The rise of digital technologies has had a transformational impact across everyday life and business globally – including the healthcare industry.
Exponential growth in the use of the internet, social media, and apps; as well as the uptake of personal computing, smartphones and tablets by all healthcare stakeholders – patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and payers – is well documented.
As a result, the role of social media in healthcare and impact on patient engagement is moving to centre-stage, propelled not only by technology, but also by patient demand and growing influence of the digital native generation.
The term social media encompasses social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), collaborative services, blogs, content hosting sites (e.g. Wikipedia), and virtual communities.
Markets have become conversations, and social media is the online platform and location where these conversations take place.
Social media creates highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, comment on, discuss, share, and modify, user-generated content. It provides a way for people to participate in conversations; to tap into what people are saying about a brand, a product or a service.
By participating in these conversations, companies are exposed to what their customers are thinking and saying – these are the insights that can lead to making better business decisions.
Social Media also plays an important role in establishing communication with consumers and disseminating relevant and accurate information.
Social media has changed the way we communicate – between organisations, communities, and individuals.
Although the pharma industry is heavily regulated and thus forced to work within much stricter guidelines, it does not mean that social media as a marketing and communications platform should be ignored.
Social media marketing has become a way in which companies engage with their customers.
Over the past few years there has been a general understanding among pharma companies that they can’t use or benefit from the use of social media, things have now shifted to a point where they should be asking ‘how can we use social media?’
By avoiding social media, companies are missing out on important opportunities to enhance their online presence and connect with their customers.