Few marketers would dispute that pharma companies have been a bit slow to get on board with social media. We’ve covered various aspects of pharmaceutical communications online a few times…
- Why pharma is slow;
- How a hasty, ill-considered move can get you into trouble;
- The issues of limited character platforms, correcting third-party errors, and other FDA compliance issues; and,
- Many other topics in our blog.
Through it all, we’ve tried to offer some tips and tricks on how to nail social media. However, we’ve never specifically delved into one of the most effective, dynamic platforms for brand awareness, connecting with the pharma community, and engaging in relevant conversations: Twitter.
True, we did tell you about how to formulate an FDA-Approved Tweet, but that post was more about creating the content. Now, it’s time to develop an actual, concrete strategy. Since we’re big on “Top # Tips,” here are the Top 3 Ways Pharma Can Better Leverage Twitter in Marketing.
1. Use Hashtags the Right Way: Hashtags are ideal for gathering the key conversations your target audience is having and organizing the discussion in a searchable way. They are NOT intended to be spewed from your Twitter profile account like lava from an erupting volcano. Chaining together strings of hashtags without any connecting, relevant text makes you sound like a robot: Boring and clinical in an industry that – let’s face it – can be boring and clinical.
Instead, incorporate hashtags the smart way…or ways. You have two options, both of which work well depending on your objectives:
- Use a hashtag that’s already trending, like the official tag for an event or disease awareness day. Benefit: You’re joining in on a conversation that’s in progress and already has a following.
- Develop your own hashtag to kick off the conversation. Benefit: The tag is identified with your brand, so your firm will be associated with the consistent messaging.
2. Respond to Tweets: When members of your community talk to you, they want a response. Would you host a call center…without anyone to answer the phone? No. And yes, even respond to the negative Tweets. The ones that make you cringe just to think about and have to re-write a few times to take off the nasty edge. A short message of acknowledgement and offer to resolve the issue privately is fine. Any response boosts brand confidence and shows others in the conversation that your company cares.
3. Develop an Editorial Calendar: Just like your other content, you need an editorial calendar for your Twitter strategy. Start by identifying the life sciences conferences, disease awareness days, product launches, and other events you want to cover. Then, fill in the blanks with some evergreen subject matter, leaving flexibility for breaking news Tweets. Documenting your Twitter strategy keeps you honest on posting consistently and definitely moves approvals along faster.
Of course, you’ll also want to incorporate all the other online marketing tactics that makes you a pharmaceutical communications guru – like using multimedia content (a must), storytelling, shareability, and knowing your audience. But these Top 3 tips should help you with a specific strategy on Twitter (especially since we already covered Facebook and Instagram).
Next up in our series for pharma PR executives, we’ll re-visit our January 2016 post on go-to solutions you need in your pharmaceutical communications digital toolbox. Who will make the list this year?
By Marc DeLeuw