A Pharma Consultant’s POV on Social Media: An Interview with Larry Rothman

As a way to continue to introduce clients to our Professional Social Media Coaching services (Savvy Social Coaching), we are offering a series of case studies on how individuals are using Social Media as a means to build their personal brand and generate leads for their business.

Savvy Strategy had a chance to speak with Larry Rothman, Chairman and CEO of The Lawrence Group. Larry has branded himself as the “Consultant’s Consultant” in the Pharmaceutical industry. His company works with major consulting clients to assist them in developing their life sciences practices, boards of directors, scientific advisory board for start-up life sciences and healthcare companies and coaching and strategy for senior executives in Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology and Consulting Industry. Also worth noting is that Larry’s blog has been named in the Top 50 Pharmaceutical News & Research Blogs. You can find him at http://pharmservices.blogspot.com/ and on LinkedIn.

Savvy Strategy: Tell me how you’ve marketed yourself in the past?
Larry Rothman: Other than on the web via LinkedIn and my blog at http://pharmservices.blogspot.com, I haven’t really marketed myself. The blog has brought me more business, and since my background is the trusted advisor, I’ve branded myself as “the Consultant’s Consultant.”

SS: How did you come to use Social Media? What are the benefits, and what results have you seen?
LR: I started using Social Media with Plaxo, mainly to have a good backup for my address book with Plaxo Pulse. Then a friend told me about LinkedIn, and I signed on for that, too. There’s overlap, but not 100%, and I use LinkedIn more than Plaxo now. I like the group I’m a member of, and the ability to post content and have conversations. I’ve also posted on SeekingAlpha, a financial bulletin board that I like very much as people can understand my brand and see my blog. I use FeedJit as an analytics tool and to enhance my blog; its blog control has better analytics. I find Facebook to be an exercise in mental masturbation; I’ve become a voyeur on FB, but don’t see a business value. I feel Twitter is a waste of time with no value to me as I am B2B, not B2C, and I simply can’t see the value of Twitter as a tool for B2B.

SS: How did you learn to do all of this?
LR: Word of mouth from various people introduced me to all of these technologies.

SS: Do you know of other companies in your industry using Social Media?
LR: I don’t feel it is institutionalized, but there are thousands of people from the companies in my industry that are using it.

SS: Can you name any brands who are using it that you think are doing a good job?
LR: Nothing that really stands out for me. It seems that companies are conducting isolated experiments, aren’t doing it right, and aren’t being strategic about it.

SS: How do you use Social Media? What is your strategy and what tactics do you implement?
LR: I don’t have a general strategy. Every time I publish my blog my traffic goes up, so instead of publishing two or three times per week, I’ve considered publishing one per day, but it’s too time consuming. My blogs are very targeted and narrowly focused. I typically comment on The New York Times, other blogs, and Seeking Alpha, though I don’t see a return and am not sure what that return should be.

SS: What do you think are the challenges with the medium?
LR: It’s very narrowly focused.

SS: How do people know that you’re publishing? How do they find you if they don’t know you?
LR: I’m publishing my blog and networking in order to grow my own personal brand, and not to seek revenue as I am semi-retired. Yet I want to keep my hand on the pulse in case I decide to pursue something new, and have been solicited by several companies for consulting. So for me, it’s about the soft sell, the inside track where I can have my own point of view.

SS: What aspects of Social Media are you unaware of that you wish you knew more about?
LR: The problem is that I’m not sure of what I don’t know.

SS: What advice would you give to those who are just starting out?
LR: I would say play with it all, as in my opinion, it’s all very easy to use. If someone were looking for a formal business plan to use Social Media, they should consult with a professional on how to go about it. For my professional brand, I’d turn to Savvy Strategy.

Interested in learning more about our Savvy Social Media Coaching for individual professionals? Click here.

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