For us, the objective of communications is to inform, educate and entertain. How one goes about achieving that over digital media, and in particular social media, can be as simple or as complicated as one wishes. The heart of any communications is content, and in pharma, it must be compliant. What one then wishes to achieve with that creative compliant content, whether its to raise the profile of the company or increase its value and revenue, depends on the strategies and tactics they wish to implement. We share our understanding below.
Medical Social Media
Communication is now much more responsive, interactive and immediate thanks to social media. In the dynamic world of digital media, having a handle on medical social media is as important as upholding the principles of communications. Breaking down communication to what matters to you and what matters to your audience is an important distinction to make when designing strategy. Content is the heart of communication strategy, and I believe it segments into 4 key tactical areas whilst adhering to compliance guidelines:
- Public Relations
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most regulated with many rules and guidelines to comply with. Health regulatory authorities around the world set various and often stringent compliance guidelines for marketing and communications. Contravening these guidelines can result in litigation and ultimately hefty fines, negatively impacting public image and share price. Consequently, knowing and understanding these guidelines to implement a compliant digital and social media strategy is critical for a company’s marketing and communications objectives.
Medical social media must be compliant with various guidelines, including:
- Good clinical practice (GCP)
- Association of the British pharmaceutical industry (ABPI)
- Prescription medicines code of practice authority (PMCPA)
- European federation for pharmaceutical industries and associations (EFPIA)
- Medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA)
- Food and drug agency (FDA)
In its essence, communication is the sending and receiving of information. With the creation of the world wide web and the advent of social media, communication has never been so quick, easy, ubiquitous and used as much as it is right now. Social media has taken over our way of communication. In business, it has become the most powerful and economically efficient tool. Driven by content, brands are being built faster than ever, marketing is becoming more targeted, PR is more effective, and engagement direct and responsive.
Content is the beating heart of all communications. Content is anything and everything that is shared over social media, and whether it’s audio-visual, text, graphics or image-based. We believe that all content must serve a purpose, and be created to educate, enlighten, engage or entertain. What you want to say, when, how, and to who is all driven by content. Whether your objective is to build your company brand, market your products and services, engage in PR to be seen and responded to favourably, or engage with your target audience, content is the cornerstone of communications.
A major part of branding is sharing what your company stands for; its values, principles, ethics, morals and ethos. Social media is the perfect tool to convey this regularly via creative content. How you identify your company in a competitive and crowded market will set the tone for all your communications activities. Strategic social media branding effectively forms the foundations of any digital and social media communications strategy, helps market products and services, drives its PR process, and enhances engagement with those who matter.
The marketing of your company and its offerings over social media is performed through creative content and is an important lever in your communications matrix. Priming your target audience with branding content, PR efforts, and engagement activities develops them from observers into followers and fans of your company and its offerings. This makes them more receptive to marketing messages and campaigns, which will help “sell” your company and put it “front of mind” for people when the need arises for what your company has to offer.
The building, nurturing and maintaining of a company’s reputation and perception is vital for survival and prosperity. PR is informed by a company’s social media branding and marketing. Building goodwill by engaging in honest and open communication will positively impact social media branding and marketing objectives. PR is about living and breathing brand values, and social media is the perfect platform to share this through creative and engaging content. When PR is performed well, it can help companies come through even the toughest of times.
The whole point of social media is to communicate, whether it is 1-to-1, 1-to-many, or many-to-1. Creating engaging content for your audience is only half the battle; the other half is to engage with them! Engaging in 2-way, responsive and respectful communications builds trust, loyalty and belief in your company and culture. Content is King, but Engagement is Emperor! Engagement helps build the brand in the hearts and minds of those who matter, accentuates PR efforts, and improves the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with your social media communications strategy, please do get in touch!