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Tag: psychology of social media

why is pharma afraid of social media?

Other industries are using social media platforms to converse. Pharma is still using social media platforms to broadcast news. This includes corporate news, regulatory approvals, conferences, disease awareness and corporate responsibility. Why is pharma afraid of social media?


Why is pharma afraid of social media?

  • Pharma is a heavily regulated industry
  • Guided by external rules (for example the FDA) and internal rules (legal and regulatory)
  • Fear of getting a warning from FDA
  • Fear of being hit with fines from FDA
  • Fear of illegal or unprofessional behavior on social media platforms
  • Fear that they will have to change their business model


Is it the social media platforms or the content that pharma gets in trouble for?

  • Obviously, pharma gets in trouble for the content, not the platforms


What does pharma need to change?

  • Right now it looks like it is just marketing thrown out or press release posted on the diverse platforms
  • Pharma is still trying to find their way in social media and still does not understand how it can be used beyond branding
  • Pharma needs to enrich the experience of readers with content – competition for content is increasing and harder to grab attention
  • Work on enriching content; make the content interesting and fun and want to read and share
  • Make social media and content strategy a priority
  • Build in-house social media & content marketing expertise


What can pharma learn from other highly regulated industries such as financial/banking sectors that use social media?

  • Set content standards – communication must be accurate, fair, balanced and not misleading
  • Consider pre-approved content or messages
  • Plan content and implement carefully
  • Have a system in place to capture and preserve social media communications
  • Have in place a supervision of communications – enable but at the same time be compliant
  • Focus on risk management and have in place a risk management plan


So how can a highly regulated industry use social media?

  • Need to have a clear vision of why you are on social media
  • Learn and understand through social listening
  • Promote unbranded health awareness
  • Rethink core business – think in terms of a service and not in terms of selling a product
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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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