Pharma companies turn to social media to improve corporate reputations

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly turning to social media as a way of engaging with consumers, healthcare professionals and media, according to a report by Ogilvy Healthworld.

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.

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