Pharma & drug development

Logging in: how the pharma industry is getting to grips with social media

It’s no longer possible to ignore the prominence of social media. In the US, pharma companies have used TV advertising to market products directly to consumers, and now this trend appears to be moving into users’ social media feeds. However, social media marketing comes with its own rules, restrictions and opportunities. Abi Millar reports.

Over the last 20 years, social media has moved from being a niche pursuit to a global phenomenon. More than half the world’s population now uses social media, with user numbers edging towards four billion. The average person spends two hours and 24 minutes on social networking sites each day, according to stats on Backlinko

While this shift has altered many aspects of life – not least how we consume news media and connect with other people – it has been nothing short of seismic for marketing departments. 

As users flocked to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, businesses began to understand what this might mean for advertising and ecommerce. Today, more than 90% of marketing executives use social media and it’s rare to find a brand without some form of social media presence. 

The pharma industry, however, may have seemed slow on the uptake. Given the strict regulations around what can and cannot be said – not to mention what can and cannot be advertised – drug companies simply haven’t had the same freedom as, say, consumer goods companies to promote their products. 

This means social media marketing, or even information campaigns, can sometimes be a non-starter. 

Read the rest of this article in the April 2021 edition of Pharma Tech Focus

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