How CROs Can Use Social Media To Generate Leads


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March 08, 2020

How CROs Can Use Social Media To Generate Leads


Science and medical graphic against science student looking in a microscope


A Contract Research Organisation (CRO) can skillfully oversee clinical trials, and efficiently aid drug development, but it often lacks the people on its team to attract the sponsors it seeks. Lack of time and expertise are often barriers to generating the leads that every CRO requires to carry out its valuable mission.


The first place to start is to ensure that your website is well designed, and utilises the best practices for lead capture. But the problem remains - how can you get prospective sponsors to find you in the first place?


Close up of hand with laptop and media iconsThere are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide so implementing key strategies for lead generation on these platforms is critical. Let’s look at how CROs can use some of the most popular platforms to amplify their businesses’ reach.





Facebook has more than 2 billion users, giving you access to many potential leads. Facebook is often assumed to be the domain of businesses which advertise to consumers directly. However, research has shown that business decision makers spend 74% more time on Facebook per day than other people on the platform. This clearly places Facebook in the purview of the B2B industries like CROs.


Facebook has always been a great method for lead generation, but its evolution has changed the possibilities for B2B industries. Originally businesses could use outbound links in their posts and bios, so that interested readers would be attracted to their website. Facebook still has a feature where you can place a call-to-action (CTA) button at the top of your Facebook page, which will direct followers to your website. But since Facebook Ads were launched in 2007, algorithms strongly favour accounts that use paid advertising. Lead ads were created to help businesses capture leads seamlessly, as users can convert on Facebook itself, thus eliminating conversion friction. When users click on CTA, a form will pop up which is already auto-filled with their data. Your user only needs to press send!


So how can a CRO use Facebook advertising most effectively?


Targeting is particularly crucial here, as Facebook is not necessarily where businesses come to seek you out, and a CRO’s ideal sponsor comes from a very specialized field. Nonetheless, Facebook has vast data that enables you to super-focus your advertising efforts.

Two young scientists making an experiment in a laboratory  Firstly, ensure you have installed a Facebook pixel on your website. You can upload your existing sponsors on a list using Custom Audiences. You can then use Lookalike Audiences to replicate your custom audience, by finding leads that fit similar criteria. Your Facebook Pixel allows you to also find lookalike audiences for leads that have visited your website, and can even narrow it business people in a series with a senior boss standing facing the cameradown to which specific pages of your website they found most compelling. Lookalike audiences can also include potential leads that resemble users who like your business page. Leads who have visited your website can also be re-targeted in Facebook ads; they may not be new leads, but an encouraging push may turn them into stronger leads.


Allen Finn at Wordstream explains how the Facebook pixel can also be customised, allowing you to track conversion goals and forms filled out, among other campaign goals. This enables you not just to target the audience for your ad, but to better understand your ideal sponsor’s profile - what interests them, and what they consider to be valuable - facilitating ad copy that will foster lead generation. In general, research shows that most B2B advertising on Facebook fails to deliver because it doesn’t resonate with its audience. Nathaniel Smith, a digital marketing specialist in Facebook’s ads, writes for Wordstream that proof is often what’s needed to impress businesses, and demonstrates the effectiveness of ads which include such proofs. Simply put, when promoting your CRO, include substantive facts and figures that will impress prospective sponsors. Can you deliver in a short time frame? Specify it. Do you have a particularly specialised team of employees? Include details in your ads.


Whilst Facebook advertising is a great way to generate leads, remember that this should augment your broader Facebook marketing strategy. Your ad will be more appealing if you are recognised by its audience due to having created a strong Facebook presence. Facebook is becoming more group-centric, so join groups and demonstrate your expertise in the industry. Engage in conversations about R&D or other new drug developments - and offer valuable insights, instead of a sales pitch. 73% of B2B marketers say webinars are the most effective way of generating high-quality leads .Including your webinars and other B2B assets doesn’t cost anything, and solidifies your CRO as an industry leader. This approach, together with an expertly crafted Facebook ad campaign, will ensure that you are getting the most out of Facebook.





TwitterTwitter, like Facebook, has users which aren’t directly searching for your business, so the conversion process is often longer. However, with 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily active users on Twitter ,Twitter is not a platform you want to neglect.


Twitter has simplified lead generation by creating their own Lead Gen Cards. These enable you to generate leads within a tweet, without them having to leave the site. If someone expands on your Twitter post and clicks on your CTA, their name, email address and Twitter username are automatically pulled into the card - all the user does is click “submit”. If you are a Hubspot user, you can connect Twitter Lead Gen cards to your Hubspot forms, making the process even simpler.


How can you make sure to generate high quality leads? Implement the following strategies to help your CRO attract great prospective sponsors.


  • Hashtags written on multiple blue road signUse hashtags to maximum effect. This works in both directions; you can search for posts asking for recommendations for a CRO, and other industry related posts such as drug development, new research methodologies and other clinical trials. This helps you monitor what is being discussed and can help you identify quality leads to pursue. Joining in conversations about your field helps you forge connections and establish trust. Use hashtags when posting so that your tweets reach a wider audience.


  • Make sure your CRO’s Twitter account is designated as a business account



  • Utilise Audience Insights. This analysis enables you to track who is following you, and what content they are most interested in. Now you can pivot your content to areas that are most popular.


  • advise-arrow-billboard-208494Get the balance right. The rule Hubspot embraces is that only 20% of what you post should be promotional. The remaining 80% can be informative posts, curated material - anything which adds value to your potential lead without being a sales pitch.


  • Pin a tweet. You can pin a tweet to the top of your profile, maximising its visibility. Choose a tweet that contains a link to a landing page or gated content. The aim is to offer something valuable enough to your visitor that they will provide you with their email address.





LinkedIn is often considered the go-to social media platform for B2B lead generation; 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. Clearly your CRO needs to establish a powerful LinkedIn presence.


Many of the same rules apply to LinkedIn as to Facebook and Twitter, namely, you need to be posting valuable material, preferably with a visual content (video is the best). Join niche industry groups and generate interest by becoming a trusted resource, not a pushy seller. Ideally, position yourself as a problem solver. LinkedIn also created Lead Gen Forms, which auto-populate with a user’s profile data when they click a CTA, making it easy to capture information.


Since LinkedIn is a platform designed primarily for businesses to interact, there are certain areas your business should focus on:


  • Your CRO employee pages should complement your business image, and particular regard should be paid to your executives’ accounts, as they are often the first place a prospective sponsor will look. The key point here is that they should not resemble a resume. Whilst it should showcase education and achievement, the focus should be on what value you bring to a prospective sponsor. Use multimedia content and data to boost your business’s image. Recommendations are great to include, especially as they are tied to another LinkedIn profile, giving you credibility. A professional photo should be used for all employees.


  • Utilise LinkedIn blasts. A blast is blog content sent from the company account and accounts of key employees. It can also be posted on relevant LinkedIn groups. This maximises visibility for your posts.

  • LinkedIn-imageEvaluate whether the LinkedIn package you are using fits your business requirements. The basic free package offered may be sufficient, but the upgraded business packages may be worth the cost. The Premium Business account and the Sales Navigator account are most relevant to a CRO looking to generate leads. Features include enhanced search options enabling you to target leads, and increased InMail options, allowing you to reach your leads more easily.



Using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to generate leads requires an insightful and strategic approach. Implementing the tips above can transform your social media presence and attract qualified sponsors to your CRO. Check out our blog for other ways you can promote your business through effective digital marketing techniques, and let us know if we can help you in any way.