Every day on Twitter, in webinars and in conferences, the Pharmaceutical industry discusses the challenges and opportunities for the sector in social media. The conversation, though, almost exclusively revolves around the needs of drug companies, their regulatory restrictions, relationships with doctors and patients and so on.
What about businesses that sell to other Pharmaceutical companies – the vendors, suppliers, consultants and recruiters? Like the sector as a whole, they also appear to be behind on social media. I guess that when you see that your clients are sceptical about digital, you’re in no rush to jump in.
But enormous opportunities are developing for them online too. Here’s why they need to get active on social:
Resistance is futile
Despite all the angst and worry, drug companies are increasingly finding their feet on social media. Within a couple of years, they’re all going to be doing it. That means that companies trying to sell to them will no longer be able to avoid the wider changes in marketing and marketing strategy that have rocked almost every other sector, as social media become ubiquitous. Those that delay getting involved will suffer competitive disadvantage.
Their customers are already on social media
Did I say a couple of years? On at least one platform, everyone’s already there. Pharma executives on every level have an active presence on LinkedIn, and for companies that need to reach decision-makers, the opportunities for lead-generation — and therefore to affect the bottom line — are clear.
Gain deep insight into customers
By keeping track of prospects’ and clients’ activities online, companies can develop an incredibly rich picture of the people they are targeting.
Before you’ve even met them, you can get insight into their background, preferences, opinions, work accomplishments, pressure points and needs.
If you actually interact with them online, the level of data you can gather can easily be the difference between a sale and no sale. At the end of the day, you’re selling to human beings.
Create deeper relationships with customers
The move towards social isn’t just a change in the way we do marketing. It’s an improvement. Instead of talking at customers, or cold-calling them, social media allows companies to maintain daily contact with key contacts, to regularly advise, help and entertain them, to engage in dialogue, to better understand their concerns and to build trust.
In short, it’s a great way to nurture business relationships – and this is even truer for B2B companies than for B2C ones, as they can focus on a smaller number of individuals.
Listen to the conversation
Every day, thousands of conversations about the Pharma industry take place on Twitter in particular, involving some of the most influential companies, executives, and commentators. Events are reported as they happen and industry conferences are live-tweeted.
If you want to understand the industry in which you operate, you need to know what people are saying – right now. Reading last month’s trade magazine is no longer good enough.
Be part of the conversation
In this brave new world, you need to be actively participating in the conversations in order to build up authority and visibility and to create more personal relationships with your prospects online. It’s becoming expected, and even in some Pharma circles, if you’re not there, you practically don’t exist. It’s a good way of building your brand.
And you know what? If you can get into it, it’s even fun.
Social media is great for SEO
For those companies who still believe that social media isn’t really important, but their website is, there’s bad news. Nowadays, if you want your website to be found, you need to be on social media! According to a recent study, seven out of eight of Google’s top factors in ranking a site are connected to their social media presence. The two are now completely linked.
Bottom line: being on social will affect your bottom line
What company does not want to reach more prospects more quickly and easily, learn more about them, interact with them and build up trust, gain industry insights and become known for its expertise, while bolstering its website and ensuring that it does not fall behind the competition?