Why Would You Say No To Social Media?

Recently I read an article that questioned the relevance and the justification of social media in healthcare. I would like to go through some of the interestingly put, misinterpreted and weirdly positioned arguments the post included to prove my point, that social media in fact has (or should have) an important role in healthcare.

Talking about today’s pharmaceutical era the article states that:

  • most consumers do not want to connect with drug companies on social media
  • most drug companies don’t have the resources to talk to people via social media

What do we base the first statement on? The fact that consumers don’t connect with pharma on social sites could apply that the conditions need to be changed. Maybe the drug companies need to be willing to communicate as well? Just a thought. And to say that drug companies don’t have the resources to talk to consumers via social media is almost comical. An multi-trillion industry that spends billions of dollars on TV and print ads can’t hire a few dozen people to set up Facebook pages for free and monitor them?

Reading the article I had the feeling that a relatively big section of the text contradicted the title of the article. How can you make a statement, that social media is not the answer and has no future in healthcare, then write the following:

Social media is a way of looking at marketing and realizing that today consumers want more control about what they purchase, why they purchase it and especially what goes in their bodies. Hell now there is even conflicting news stories about common OTC products that may not be completely safe !

The drug industry has long ignored consumers who want to be heard and give feedback. To them it’s all about push marketing with message testing and while that may meet some brand objectives it’s not enough at a time when less people are going to their doctor and less are filling Rx’s.

If you realize that there is a demand for more information and control over purchases, you realize that consumers want to ask questions and give feedback and that these demands are being ignored for the most part by pharma companies, how can you deny the importance and convenience of social media as a tool.

It is true that social media in itself can’t change healthcare, you need informed and creative people to operate social channels as tools. But the answer is not to take out social media from the equation, but add the right professional forces. It is definitely not the comfortable solution since it’s time-consuming and involves a great deal of work, but on the long run it is still more productive than to say no to social media based on fabricated and contradictory reasons.

(Source: DTC Marketing)

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