“The absence of pharma brands on social media creates a significant void of reputable healthcare information to aid patients,” writes Dawn Lacallade, LiveWorld’s Chief Social Strategist.
Social media infiltrate virtually every facet of an individual’s digital life. Today, patients are using social media as a major source of information and healthcare research. Thus, it is essential that pharma companies should be present on social media to provide full and accurate information to the consumers. To comprehend how social media can assist patients, it is crucial to understand what compels people to use social media as a source of information.
Social media allows interaction among people which involves exchange and creation of information. It is the perfect conduit for pharmaceutical companies to connect with their customers, patients and physicians.
According to the current FDA regulations, pharma companies are not able to easily join in a conversation to provide accurate and balanced information. Regulations dictate that, in a single social post, brands are required to provide precise facts on the benefits and hazards associated with conditions and products. Due to the character limitations on many social media platforms, most pharma companies prefer to stay out of the conversation. This results in circulation of falsified information. This information can be either marginally inaccurate or significantly harmful.
Although the communication of pharmaceutical industries is highly regulated, they are gradually adopting social media platforms to reach and interact with consumers and healthcare professionals. Here are some of the top social media practices to look out for:
Crafting Customer Experience
Several marketers think that their job is finished once the sales team takes over, but in reality, it is just the beginning. The way people experience your brand will impact the way they think about you, which will have an enormous effect on the success of your company in the long run. Devoting a part of the marketing budget to nurture the existing clientele will make their experience splendid and thus promote brand loyalty. It is also crucial to respond whenever your brand in mentioned publicly, whether positively or negatively, which will help cultivate a strong and lasting relationship with your customers. Younger generations are increasingly withdrawing from traditional social media platforms and adopting more innovative channels that are more intimate in the way of communication. To keep up with this challenge, companies need to find a way to automate the process wherever possible.
Pharma companies need to develop content marketing strategies that merge each piece of content on every channel with their organization’s objectives and customers’ needs. Creators need to have a clear business objective including the value that will be delivered to distinct audiences. All companies need to have a social media compliance officer who will work closely with a corporate legal counsel and develop a complete strategy and decide if there will be consolidated social media posting or if individual employees will have the consent to participate. And lastly, it is critical that all employees understand their role in corporate social media and be trained on the rules.
Pharma companies should stop thinking about content marketing and social media as add-ons. To boost their outcome for clients, content and social marketing need to be a part of almost every program. To develop a fully integrated program, companies need to involve influencers and content marketers during the initial stages. Implementing an organized approach to content and moderation will not only optimize the processes, but also aid in assuring authorities that all the bases are covered to protect and provide value for the brand.
Investing in Employees
An independent survey discovered that 72% of social media users expect response within an hour from the brands they follow. This has caused brands to start heavily investing in cross-functional social media teams that can keep up with the increasing number of client pings every day. Encouraging and incentivizing team members to share brand messages on their own social media accounts, is predicted to be a game-changer in the coming days. However this cannot be forced, it is essential for employees to want to share company posts, and along with this the content has to resonate with their own audiences.
Influencer marketing will continue to develop and become an even more established part of the strategy. Currently many brands try influencer marketing and fail as it is not easy to find effective influencers. Additional data will help in selection of the right influencers and analyze the results from influencer campaigns. Today, in healthcare, influencers are often regular people. Some are directly affected by a disease or are being treated with a specific product, while others have gained a lot of knowledge about a condition and are considered as Subject Matter Experts. The common trend is to select someone who has an ever-increasing community of followers who value their opinion.
Numerous companies still think of social media as merely a marketing tool which is not true anymore. Consumers learn about products on different social networks and seek customer service on messaging channels. Moreover, good storytelling has always been an essential part of effective marketing. But social media is changing the way audiences consume stories and pharma companies will be required to keep up with the evolution of social storytelling if they want to remain relevant.
Yet there is still a note of caution with compliance being the foremost priority of pharmaceutical companies. But as industries are starting to adopt social media without clear regulatory guidance, remaining compliant will be the main challenge to face.