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February 2018

general rules of social media engagement for pharma

 

Fact social media is about being social. Fact pharma still has a fear of social media. But with learning a few basic techniques and practice those fears can slowly dwindle away. Here are some very general social media rules of engagement for #bigpharma.

Listen to the conversation

  • Listen to what people are talking about
  • Listen to what people are saying about your organization
  • Don’t forget niche conversations

Respond in a timely manner

  • Social media does not sleep
  • Pharma needs to develop a customer service mentality
  • GSK Response Center on Twitter (@GSK_ResponseCtr) is setting an excellent example
  • Do follow others, it is only polite

Do not be tone deaf

  • Be mindful of what is happening around the world:
    • Tragedy,
    • Disaster,
    • Death of a celebrity

Hashtags are a very powerful tool

  • They allow you to join in a conversation
  • They help to identify and connect with an audience
  • They help you to identify what is trending
  • You have more engagement when using hashtags
  • Excellent hashtag research tool for medical field is Symplur

Be relevant and tailor content on every social media platform

  • Frame your content specifically for each different social media platform
  • Different things play differently on different platforms

web traffic or audience building which is more important for pharma

Is it more important for pharma to draw traffic to its website or work on building an audience on social media platforms? Both are very important. Driving traffic to your website allows for people to learn more about your organization. Building an audience on social media platforms allows you to gain a broader reach. Of the two I would choose to give priority to working on building an audience first and traffic to your website will subsequently follow.

Why is it so important to build an audience?

  • You need an audience
  • Time spent on social media platforms is greater than on websites
  • An audience builds social currency
  • An audience gives you reach
  • An audience is made up of real people making real connections
  • An audience shares your *quality* content information with their friends/followers
  • If you don’t have an audience then how will anyone find out about your website
  • An audience makes you an authority on something

Does it really matter how big your audience is?

  • You would think the bigger the better, however, smaller audiences appear to be more engaged and share more (micro-influencer)
  • Size is not the answer what is important is to engage and build a trusting relationship with your audience

How do you grow your audience?

  • It takes time to build an audience
  • An audience has shared values and a common interest, in your organization or brand
  • Think about how you can be engaging and sharing quality content so as to grow your audience:
    • Events
    • Conferences
    • Behind the scenes (BTS)

Should you build an audience on one social media platform or several social media platforms?

  • Social media platforms are just a way or means to bring people together
  • People are on different social media platforms – ask yourself who are you trying to connect with
  • Never abandon your audience (aka zombie community)

What can an audience do for you?

  • An audience can be your most important marketing asset
  • An audience gives you competitive edge
  • An audience listens to what you have to say
  • An audience can share your posts (and linking to website will drive traffic to your website)
  • An audience can help you in understanding the patient journey, pain points, interests and this can help you to adjust your strategy accordingly

can social media help pharma build brand trust

Social media plays an important role in building trust with the public. Pharma has a big brand reputation issue (aka trust issue). I often get asked can social media repair a brand or organization that has damaged its trust? And what does an organization need to do?

1) an organization needs to do a brand reputation audit

  • Brand reputation audit helps you to see how your brand is performing in the eyes of the consumer
  • Findings from a brand reputation audit will help you improve your strategy
  • Findings from a brand reputation audit can help you to utilize the social media platforms in the best ways possible
  • Findings from a brand reputation audit can help to understand where you need to make corrections
  • Findings from a brand reputation audit can help identify strengths and weakness of your online presence
  • Some general questions to ask yourself in brand reputation audit:
    • What are people online saying about you?
    • Are there positive or negative comments?
    • What content is working best?
    • What is the demographics of followers?
    • Are there any brand advocates?
    • What is the general sentiment from users?

2) an organization needs to listen to online conversations

  • Listen to your audience, what are they saying about you
  • Social media has become a channel to vent problems and sharing experiences with others:
    • This is a unique opportunity to listen to your customer – don’t waste it
  • Don’t get angry or upset about negative comments  – there really may be truth to what people are saying
  • Negative comments from the past – once on the web you can be sure somehow has seen it and copies and reposts it

3) an organization needs to respond and engage

  • Social media has democratized communications & the consumer’s voice is louder than ever
  • Remember social media is about being social – it is a two-way dialogue
  • Engagement opens a line of communication & shows how your organization interacts with outside world
  • Social media is a way of communicating organizational core values to the public
  • Remember social media does not sleep:
    • Are you responding rapidly to customer requests on social media?
    • Are you responding at all to customer requests?
    • Young and savvy consumers will not tolerate companies with poor customer service or response
  • Are you using automated DM (direct messaging)?:
    • Get rid of automated DM people know it is automated and not human
    • Auto DM is “inauthentic”
    • Auto DM is impersonal and convey no feeling
  • Do you have accounts that have been abandoned?
  • Do you have accounts with “zombie communities”?

4) an organization needs to empower and encourage employee advocates

  • People trust people
  • Best employee advocate your CEO
  • Employee advocates makes your organization more human and personalized
  • Trust comes from core values communicated through your employees

5) an organization needs to understand that “content is king”

  • Publish quality content
  • Content of quality beats content quantity
  • Consumers can distinguish authenticity from advertising & vanity posts
  • Focus on content the solves consumer problems