Jenna said, "but many biotech and biopharma influencers hesitate to join the conversation because social missteps can have strong repercussions."

In such highly regulated, competitive industries, is there room for a mindful public discussion on biotech innovation and investing? Jenna believes so. As a first step, her agency Evolve was commissioned by biopharmaceutical company NEMUS Bioscience (OTCQB NMUS) to research the top social influencers in the field. 100 hours of research yielded this ranked list of the top 30 social influencers:

20141210-Nemus-3-Top 30

More about the research and ranking methodology is described on her site. For those hesitating to embrace social, I've gathered lessons from five of these top influencers. Here are their tips for using social to have meaningful discussions in the biotech space:

"I communicate in social media the same way I communicate in real life - by focusing on creating and sharing content, curating information and being generally helpful to the community. With this strategy, social media gives me the chance to be connected to literally hundreds of thousands of minds of like-minded people from all over the world." Dr. Berci Meskó, MD, PhD

"Be active, be engaged, be respectful, address issues right on, steer debates on controversial issues towards science-based answers, avoid technical jargons, use infographics, memes and metaphors when possible, and please have a sense of humor!" Dr. C. S. Prakash

"In my Digital Health group on LinkedIn, the best discussions -- and content that I feature in my weekly group announcements -- are based upon timely, noteworthy, and relevant news and topics within the scope and mission of the group. In particular, companies that represent the tip of the spear in certain categories generate the most interest and are the most important, as information and knowledge sharing around issues and opportunities are key to catalyzing the space, in this case digital health." Paul Sonnier

"I use social media like Twitter to both more efficiently consume information from a wide variety of sources, and to contribute to the dialogue on biotech, innovation, and venture capital. It's a powerful tool to access broader audiences, and levels the playing field for alternative viewpoints relative to established media players." Bruce Booth

"Creating Facebook communities for Branded Therapeutics is a great way of creating awareness and shared experiences with new drugs. Twitter is also a great platform to provide info-based advertising. I use Twitter and Facebook for the above as well as to share news on drug discovery, biotech companies, research reports and to engage patients and people at large on various issues pertaining to healthcare."Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

What topics would you like to see discussed in dynamic public forums for the greater good? Seems to me the sky's the limit.