Innovative social media marketers from top life sciences companies discussed the secrets to their success at the Pharma Marketing Network’s 2022 Future Forecast on January 25th. Here are the top three things to know about pharma social media trends in 2022:
1. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Social media trends change all the time, and pharma marketing organizations have to be nimble to make the most of them, according to Lauren Sacks, Director of Omnichannel Marketing at Biohaven Pharmaceuticals. “I think Tik Tok is a smart risk right now because it’s what’s hot,” Sacks said. One of the biggest benefits of Tik Tok is what Sacks calls its “viral factor,” which can greatly amplify the reach of creative content and penetrate new audiences.
The recent growth of platforms like Tik Tok and Reddit and the shift to more video-centric content on Instagram have added tools for pharmaceutical marketers typically focused on the core four social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Marketers aim to create a “surround sound” of social media presence, according to Pam Hall, Social Media Lead for Global Commercial Operations at Astra Zeneca. This includes reaching out to niche online communities around rare disease states on Reddit. With a fast-growing user base of 50 million people—many of whom are seeking advice or information about medical issues—Reddit is poised to become an increasingly important platform for pharma marketers to reach their consumers.
2. But don’t forget the basics!
Though less exciting than flashy, new social platforms like Tik Tok and Reddit, LinkedIn, and Facebook still play a crucial role. According to Stephanie Garrison, Lead for U.S. Digital Marketing at Idorsia Pharmaceuticals, 83% of HCPs are on LinkedIn, and Facebook’s lead-generation ads still generate by far the strongest results of any social platform. Hall also pointed to an exciting new partnership with LinkedIn to launch the first branded drug page on the platform for Astra Zeneca.
Across platforms, video content is becoming ever more important. Hall shared her efforts to adapt, saying, “We even changed…the structure of resources in our internal group to support high-complexity video projects.” Supporting brand teams with the resources to engage their consumers via video ads is a safe bet for 2022.
3. Build an influencer strategy that fits your brand.
Influencers, including high-profile celebrities like Khloe Kardashian and Jennifer Anniston, have been a winning strategy for Sacks and Garrison. “The easy, low-hanging fruit is to get a gigantic celebrity, and then the halo of that is huge,” Garrison said. She also noted the rise of the “DOL,” or “Digital Opinion Leader,” a niche space within the influencer field of tech-savvy HCPs and public health experts. Making use of DOLs is bringing KOL-led pharma marketing into the 21st century.
Garrison, Sacks, and Hall all acknowledged difficulties in the effective use of influencers. Finding influencers and measuring their performance can be a challenge, but influencers represent a great opportunity to create authentic stories about your brand and company. Taken together, the panelists agreed that good social media has become table stakes for pharma in 2022 and that the need to continuously evaluate where consumers are and how they search for information remains. In an ever-evolving landscape, it always comes back to understanding your customers.