Social Media in the Pharmaceuticals Industry 2014

This week I attended the conference ‘Social Media in the Pharmaceuticals Industry‘, where pharma brands shared their views on how to use social media in their digital strategies.

Here are 5 takeaway thoughts I had from the event:

1. Pharma is playing catch up

It’s 2014 and the conference reminds me of those I went to back in 2010. But they have quite a good reason; the regulations and legal issues are ten-fold what a normal brand will see. It is a challenge for pharmaceuticals to enter social media, but as shown at the conference, they really must.

2. Innovators win big

Despite the difficulties in entering social media, the top brands are doing it, and are seen as the innovators of the space. This doesn’t happen so much in other sectors any more – as soon as a new social network opens up, everyone attempts to create business value from it. In pharma, it is much slower, so those who take the opportunity, win big.

3. Healthcare is a hot topic on social media

Discussion on social media is varied, but people largely talk about themselves. While this may be their favourite movies, what they’re doing today or their opinion on a news article, it also includes how they feel in terms of their health. This presents a huge opportunity for those in healthcare to engage with a large audience online.

4. HCPs read Buzzfeed too

It is strange to remind people of this, but HCPs (healthcare professional) are actually normal people, just like you and me. They are online too, on social networks and even reading buzzfeed or playing Candy Crush. The pharma industry is focused on web portals for security and privacy, but for this they must bring HCPs to the platform. If HCPs are already on Facebook, then why not meet them there?

5. Digital media is digital health

We often think of digital health as sensors,wearable devices and the internet of things (with the thing being a human body). But using digital media for better healthcare is also digital health. What pharmaceuticals are doing is trying to find the best way to communicate with HCPs, using digital media, just as the NHS and medical institutions are doing too.

It is good to see pharmaceuticals finally taking social media seriously – the more they listen, the better their products become. They have a lot of catching up to do, but at least conferences like this are helping them find the way.

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