Is Pharma Getting the Best out of Social Media? - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

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.


Pharmaceutical Technology Europe
Volume 24, Issue 6

What do you think is the next step in the evolution of social media platforms and technology in the pharmaceutical industry? How can pharma companies transfer their current experience with social media into more measurable data and results?

Today, social media provides potential components of an overall communication and marketing strategy. Currently the way in which it is being used demonstrates interest, but little overall harmonised use across therapeutic areas and geographies. The pharmaceutical industry is using social media mostly for the following:

  • Educating and engaging with patients
  • Brand reputation/brand awareness
  • Managing perception and informing the public about CSR initiatives

In future, it is Cognizant’s view that social media will be a significant component within global sales and marketing efforts targeted at healthcare professionals, as well as end users, and that consistently supports brand re-enforcement/reputation management and effective two-way product communication.

Pharma companies are also working towards benefiting from social media in the areas of:

  • Attracting and retaining talent; prospective employees may feel more inclined to apply for jobs at pharmaceutical companies that are using social media in a creative and innovative way
  • Crowd sourcing (innovation); Boehringer Ingelheim partnering with Kaggle, the platform that uses gamification to solve complex scientific problems, to create a new model relating to molecular development.
  • Cross industry collaboration, through tools that enable employees to interact in real-time, boosting efficiency and productivity
  • Creating online communities where customers can interact to discuss their experiences of pharmaceutical brands and social customer relationship management (CRM) - Social CRM also allows customers to interact with brands in real-time without the burden of email or customer service calls. In turn, organisations can better understand customer preferences and who influences those preferences online.

Can you give an example of a company that has used social media successfully?

In terms of widely-known social networks, Pfizer has the best kudos for its customer engagement on Facebook and Twitter. Pfizer has the most followers on Twitter and is the third most 'liked' pharma company on Facebook.


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