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social media strategy

#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

when are followers, shares and likes important?

Image by Alexandr Ivanov from Pixabay 

I get asked these questions all the time by #pharma.

How important is the number of followers on your social media platforms?

  • well it is the number one criteria by which all are judged upon on social media platforms
  • look at who is following you and not only the number of people following you
  • look to see how many of the followers really have an interest in your content
  • need followers otherwise your message doesn’t get any where
  • the bigger the brand the more followers you should have 

When are shares of your content / posts important?

  • everyone’s wish is for content to go viral
  • everyone likes to see sharing of their content – it gives a certain psychological high
  • not all likes and shares are the same though – are your followers sharing because it is good content
  • when people share it means they are introducing your content to others
  • sharing of content may also make you vulnerable and set you up for judgement

How about the importance of likes?

  • the question to ask yourself is what do you do with the likes you receive
  • likes could mean that content was relevant
  • likes can also be viewed as an engagement

“Likes are always an indicator of social standing, at my age,” says an anonymous 17-year-old survey respondent. “As someone who gets anxious and occasionally struggles with self-esteem, the amount of Likes on my posts can be both hugely uplifting or depressing.”

2017 January The New Statesman

How important is engagement?

  • it is where people thank you
  • it is where people criticize you
  • it is where people turn for answers
  • it is where relationships are built

Is how fast your audience grows important?

  • yes
  • it must be organic
  • don’t buy followers
  • create content relevant for your audience

#pharma so what do you want to accomplish with social media

The first question you need to ask yourself with social media is, what are your objectives? You have a sales target but what is your social media target?

Is it just an extension of your traditional advertising?

  • Remember TV ads are designed only for TV
  • Are people watching your ads on social media
  • Do you ever ask yourself why would anyone click and watch this
  • Are your social media and traditional media complimenting each other (as it should be)

Is it about telling the latest research?

  • Are you posting research in a timely manner
  • Are you presenting scientific data that people can understand
  • Are you dedicating time to producing and curating research content
  • Social media is an excellent forum for discussing research

Is it about employees advocacy?

  • Remember employees are your greatest asset
  • Employee advocacy can: 
    • Increase brand reach and greater audience
    • Humanizes your brand
    • Support engagement efforts
    • CEO participation on social media is important

Is it about promoting your success?

  • Are you producing content that is useful and relevant for your audience
  • Are you producing content to promote yourself (aka vanity content)
  • Are you looking for validation or engagement on social media

Is it about engaging with your audience?

  • Do you know who your audience is
  • What do they care about
  • Do you interact with them
  • Are you building a community

#pharma social media is an evolution, be open to the journey

Social media platforms are very dynamic and constantly evolving. Events or things you did not plan for or did not foresee in your social media strategy can throw you off. #pharma needs to be flexible, be quick to adapt and be open to the journey.

Some changes on social media platforms include the following

  • Mobile first
  • People turning to social media for news first
  • Getting harder to stand out and get your audience’s attention
  • Announcements are no longer made on traditional / conventional news channels

Privacy concerns and transparency

  • Repeated scandals of tech and social media platform companies
  • People concerned about privacy issues / data and how it is being used
  • Trust and accountability

The power of the audience is growing

  • Citizen journalism is growing
  • Being at the right place at the right time
  • Being pulled into political issues (e.g. call for boycotts)
  • The need to respond quickly

The coming of influencers

  • Influencers, vloggers and bloggers have turned into the new celebrities, therefore, the creation of influencer marketing
  • Consumers, however, are also not naive to the fact influencers make money
  • The need for transparency of influencers and brand relationships

Physicians are becoming more outspoken on social media

  • One tweet was enough to bring an online grassroots movement by physicians (#ThisIsOurLane and #ThisISmyLane)
  • Beginning to see a new generation of doctors not afraid to express themselves on social media platforms