The advent of digital marketing has opened up an ever greater array of possibilities for various sectors, including pharmaceuticals. With the internet continuing to produce ever more channels, this will not just include websites and SEO.
Another key area of pharmaceutical digital marketing is social media. This offers a range of different opportunities; YouTube provides a video platform, Facebook offers a chance for more written content combined with video. Twitter offers opportunities for short content.
This means you can pick a strategy based on either focusing on one platform or several. Facebook is perhaps the obvious choice for a sole platform, given both its high usage and the fact that it can accommodate different forms of media.
As Hostreviews notes, Facebook is the most widely used platform, its demographics are reasonably even (52 per cent female, 48 per cent men) and 78 per cent of internet users in the UK are on it.
These statistics also give a guide as to what sort of posts will get a lot of engagement. The average post gets a 3.93 per cent engagement rate, but this increases to 5.48 per cent for a photo post and 6.96 per cent for video.
Clearly, therefore, the use of video in social media marketing is a highly effective tool. But it is important to think about where and how it would be appropriate to do this.
For example, controversy has arisen this month over a recent University of Colorado report that US pharmaceutical firms have been using influencers to help market products.
It noted this is not entirely new, citing the case of Kim Kardashian promoting a morning sickness drug in a post on Instagram in 2015 that she was ordered to take down. But it observed that influencers are increasingly getting involved in this form of peer-to-peer marketing, despite concerns that this risks omitting important information.
That could occur for various reasons, ranging from the deliberate non-mention of cheaper alternatives to dangerously misleading advice based on a lack of scientific knowledge.
When using social media to promote products it may, therefore, be wiser and more ethical to avoid celebrity influencers and stick to ads and awareness-growing activities that avoid these basic shortcomings.