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Pharmaceutical companies are an important cornerstone of the wider healthcare industry. They’re engaged in a continuous cycle of research and development to produce drugs and medicines for patients around the world.

However, for all the innovation that goes on in the pharma space, companies in this sector are severely lagging behind other industries in one particular category: social media. 

Industry regulations around data and privacy are some of the reasons why pharma brands shy away from using social media. However, the benefits far outweigh the risks. 

Here are three reasons why pharmaceutical companies should establish a strategic social media presence.


1. Use Social Media to Modernize Your Pharma Brand Image

A company’s website is no longer enough to strategically position it online. It takes a variety of different digital touchpoints in order to engage with a customer. Today’s marketing strategy takes into account social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Both are examples of platforms that have traditionally appealed to B2C brands — but over the past few years, a surge of B2B companies are using these platforms to reach new audiences.

Pharma companies that take the first step in establishing their brand on social media are often seen as the forerunners of their industry. As the saying goes, the best time to establish your social media presence is yesterday — the next best time is today!

Social media isn’t a passing trend — it’s definitely here to stay as a vital part of a company’s overall digital marketing strategy. Pharma brands that have or are planning to invest in a strategic social media program are already ahead of their competition. Companies that continue to rely on either traditional marketing methods or their website alone are falling further and further behind.


2. Meet Your Customers Where They Are

People are spending more time online. A DataReportal report highlights how the average daily time people spent on social media was just over 2 hours 30 minutes (a year-over-year increase of 2%). Here are some other stats for marketers to remember:

  • 92.3% of total internet users are also using social media.
  • 59.4% of the total world population is using social media (roughly 4.76 billion people).
  • The split between male and female users is approximately half (53.7% and 46.3%, respectively).

Why do these stats matter? More people are researching healthcare and pharma brands online. Perhaps if we went back in time a decade or two ago, patients weren’t doing as much research into pharma brands and relied mostly on doctor recommendations for products like birth control. Today, it’s common for potential customers to see if a birth control brand has an Instagram account, whether they’re active, the type of Reels being shared, and so on.

Marketers must also consider changes in consumer behavior. Many customers use Google to search for products. For businesses, this is why SEM — search engine marketing — is important in order to capture the attention of someone who’s in the “buying” mindset.

However, depending on what your pharmaceutical company offers, it might be more effective to market on TikTok. This is because a study shows that almost half of Gen Z users prefer using TikTok as a search engine over Google.

It’s important for pharmaceutical companies to meet their customers where they are — and the growing answer to this is that they’re online and using social media not just to stay in touch with friends and family, but also to research companies and products.


3. Drive Customer Engagement — Even Before They Buy Your Product

Social media can have a transformative effect on the way pharmaceutical companies interact with their existing and potential customers. It’s not just a space to promote your product, but an opportunity to create a community.

Here’s a tip: use social media to create a loyal audience before they’ve even spent a dollar on your product. In other words, before they even buy your product, marketers at pharma companies can use social media to get them to “buy in” to your company’s brand by getting them to engage with the content you’re sharing.

Let’s say you’re a marketer at a pharmaceutical company offering calcium supplements aimed at older women. One content idea is sharing a Facebook post about why it’s important for women to maintain appropriate calcium levels as they age. This is an example of educational content that might not even mention your brand or product by name, but is very much relevant to the product category. Your potential customer may not even realize they need your product until they see your educational post. 


Why Pharma Companies Are Social Media Laggards

We highlighted three key benefits of establishing a strategic social media presence — and there are many others that we didn’t include in our list. Given the clear opportunities for business growth, why do pharmaceutical companies continue to be social media laggards? 

One of the primary reasons is that the healthcare industry, much like the financial industry, is full of policies and regulations around what can or can’t be posted on social media. This is to protect stakeholders, including the pharma companies and consumers.

However, stay tuned because we’ll share how marketers can navigate the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry in order to create a branded and strategic social media presence.

If you don’t want to wait for that article, get in touch with our digital marketing experts immediately by clicking the button below!

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