Thinking about a social media strategy for your pharma brand? Do your research first

By Katie Kennedy

We all know that, as a heavily regulated industry, it has not been easy for pharma to enter the digital space. Many pharmaceutical companies know doctors & patients are discussing their brands, therapy areas and treatments online but are wary of joining the conversation. General social media monitoring worries them because of the prospect of uncovering a flurry of adverse events that would need to be dealt with. Brand managers want to embrace digital but are unsure of which channels their customers are actually active on. Even if they decide which channels to utilise they don’t know which content their customers would want to read and share.

It's not been easy for pharma to enter the digital space. HCP social media market research is a great first step

It’s not been easy for pharma to enter the digital space. HCP social media market research is a great first step

Why HCP social media market research is essential first step into the digital arena

Healthcare professional social media market research is being considered the best way for pharma to make their first step into the digital arena. Here are 3 reasons why.

1)       HCP social media monitoring is a great new source of market research. Over the last few years HCPs have started using public social media channels to discuss news, policy, opinion, treatments and brands with their colleagues from all over the world in real time. They are using social media to create their own communities like the #FOAMED movement (Free Open Access Medical education). The hashtag was created by emergency physicians for emergency physicians and is used as a way for them to collaborate and seek advice on clinical cases. Listening to their organic conversation allows pharma to access insights into what HCPs are actually discussing rather than taking the lead in the conversation with survey questions like traditional market research. Even if you aren’t ready to start your social media strategy immediately these insights can help form your offline tactics as well.

2)       Market research allows you to create a digital strategy that will resonate with your customers. Brand managers realise the importance of adopting digital marketing but understand they need to know which channels customers are using and what content will appeal to them before incorporating it into the brand strategy. HCP social media monitoring gives you access to thousands of HCP discussions which can be used like an extensive focus group. Finding out which channels each stakeholder is using, what their unique needs and concerns are and what type of content they are sharing will ultimately produce content you know will be valuable.

3)     Monitoring HCP-only conversation produces less pharmacovigilance and AE reporting issues. We work with 40% of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies and are used to each company having slightly different compliancy regulations. As we only look at HCP conversation we see a greatly reduced number of adverse events being discovered; for a normal study we usually see between 0-2. The fact that AE reports are low means monitoring HCP only conversation is more accessible for pharma. The knowledge that you won’t have to deal with hundreds or thousands of AE reports makes HCP social media monitoring a less risky environment as an initial step.

In 2013, when we first launched Creation Pinpoint, the concept of HCP social media market research was completely new. No other service provides this level of HCP insight. Over the last 18 months pharma has realised that HCP social media market research is the best first step when thinking about getting involved in social. The reduction of AE reporting reduces risk, and learning so much about your customers means you can move on to create your HCP social media campaign armed with real customer intelligence.


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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.