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Keep pace with pharma’s fast-evolving social media playbook

May 24, 2017

Home Blog Keep pace with pharma’s fast-evolving social media playbook

Social media is an essential element of marketing strategy, but what is the best approach for pharma companies? To develop novel ways to engage patients, drugmakers need to develop resonant content and publish it on the right mix of channels, all while staying within the strict boundaries of FDA guidance.

Earlier this year, social media intelligence and analytics firm Unmetric crunched the numbers on 105 brand profiles, 200,000 pieces of content and 15 million interactions and returned a clearer picture of how 16 pharma companies have been building social media into their marketing infrastructure over the past five years.

Key findings from the Unmetric report include:

  • Due to FDA restrictions, pharma companies have split their social media presence into four silos and found the highest growth rate in the Corporate and Career silos:
    • Corporate Social Profiles;
    • Careers in Pharma;
    • OTC Brand Profiles;
    • Branded Community Properties.
  • Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim were the most social companies among their peers, the report found, with an active presence across all six social networks – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. Twitter and LinkedIn are the most preferred social networks with a 100% presence, while just seven out of 16 companies have a presence on Instagram.
  • Pharma firms are less likely than ever to engage with consumers on Twitter, with a 128% decline in responses to tweets over the past five years. Eli Lilly far outpaced its peers on this platform, with more than twice the number of replies compared to any other drugmaker included in the report.

How can companies improve their social media game?
Set standards that ensure regulatory compliance, but then use the assets available. Others have weighed in on the latest social media best practices for pharmaceutical companies:

  • Legal experts advise pharma firms to set firm, company-wide policy on social media engagement to ensure a smooth and unified approach and to mitigate any legal hazards.
  • Andy Stafford, Commercial Director at Nitro Digital, offers drugmakers a guide to get the most from their digital assets, including social media. “The effective use of social media offers a huge opportunity to earn trust and create a win-win situation,” Stafford says.
  • Digital marketing agency Klick offers several social media best practices for pharma in 2017, including:
    • Don’t hesitate to dive into social media, for the competition likely already has.
    • Start with Facebook, as it is the “obvious, easiest, and most viable choice.”
    • Stay on top of regulatory affairs with three-month submission cycles, flexible moderation approaches, and special processes for edge cases and automation.


This article was originally published on ShiftCentral, now part of LAC Group.

Mario Thériault

Mario Thériault

Mario Thériault is Chief Business Development Officer and oversees all aspects of LAC Group’s growth strategy, partnership and alliance programs. Prior to LAC’s acquisition of ShiftCentral, Mario served as CEO and continuously evolved the company to emphasize the importance of strategic, curated intelligence to solve clients validated business needs.
Mario Thériault
Questions? Send me a message on our contact us form.

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