How Pharma can Leverage the Power of Social Media

augustus 24, 2015

Megatrend #12: Pharma must go Beyond Facebook and Twitter to Tap into Social Media's True Potential

Pharma lags other industries in leveraging the power of social media to gain insights and connect with key stakeholders. In fact, 93% of pharma professionals agree that pharma is “behind the curve,” while 90% of pharma executives remain anxious about managing the impacts of social media.1, 2

A recent survey found that global pharma firms had, on average, only three FTEs dedicated to social media. The survey noted that pharma firms were relatively new to social media with most companies having had plans in place for less than two years, focusing on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.3

The aversion to social media due to drug safety considerations has put companies at risk. For too long, pharma has subscribed to “Don’t listen, don’t report” when it comes to Adverse Event information that may surface via social media. That strategy may be invalid. A public tweet that meets all four conditions to qualify as an Adverse Event may oblige companies to report the event. Thus, drug safety teams should be actively monitoring social media.4

On the positive side, “listening” to social media using data mining tools and observation can deliver powerful information that can drive sales and determine effective marketing strategies. Monitoring can spot rising stars among stakeholders, aid talent recruitment, improve patient enrolment, provide insights into stakeholders and support market research.5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Social media can generate a wealth of customer-generated content, but it is incumbent on companies to determine the appropriateness of social efforts, as participation varies widely by condition, age cohort and stage in the patient journey.10, 11, 12, 13 Pharma firms should also keep in mind that most patients are reluctant to talk about sensitive health information on networks like Twitter and Facebook, preferring health sites where they can ask questions and discuss issues anonymously.

A Valtech study of social media covering asthma found that 1 in every 149 social conversations discussed severe asthma, and that views of conversations about severe asthma outnumbered views of general conversations about asthma 15:1. The severity of a disease can impact the potential for social media engagement.

Social listening (monitoring) is an evidence-based research technique that can mine text for specific keywords. Ultimately, this data can be analyzed with traditional data mining techniques to reveal the who, what, when, where, why and how of social engagement, revealing key insights related to the patient journey. These insights can help measure, identify, map and enrol KOLs, rising stars in the patient and HCP communities, patients for clinical trials, digital and academic partners, talent and more.

The trend is a product of an evidence-based research study undertaken by the Healthcare Division in Valtech to map the pharmaceutical landscape of digital mega trends. The research study provides essential insights on how Pharma companies could utilize digital engagement to break down stakeholder barriers, impact stakeholder behaviour and demonstrate more cost-effective outcomes. The research study is based on information from 100+ trusted sources and has resulted in the identification of 14 mega trends.

Reach out to gain an understanding of how to execute on the underused digital opportunities

The Healthcare Division in Valtech has developed an analytical framework that can identify the engagement potential of your brand.

Please contact Healthcare Director Conny Carlzon for further advice or to set up an informal meeting.

If you want to read more about Megatrend #12 you can download more information here.

Make sure you did not miss the previous blog posts on pharmaceutical megatrends:
Megatrend #1: Pharmaceutical CEOs Lack Confidence to Act
Megatrend #2: Transforming to a Digital Business: A Fundamental Paradigm Shift
Megatrend #3: The “Trust” Gap: Leveraging Digital to Reconnect with Stakeholders
Megatrend #4: Reinventing the Marketing Function for a Digital Environment
Megatrend #5: Follow the 20-20-20 Rule for Digital Budgets
Megatrend #6: Big Data, Mobile and Social Create a More Level Playing Field; Pharma is Slow to Respond
Megatrend #7: In the New Era of Quantified Self, Patients Want Pharma on Their Side
Megatrend #8: Achieving Long-term, Sustainable Growth Starts with Meeting Patient Expectations
Megatrend #9: The Majority of HCPs are now Digital Natives; and they Expect Pharma to Follow
Megatrend #10: Pharma Must Deliver a Seamless Cross-channel Experience When, Where and How the HCPs Want it
Megatrend #11: Pharma is in Prime Position tu use mHealth Across the Entire Value Chain

1. American Diabetes Association. Charlene C. Quinn. (2011). Cluster-Randomized Trial of a Mobile Phone Personalized Behavioural Intervention for Blood Glucose Control.
2. Pubmed. Charlene C. Quinn. (2008). WellDoc mobile diabetes management randomized controlled trial: change in clinical and behavioural outcomes and patient and physician satisfaction. pubmed
3. Pubmed. Clinical Nurses. (2007). A nurse short message by cellular phone in type-2 diabetic patients for six months.
4. PwC. (2012). Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth.
5. PwC. David Levy (February 2014). Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth.
6. IBM. Heather Fraser et. al. (2012). Benchmarking data reveals pharmaceutical industry not connecting social media data with marketing strategy.
7. Digital Health Coalition. Unknown author. (November 2013). 2013 Executive Landscape Study.
8. Digital Health. Paul Sonnier.
9. HIMMS. Cari McLean.
10. Innovations in Health. Korstiaan van Wyngaarden.
11. Healthcare-IT/ EHR/HIS. Dr Pankaj Gupta.
12. Pharmaphorum. Paul Tunnah.
13. A. T. Kearney. Oliver Scheel et. al. (2013). Mobile health: Mirage or growth opportunity?

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