Pharma and Social Media

Jun 24, 2020

Like. Comment. Share. Watch. Chat. Follow. Tweet. If you think that social media are limited to this, you are mistaken. Do you know that consumers take a look at social media before buying a product? New generations, considered the largest and most influential generation of consumers ever, consider social media as part of their shopping experience. That’s what highlighted in the UPS report1, where three in four online shoppers reported using social media during the buying process. The youngest generation is more open to purchasing on social media and significantly more comfortable sharing personal information to personalize their shopping experience.Social media passed to be just a marketing option in the ‘90s to a mandatory marketing tool for any business today. And it is not just creating an account and posting random content, but it requires a good strategy as any other marketing planning.Have you noticed that so many brands are on social media today? No matter being a small or big business company; almost all companies plunge into them to get audience attention. Socials have become a “must”, thus companies have to be able to manage social media to stand out.

Is the pharma industry doing it well?

It is even easier and more interesting to follow an influencer, a fashion company, or our favorite actor on social media. So why should people follow a pharma company? When all this started becoming interesting, probably most of us thought never imagined that pharmaceutical companies could play their game on social media. Today social media marketing is a must for a pharma company. Surely, this game is not always easy and probably even more difficult than any other non-pharmaceutical company due to regulatory restrictions of drugs advertisement. So how do pharma companies succeed on social media? The best strategy is focusing on company awareness and public relations! Many companies, for example, do not refer back to their products and services but, contrary, succeed on social media because they share personable contents relating to a wider range of interest as well as the mixed content formats that include GIFS, videos, and other interactive content. To get a lot of engagement, a pharma company does not necessarily have to make a million posts. The rule is to look at quality over quantity. To render the idea, the audience tends to engage with content like patient views, partner stories, interviews, Q&As, and story-telling, among others.

Keep reading to understand how to do it!

To each his own.

When a company develops a new brand, it has to take into account that its brand needs a unique marketing campaign in every aspect. This means that not all social media are the same thus each brand is more suitable on social media than other and marketing campaigns and activities vary according to social media you are working on. So take a look at this brief 5-points guide to make your social activity more incisive.

1.Set a goal for each social media platform
It is not mandatory to be present on all socials because probably many of them do not suit your brand. It is fundamental to understand your goals for each social media platform to plan the best strategy for that social.

Example: GoPro uses their Instagram account for highlighting their products’ quality. That’s not all! They also smartly use Instagram to connect with users through user-generated content, thus letting them feeling inspired and analyzing audience contents, preferences, lifestyle, etc while they use Twitter to interact with them.

2.Let your audience feeling engaged
Remember this rule: Let’s make audience engagement a priority. The audience loves feeling engaged with your brand because they feel listened to. Social media were born to connect each other and the more you encourage them to engage with you, the more you “loyalize” them.

Example: Coca-Cola’s launched ‘share a coke’ campaign printing about 150 most common and popular names on its bottles asking people to ‘share a coke’ with their loved ones.

3.More value, less advertising
As previously said, the main feature of social media should be to keep people connected. Socials are a huge tool to engage with them and a good opportunity for promoting your brand but do not exceed promotion because people tend to get bored and lost interest if you do it too often. To provide more value with unique content; the audience will appreciate it.

4.Utilize User-Generated Content
People tend to trust in what people like them say more than what brands tell them. User-generated content is perceived as more truthful than what companies want to sell at any cost. So, encourage people to post images about your brand like Starbucks, who launched #WhiteCupContest by which customers submit pictures of how they customized a Starbucks cup with the appropriate hashtag.

5.Behind the scenes
Be transparent. People tend to “dislike” big pharma so that this rule is fundamental in the pharma field! Audience love to know what you do, and how you work. Moreover, it looks like “exclusive content” since they can go what there is behind your product. According to a survey, 84% of customers believe transparency from businesses is more important than ever before, and 73% of them are willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency.

Whether we like it or not, social media have already changed the way we communicate so that the pharma industry can’t ignore social opportunity anymore. Pharma companies were used to use one-way communication (direct-to-consumer) over the years, showing a certain grade of diffidence for any other kind of communication. Companies have been criticized for not being open to newer and creative strategies like social ones and their excuse were regulatory restrictions.

    Today things are changing and the most important big companies have already their own “social state of mind”, interacting with the audience and intercepting their preferences by using a unique, non-conventional, and pro-active approach in order to let the audience engage with them and trust on them. Nevertheless, this approach looks like a stranger for many pharma companies ignoring it probably because of skeptics.  It is time for companies to get out of their “pharma’s comfort zone” and say goodbye to their social anxiety.