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Pharma growing its use of social media - report

New data also highlights who leads the way in integrated social media marketing

Social media Twitter pharma Boehringer IngelheimPharma's corporate participation in social media is rapidly evolving with a small contingent of companies looking to take its digital activities further.

This is according to a new report published by Ogilvy Healthworld, part of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide.

The report Connecting the dots: Which Pharma Companies are Succeeding in the Social Media Space?, is the first of its kind to provide insights into which pharma companies are leading the way in integrated social media marketing strategies.

It reveals a small group of companies are 'connecting the dots' and leading the way in social media by providing useful content that is both relevant to their marketing objectives and audience needs.

They are also engaging with consumers, healthcare professionals and media consistently on all of their networks in a way that encourages followers to contribute to the conversation, according to the authors.

Unsurprisingly Boehringer Ingelheim, the first pharma firm to fully engage with social media and the concept of digital health, was seen by the report as being the leader in this regard.

Bayer, Novartis, J&J and Merck also performed well, the report noted, but singled out other firms as needing to catch up.

This includes GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk and Roche with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lilly, Sanofi, AstraZeneca and Pfizer's social communities earning the companies the lowest scores from the report's authors.

Ogilvy's report also draws some conclusions on social media best practice and says that in order to succeed, pharma companies “need to be brave and prepared to have honest and meaningful conversations about their brands”.

This involves developing strategies and mapping out potential scenarios with internal stakeholders to respond as quickly as possible to their followers.

They should in addition aim to provide content that is relevant to their audience also have a clear set of engagement guidelines to help manage difficult questions.

Key findings from the report include:

·         The average number of tweets by pharma has gone up by 530% since 2013 and Twitter followers have increased by nearly 300%

·         The pharma companies with the biggest communities aren't necessarily the most effective at engaging with their users and generating interest

·         Followers reward pharma companies who post frequently and engage continuously - those that keep their networks fresh with regular updates have the highest interaction from the community.

Rebecca Canvin, social media manager at Ogilvy Healthworld, said: “We know that some pharma companies have been cautious in their approach to social media, but our report clearly demonstrates a dramatic and successful increase in activity.

“Social media has changed the way pharma companies communicate – it allows them to build corporate reputation and engage in genuine, meaningful conversations with audiences. For companies who want to stand out from the crowd it's time to be brave, get personal, educate and integrate social media into their wider marketing strategy.”

The data for the report was gathered by monitoring 10 of the most popular networks for 14 pharma companies across six categories: social presence, social network, community size, activity, engagement and activity.

The profile of each company was reviewed for one week per month for three months during 2014 to ensure sufficient data was collected.

Article by
Ben Adams

22nd April 2015

From: Marketing

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