Facebook Live: For Pharma Marketers, the Future is NOW

“This is Pharma Firm ABC – streaming out to you on Facebook Live!”


No, you didn’t fall into a deep sleep and wake up somewhere in the far-off future.


You know that Facebook Live was one of the biggest marketing trends in 2016 – for brands across other business sectors. But not in the world of life sciences marketing, where caution rules the social media game. Right?


Wrong. Healthcare communications agencies are already making use of Facebook’s live video feature, so you’re going to hear shout-outs like the above a lot sooner – and more often – than you thought. And experts are saying that pharma marketing via Facebook Live is actually even easier than you might expect.


Yes, you read that right: Easier. We’re here to tell you how, but first – some basics…


A Primer on Facebook Live for Pharma Marketers: Facebook’s live video streaming service allows users to broadcast from a smartphone or mobile devices straight to their News Feed. Getting started with Facebook Live is extremely intuitive for people familiar with the app, since all you do is click the live video option from your profile or News Feed. Create a compelling description, top it with an attention-grabbing headline, and you’re ready to go.


  • Why It Works: Well, it’s free, easy to learn, and simple to use without implementing special equipment. Plus, it’s a fun way harness the power of real-time video and its unique storytelling features. Facebook Live is the social media equivalent of a TV news broadcast, with the bonus of being able to receive and respond to viewer input.


In the niche of pharma marketing, live video serves to promote one critical component of a content strategy: Building communities on social media. Facebook Live provides a forum where brands can distribute educational content and bring patient experiences to life.


The tool also enhances community building because the video content is available after the live broadcast, and viewers can click to follow all Facebook Live content that the brand releases in the future.


Compliance Issues: Yes, there are the scary compliance issues that are always coursing through the brain of a responsible pharma marketer. The potential comments about product usage, third-party misinformation, reporting, etc.


Guess what? These are concerns are part of any interactive session; they’re not exclusive to live video. But the key is taking the right approach when it comes to the format. Check out how some pharma marketers are leveraging Facebook Live while still staying within the confines of FDA regulations.


  • Novartis & Disease Awareness: Rise Above Heart Failure Campaign


Performer Queen Latifah’s mother suffered heart failure a decade ago, and the experience had a life-changing impact on her daughter. Latifah teamed up with Novartis and the American Heart Association for a Facebook Live panel discussion that included a doctor/co-director of the UCLA Program in Preventative Cardiology. While Novartis didn’t promote its heart failure drug, Entresto, the brand did gain exposure through its disease awareness initiative.


  • Boehringer Ingelheim & Live Events: European Stroke Organisation Conference


This pharma firm seized upon an opportunity in the event setting, where it used Facebook Live to stream a conversation with the President of the Stroke Alliance for Europe. Boehringer Ingelheim spoke with Jon Barrick, where he provided his insights on the results of the firm’s first atrial fibrillation survey. Conducting sessions where fans can interact with influencers at a conference is powerful, because it shows that the brand cares about delivering content that’s important to its community.


  • Other Ideas: In addition to covering a live event and engaging in disease awareness discussions, consider using Facebook Live to:


  • Interview a doctor/specialist about a disease;
  • Present a panel discussion on patient experiences;
  • Do a day-in-the-life around the firm; or,
  • Stream your firm’s attendance or participation at a charity event.


While the sky isn’t really the limit (Insert disclaimer here: Always get the go-ahead from legal.), these strategies for using Facebook Live show how it can be a powerful tool – even for typically-cautious, social-media-wary pharma marketers.


Coming soon: Some best practices for using Facebook Live. After all, you’ll need some guidance and tips on what to do before, during, and after you click “Go Live.”

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