How Pharma Companies are Nailing It on Social Media

Some tips and tricks for Pharma and Life Sciences to improve social media offerings. 

As pharma communications teams get their editorial calendars set up for 2017, it’s worth a look back to see what won and what fizzled in 2016. So, all you need to do is go to the 4-5 most-used social media platforms, find all Top 20 Big Pharma profiles, review every single piece of content they posted for the last few months – then analyze the responses, comments, interactions, and other indications of engagement for each post.


Or, you could read the Social Check-Up, a report prepared by Ogilvy Healthworld in partnership with Pulsar, developer of audience intelligence platforms. The duo implemented social medial listening technology to track the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts for the major players in Big Pharma over early 2016. The results revealed how the top 20 companies are creating outstanding content and boosting engagement with their communities – representing a huge departure from the super-cautious, risk-sensitive approach to social media in the past.


Make It Shareable: If you’re going for share-ability, focus on content that includes a link to an external source. The Ogilvy/Pulsar project looked at all types of content, across the relevant social media channels – including text, videos, images, infographics – and found that followers were more likely to share when the post referred to an outside resource.


Engage with a GIF: Another trend pinpointed by the report is that, while GIFs were the least common type at about one percent of all posts, they made up for it in engagement. On the other end, some of most frequently distributed content (text-only, video with a link, image with a link – we’re talking to you), got the lowest engagement from the community. Remember our post on the rise of multimedia? It may be time for a refresher course


Volume Doesn’t Equal Engagement: In 2015, Ogilvy prepared a report similar to the Social Check-Up and found that companies that blasted out the most posts experienced gains in engagement, likes, shares, and retweets.


But how quickly things change in a year’s time, even in the typically slow-moving field of pharmaceutical communications! Companies with higher volumes of social media posts didn’t earn equivalent engagement among followers in 2016. Perhaps pharma PR teams have caught on and are realizing how critical it is to create high-quality, captivating multimedia content that’s relevant to the audience.


The Moral of the Story: Give Them What They Want


The Social Check-Up enlightens us on the great things pharma marketers did in 2016, but the job is far from over. Communications teams need to keep current on the social media landscape and transition from being online marketers to savvy publishers. Pharmaceuticals PR executives must look at what’s working in other industries – how they’re driving engagement and attracting new followers. The key is understanding their communities and creating exceptional content that delivers what the audience wants.

eBook: The 7 Pillars of Pharmaceutical Communications Wisdom


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