Is Pharma Getting the Best out of Social Media?

With social media receiving increased focus as the pharma industry strives to make the most of new communication technologies, we speak with Cognizant’s Bhaskar Sambasivan to find out where pharma is when it comes to social media implementation and what more should be being done.
May 31, 2012

Many pharmaceutical companies use social media platforms as channels to distribute press releases and other company announcements. Is the industry exploiting the full potential of these public platforms?

Most Internet users actively use social media. Social networks have transformed the way we communicate and, more importantly, the platform they provide is the largest, most diverse and probably the most powerful medium of communication observed to date.

For the pharmaceutical industry, social networks offer a means to bridge the gap between companies and end users. Approximately 74% of pharmaceutical companies have adopted social media platforms (1) — a number that is significantly higher than the figures for financial services and retail companies. Despite the focus on and increased uptake of social media for businesses purposes, it is only one component in a communication strategy and not a complete solution. The level of adoption and maturity in successfully implementing social media and reaping business benefits is relatively low and inadequate because of various factors. For the pharmaceutical industry, one of the main hurdles is the stringent regulatory environment.

While many pharmaceutical companies do already use platforms like Twitter and Facebook for distributing press releases and other company announcements, these channels are also being used to promote awareness of health issues and diseases, managing corporate affairs, sharing corporate social responsibility initiatives and engaging with customers while providing them with efficient service in real-time.