For a really interesting look at social media in the pharma industry this week, check out this post on the Eye For Pharma website.
The article looks at how the pharmaceutical industry responded to the growth of social media as a new comms channel and suggests that those companies that were willing to dip their toes in the water in the early years are now reaping the benefits of being at the forefront, “having learnt from their experimentation and having started the cultural change process that this ‘new’ channel requires”. The majority of companies, however, who were overly cautious at the emergence of social media, perhaps waiting for more regulatory clarity, are now struggling to play catch-up.
This is certainly a compelling argument. Genuine engagement with social media requires a considerable shift in company attitudes and behaviour, particularly within the traditionally conservative pharma industry, that can take years to implement. Companies willing to take risks early on will have had more time to adjust to the changing environment and to lay the foundations needed to utilise social media within their organisations.
Another good point the author makes is that companies that dabbled in social media a few years back did so in a far more forgiving environment, when it was still considered a new channel. Social media is no longer new. It is now the elephant in the room. It can’t be ignored no matter how hard companies might try, and those that have been slow to respond are at risk of falling further behind.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Many of the early frontrunners have become more cautious due to bad experiences, while others have lost momentum due to lack of tangible ROI and internal politics. Great opportunities exist for those now wanting to catch-up and use the experiences of others that have gone before them to inform their activities. The article goes on to give some great advice to those companies now looking to “jump on the social media bandwagon” and it really is a must-read for anyone involved in pharmaceutical comms.
Although not strictly a pharma company, GE Healthcare is one company that has pioneered the use of social media and digital and continues to lead the way. Their latest foray into the online world sees them teaming up with Spotify to launch the first in a series of health initiatives that will be powered by the online music streaming service.
The first of these, the “Give A Little Beat” jukebox, has been launched to raise awareness of breast cancer. Spotify users can share and listen to songs via the jukebox, which GE say “reflects the healing power and international reach of music”. As part of the campaign, the company has also produced a “Give A Little Beat” Facebook App. Having already made use of a number of social media and digital channels, including Pinterest, this is yet another example from GE Healthcare of the potential that exists.