Social media engagement score: 25
Facebook fans: GSK, 93,318; Stiefel, a GSK company, 112,868
Twitter followers: @GSK, 40,812; @GSKUS, 35,278; @StiefelaGSKco, 34,044
YouTube subscribers: 1,449

Take a look at GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) social media accounts and you'll find a quick illustration of specialty pharma's success there. GSK's main Facebook page has more than 93,000 "Likes," but its dermatology subsidiary, Stiefel Labs, has even more--almost 113,000. On Twitter, Stiefel has almost as many followers as Glaxo's U.S. feed, at about 34,000 compared with 35,000.

Glaxo's social media efforts also show the power of a strong consumer-facing brand--or lack thereof. The name "GlaxoSmithKline" didn't exist till 2000, when Glaxo Wellcome merged with SmithKline Beecham. Some of its consumer health products are as well known as Johnson & Johnson's--Aquafresh, Panadol, Tums--but GSK's name isn't attached to the individual brand as J&J's ($JNJ) name is to its leading products.

This screen grab from @GSK shows how the company uses its social media sites to engage followers and direct them to other channels, such as Facebook.

Where GSK engages, it's most focused on pharma and vaccines, often paired with its public health campaigns around the world. Facebook posts might focus on futuristic health technology--bioelectronic medicine, for one, a post that generated 24 comments and 408 likes. Or link to a television segment featuring one of its executives (not so popular; nothing personal, we're sure). Its Twitter streams roll out company news--drug approvals, corporate changes--and highlight employee volunteer programs, recruiting, science education and general GSK good works. One Twitter handle focuses solely on news and presentations from healthcare and disease conferences. But Glaxo doesn't leave out the typical disease awareness campaigns--Did you know virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by a virus?--even if the tweets, or the pages they link to, don't specifically mention GSK's vaccine against that virus, Cervarix. (That tweet got 7 retweets, incidentally.) 

The company's social media communications are tightly linked, with tweets and Facebook posts linking to YouTube channel videos. And when GSK has a particular angle to push, messages go out on all channels.

Many of the messages are heard, too, according to IMS Health's stats. For each Facebook post, 160 users Like it, 34 share it and 6 post comments, all on average. Its YouTube channel is particularly popular, with an average of 36,000 views per video, the most of any pharma company, and about 10,000 more than its closest two competitors.

- check out GSK's social media website

For more:
J&J, Glaxo are tops in social media, but smaller drugmakers rate highly, too
GlaxoSmithKline 'listened' to social media chatter about vaccine worries


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