Pharma Social Media Conference 2023
19th May 2023 by Becca Norton
We were delighted to be
part of the Pharma Social Media conference this year. Dr Felix Jackson our Medical Director took part in the “Winning content” discussion panel and
explored how to create consistently compelling, creative and captivating content
to fuel engagement and maximise impact with your target audiences.
The team at medDigital get
involved in a broad range of social media activities whether it be in supporting commercial teams in setting up insights discovery, developing and evolving meaningful
strategies, writing content, providing training on how to navigate the Code or
supporting the development of SOPs and guidance, so it was great to spend a day
hearing opinions, examples and ideas on this topic.
Here is a run-down of what
we felt were the most useful takeaways from the day.
Think about the digital
environment that you want to create.
Encompass other digital
platforms and design digital assets which can act as a brick that fits within a
bigger ecosystem. 58% of HCPs actively search using google and many spend up to
3 hours a day on social media. Approx. half use social media to keep up to date
with news and events and a similar number use it to search and educate. Many
HCPs go straight to product websites as they see the best source of information
is from the company.
- Think content
specific not channel specific.
- Take a holistic
digital journey to increase the chances of interactions.
- Catch HCPs at
the right moment to engage.
consistent touchpoints for that customer.
- Ensure the
conversation doesn’t end with an offline asset.
- Support the
promotion of self-care and effective use of NHS resources.
The power of monitoring
Consider the use of tools
to monitor different aspects of social media activities such as brand
reputation, conversation tracking, campaign engagement, message testing and
stakeholder mapping over the long term.
- The example of
where social listening and monitoring different dermatology patient segments
highlighted what was important for testing and treatment formulations. This led
to innovative new dermatology products which targeted these population
- Monitoring can
inform clinical trial design for better uptake by understanding study recruitment
- Monitoring can
be used to raise patient awareness, drive recruitment and capture consents.
- Monitoring can
also improve our understanding of how to communicate with a disease community.
Work closely with
We know this is the recipe
for success, but there is always room for improvement. Be brave and informed to
have a conversation with legal, regulatory and compliance to challenge the
status quo and make social media happen.
approach internal stakeholders with curiosity and interest to understand their
world and build strong relationships.
- Get buy in by creating
your own what it’s worth (WIW) model. By looking at each type of interaction in
terms of investment of each unit and the impact of the interaction,
you can work out the equivalent impact of investing £/€ 100.
investment £/€ 100k
in a digital marketing strategy leveraging HCP touchpoints when searching for
prescribing information results in a 100x the HCP reach and therefore an
equivalent impact score of 3,200 which compares to 1.7 for a face
to face visit.
- Align all
stakeholders on the objectives, approach and outcomes. Set a single sentence
- Set KPIs which
align with business goals but reflect social media outcomes rather than sales
targets (increasing awareness, improving company profile, improving reach).
- Take stakeholders
on the journey. Show the value of social media. Share feedback and examples.
- Use the communications
team’s expertise in understanding digital jargon.
A key issue is that
individuals aren’t clear on what can and can’t be done. Help to build
confidence among colleagues by having good SOPs in place with clear guidance on
how to engage. Introduce training programmes which include ongoing support,
regular updates and opportunities to learn from code case reviews or ABPI updates.
Maximise the potential
Being more customer centric
and moving away from a one size fits all campaign is key. Instead, develop
content which looks as though it was written for that individual. Key External
Expert (KEE) mapping and persona development can be carried out alongside
insight discovery and will allow you to create compelling communications that
say what the customers want to know.
Help digital opinion
leaders to develop in this space by engaging with them now in the areas that they
are already proactive in (e.g., disseminating congress information or patient
focussed support) and help them establish themselves as thought leaders. HCPs
want to hear from experts.
Streamlining your approval
process is vital to being agile on social media.
- Prepare and
approve as much as possible up front on the back of a risk workshop
(pre-approved posts, responses to comments).
- Approve dynamic
content separately that can be dropped into the environment (Get in
touch to talk with us more about
- Set up
pre-submission meetings to explain why things have been done.
Video is king as this is
the most popular media that can be replicated and repurposed differently across
many channels (shorts, podcasts, quotes, global use). Patient videos, in
particular, are a gift that should be maximised as much as possible, both
internally and externally.
Develop social media
polices and guidance which support the best use of platforms.
- Facebook for
- LinkedIn for
corporate HR and professional targeting.
- Instagram for
disease awareness for younger audiences.
- Twitter for
education and awareness.
HCPs are using more varied
social media platforms to access information. Globally there are a diverse
range of HCP specialities who use TikTok with psychiatrists setting the trend. TikTok Health currently has over 600 million views and is a growing
opportunity to engage.
LinkedIn includes over 26 million
HCP users and provides an extensive range of HCP specialities for excellent
targeting abilities. It is widely regarded as a professional platform, can include
multimedia options and its medical education event offering may be a new
opportunity to explore.
Twitter is also an
important platform that 640k HCPs are registered with. Images, videos and
infographics are recommended to offset the limited word count. Tweetorials
provide CME accredited education which may be an interesting alternative to the
traditional webinar, allowing up to 5k individuals to interact with your
Use social medial to be more patient centric.
Patient centricity has to
be right at the beginning of every thought process with, for example, a
research phase carried out during the activity planning stage.
- Consider a more
- Expand to be
- Understand how
patient groups’ needs differ and tailor messaging accordingly.
something that people will understand.
You can help reviewers
manage their own risks and concerns, by explaining what patients have told you,
what they want and why content is being communicated in social media
activities. You could also use SM insights to get organisational leaders to
understand the patient experience.
Maximise the use of
Influencers are proactive,
informed and authentic individuals who use their personal health journeys and
digital prowess to inspire, educate and empower others facing similar health challenges.
- They are more
important than ever before and are becoming professionals who are paid for what
- They evoke more
conversations online, they hold more influence, are trusted credible sources of
information and are becoming more collaborative across government, pharma and
among communications agencies.
- There are the
small and mighty who are making just as big an impact as those in the public
eye, who’s role can be used in areas such as clinical trial design, to bring in
a perspective on the disease, to build communities, awareness and in the
example of Spinal muscular atrophy, reverse a NICE reimbursement rejection.
social media guidance also provides the industry with more detail of how to
work with influencers compliantly.
What will the future of
social media look like?
The challenge is now big
data. With growing numbers of total social media posts for each pharmaceutical
organisation, there need to be solutions for how this data can be managed and
accessed. Other challenges include the processing of:
- Diverse data –
different content types, discussions, networks, emojis etc.
- Siloed data –
understanding the context through combining insights from different types of
data – finding and monitoring hidden information.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
aided practice is starting to become integrated into healthcare solutions, with
use growing in areas such as the identification of patient suitability for
The feeling is that over
time AI will be used to improve data transparency, completion, and keep data
secure. AI could be pretrained on HCP behaviour or feed directly into digital
channels. Ultimately digital is a way of life for the youth of today which will
evolve to become more sophisticated and open new and innovative opportunities.
If you’d like to explore
any of these themes in more detail with us and see where we could help, please
get in touch.