The Five Habits of Top Performing Pharma CEOs on LinkedIn

LinkedIn 2

Key Findings

Regularly posted content is key to sustaining audience interest and engagement.

Consistent posting intervals develop a hunger for content, making one’s audience likely to engage with new posts.

Audience size is important but is more often an indicator of which channels the CEO has targeted for his or her engagement strategy.

Year-in-review/New Year posts resonate more strongly with audiences when backed by video content featuring the CEO themselves.

The most effective CEOs at engaging their coworkers produce content that celebrates their employees and their accomplishments.

Every 90 days,* StratInt Research (SIR) analyzes the LinkedIn activity of 10 select pharma CEOs** to identify the posting behaviors that are most effective at reaching their target audiences. Although SIR looks at pharma CEOs specifically, these best practices could be adopted by executives in any industry.

Here’s a look at the five habits of top performing pharma leaders on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn Metrics for Pharma CEOs

LinkedIn Metrics for Pharma CEOs

1.      Even though LinkedIn audiences are more forgiving of content pauses than followers on other social media platforms, regularly posted content is key to sustaining audience interest and engagement. Matching Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla’s 14 posts is likely too extreme of a goal for pharma executives but last year’s 90-day average of seven (once every other week) is both achievable and sustainable. 

2.      Consistent posting intervals develop a hunger for content, making one’s audience more likely to engage with new posts. Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan, for instance, authored 7 posts and published them every 1-2 weeks, earning three-out-of-five of the most liked posts among select pharma executives.  

3.      Audience size is important but is more often an indicator of which channels the CEO has targeted for his or her media engagement strategy. For example, Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks’ ~57K followers ranks him in the bottom half of follower counts for select pharma executives. Ricks, however, is known for preferring the medium of TV, frequently appearing on CNBC to pitch his company’s narratives on various industry issues.

4.      Year-in-review/New Year posts resonate more strongly with audiences when backed by video content featuring the CEO themselves. Two-out-of-three of the most engaged with posts among pharma CEOs with 100K+ followers contained videos. For example, GSK CEO Emma Walmsley’s year-in-review post earned more engagement than Bourla’s New Year post as she personally appeared in a video to highlight recent company milestones. However, a nod in both the text of the post and the video to how her employees contributed to last year’s successes would have increased its engagement rate, especially among her internal audience.

LinkedIn Audience Breakdown for Pharma CEOs***

Linked Audience Breakdown

5.      Among key stakeholders, pharma employees are the most active group of commenters on executive posts, but CEOs Vas Narasimhan, Bill Anderson, and Albert Bourla were more effective than others when it came to encouraging engagement from within over the past 90 days. They produced content that celebrated their employees and their accomplishments to inspire and retain a talented workforce. Narasimhan, for example, skillfully blended two approaches to reaching one’s audience, honoring his employee for their contribution to improving healthcare access globally and sharing a personal story about what he learned from spending time with his family, successfully connecting with his internal and external followers on a deeper level.

To learn more about how StratInt Research can help your executive connect with his or her audience, contact us here.

*12/15/2023-3/15/2024

**10 select pharma CEOs: Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, GSK CEO Emma Walmsley, Bayer CEO Bill Anderson, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, J&J CEO Joaquin Duato, Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks, Merck CEO Rob Davis, BMS CEO Chris Boerner, and Amgen CEO Bob Bradway.

***Audience breakdown is based on an automated analysis of commenter volume that categorizes professional titles into audience groups.

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