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Josephine Borrillo LLC Posts

is pharma building an audience

 

Why should pharma focus on building an audience? The whole idea behind content strategy is to build an audience. How can pharma achieve this? I have been reading the book Content Inc by Joe Pulizzi and how content is the foundation for building an audience. Here are some of my key insights for pharma.

 

Why build an audience?

  • It makes you an authority
  • It means you are providing useful content
  • It means you are solving problems or responding to pain points
  • It means you are providing something valuable
  • It means you are trusted

 

Who is pharma’s audience?

  • Just about anyone and everyone really
  • Just to name a few:
    • Patients
    • Caregivers
    • Consumers
    • Healthcare professionals
    • Payors
    • Policymakers
    • Other pharma companies
    • Journalists
    • Anyone that may need healthcare services in the future
  • However and most importantly you do not own your audience

The reason that the audience is in different places is that no audience is owned. Regardless of whether you are a major television network, popstar, or professional sports team with rabid fans, you simply do not own your audience. They can get up and leave mentally or physically at any time.”  Jeff Rohrs, chief marketing officer at Yext and author of the book Audience

 

How do you build an audience?

  • By providing useful content
  • By providing great content
  • By responding to the needs of the audience
  • By responding to customer pain points
  • By sharing your knowledge

 

Is content the best way to build an audience?

  • Content is where it all starts
  • Content is why people come to your website /blog
  • Content is why people subscribe to your channel/blog
  • Content is why people follow you on social media

 

Is social media sharing and engaging the best way to build an audience?

  • Social media provides the platforms for sharing content
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is the micro influencer right for pharma?

A new trend in influencer marketing is the micro-influencer. Instead of the traditional sponsored ads with celebrities, brands are now partnering with micro-influencers. Partnering with micro-influencers allows brands to share more authentic posts. Should pharma consider micro-influencers as part of their strategic marketing?

 

Who is the micro-influencer?

 

But what makes micro-influencers unique and important?

  • Micro-influencers are hyper-engaged
  • From the graph below as an influencers’ following increases, we tend to see a like rate (that is an engagement rate of likes and comments) that decreases

 

  • Social media is all about engagement and micro-influencers have the right balance rate of followers to likes/comments (which is the measurement for engagement)
  • Micro-influencers posts are trustworthy and engaging
  • Micro-influencers post their own content and respond to the comments themselves (no social media manager) in other words are more authentic

 

So social celebrity or micro-influencer?

  • With social celebrity, you do reach a wider audience, but a large part of that audience may not be interested in your product
  • Working with micro-influencers is also more affordable
  • Working with micro-influencers you will need to manage more relationships simultaneously
  • Working with micro-influencers you may achieve a higher engagement rate
  • Working with micro-influencers allows for reaching different demographics

 

How can pharma incorporate micro-influencers in their social media platforms?

  • Incorporate micro-influencers as part of a general current strategy
  • Patient groups, patients, healthcare providers, maybe your micro-influencer

 

Does one platform work better than others?

  • Most of the research has been focused on Instagram
  • Instagram allows for easy posting of photos and comments, however, this does not exclude other platforms
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patient advocacy in an age of social media

 

Social media platforms are an incredibly powerful tool and have been the main empowerment tool for patients. How is social media disrupting traditional patient advocacy and what must pharma do to stay ahead?

 

How have social media platforms changed traditional patient advocacy?

  • Social media allows for global networking & making connections worldwide is easier
  • Social media makes it easier to get message across instantaneously – real-time communication
  • Social media makes it easier for patient advocates to network or interact with other patients
  • Social media makes it easier to meet and reach new communities/patients or consumers
  • Social media allows for remote patient advocating; establishing and explaining your position not only with policymakers but with the public
  • Social media allows patient advocates to share clinical trial results and clinical research findings
  • Social media platforms are free and are cost-effective communication tools

 

How can you identify an influential patient advocate online?

  • Patient advocates engage in Tweet Chats – discussing important topics relevant to their disease areas
  • Patient advocates interact with online healthcare professionals
  • Patient advocates facilitate information creation and sharing
  • Patient advocates follow proper hashtags for disease topics
  • Patient advocates are bloggers that share their experiences

 

What are some of the tools out there for patient advocacy?

 

 

  • Tweet chats take place on Twitter platform and allow for conversations to take place around a keyword or hashtag. For example #BCSM (breast cancer social media)

 

Which social media platforms are best for patient advocacy?

  • Patients are meeting on different social platforms.
  • They join a FB group.
  • They recount their own story by Instagram.
  • They meet and share information and experiences on Twitter through tweet chats.
  • They blog their illness.

 

How can pharma use social media to embrace this movement and improve the patient experience?

  • Pharma needs to join in the conversation.
  • By engaging on social forums, pharma may better learn what questions patients are asking and what their real needs are.
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online research for pharma

For pharma (and for all businesses) the internet continues to change the business environment. Social media platform adoption has also allowed for new business opportunities; to gain unique insights into consumer behavior, attitudes, and beliefs that drive their decisions. Online research is an ever evolving field.

 

question 1: so, what is online research?

as described by What is Online Research. Using the Internet for Social Science Research by Tristram Hooley, Jane Wellens, John Marriott

  • online research methodologies describe the approaches that researchers take rather than the tools that they use
  • it begins from the question of how do researchers find out about and make sense of the social world, and pursues that question in the context of the online environment
  • online research methods describe an approach to finding out about people and the social world they inhabit, by using the internet
  • many of the online research methods are really traditional research methodologies that we are familiar with in market research and they have only been modified and repurposed to fit the needs of the internet

 

question 2: some specific types / examples of online research methods include?

  • cyber ethnography
  • online content analysis
  • online focus groups
  • online interviews
  • online qualitative research
  • online questionnaires
  • social network analysis
  • web-based experiments
  • online clinical trials

 

question 3: how can pharma use these online research methods towards strategic planning?

  • brand reputation
  • gaining meaningful insights into health care professionals, payer, patient and consumer behavior and beliefs

 

question 4: what are some ethical and legal aspects for pharma to keep in mind?

principles of research ethics and ethical treatment of persons are codified in a number of policies and accepted documents, such as the

At their core, the basic tenets shared by these policies include the fundamental rights of human dignity, autonomy, protection, safety, maximization of benefits and minimization of harms, or, in the most recent accepted phrasing, respect for persons, justice, and beneficence.

  • copyright
  • intellectual property
  • data ownership
  • transfer & storage
  • potentially operating in other or multi jurisdictions, for example when online research is international
  • contractual terms of service (TOS) to which online participants agree when they sign up to, for example to social media platforms
  • identification of adverse drug reactions (ADR) and proper reporting is important for drug safety surveillance

 

question 5: do online methods substitute the traditional research methods?

  • one does not substitute the other
  • consider during the development and decision of methodologies as whether online and onsite experiments can be combined
  • online research may be not appropriate for all research questions, for example, the elderly population
  • consider cross referencing, for example, are there any differences between online versus offline behaviors of individuals?

 

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pharma marketing to millennials

Every generation is different. Millennials have different buying habits and different priorities than Baby Boomers and Generation X. This means companies need to adapt and change their marketing strategies. This goes for pharma too.

question 1: Should pharma be marketing to Millennials?

  • Yes
  • Millennials are now the largest generation in the United States and have surpassed Baby Boomers
  • Definition of Millennials those aged 18 – 34 in 2015

question 2: How are Millennials different than Baby Boomers and Generation X?

  • They are born digital or are digital natives
  • Their priorities are different
  • They care about health and overall wellness
  • They are more likely to use urgent care or walk-in clinics; this is more convenient and quicker
  • Smartphones and social media are the platforms they use to communicate and share information
  • Medicines are important, but they do not like the high prescription prices of medicines
  • They use health and fitness apps and Bluetooth devices to track progress at a rate higher than any generation

 

question 3: Is it a target audience for pharma?

  • Not considered a target audience for pharma, but it is a large audience and they do have an impact in healthcare because of their presence on social media
  • Millennials are tech savvy and help their parents and grandparents to navigate the social media platforms and also search for information

 

question 4: Which priorities should pharma keep in mind when marketing to Millennials?

  • Pharma needs to show empathy – do not just talk about your brand show value that goes beyond the pill or product
  • Pharma needs to be authentic, Millennials do not mind advertising but they do not like it if it is fake and false
  • Millennials want to be engaged with pharma not talked to (this might be the biggest hurdle for pharma)
    • Millennials want conversation and are looking for answers/solutions through technology
    • Excellent customer experience that allows for personalization and engagement options, including the ability to have a one to one conversation where questions can be asked and get honest answers in return

 

question 5: How can pharma engage with Millennials on social media?

  • Forget the traditional marketing mix that pharma has relied on for years
  • Create a sense of community, connection, inspiration, and convenience
  • Remember it is not about your pharma needs but about their needs

 

 

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people are now the media, pharma needs to adapt

Social media platforms have changed our way of communicating. We now live in a society of conversation and empowerment versus what was once a push of information. How can pharma adapt to a world where people are now the media?

question 1: what do we mean by the people are the media?

  • people control the narrative
  • people control the conversation
  • brands need to earn their place in the conversation

question 2: what role do the consumers play in this?

  • people are no longer passive
  • people today can create and contribute and even brand themselves
  • people can contribute with ideas
  • people can either block or share ads
  • people today relate to values and concerns of citizens

question 3: what role do platforms play in this?

  • technology and platforms enables everyone to become producers
  • it allows for people to share or block ads
  • it allows for crowdsourcing – ideas can come from anywhere
  • platforms are easy and free to access

question 4: what role could pharma play in this?

  • people are looking for a solution to problems, pharma can play an active role in solving someone’s problems
  • pharma can make a relationship with customers which is becoming a core competency of every brand

question 5: how can pharma adapt to this?

  • pharma has a huge opportunity to speak to people, not at people
  • pharma can be a part to solve problems, advertising does not solve problems
  • pharma needs to understand transparency is the new mandate, people hold brands accountable
  • pharma needs to stay ahead of the learning curve in understanding tools and platforms
  • pharma needs to be aware transformation may take time and their own bureaucracies may slow the evolution
  • pharma needs to invest in monitoring and measuring communications
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pharma getting creative with content

Creating creative content is key to driving readers and engaging with your audience. How can pharma get creative with content?

question 1: why does pharma need to work on its creative content?

  • creative content is what makes readers come and read your content and also engage with your content
  • companies are getting more sophisticated in their approach to content marketing
  • need to branch out from standard TV advertisement, we do not live in a push information society anymore
  • you need to work hard to engage with people

question 2: what are some common ways pharma is killing creative content?

  • continue to have the *we are different*, *we cannot do that here* approach
  • widespread belief that creativity does not belong in pharma
  • people are frightened to try new things
  • being risk-adverse

question 3: what are some of the biggest obstacles in pharma to becoming more creative?

  • internal approval processes makes it very hard to get work through
  • yes there are limitations but pharma can try harder to be creative (look at examples like alcohol companies and financial institutions)
  • creativity means taking risks, pharma is very risk-adverse
  • creativity seems to be hard to define and quantify

question 4: how can pharma create a culture of creativity?

  • start learning from other business sectors
  • pharma needs to change their attitude towards risk, from avoiding mistakes to taking a chance on success
  • do social listening so that you understand your audience
  • get your approval process in place and to approve quickly if something should come up so you don’t miss the opportunity

question 5: pharma content seems to cover similar topics, so how can each pharma company make theirs stand out from the rest?

  • people love beautiful images or photos
  • great videos, not long, are also captivating
  • get your employees to write content, they are experts in their field
  • get away from traditional PR press release messages, too boring, people want to see content that is fresh and trendy
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pharmaceutical content writing: getting your employees to write for you

 

Great content is what drives visitors to your website or blog and producing great content takes time and needs to be consistent. Pharmaceutical companies tend to be very large organizations with many employees. Just think if each employee could produce one blog post you would be set for the next year and beyond and budget wise probably have spent next to nothing.

question 1: why implement a culture of content writing in your pharmaceutical company?

  • no one knows your product better than your own employees
  • it allows for new insights: employees give unique insights, think of client interaction
  • it allows for a diversity of thought and subject matter
  • do not forget content creators are a critical and vital part of your website or blog & it allows to produce as much content as possible

question 2: so what needs to be in place?

  • good starting point would be to have in place a blog editor
  • start in small steps, for example, get customer facing employees to contribute (for example sales) they  have more client interaction than anyone else in the company
  • create an in-house blogging program or a blogging group:
    • excellent writers that collaborate on writing blog posts, will add content much faster
    • blogging group allows for a place to collect ideas and share learning experiences
    • blogging group allows for understanding metrics on how past post(s) performed and to plan better for the future

question 3: how do you encourage employees to write content?

  • your employees may feel uncomfortable about writing because they are not writers & this is where the blog editor or blogging group can come into play
  • an alternative could be to have content writers interview employees and use the information gained to create great content
  • make it easy for them, give your employees templates or outlines in order for them to get started
  • in the end, there is something exciting about seeing your name next to content on the web, a video, an e-paper or an e-book
  • thank them for contributing
  • convincing coworkers to contribute to blog writing is an ongoing effort

question 4: what kind of incentives can you use?

  • measure success of their content, use metrics and analytics, share these results, this gives them encouragement
  • view this as an opportunity, contributing to a company blog, also gives employees the opportunity to build up their own authority
  • it gives more meaning to their role, they will feel more of a sense of accomplishment
  • should it be made mandatory? no. An option could be to write at least one post per quarter or if your company is large one post per year

question 5: should you get your CEO to help in content writing?

  • Yes, there is something unique about content coming from a CEO, today people want to see the human face of a company
  • besides when employees sense that management is not really *in it* then employees are not truly invested
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pharmaceutical-sponsored clinical trials and recruitment through social media

In occasion of clinical trials awareness week #CTAW2017 I ask myself how can pharmaceutical companies use social media to increase awareness of and participation in pharmaceutical-sponsored clinical trials.

question 1: why use social media to recruit patients in the first place?

  • clinical trials were the second largest category after about support and prevention to be discussed online
  • patients today are more empowered, more informed and more demanding
  • there is a lack of awareness among patient and physicians that clinical trials are available
  • competition for patient recruitment is fierce
  • there is motivation to look into novel methods to recruit potentially eligible individuals in clinical trials
  • social media has the ability to narrow target audience of interest
  • social media serve as a promising solution to improve the public awareness and to support the recruitment

question 2: is there an opportunity to increase pharmaceutical sponsored clinical trials recruitment through social media?

  • the internet and social media provides an inexpensive and free access to potential research participants
  • social media is more cost effective when compared to other advertising channels
  • social media has the potential to work with traditional methods to increase awareness of clinical trials
  • online health patient communities and patient advocacy groups often have a very active social media presence
  • orphan indications have patients advocacy groups that are very engaged

question 3: how can pharma partner with online communities to raise awareness of clinical trials and enrollment?

  • twitter chats provide an excellent means of networking and disseminating information on clinical trials
  • do not state what type of patients you are looking for on social media / better to link web page where patients can get further details and information or direct patients to a call center
  • it is critical to protecting patient information at all times: HIPAA and privacy
  • consider your audience:
    • younger audiences tend to use Twitter / Instagram
    • Facebook, Google AdWords, and trial websites reach 30-50 year olds

question 4: what are some of the challenges for pharma of social media engagement in recruiting patients in clinical trial participation?

  • Internal Review Board (ethics committee) approval is needed / same rules apply as for traditional information to patients regarding clinical trial participation
  • pharma needs to make sure how information will be shared during the recruitment
  • geography needs to be taken into account: where is the clinical trial located
  • is the clinical site in a remote location or area with limited internet access, or limited social media adoption
  • difficult to reach low-income areas may be left out
  • remember many may not have a smartphone, people also use free access such as libraries for internet access
  • patients sharing information or their experiences about participating in a clinical trial, this could endanger the integrity of a clinical trial

question 5: what should pharma consider when rolling out an e-recruiting campaign online?

  • know the regulations:
    • FDA guidance documents on social media use / same regulations that apply to other forms of patient recruitment like TV ads and print material applies to use of social media
    • Institutional Review Boards respect to privacy and non-coercive content
    • regulatory approval of social media recruitment portals
  • have a social media recruitment strategy in place
  • understand the pros and cons of the various social media platforms and where your audience is
  • stay up to date on the trends of social media usage and troubleshooting
  • generate social media visibility, going from just posting information to more call to action focused on driving patient referrals
  • using organic versus sponsored posts
  • company accounts versus third party, which do you use
  • medical language versus lay language
  • when designing clinical trials take into account patients use of social media
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what does social media ROI look like for pharma

Social media has become a mainstream marketing channel and it is competing for budgets just like the other channels within organizations. It is critical to have in place social media metrics that will measure ROI to secure senior management buy-in and a budget for social media strategies.

question 1: what is social media ROI?

HootSuite defines social media ROI as follows:

money generated via social media – investment (people hours, ad budgets, etc.) = social media ROI
  • for pharma, this could be more complex and set challenges since ROI comes from doctors writing prescriptions
  • a nonfinancial outcome for pharma would look more like company reputation which in turn leads to more prescriptions by a doctor

question 2: why is measuring ROI important?

  • it provides information to your social media strategy and value to overall business objectives
  • helps you to understand where to center your resources and avoid wasting resources in the wrong place
  • it is critical to know what content works and what does not work on social media
  • helps with compliance and provides insight from patients
  • pharma needs to understand and measure consumer perception and trust

question 3: what social media ROI metrics or goals should pharma be measuring or setting?

  • as for any social media ROI, it is critical to first define the objectives for your social media efforts
  • for pharma, it can mean identifying metrics that complement your existing business
  • some metrics to include are:
    • reach
    • generating traffic to your website to learn about your products and your research
    • sign-ups
    • engagement and open to dialogue
    • content relevant to your stakeholders (doctors, patients, consumers)
    • company awareness on social media that includes traditional likes, followers, and retweets
    • revenue generated or correlated to pharma business

question 4: what does ROI look like for pharma on social media?

  • measuring corporate reputation and giving back to the community
  • measuring engagement and consumption of educational content
  • measuring engagement with the CEO
  • follow the 80%  / 20% rule:
    • 80% of your content should provide valuable information, resources or solve a problem
    • 20% of your content should be about your brand 
  • measuring customer service success (something out of the ordinary for pharma)

 

question 5: should candid and unprompted conversations online be part of the ROI?

  • yes
  • to be included as part of your social media ROI:
    • social media allows for real-time connections and conversations & generates qualitative and quantitative data that becomes information for your social media strategy
    • the perfect tool for engagement on social media (consumers, patients, healthcare professionals, patient communities) are tweet chats
    • CEO engagement is an excellent way to measure real-time conversation with people

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