Jennifer (Davis) Roush
Social media: it doesn't need to be a restricted area in pharma advertising
Updated: Jun 21, 2018
Nothing makes a pharma client cringe more than mentioning social media during a tactic brainstorm. The challenges they may face with a conservative medical/legal team means "Facebook" is a four letter word with some brands.
However, the industry is learning to adapt. Marketing and med/legal clients are beginning to realize that we can't do our due diligence for our brands if we don't utilize all the tools and spaces at our disposal. This is especially important in a space that is as important, popular, and frequently used as social media.
And popular it is -- 79% of internet users (68% of all U.S. adults) use Facebook.(1) That is a huge chunk of potential customers and patients to ignore in a space that has so much attention every minute of every day.
So, what can you do to address your client's concerns while still capturing the attention and interest of potential patients? Here are some tips I've learned along the way that have made med/legal and creative directors alike happy, excited, and satisfied.
Go unbranded. You'll be able to stick to your med/legal guidelines better if you stick to unbranded material on your Facebook and Twitter posts. Patients will also be more likely to share your posts because it'll feel like it's less from a company and more from a person that understands their disease or condition.
Work with a single med/legal lead. Some larger pharma companies have already begun to realize how important it is to get social media material approved as quickly as possible and have chosen individuals on the med/legal team to handle all social media posts. Dealing with one person makes the approval process quicker and more efficient and has allowed the process to go from several weeks to a matter of days.
Create posts worthy of sharing. Think about the kinds of posts your friends and family share on Facebook. Inspirational quotes, unique videos, surprising tips or facts--this is the kind of stuff that is going to get more eyeballs on your posts.
Get the patients interacting with your page. Create a post that allows people to fill in a blank, ask question, or tell their stories. Get them talking and you may even find new ideas inside their comments.
Keep your page active. Don't let too much time go by in between posts or you're going to lose members who think your page has gone inactive. Even if you're just wishing them "happy holidays" or sharing a link, keep talking and let them know your page is still alive.
Always remember that even with the limitations we face in pharma advertising, no platform or space needs to be closed to our creativity and expertise. All we have to do is find the right detour.