Bayer, Pfizer top pharma on social media, but everyone could be doing better: report

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Social media platforms still aren't key communication channels for pharma, but they should be, a new global study says. (Getty/bigtunaonline)

Pharma companies aren’t exactly blowing it on social media, but they’re also not taking full advantage of the platforms. That’s according to a new digital health check-up from Worldcom Public Relations.

The report ranked Bayer, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis and AstraZeneca, in that order, as the top pharma social channel users around the world, while Shire—now part of Takeda—and Gilead Sciences languished at the bottom of the 25 companies evaluated.

The study looked at the pharma companies’ blogs, apps, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube. By platform, Bayer took the crown on both Facebook and Twitter, while Novartis led on LinkedIn and Pfizer ranked No. 1 on YouTube.

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Overall, corporate-level efforts are “fine” across the board, Serge Beckers, chairman of Worldcom’s Healthcare practice group, said. LinkedIn is well-used by most pharma companies for corporate news and sharing, while Facebook is preferred for “nice-to-know and engagement content.” Still, everyone in the category could be doing better, he pointed out—particularly on YouTube.

“One thing that was surprising is that most don’t make sufficient use of YouTube,” he said. “Video material has become much more important than it was just two years ago. … My advice would be to take some of the focus off Facebook or LinkedIn and put it on YouTube. Because as a search engine, YouTube is becoming increasingly important—it’s right up there with Google. If you want to be found as a pharmaceutical, you should be on YouTube.”

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Another fairly simple step pharma companies can take is using local languages. Translating existing corporate messages, campaigns and posts for each country or region can make a big difference, Beckers said. It shows that pharma brands care about local markets, and besides, “if you already have the channels, which most do, why not put some effort into it and be on those channels in the local countries? It can be as simple as repurposing the content that comes from the U.S.,” he said.