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Credit by Tsvetta Kaleynska

We live in a world where customer reviews can make or break a brand or business. Unlike Uber and Airbnb, which have instant review options for their customers, Pharma companies (as well as other businesses) have to rely on social media listening to gain insight into how customers engage with their products.

Social media listening is incredibly beneficial and most businesses are already using it. Pharma, however, carries a stigma around digital listening due to a fear of opening Pandora’s box of adverse events. To thrive on the market, all businesses and industries have begun to adapt to the demands of the digital age. For the average user, the internet is not simply a source of information but a place where they can discuss any topic imaginable on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, forums, and blogs. This also includes health-related issues; in fact, the German Health Monitor of the federal association of Arzneimittel-Hersteller e.V. claims that almost every internet user searches health-related information on a regular basis. The pharma industry not only could benefit from utilizing this information in order to improve its products, marketing, and patient support services but it already has been doing that.

How does pharma social listening work?

It is a generally straightforward process and there are many tools, which can be used by businesses to further simplify it. There are three basic steps:

The first step is to choose keywords that relate to the business. These could be done by answering relevant questions, such as: What do patients talk about online? What social media are patients using? Where do they buy those products?

Based on these keywords, queries are created and data is collected. Social software are incredibly powerful when it comes to refining results; data can be collected and parsed through by determining a timeframe, languages, countries, and sources.

Finally, the collected data is filtered and categorized in order to be used for answering the questions used to determine the keywords. The conclusions drawn from the data help develop recommendations for future campaigns of pharma companies, their products, reactions, recalls, etc.

How does this help pharma?

Until very recently, few pharma brands were clueless when it came to understanding how buyers actually interact with a particular product, customers’ sentiment around their brand and the specific purchase cycle. Pharma brands have been using social listening to revisit their branding, packaging, product logos and much more. Social listening’s power has greatly influenced the industry over the last years with more pharmaceutical companies shifting their traditional market research efforts to digital insights.

Utilizing social listening capabilities is no doubt the key to a prosperous business model and successful marketing. More and more industries have been employing its benefits through social media listening, including Pharma. Is the Energy sector next?

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