Brands love social media. For long, they have been yearning for a platform to connect more closely with their target audience, and social media has emerged as a panacea for their needs. However, the pharma industry has been conspicuous by its absence on the social media scene, and analysts have begun to wonder if the industry suffers from a severe case of social anxiety.
The Big, Bold World of Social Media
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube – these sites collectively account for billions of searches on a daily basis. People from all walks of life use these sites to chat, share opinions, and consume content. Bringing your brand in front of this huge audience presents a strategic opportunity to businesses, and both big and small brands have put in the effort to leverage this opportunity. Pharma industry, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to think of social media too highly, as can be seen from the negligible presence of pharma companies on social media. Even those who have been prompted by one or the other reason to log in, their approach has lacked the punch and strategy that’s needed to thrive in the fiercely-competitive online landscape.
A key differentiator between pharma and other brands, such as e-commerce websites and FMCG companies is that pharma companies are essentially selling medicines and not any fancy luxury products. Barring a few ambiguous guidelines on part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are no clear-cut guidelines on do’s and don’ts in pharmaceutical marketing.
Why Pharma Companies Need to Embrace Social Media
There are a plethora of reasons why pharma companies should do more about boosting their social media presence. First and foremost, which brand wouldn’t want to be closely associated with its target audience? Social media gives pharma companies a unique opportunity of creating that human touch with their consumers.
Leveraging the power of social media can also help pharma companies in developing stronger connections with members of the healthcare fraternity. Sales reps can get more insights on the institution or doctor they are visiting. It can also help them get crucial insights on the preferences of a doctor and which issues he/she cares about. In today’s time, when sales is increasingly moving from herd selling to personalised selling, pharma sales reps can analyse the social media indictors to create personalised packages for their clients.
The banking sector has undergone a profound transformation, especially in the customer service domain. Social media platforms are increasingly replacing call centre executives for providing information and grievance redressal. The pharma sector can follow suit and use social media platforms, especially Facebook and Twitter as a customer service mechanism. This will not only help in offering more holistic solution but also put customers at the centre of attention.
Clinical trials can also become a more seamless affair with the incorporation of social media. Carrying out trials has remained a complex issue for pharma companies, as finding the right recruits has been relegated to TV, radio, and print. However, with social media, pharma companies can actually view the profile and updates of a person to gauge whether he/she can be the right fit for the trial.
These are a few advantages that pharma companies can look to gain by incorporating social media in their marketing efforts. As more people gain access to internet and social media, it is inevitable that pharma companies will have to step up their efforts and gain a foothold in the world of social media.