New strategies for answering healthcare professionals questions on social media

By Katie Kennedy

User research informs education website

If you want to be a brand or company that is engaged with the healthcare professional (HCP) community then monitoring physician conversation in social media and responding appropriately to their questions should be on your agenda.

At Creation Healthcare we study HCP conversation in social media using Creation Pinpoint and so we know doctors are actively talking about drugs and products online. They are discussing the efficacy of products, their concerns about subscribing a particular brand, their opinion of one product versus comparatives and more. By monitoring the conversation and having a response strategy pharmaceutical and healthcare companies can be proactively involved in these conversations.

But which way is the best way to respond to HCP questions?

When a doctor asks a specific question in social media one option could be for your company’s medical team to respond to that doctor in real time. Being immediately on hand to answer their questions helps build a relationship that doesn’t yet exist or nurture one that does. Sometimes it might be a simple case of referring doctors to articles which are already published online which will answer their queries. Twitter especially can be a good channel to help direct doctors to relevant articles your organisation has written which they may be having trouble locating.

At Creation Healthcare we often see doctors asking questions on Twitter. If a doctor is following your organisation then the best response might be a private direct message. Or the company policy may state the best option is to respond to questions publically so others asking the same question can see the answer. Some companies are more reluctant to be so open online, or the nature of questions might make public engagement difficult from a compliance perspective. In these cases  the best option may be to compile the questions together to build a picture of that doctor’s needs and concerns which can be passed to the sales rep for them to answer face-to-face. There are many different response strategies; it’s a case of picking the right one for your objectives.

Healthcare professionals use social media to ask questions about your brand

Healthcare professionals are using social media to ask questions about your brand

Dealing with common HCP  questions

Listening to doctors’ conversations online may uncover a particular set of regularly asked questions which are not answered by any current published material. We have seen pharmaceutical and healthcare companies go on to produce content to answer these concerns and then share it amongst the community to ensure HCPs are not left confused. This is a great example of how listening to doctors’ needs can inform organisations as to what additional content would be useful.

Some companies may want to consider a strategy where standard responses are pre-approved and in some cases even automated to respond to common questions i.e. produce standard tweets and LinkedIn responses etc which are manually or automatically published based on the keywords present in the question. We have yet to see full automation of responses in action but with the right parameters, could be a potential approach for future campaigns.

As a pharmaceutical or healthcare company there are many different strategies you can put in place to ensure you are engaged with and supportive of the needs expressed by healthcare professionals online. It is up to you to work within your company’s boundaries and discover the best solution for you.

If you would like a presentation of Creation Pinpoint case studies which examines examples of strategies which arose from HCP social media insights please contact me here. You can also follow me @BardenKatie or Creation Healthcare @CH_World.

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Meet the Author

Katie Kennedy

Katie has a background working within health organisations and continues to champion the work we do at CREATION.co amongst our current and future clients.

When not at work Katie enjoys being a mother to her two little girls, a dog, a cat, and a tortoise.