Benefits of social listening
Posted on September 26th, 2019 by Asimina Pantazi
From communications to education and access to information, social media are serving many needs of modern life, in a fast and efficient manner. Not only the public, but also healthcare professionals (HCPs) are joining online communities where they can read articles about new research for their medical development, share practice issues and cases, consult colleagues and network with their peers.
Notably, studies show that internet usage among HCPs worldwide exceeds 80%! To meet this demand for social interaction on the web, alongside the giants Twitter and LinkedIn, several HCP-focused social networks, such as Sermo, Doximity and QuantiaMD, have emerged.
As a result, there is a vast amount of information flowing through the web sphere that the pharma industry can turn into meaningful insights by performing what is called “social listening”: the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what people are saying about a company, their products and a therapy area online.
What are the benefits?
Prepare ahead of scientific congresses and analyse post-congresses
Monitoring of the conversations among clinicians and researchers prior to the congress enables pharma teams to understand the key scientific trends, medical needs and challenges their customers have, and shape their activity at the meeting. Furthermore, continuing analysis of social activity post-meeting can provide information about exceptional engagement, negative or positive feedback and healthcare teams worth engaging with. This analysis could also serve as a benchmark to check against the industry’s strategies and offer key learnings for the future. Furthermore, post-meeting discussions could be initiated with the aim to collect specific insights, through the use of platforms that facilitate communication in a compliant manner, such as medCrowd.
Identify key opinion leaders
Monitoring users’ activity, conversations and engagement contributes to the identification of Key Engagement Experts (KEEs). In fact, the term KEE has lately been replaced by the term Connected Engagements Expert (CEE), as the type of thought leader with influencing power among the social networks. CEEs are established in their field, own a large following and drive conversations using their expertise and reputation.
Plan release of medical publications and follow reactions
Social listening also means being able to analyse the seasonality of conversations, discussions around journals and current research trends, and identify the most suitable timing for a publication. Moreover, it enables outcome forecasting of new data, and how they will be accepted by the scientific community. This is largely based on analysing the public’s perception of competitors’ products. The online “voice” post-publication can also reflect how well a new study was perceived by the community.
Market research and competitive analysis
Social listening can provide insights related to the performance of competitors’ activities, for example a conference campaign or the publication of the data from a new trial. Therefore, pharma companies can understand the competitive landscape and re-evaluate their own strategy. Understanding the landscape may also reveal niches of innovation that pharma companies can consider expanding into, for instance a new unmet medical need or a new collaboration opportunity.
How can I achieve insightful social listening?
Monitoring of discussions, engagement and impressions can offer insights that would have been hard to extract with the limited resources just a decade ago. Specialised social listening programs have been developed, including Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon, Digimind, Linkfluence and NetBase. Remarkably, Symplur is a healthcare-focused social listening tool that gathers data from Twitter to find out what people are talking about in any given therapy area, what are the key trends and who are the main influencers.
In this digital era, it is important that pharma companies leverage the potential of social media efficiently and securely, in order to effectively reach a broader audience, gather insights and achieve their goals.