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Month: December 2017

pharma and “social currency”


A major strength of a brand today is measured by its’ “social currency”. There is a massive amount of information that consumers are willing to share. “Social currency” is all about consumers wanting to share brand information with others by engaging in conversations with brands, advocating for brands, and becoming part of communities. What does pharma’s “social currency” look like?


What do we mean by “social currency”?

  • we can think of social currency as a modern day version of word of mouth
  • “social currency” is when your product is shareable and is being talked about
  • “social currency” is when consumers connect with the brand or with others about a brand and they share information, share pictures, leave a comment


Why do people share and therefore create “social currency”?


Why does pharma need “social currency”?

  • we live in an age of social consumers – technologies, platforms, and networks are a part of our everyday life
  • it is an investment that in return creates value, you need to pay attention to this value


What is pharma doing that could threaten to lose its’ “social currency”?

  • keeping a distance from engagement
  • sharing too much promotional – like material
  • see themselves as exclusives (“we are different”) and are not strategizing enough to interact with all their clients on a daily basis
  • pharma companies have to break away from their long-standing history that they need not be involved in social media platforms


What key factors are critical for pharma to maintain its’ “social currency”?

  • need to understand how consumers engage with brands in the digital and social universe
  • brands need to work harder than ever to earn the attention of their consumers.
  • the consumer needs to be put at the forefront from beginning to end of any digital transformation
  • create valuable content that consumers/healthcare professionals are willing to share
  • educating and empowering – help you earn more “social currency”
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why do we share on social media

I often ask myself why do I share on social media. My reason would be I guess I like to share valuable information, if I found it important than maybe some else will too. Sharing on social media is also my business card, it is my personal brand, I like others to see what I am doing. For pharma understanding the psychology of social media sharing 1) will help to understand how social media works and 2) put more effort behind content strategy and creation that will be more shareable.


Why do people share on social media?

  • People are intrinsically inclined to sharing
  • Sharing is an emotional experience and it evokes positive emotions in people
  • People like to share content that is entertaining and hope that others find it amusing as we did
  • People like to share useful information and hope someone else may find that same information useful
  • We share things about ourselves – psychiatrists refer to this as self-presentation – controlling or shaping the way you want to be seen
  • We share because we want to tell or show people who we are and what we really care about – self-expression
  • We share to stay connected with other people and to strengthen relationships
  • We share because we build our social currency -when we share the right type of content we gain social currency
  • We share to support a cause and this is by far the most powerful reason to why we share


What kind of content do people share?

  • Content that is entertaining or amusing
  • Content that provides information that is useful
  • Important news or breaking news
  • Where we have been and what we are doing
  • Content that supports a cause – this is probably the most powerful content people share on social media (think for example the ice bucket challenge)


Where do brands in general fit in?

  • People trust people more than brands
  • People do like brands – we identify ourselves with brands
  • People, however, feel brands are not authentic, so they are not shared
  • Shared values is a bigger driver for building relationships than lots of interaction with a brand


Where does the pharma brand fit in?

  • Pharma has a trust issue (which is not a new issue)
  • People do share a lot of information against the pharma companies – for example, #epigate:
    • ridiculous price gauging to unhappy customers to comparing prices,
    • stories of parents and pictures of EpiPen purchase receipts & prices they had to pay


Which kind of content should pharma focus on that will make people want to share?

  • Values come first – if people share the same values as companies then they will share their content
  • Get rid of the noise – that means less paid promotion
  • Create content that responds to emotions
  • Work on amplifying great content
  • Understand which kind of content people want to share -think of buyer personas
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