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Best practices to alleviate FOMO in social media listening for pharma

PosterPharmaceutical companies have come a long way when it comes to social media, and most companies have acknowledged that there are rich consumer insights that can be gleaned. But a lot still suffer from a bad case of FOMO or ‘fear of missing out’ while being inundated by numerous irrelevant and spam posts. This primarily results from the fact that many people in pharma are always unsure of where to start, what to focus on, and how to analyze social media data.

Here are some things to consider when setting up your social listening strategy in 2014:

Key points and questions to help you focus:

  • Recognize that patient discussion is mostly centered on the condition and brand names as opposed to company names.
  • How do consumers refer to the disease? Do they use shortcuts, such as “P” for Psoriasis or “T1DM” for Type 1 Diabetes?
  • Define your competitive set. Are these all focused on a single indication or disease directly competing against your product? If not, what are the conditions or uses that should be removed from the data set?
  • Are you interested in a global view? Do the major brand players have name variations per country?
  • Do we need discussions around clinical trial results, pipeline news, coupon posts and financial news discussion? If we want to focus on pure consumer insights, I suggest that we eliminate these from your view.
  • Is off-label discussion important to you or is this something you’d like to remove from the data set?

Specific pharma tips to alleviate a bad case of FOMO:

  • Know who your key opinion leaders are, know their blogs, their Twitter handles or Facebook accounts, and include their posts in your analysis.
  • What are the forum sites, blog sites and Facebook fan pages that are specifically focused on the relevant diseases or indications? Make sure you pay attention to discussions in these channels.

 Pharma companies must consider the following facts, which impact the share-ability of health related information online, such as:

  • Incidence of the disease: This has a direct effect on content volume. If there are more patients afflicted with the disease, there are more posts around this topic. For example, the incidence of Gaucher’s disease is a lot lower than multiple sclerosis and therefore will have less content volume.
  • Age of the patients: Diseases, such as dementia, that afflict older patients who are generally not as social media savvy as the younger ones, will likely have fewer posts than diabetes which afflicts patients in various ages.
  • Sensitivity of the condition: Not all conditions can be easily shared by patients to the public. Some of them are even posted privately in secured forum sites. Expect posts around sensitive diseases to have less content volume.

But it doesn’t end there. Once you have access to the pertinent data, what metrics and KPI’s should be developed to help identify actionable insights and strategies? And how are we going to measure the success of strategies using social media? This year’s ePharma Summit has many social media related topics in the agenda. I’m very excited to see topics like, “Moving Pharma from Social Laggard to Leader,” in the Summit agenda (eMarketing University). Addressing FOMO risk will help pharma move into a leadership role. Hopefully the thoughts above help you focus your social listening strategy.

Tags : social media

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