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recognizing social media opportunities

Image by Kirill Averianov from Pixabay 

Social media may be a challenge for #pharma, but it can also open many opportunities. Is #pharma taking advantage of them? 

Employee advocacy

  • employees are probably already are on social media platforms
  • it makes your company human
  • it enables you to reach a broader audience
  • employees are real people that can engage with real people online

CEO advocacy

  • a CEO is a human being creating a human connection online
  • a CEO can use the platforms to become thought leaders
  • a CEO cannot lead behind closed doors anymore

Online hiring/ recruiting

  • it allows for creating contacts 
  • it allows to show your company culture
  • it allows for engagement and conversation with people

Monitoring social media in real time

  • social media platforms are 24/7
  • need to keep watch for negative sentiment / or positive sentiment
  • keep up with what is trending

Hashtag activism

  • it raises awareness to causes that have been neglected
  • it is a potential for global participation
  • it is the new form of advocacy

the #pharma marketing department of the future

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The traditional #pharma foundations of marketing are changing. So what should #pharma be incorporating as part of a forward looking marketing department. 

incorporate user generated content

  • it helps you to understand your audience
  • messages come from real people not brands
  • you are not marketing to them you are marketing with them
  • it is more trustworthy – people trust people

seize the opportunity

  • still an excellent example

focus more on engagement

  • remember social media is a two way conversation
  • it is all about relationship building
  • makes you a thought leader 
  • it helps to build trust

have a content strategy in place

  • brand and overall company should be aligned
  • content is what people are looking for in their decision process
  • through your content you can express your thought leadership
  • it is your roadmap towards creating thoughtful, useful, and relevant content

should be creating online communities

  • work with influencers to create a community
  • communities are created through engagement
  • communities allow you to reach a broader audience
  • communities create a sense of belonging

negative influencers and what #pharma needs to know

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

If you are a brand and you are on social media, there is no way you cannot avoid negative reviews and comments. How you handle them #pharma is critical.

Have a social media team in place

  • a social media team can provide a solution
  • a social media team can make sure to monitor social media platforms for latest comments
  • a social media team can respond to consumer complaints as soon as possible
  • a social media team, when necessary or if for a social media crisis, can seek input from other departments (for example legal, regulatory, senior management)

Be empathic (try to put yourself in their shoes)

  • people just want to be heard, the social media platforms are their outlets
  • listen to what they have to say
  • if necessary ask further questions

take it off line if necessary

avoid trolls

  • a troll is a negative influencer
  • trolls come along with being on social media platforms
  • make sure the complaint is legit, that is coming from a real person
  • never return fire with fire

biggest challenges today for marketing

  • the need to build strong relationships and to drive conversations, even with negative influencers
  • make sure to acknowledge the issues and concerns
  • learn and plan for the future

hashtag activism

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

#pharma, hashtag activism is the new form of advocacy.

What is hashtag activism?

  • Hashtag activism is a term coined by media outlets which refers to the use of Twitter’s hashtags for Internet activism.

Why hashtag activism?

  • it is user generated
  • it can control the narrative
  • it raises awareness to causes that have been neglected
  • it is a potential for global participation

What is the potential impact of hashtag activism?

  • it can break through the noise
  • it can dominate a discussion
  • it is great for visibility
  • a lot of engagement is what will make it trending
  • it is the new form of advocacy 
  • a call to action can take place
  • it can bring awareness to a given issue

What constitutes a successful movement if it starts as a hashtag? 

  • one example in the healthcare field was #ThisISMyLane
    • doctors were for the first time vocal around gunshot wounds and what they face every day

Does it lead to change?

  • social media platforms are a tool that can support the larger goal for activists
  • it has the ability to bring together liked minded people, to connect and organize events
  • hashtags are being used to inform and take action

#pharma should be treating content as an asset

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay 

#pharma, like many organizations, treats content as an expense and not having any value. #pharma your content is an asset. It is a *currency*.  It is the voice of your organization.

why is your content an asset?

  • it is the voice of your organization
  • it is the face of your organization
  • it has value
  • it is useful to the business
  • it reflects on organization’s bottom line

what is content?

  • content is information
  • it is distribution of knowledge
  • it promotes
  • it starts conversations (engagement)
  • your content reflects who you are – it is the voice of your organization

forms of content include the following:

  • company’s website content
  • blog posts
  • reports  – ebooks
  • white papers
  • images
  • social media channels
  • videos
  • email newsletters
  • events
  • conferences
  • comments – opinions
  • engagement

how do you manage content as an asset?

  • track and measure your content (marketers today have more access to data than ever before)
  • work together to have one voice
  • make sure it tied into your goals
  • have in place a content strategy

why is content portfolio management so important?

  • consider it as a currency
  • content has a life cycle:
    • creating content
    • auditing content
    • evergreening content – that is refreshing old content
  • always try to find ways to amplify the value of content

#pharma these are the unwritten rules of social media

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#pharma is used to working in a very highly regulated environment, but the social media platform has its structure and unwritten rules. Some of the unwritten rules of social media include the following.

self-promotion rule: 80 % information 20% self-promotion

stay away from trolls

it’s not about followers but about the quality of relationships

stay away from click bait

no substitute for authenticity / authenticity rules on social media

#pharma, constraints are a big driver of creativity on social media

Image by Frank Winkler from Pixabay 

Social media constraints can be drivers of creativity. As social media platforms evolve, people are ways looking for ways to *pushing the boundaries* to grab attention. Pharma should be *thinking outside the box*.

character limitation

  • you have limited space so get to the point
  • long ads don’t work

capture the opportunity

feed moves fast

  • capture people’s attention with great content
  • traditional advertising doesn’t cut it anymore

hashtags say it all

  • this is what people will remember
  • communicates your key message

videos and images rule

  • the best way to grab attention in a busy feed use images

is #pharma creating content in a vacuum

Image by Cindy Lever from Pixabay 

Inspiration for this post comes the tweet below posted during #efpphilly. Why is no one reading your content #pharma? How do you get your content read?

start by asking yourself what do you read #pharma and why do you read it

  • is it from someone you trust
  • is it something that you are interested in
  • does it solve a problem
  • is it funny
  • is it creative
  • is someone asking me a question

are you creating content with a purpose

  • each content piece you create needs to have a purpose
  • to educate
  • to share information
  • to drive engagement
  • to answer questions
  • to developed trust
  • your content needs to provide something valuable
  • do not adapt your advertising to work as content:
    • still treating social media platforms like broadcast, as if people are going to pay attention
    • avoid vanity content

treat your content as an asset

  • quality content can be used over and over again (evergreen content)
  • invest and aim for high-quality content
  • repurposing blog posts – great content can be used in different formats
  • include content as part of your overall marketing strategy

what kind of content does your audience want to see

  • are you listening to your audience
  • are you answering their questions
  • what kind of information are they sharing
  • where are they going for information
  • what are they saying about your content

do you have a content strategy in place

  • content strategy helps in creating content with a purpose
  • content strategy should be part of overall marketing strategy
  • content strategy needs to be updated – social media platforms are evolving all the time 

#pharma can understand patients better through #socialmedia

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

A lot of discussion around being patient-centric or patient first during #efpphilly.  #pharma you can learn a lot through social media platforms about patients.

finding patients on social media platforms

  • get the right hashtag
  • try using symplur
  • participate in tweet chats on dedicated medical topics (symplur is great for this)
  • follow medical conferences on twitter
  • #pharma conferences some patient participation here also
  • during awareness days
  • clinical trial updates

listen to patients online

  • what are they talking about
  • what problems are they trying to solve
  • what kind of information are they seeking or sharing

each platform a different audience (so listen to all)

  • ways of communicating may differ on different platforms
  • younger more popular on certain social media platforms than others
  • family friends pretty popular of FB
  • twitter is fast, information and engagement can be overwhelming at times
  • patients are always experimenting with ways to use social media platforms (for example emergence of patient influencers)

engage with patients online

  • besides listening ask questions
  • answer questions quickly
  • experiment with UGC (user generated content)
  • get input / feedback on the content before posting
  • provide useful content not advertising

integrate in your social media strategy

  • integrate findings into your social media strategy
  • refine often, social platforms are evolving fast
  • a lot of experimenting still ongoing on social media platforms

online movements highlights for #pharma

Image by analogicus from Pixabay 

The printing press in Europe allowed for wider distribution of ideas and information. Today social media platforms are the new means to reach the general public.

defining online movements

the internet provides democracy

  • social media platforms are the place for public discourse, exchange of opinions, comments and information
  • it means connecting people
  • it means citizen journalism versus traditional journalism
  • it means online movements
  • it means social causes


  • able to reach people faster
  • lower costs then traditional media methods
  • provides channels were people can be heard
  • can be accessed by mobile


  • not having access to a device, mobile device or internet
  • not having the skills and knowledge
  • censorship of platforms in certain geolocations
  • lack of trust of social media platforms
  • willingness not to search information online and to be on social media platforms

does one platform work better

  • all platforms can create a social movement
  • important is hashtag identifies the online movement:
    • #ThisISMyLane
    • #ThisIsOurLane
    • #boycottIngramAdverts
    • #epigate