For a long time, health, medical and pharma have shied away from social media. But brands must meet people where they are: online. Health, medical and pharma are no exception. The greatest risk in the gamble of social media for health care companies isn’t legal regulations. It’s a complete absence on social media. In order to be compliant, companies need to partner with social media experts who understand the nuances of social media to identify how to apply existing knowledge and practice to new marketing channels. Companies can no longer shun social media. Social media is both business and culture. It’s where everyone is.
Here’s why your company can’t afford to be antisocial:
Conversations are happening whether you like it or not
You have absolutely no control over conversations already taking place on social media if you are not actively engaged. People are already talking online about your brand and their experiences. While preparing a social media campaign for a medical device company, we found hundreds of conversations already taking place about their product.
What we have learned (and you can too) with social listening data:
- Information for target personas.
- The kind of language surrounding the product.
- The current state of awareness for the product.
- Who the influencers are in the patient’s decision-making process.
This is 21st century PR
No matter how good your PR team is, you can’t react quickly, if you’re using traditional media. “Social media enables brands to actively respond in real-time to questions or concerns with responses that can deliver impact and insight from the brand's perspective,” explains Richard Morrow, ParkerWhite’s digital director.
There is no risk management without social media
By participating in social media, your brand has a chance to educate consumers and clarify where online chatter may be inaccurate. Your company will be talked about, and if you’re not there to contribute to the conversation, you forfeit the chance to steer the conversation.
You say you’re high tech, but it’s all talk
Your marketing efforts and channel use reflect how in-touch your company is with the latest technology. Today’s consumers expect to see brands online. If you’re not there, it can send the wrong message about your company’s capabilities and your product offering. If you want consumers to see your product as the latest technology you have to get with the latest technology.
No one ever likes the silent treatment
With so many consumers online, it’s hard to argue that you have good customer service if you’re not there to answer them. When consumer questions and complaints go unanswered in the social sphere it reflects poorly on your company. Nobody likes someone who gives the silent treatment, and this extends to social business. People don’t respond well to being ignored, especially if they are already unhappy. You may face lost business and unhappy customers on a mission to disgrace you.
Companies who want to connect to consumers need to meet patients online. By ignoring social media, you’re ignoring consumers, compromising your company’s technological and cultural competence, and jeopardizing your brand’s reputation.
The question to ask yourself now is: Can you afford not to use social media as a health, medical or pharma company?
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