the power of the 24/7 news cycle, what does it mean for #pharma


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The fast paced news cycle for a #pharma traditional old fashioned organization, can be a challenge. So what does it mean for #pharma?

it means people turn to social media for trending news

  • people are getting their news from social media
  • people are scanning their news feeds
  • people are looking for what is trending
  • people are looking for trending hashtags
  • you don’t control the message anymore
  • you are not the gatekeeper anymore

it means you need to capture attention with informative and useful content

  • people are scanning the headlines – no one reads full articles anymore
  • people are looking at photos
  • produce content that people will read, share and comment on
  • you are competing for content attention
  • ask yourself is your content relevant to my readers
  • ask yourself, would I stop to read my content

it means you have to stay relevant on social media

  • traditional ads don’t work anymore
  • try experimenting with different platforms
  • try experimenting user generated content (UGC)
  • remember to always stay authentic
  • be willing to be flexible, news feeds are constantly changing

it means you have to spot opportunities

  • are you monitoring social media platforms
  • do you have a social media team in place in house
  • do you respond rapidly – long internal sign off is long gone
  • are you staying up to speed on current events

it means you better have in place a crisis communication/management

  • how will you tackle social media mistakes
  • if wrong know how to humbly admit to the mistake
  • ask for feedback
  • be transparent

social media reveals your personality #pharma

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Hey #pharma you may be revealing more about yourself than you think on social media.  Below are some questions to think about.

How do you connect with others communicates the type of relationship you want

  • are you creating an intimate relationship
  • are you creating a network
  • are you just looking for followers
  • are you taking part in social causes if called into action
  • are you responding to positive comments
  • are you avoiding negative comments

Are you painting an inaccurate image of who you are

  • painting your life to be perfect
  • things you are doing right
  • everything is amazing
  • only posting the good

Do you reveal your values

  • what do you believe in
  • what are your beliefs
  • what are your values

How about employee advocacy

  • is it only management
  • is it only select employees
  • is your CEO active on social media platforms, or hiding behind closed doors

Are you creating *unique* and useful content

  • are social media platforms just an add on
  • still advertising your TV ads on social media platforms
  • still same old agency cookie cutter marketing messages
  • have you considered using user generated content (UGC)

recognizing social media opportunities


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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


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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


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#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


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#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



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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