Social media are an effective communication tool for companies that want to increase listening and interaction with their users. The same applies to the Pharma sector: pharmaceutical companies need to consciously plan their social media presence, as both patients and doctors use these platforms to request health information and share experiences. Nothing provides an opportunity for engagement like social media pharma .
More than 90% of doctors have a personal profile on at least one social media platform. The most popular is Facebook with 82% of preferences. This is followed by Instagram with 41% and LinkedIn with 37%.
It is clear, therefore, that the use of social media should be a priority for pharmaceutical companies: but it should be borne in mind that the growth in investment in pharma social media marketing in Italy requires managers to be increasingly proficient with the new channels and constantly updated.
After choosing an attractive, strongly coordinated and highly recognisable line of pharma communication in Italy, the different contents of the pharma social media strategy can be disseminated on: Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Tik Tok, making sure that the tone of voice and formats are tailored to each channel.
How can you get the right content to the right doctor through social media pharma?
Reaching the right contact on social media, particularly in pharma marketing in Italy, is very complex, especially if you don't have lists of customers to use as an audience for your social campaigns.
Of course, in order to determine which social network is the most suitable to use, you need to establish a goal, know your company's target audience and the possibilities and advantages offered by each channel. The various social networks, depending on their characteristics and the objectives to be achieved, offer important opportunities that can make a real difference in Pharma Marketing in Italy.
Facebook Pharma is ideal for interacting with a huge number of potential customers/consumers. If pharmaceutical companies need to target doctors exclusively, it is necessary to set up a social campaign with Customer Audience, which consists of uploading lists of customers, in this case doctors, who will become the direct target of the Facebook pharmaceutical advertising.
Instagram is one of the social media that are still little used by pharmaceutical companies and can be an excellent ally for innovative and original pharma social media strategy.
It is one of the most used social media in the world thanks to its one billion monthly active users, 63% of whom access the platform at least once a day with an average length of stay of 28 minutes.
Linkedin, instead, is the social network for business and therefore, users are more interested in interacting for professional reasons. Therefore, unlike Facebook, the segmentation of the target audience through the tools inherent in the social network itself is efficient and precise, as Linkedin allows users to be filtered, in a fairly detailed manner, according to the professional field of reference. The limitation is that it is not possible to be sure that the users are really doctors, with the risk of violating the regulations that impose pharmaceutical companies a strict control of the recipients of the messages.
The solution to this risk, and the answer to the question posed initially, is Customer Audience, which not only allows you to convey the right content to the right doctor, but also to maximise the results of the pharma social media strategy while significantly reducing costs.
YouTube is by far one of the most innovative social networks, having been the first to allow online video sharing. Its strength lies in the simplicity with which creators can share their content with a huge audience: the platform now has 2 billion active users worldwide.
Today, YouTube is extremely important for pharma social media strategy, as videos have become increasingly important and popular in recent years, even going viral in many cases. Another point in favour of this social network is the possibility of sharing content on other social media pharma.
Twitter now has 330 million monthly active users worldwide. By sending short, snappy tweets, B2B companies have been able to simplify communication with potential customers, who are not only able to react, respond and interact with brands and their posts, but also with other consumers.
In fact, 77% of Twitter users have a better impression of a brand when responding to a tweet, while six out of ten users expect a brand to respond to any customer service request within an hour.
Twitter has thus created a great opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to communicate directly with doctors and patients in real time, providing correct information and reassuring their stakeholders.
Tik Tok is a social platform created in 2016 that allows users to create and share videos lasting up to 3 minutes.
It is a social media designed to create viral content that leaves plenty of room for user interaction and creativity. Short messages, easy to use and with a strong impact: it is therefore not surprising that the very young were the first to be attracted to it and that they are still the main users of this application.
The exponential growth of Tik Tok has been truly remarkable: in just four years, there have been over a billion subscribers worldwide and the application has surpassed Instagram and Facebook in terms of downloads.
Many healthcare professionals are already using the platform to spread useful information and dispel myths and fake news (especially about vaccines and Covid-19), while few pharmaceutical companies have decided to use the app to talk to their users. The pharma sector could and should exploit Tik Tok to convey messages related to the world of healthcare, thus reaching a younger audience.
As far as campaigns for pharma companies are concerned, unlike other social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, there are currently no specific ministerial guidelines for advertising campaigns on Tik Tok.
However, in the application forms for non-prescription (SOP) and self-medication (OTC) medicines, it is possible to indicate Tik Tok under 'other', which can be found with all other social platforms.
TARGETING & ENGAGEMENT
The Digital Transformation in Pharma Marketing in Italy is a step that must be taken to survive. Social media have become powerful communication tools for companies that want to increase their listening and interaction with their users. People who struggle with an illness every day are looking for a solution to their problem and are turning to social media pharma to seek therapeutic advice from other users and to share experiences with those who are living with the same condition. Similarly, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, managers and researchers also use the same platforms. Social media are therefore an important opportunity to create engagement. They are relevant precisely because they are able to intercept the informed questions of users, thanks to the various targeting tools that sponsorships allow. The scope of such an activity is well understood, especially when one considers the volume of users searching for health information on the web.
A good pharma social media strategy is not about reaching as many people as possible: it is quality that makes the difference, not quantity. But how do you find the right target audience on social media when it comes to Pharma Marketing in Italy?
The first step for an efficient pharmaceutical social media marketing strategy is to establish the "target audience", i.e. the audience segment with common characteristics and needs that are most similar to the service or product that the company wants to promote.
Why is audience segmentation essential?
Knowing who the target audience is allows you to create specific and appropriate messages: communicating in the same language is the best way to convert.
Segmenting the audience not only channels the right content to be conveyed, but above all also optimises costs, in favour of a smaller audience but with a high conversion potential.
HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY THE RIGHT TARGET AUDIENCE WHEN SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS ARE ABOUT PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS?
In this case targeting is more complex, as there is a constant risk of breaching regulations that require pharmaceutical companies to strictly control the recipients of their messages.
The solution to audience segmentation, to make sure that the recipients of the content are really medical, is Customer Audience through email lists to be uploaded on pharma social media.
With this method it is possible to import a file with an email list. Before uploading, a hashing procedure will be activated which allows the pharma social media to find matches between the data provided and its own. Once the matches are found, they will be added to the customised audience and only those will become the target of the campaign.
In this case, having a highly profiled email database is the key to a successful social campaign for Pharma Marketing in Italy.
PHARMA SOCIAL MEDIA
In Italy, the Ministry of Health's new guidelines on the advertising of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and non-prescription medical devices open up new advertising possibilities for the pharmaceutical sector on Facebook and Instagram. However, there are some limitations.
First of all, pharmaceutical companies will have to send the commercial ad to the Ministry of Health in advance for authorisation; the ad on pharma social media will not be able to have interaction features: by starting an activation procedure, Facebook can inhibit users' comments and the possibility to express themselves through 'likes' and emoticons, but it is possible to share ads and in the case of a Facebook product page, to become a follower and follow it. These restrictions prevent the risk that the information contained in the message can be altered through interactivity functions.
This remarkable opening of social media towards pharma represents a new advertising scenario full of opportunities, it would be a shame not to exploit it to its full potential.
Understanding the potential of pharma social media is the first step in defining an effective pharma marketing strategy. Social media are a promotional opportunity that can provide valuable information about the behaviour of specific targets. In this regard, monitoring engagement (the engagement of the target audience with the content) allows pharmaceutical companies to obtain valuable data for market research and marketing actions, which will be more targeted and effective. By listening to doctors active on social media, pharmaceutical companies can define relevant, quality communication plans that meet the diverse needs of potential prescribers of their products. As well as revealing useful information about the target audience, pharma social media can also increase brand awareness. In practice, through the dissemination of content (which can be measured in terms of engagement), it will be possible to convey messages to doctors that will strengthen brand awareness.
In today's direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing strategies, pharmaceutical companies focus their efforts on communicating the value of the drug to the patient. In addition, manufacturers have initiated disease awareness campaigns to raise brand awareness without necessarily associating the brand with a specific drug. Despite the complex FDA regulations governing social media marketing pharma, some agencies are also building their own brand equity through various channels.
In a nutshell, social media should be embraced by pharma companies, but in an appropriate and judicious way. They provide an opportunity, during drug promotion, to provide information about diseases. Patients in today's world are key players in the social world and as such require direct involvement with pharmaceutical companies.
What is the right social communication for your brand?