Social Media: Listen, Learn, and Act

Dear House Rules,

Our company puts out tailored tweets about our brand; we have a strategy in place to monitor the most popular comment boards in our category; we even have a Facebook group for patients. We’re getting great data from all this—but how do we use it?


Now What?

Dear Now,

That’s a great question, and one that many pharma marketers are asking. In less than ten years, social media platforms have gone from “online destinations for young, hip people to talk about their favorite bands” (remember MySpace?) to “online destinations for people of every age to go to for information and opinion on any topic imaginable.”

Pharma used to largely ignore social media, but now the industry is dedicated to gathering as much data as possible. Currently, there are more than one billion Facebook users and 500 million tweets a day.Pharma can no longer afford to miss out on this valuable source of intel.

  • Once patients are tweeting, it’s probably too late to reach them: The digital journey of a patient just doesn’t start in Facebook or Twitter. It starts with Google. Patients search before they even have a conversation about it. If a patient has a symptom, he or she probably searches for information about it on Google. After that comes research, done on (most likely) Wikipedia. In fact, more than 60% of patients use Wikipedia. Only after that do patients go to Facebook and Twitter and forums to talk about it.
  • Integrate social listening learnings into brand strategy: digital strategies are frequently tweaked on-the-fly based on new information from the FDA, updated hospital formulary data, or recently-published studies. There’s no reason why data gathered from patients’ tweets, statuses, and comments can’t influence marketing tactics as well. What’s more, some companies are now doing social listening to get gather insights even before a product website is designed.
  • Don’t try to do it all yourself: data mining and analysis is a growing field, and there are plenty of companies that specialize in pharma clients. From simple aggregation to nuanced analysis performed by industry experts, you’re sure to find a company that offers the right fit for your social listening needs.

As Siva Nadarajah, General Manager of Social Media at IMS Health, says of industry leader Johnson & Johnson, “Social media is all about relevancy—there is a reason that people choose to like or share something. J&J creates a focused community for a brand or a disease state that is localized—not just one Facebook page for the entire world, but one Facebook page for each country and each language. And by serving up content that is more relevant to the patient, they get more engagement from patients.”

Make sure you’re partnering with an agency that’s an expert in digital strategy as well as creative content, so you can maximize your social listening efforts to promote your brand.

Categories: digital marketing,

About Xavier Creative House

Founded in 2013, Xavier Creative House (XCH) is an award-winning healthcare creative agency specializing in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device. XCH’s global team of brand builders and healthcare marketers, tech-savvy go-getters, and innovative dream-vetters are passionate about the big idea that changes behavior in the healthcare marketplace. They believe life is about connections and that healthcare is about life. That is why XCH delivers bold and evocative creative solutions, amplified by meaningful technology, to energize brands and authentically connect with patients and HCPs.

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Sunny White
Founder & CEO of Xavier Creative House