Most pharma marketers are fully aware of social media; they just struggle understanding its application to their brands. Often corporate governance and lack of senior level belief in social media hinder any uptake by brands to really engage with their customers and use social to complement their other marketing activities.
With new social media tools appearing all the time there is a challenge not only decide what each platform can do, but trying apply it to pharma marketing (the picture an amusing view of most common platforms). A year ago was a world without google+, which according to recent announcements your participation will be increasing your search engine rankings.
With the rapid evolution of social media, reviewing the social landscape regularly should be an important process to see how it could be used to optimise your brand plans. Use of social media for “the sake of it”, overall tends to be a poor investment (you might actually get lucky and engage customers), instead social should form part of your long-term brands strategic thinking. Gaining customer insights, engaging customers and empowering advocates are the key outcomes for most brand plans, and social media can provide a cost effective solution.
Understanding your customers online behaviours can provide you with direction on where your brand should be. I often hear “do doctors really use social media?” Sometimes pharma marketers forget that doctors are also members of the public, which participate in social platforms like any other person in society. Given their socio economic status, in fact they are more likely to have smart phone and ipads.
Creating social media “embassies” around your brand provides an opportunity that should not be overlooked. Whether you like it or not your brand is being talked about in social media, so your choice to participate can dramatically affect the influence you can have on these conversations.
Below are 20 social media stats that show how active social media is within society (for full article on these stats click on the headline).
1. One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook ( This number is calculated by dividing the planets 6.94 billion people by Facebook’s 750 million users)
2. People spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
3. Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site
4. More than 250 million people access Facebook through their mobile devices
5. More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook
6. 30 billion pieces of content is shared on Facebook each month
7. 300,000 users helped translate Facebook into 70 languages
8. People on Facebook install 20 million “Apps” every day
9. YouTube has 490 million unique users who visit every month (as of February 2011)
10. YouTube generates 92 billion page views per month (These YouTube stats don’t include videos viewed on phones and embedded in websites)
11. Users on YouTube spend a total of 2.9 billion hours per month (326,294 years)
12. Wikipedia hosts 17 million articles
13. Wikipedia authors total over 91,000 contributors
14. People upload 3,000 images to Flickr (the photo sharing social media site) every minute
15. Flickr hosts over 5 billion images
16. 190 million average Tweets per day occur on Twitter (May 2011)
17. Twitter is handling 1.6 billion queries per day
18. Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day
19. Google+ has more than 25 million users
20. Google+ was the fastest social network to reach 10 million users at 16 days (Twitter took 780 days and Facebook 852 days)
The power of social media is not going to go away, but it will increase in importance (for customers and by association marketers). Deciding how, when and where to use social should be a critical part of your brand plan.