The report, which is based on data from 14 pharma companies taken over a three-month peroid, found the average number of tweets by has gone up by 530 per cent since 2013 while Twitter followers have increased by nearly 300 per cent.
The study, 'Connecting the dots: Which Pharma Companies are Succeeding in the Social Media Space?', also showed that companies that keep their social networks fresh with regular updates have the highest interaction from the community and their followers.
Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer, Novartis and Merck, stood out as as the best performing companies in terms of being active on their social network profiles and encouraging large numbers of users to engage with them.
Rebecca Canvin, social media manager at Ogilvy Healthworld, said: "We know that some pharma companies have been cautious in their approach to social media, but our report clearly demonstrates a dramatic and successful increase in activity. Social media has changed the way pharma companies communicate – it allows them to build corporate reputation and engage in genuine, meaningful conversations with audiences. For companies who want to stand out from the crowd it’s time to be brave, get personal, educate and integrate social media into their wider marketing strategy."
The report recommends that pharma companies should be prepared to have honest conversations about their brands by developing strategies and identifying potential scenarios where they can respond as quickly as possible to their followers.
The report also suggests that companies should aim to have a clear set of engagement guidelines to help manage difficult questions.
Bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to social media. But bigger is certainly better than drugmakers were doing a couple of years ago. Some companies are actually getting it right now, Ogilvy Healthworld says.
A small group of drugmakers are "connecting the dots," according to Ogilvy's latest audit of pharma's social media efforts. They're getting patients, doctors and the media interested, delivering relevant info, inspiring actual conversations.
A very small group, actually. Just 5 companies out of 14 that Ogilvy investigated. We'll get to those later. First, let's consider the fact that pharma's social media presence has grown--a lot. Drugmakers have 1.3 million Facebook followers, Ogilvy says. The average number of pharma tweets per week has gone up by 530% since 2013. The number of Twitter followers has tripled, to 790,000. Four companies even have Vine accounts.
"We know that some pharma companies have been cautious in their approach to social media, but our report clearly demonstrates a dramatic and successful increase in activity," Rebecca Canvin, social media manager at Ogilvy Healthworld, said in a release.
Some have been more successful than others, of course. To go from size to success, Ogilvy looked at more stats--how many followers, how frequent the updates, how many social accounts, how often posts or tweets were shared. The auditors also gauged interest--how much did followers care about a company's social chatter?
Which company came out on top won't be a surprise to those who keep an eye on such things: Boehringer Ingelheim, already a leading presence in 2013, took that lead much further. The German drugmaker's score almost doubled that of its closest rival, Bayer. And Bayer, in turn, bested third-place Novartis ($NVS) by an easy margin.
The remaining two companies "connecting the dots" were Merck ($MRK) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), both of which made big leaps from 2013. In fact, all of the top 5 multiplied their social presences significantly.
Four other drugmakers have made some strides and some connections since Ogilvy's last audit. The rest are still doing the social thing at a beginner level--broadcasting content without engaging much at all, the audit showed.
It's a good thing for them that Ogilvy analyzed their successful peers to come up with some tips for improvement. "[I]t's time to be brave, get personal, educate and integrate social media into their wider marketing strategy," Canvin said.
But why? As the current experts at Boehringer told Ogilvy, the conversation is already out there. "People are talking about you, whether you're active or not," said Patricia Alves, Boehringer's social media and community manager. "Social media gives you the opportunity to engage in that conversation, to give your position and your statement, and maybe then hopefully change the opinion of one person or two."
- check out the Ogilvy Healthworld statement
If an important part of our job is to increase awareness and understanding of digital across our organisation, what lessons do we need to teach?
Pharmaceutical firms must adopt and consistently execute practices that lead to digital excellence and give them a competitive edge. Which of these firms are accelerating away from the rest of the marketplace? We found that only two—Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb—are doing reasonably well and achieving excellence and maturity in their digital capability. Firms taking a disciplined approach to digital transformation achieved higher maturity in digital capability than their less-disciplined peers. To reach the next level of maturity, firms should invest in foundational digital capabilities, develop locally relevant plans, and bridge the gaps between marketing, digital, and IT.
Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide evaluated how 14 major pharma companies were performing across six key categories:
- Social presence: How many social networks was the company on?
- Activity: Was the content kept fresh with regular updates?
- Engagement: Were the companies engaging their users and generating interest?
- Social network: How simple and intuitive was the connection between social networks?
- Virality: Was the content spread around the social sphere?
- Sommunity Size: How big was the community?
"I value my time off. Years ago when first going onto EHR, I could not connect from my house so I learned to get everything done before leaving the office. My time off was truly unconnected. This EHR change to mobile is going to necessitate another change in work flow for me.
There are two ways to approach this subject:
1. It will allow me to follow my patients more closely since I can get their lab results and follow-up data without being in the office. This will improve my relationship with my patients and result in more detailed care for them.
2. I will never really be out of the office. This could have legal ramifications.
The answer will likely be having a better buddy system and sign-out criteria in our practice. Right now, I have a buddy that will keep an eye on my charts and labs when I am away. We try to notify our buddies when they need to take over. Sometimes, it doesn't always work that way. So far, nothing serious has gotten missed … but we must remain vigilant in making sure follow up happens."