Can pharma use Twitter Stickers to make community connections that bond?

Ready to get sticky on Twitter, pharma? Twitter introduced stickers in June as a way for users to add fun visual expressions to their photos and connect back to the platform. Now it’s invited brands to the party.

Launched with its first partner Pepsi earlier this month, Twitter's Promoted Stickers allow brands to design four or 8 custom stickers that, when clicked, will connect with all other content using that same branded sticker--similar to how hashtags work. And that could be a boon for pharma companies, healthcare experts told FiercePharmaMarketing.

While "not a lot of users are looking to brand their content with branded stickers," Andrew Grojean, manager of social media at Intouch Solutions, told FiercePharmaMarketing, the stickers could be useful for community building, as clicking them could link like-minded patients, caregivers and others. In that sense, they could work well as part of disease awareness campaigns or similar unbranded work, he said.

“When you’re looking at this platform, look at ways to plug it into advocacy efforts because that’s where you’re going to get your best traction with that audience,”  Brad Einarsen, director of digital insight at Klick Health advised. “Then reach out to your agency or your Twitter rep and find out the next steps. … It can be daunting, but there’s actually no regulatory reason not to do it.”

The stickers can also work to communicate ideas more quickly or efficiently.

“Visuals get your point across much more quickly than someone having to read a bunch of text,” Jo Ann Saitta, chief digital officer at Omnicom Health, told FiercePharmaMarketing. “Emojis are a creative way to create more engagement with your audience, and who doesn’t want to do that in healthcare? Stickers can provide more depth and information around the image … so there is opportunity in pharma for sure.”

She noted Twitter Health stats that say more than 2.9 million healthcare providers are active on the platform, adding that it's “just another reason pharma needs to pay attention to social channels.”

Promoted stickers might even spur pharma to more engagement on Twitter.

“It could be a way for pharma to get into a bit deeper into the hashtag game. Right now they mostly just tweet information or news. Maybe with visual hastags they can start engaging users on Twitter and start having two-way conversations,” said Martha Walz, Ogilvy CommonHealth VP, content strategy.

While the door has opened to all brands and details are still emerging, it's believed the promoted stickers will be too pricey for most brands at first. Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, and Verizon reportedly paid 7-figure fees for Twitter custom emojis around the Super Bowl.

But as with many things, prices may drop over time. SnapChat filters, for instance, are still pricey in global versions, but are much more affordable as local on-demand geofilters specific to a location, business or event.

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