Taking the Leap Into Social Media: Essential Advice for Pharma Marketers


I should probably feel more embarrassed by how obsessed I am with social media, but I’m not. Social media helps educate and inspire, inform and elevate. And in the business world, whether you’re trying to take the next leap in your career or launch a new brand, social media is no longer an option. Traditional means of reaching the consumer must change because the consumer has changed.

As we enjoy this Leap Day, let’s examine what pharma marketers need to know about making the leap into social media marketing, and what to consider to ensure a safe and successful digital presence.

“No pharma brand wants to be the first to do something new, but everyone wants to be second.”
Katie Collins of Twitter

Pretty compelling words, if you ask me. But why do they ring true? Because there may be sharks in the water.

FDA guidelines for using social media to discuss prescription drugs are pretty vague. Of course there are some obvious do’s and don’ts: if benefits of a drug are discussed, the risks must be made known as well; internal communication teams are likely already familiar with what elements must be included in the disclosure of risk; no claims may be false or misleading; addressing all potential misuse and comments. Yet, the FDA is only providing guidance, and so users of social media have to carefully craft their work around the interpretation of those guidelines. Fun, right? Suuuurrreee.

Of course, once you’ve got a handle on all the rules and regs, the next step is to align your business objectives with your drug brand’s digital identity. Nail down goals you want to achieve (for example, increasing brand traction) and use them to curate a careful digital presence for your drug. Take that information and begin sculpting content around those objectives. Which leads into my next tip…

Let a professional handle your planning. Yeah, yeah, it may sound easy, but trust me, determining creative concepts, gathering and creating images, considering timing, copy writing, participating in legal counsel, and, above all, getting approval from your regulatory team all while planning around corporate milestones is a full-time job. And on top of all that you’re going to have to monitor, monitor, monitor to ensure all questions are answered and engagements are addressed. What’s a social presence good for if the public can’t interact and have a conversation? The steps are worth the hassle for a great digital campaign, but the workload is real.

All that being said there are great examples out there: Gilenya has a great Facebook and Twitter page. As well, the Facebook pages maintained by Eloctate and Alprolix are definitely worth checking out.

Watch out for Allergan’s Restasis Facebook and Twitter this spring. Our digital team is working on a trailblazing launch and we can’t wait to share it with you!

Have questions? Reach out to @pascalecom on Twitter!

By Christian Rodgers, Pascale Digital Team


Erin LaFavor