Every ClinOps Professional Needs to Develop a Social Media Circle

Meet Laurie Meehan.

Laurie Meehan is the Social Media Manager for Polaris Compliance Consultants.  She produces content for her company blog, newsletter, and the web. Laurie regularly interacts with clinical research industry insiders on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+.

Laurie Meehan has demonstrated prowess navigating the murky waters of social media. She has developed a strong presence through her work at Polaris Compliance Consultants, so when Meehan says everyone needs to develop their own online social circle, it pays to listen.  This doesn’t necessarily mean collecting thousands of twitter followers, 100K+ blog hits per month, or 1 million YouTube subscribers. For Laurie, professional social connections are measured in depth of connection rather than volume.

Online circles keep you informed of industry trends -Laurie Meehan

Online circles keep you informed of industry trends -Laurie Meehan

Meehan herself couldn’t have learned the value of online social networking more than in 2013 when someone sent her email about one of her blog posts, telling her they found out about that post on Twitter. “People were tweeting my article out and I didn’t even know it,” she says. So she got a Twitter account and began to join in on discussions and promote her blog posts. Traffic soared.

After some time, Meehan used Google Analytics to assess her traffic over the years and found out she wasn’t imagining the change. “The graph of hits looked like an EKG,” she says. The wave was almost flat-lined before 2013, but after that Frankenstein came alive. All because of Twitter.”

But the benefits of her Twitter social circle didn’t end there. By posting, chatting, and promoting others, doors opened to conversations with executives at companies like Pfizer, Quintiles and Medidata. “Without using social media I never would have had these engagements,” Meehan confesses. Twitter completely surprised her with its ability to connect people of all business titles. She calls it “an incredible leveler.”

How does a clinical research professional get started with social media?

You don’t have to be born with an innate talent for social media to find your circle of web friends. Laurie was in education when she was hired by Polaris Compliance Consultants to develop online training programs. But later the Cary, North Carolina QA/auditing firm asked if she’d do some social media management so that they could have an online presence. Meehan had been in telecom and wasn’t afraid of the computer so she started to play around with social media, eventually crafting her skills to turn out blog posts, newsletters and website content.

She says people can start easily, as she did; as an online lurker and listener. “It’s like when you go to a party and just listen, get the vibe before you start to join in,” she says. Meehan learned which sites she liked and which she didn’t. Soon she was picking up useful content, things to think about and take back to colleagues.

“These online circles keep you up on industry trends much better than just reading about it on your own”

Meehan says. “Once you have a social media circle in your network, you no longer have to search all of your industry information out by yourself. You just have to have these conversations and they give you the information.“

So how does someone go about getting an online social circle? There are ways to start off easily:  if your company has a social media person, talk to them. Ask them ‘who would you follow?’ ‘Where do you hang out in social media?’ Or, join an Interest Group on LinkedIn. These groups have thousands of members which makes it easy to lurk.

Twitter and healthcare tweet chats

Going back to Twitter, you could start by following companies, organizations, and industry professionals with whom you’re already familiar.  Then, look to see who they follow.

Another place to start is by using healthcare hashtags to search for tweets that could be of interest. You could start with #clinicaltrials, #pharma, #meddevices, #fda, or whatever hashtags the people you follow are using.

 

Meehan also likes “tweet chats”. Moderators that she meets on Twitter will create these, announcing them in advance and giving a hashtag to use for the chat. Just log in to Twitter at the established time, search for the tweetchat hashtag, and dive in. 

“It’s a hot mess, but it is fun”

Many tweet chats are one-time events, but there are many regularly scheduled chats as well. To see a list, go to the link: http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/tweet-chats/ to see the latest healthcare hashtags in active discussion. Meehan says. If it’s popular, you will not be able to keep up.healthcare-hashtag-contributors

Facebook Groups

Next, look at following specific people and groups on Facebook. ClinOps Toolkit has a number of Facebook pages and groups to connect you with other clinical researchers.

Clinops toolkit.youtube.2560x1440

join the Clinical Research Insiders Exchange group on Facebook

Clinical Research Industry Blogs

You can also get a lot of information by following blogs of your choosing. You won’t have to surf over every day to check the blogs either. Many have an option to send you email with a summary blurb whenever there is a new blog posting. Meehan recommends the following blogs to clinical researchers:

Laurie’s Top Blog Picks – online resources for clinical research professionals

Share the good stuff with your peers in clinical research

Meehan’s own co-workers are converts to the idea of having a social media circle and they see the value of virtually expanding your professional reach through social media. Laurie doesn’t even work in the same state as the rest of her co-workers nor have live conversations with many of them. “Just online,” she says.

Each week, Meehan sends her Polaris colleagues a “Weekly Reader” email with five to ten articles she’s encountered in her social media activity.  She includes a summary blurb along with each link, so her colleagues can skim, pick, and choose what they want to read in detail. One auditor at Polaris told Meehan’s boss: “I get more information from Laurie’s emails than from a conference.”

Subscribe to the Polaris Compliance Consultant’s YouTube channel and never miss a hilarious clinical research specific parody

Meehan is a believer in just how much having your own online social circle can help your career. An online circle opens users to a world of colleagues they otherwise would never have had a chance to meet. Then, it also helps you distill down the ocean of industry information into your own neat folder of what personally interests you. “CRAs don’t have the time to chase this stuff down even though they subscribe to newsletters and feeds. They are busy, busy people,” says Meehan. “If I had that job, I would not spend my down time worrying about industry trends, I would be reading novels, texting family, listening to music.” Then let your social circle be your surrogate information gatekeeper.

You can contact Laurie at lameehan@polarisconsultants.com or leave a comment below (seriously, leave a reply, we’d love to hear about your favorite websites to visit for connecting with other clinical research!)

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About The Author

Lynn Mercer

Freelance writer and independent consultant. Lynn manages large-scale projects and addresses emerging issues while handling daily operations. Accomplished in managing requests, thinking strategically, and providing support, resources and resolutions to industry communities.

3 Comments

  • Neena Sharma

    December 14, 2016

    Thank you so much for giving this wonderful information

  • Alexandra Sazonova

    September 29, 2016

    Great hints! Thanks for sharing Laurie. Looking forward for new songs 🙂

  • Lauren Kelley

    September 28, 2016

    Thank you for the wonderful article highlighting the talents of Laurie Meehan. Laurie is brilliant, creative, kind, compassionate and the funniest person I have had the pleasure of knowing.

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