What would digital content marketing be without social media? It probably wouldn’t exist because social media is everywhere now. Around half of Austria’s 8.8 million inhabitants now use social media. If you haven’t jumped on this bandwagon with your company, then now is the time. This article wants to show you how to turn your social media marketing into a competitive advantage. We accompany you in 5 steps to the concept of your social media strategy!
Before we indulge in the detailed breakdown of the strategy and go through the five steps together, we want to address the following initial question.
What does a successful social media strategy look like?
Or, to put it another way: What causes social media content to be successful and perceived by your target group as relevant between the range of the competition? SwaCash would like to present you with a successful example of a social media strategy. But first of all, we want to point out the top 3 no-gos in social media marketing.
No-Go No. 1: Post something
Spontaneity is an excellent thing when it comes to distributing content on social media. Not posting anything, however. If you are responsible for your company’s Instagram channel and you are at a business fair, then it is a positive thing to keep your followers up to date on what is happening at the stands. However, posting pictures of lunch at the fair doesn’t make much sense. Also, avoid posts about how boring it is in the office. Develop a feeling for your target group and set up a sensible social media strategy. Don’t bombard them with irrelevant content. This brings us straight to the second no-go!
No-Go No. 2: quantity over quality
Staying visible and relevant is a core theme of a sophisticated social media strategy. This also includes the frequency of your postings on different networks. Frequent posting can help to get to the top of your target audience’s newsfeeds. Nevertheless, avoid a purely quantitative social media strategy. Remember that the content is always the key feature of the strategy. The quality of your content should, therefore, be more important than the frequency of publication!
Remember, content is king!
No-Go No. 3: The more channels, the better
Companies that are just starting with social media marketing are often over-motivated, so they want to set up all possible channels and use them with content. This praiseworthy thought can become real-time and financial problems. Social media require a lot of attention and care. Therefore, it is better to focus on two channels for the time being, which you then use with content, than to rush headlong into a large number of networks whose requirements you cannot meet with your resources.
A successful example of a social media strategy
After you have seen what you should avoid in your social media presence, we now come to a successful example of a successful social media strategy. We want to cite Bayer as an example, and we will explain why. Of course, it is a mega pharmaceutical company that can also realize a corresponding marketing budget. Despite this, investments are being made in the right places so that we can use it as an example.
Although Bayer oversees more than two social networks, primarily five channels (plus an RSS newsfeed), all selected platforms are equipped with up-to-date, high-quality content and have correspondingly high numbers of followers. The group could certainly also use ten media, but here, too, with more than sufficient capacities, a trend towards quality content on a few platforms can be seen.
Instagram as an example platform
Instagram is a social network with the fastest growing number of users right now. People from your target group will certainly also be here. For this reason, let’s take a look at Bayer’s Instagram channel.
You can tell from the content of the posts that Bayer makes on its Instagram channel that these are usually not just spontaneous postings. Instead, there is a sophisticated social media strategy behind it. Bayer relies on a healthy mix of content.
On the one hand, the wide range includes colorful information graphics that also go well with Bayer’s otherwise bright Instagram presence. The second category of content that catches the eye is campaigns and partner programs in which Bayer is involved. These include the posts on fighting malaria through the ZeroBy40 initiative. Furthermore, there are posts with simple but effective photos, under which an informational text was usually written on a specific topic. For example, the picture with the butterfly in the lower row is about biodiversity. Finally, there are articles on current issues such as Christopher Street Day in Cologne and Berlin, where Bayer was involved.
Also, when reviewing, consider the story, the company is trying to tell. Pay attention to the core values that the storytelling should convey to the outside world. Bayer cares about people, and Bayer is everywhere. At least wherever something is going on in places where emotions arise. Whether it’s Christopher Street Day or the moon landing – the company remains true to its motto “Science for a better life.” It cleverly entangles the content posted on social media such as Instagram with its own story.
What is still noticeable on Bayer’s Instagram account is the posting frequency. It is continuous but irregular. Sometimes the pharmaceutical company publishes ten posts per month on the platform; sometimes, it’s only three. While Bayer already has a huge following, we at SwaCash would not recommend that you display such an irregularity if you want to publish content. Publish content regularly, for example, two or three days a week, so that your target group can get used to your website.
Develop your own social media strategy successfully.
Now that we’ve looked at an example of a well-implemented social media strategy, we’d like to show you how you can set up your successful process. First, we would like to quote a quote from US entrepreneur and marketing expert Seth Godin:
“People like us do things like this.” ~ Seth Godin
Take this approach into account in your social media strategy. After all, your content will always attract the people who like what you do – or just the other people. Ever wondered why some content goes viral, and some doesn’t? That has to do with how polarizing your content is. Polarizing, i.e., flashy content, has many fans, but it attracts at least as many people who hate it.
An excellent example is a campaign by the MCM Klosterfrau company. With this unique campaign, Klosterfrau managed to polarize strongly. The men’s flu campaign has been interpreted in a sexist way and pokes fun at men by saying that they whine significantly more than women when they catch a cold. The story attacks the strong image of the man, while the female sex laughs up their sleeves. There is probably a grain of truth in the whole thing so that men get upset about the campaign while women feel malicious pleasure at the same time. The example divides minds so that there are supporters who see the whole thing with humor and the other side who feels attacked.
Well, you don’t have to go straight for a campaign with high virality, but so that you can produce good content that is also talked about on social media, we would now like to show you in five steps how you can create your own social media strategy.
1. Define the current state
In the first step, you must determine the current status of your strategy. How do you first identify the current situation? Check out whether your company’s accounts are already represented on social media. Maybe at some point, your boss felt it was necessary to set up a Facebook page. There may already be a YouTube channel on which no content has yet been published. Or you have already started a section on your company’s website for informational texts that could one day develop into a blog. You should check that out first.
Accounts that have already been set up on social networks are, of course, suitable for continuing. But be careful! It does not always make sense to keep old social media accounts. If your target audience isn’t messing around with the channels you’ve already set up, you should focus on other options. For example, if your company sells a drug for the elderly, you are unlikely to find them on Instagram. Therefore, you may have to delete your old channels and switch to networks that are suitable for your requirements. We discuss the choice of relevant social networks in point three.
2.Determine the target state and goal
After you have determined the current situation, get down to the goal of your strategy. At this point, you have to ask yourself what exactly you want to achieve with your social media strategy. Would you like to increase your brand awareness? Do you want to convey the values of your company to your target group? Or do you want to increase traffic to your website, for example? To define your goal, the SMART method of setting up precise goal definitions is ideal. “We want to reach our target group better on social media” is not a good (smart) goal. According to the SMART method, a goal definition should always meet the following criteria:
- S = specific
- M = measurable
- A = attractive
- R = realistic
- T = terminated
Accordingly, a potential target could be: Via Facebook and Instagram (specific), we will reach 4000 people (measurable + realistic) every month with valuable content on our company values (attractive) by the end of 2020 (realistic + timed).
In this example, Instagram and Facebook should convey the company’s values to the target group. In this case, the target state describes the online presence on the two networks Instagram and Facebook. The company can then better reach the target group through a successful website.
3.Choose social networks and plan your social media strategy.
One question that some people are sure to ask is about the choice of social networks. How do you know which social networks to use with content? In point one, we have already realized that it is not always worthwhile to continue existing accounts, simply because of the existing existence. Instead, look at the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your target audience. Ask yourself the question: “Where do I meet my target group?”
Choose your channels according to your target audience
To select the optimal gutters for your social media strategy, the first step is to analyze your target group. After this classification, choose your social networks. This can be done according to various criteria, for example, according to demographic information such as age, or psychographic information such as user behavior. Roughly speaking, one could classify the social platforms according to age as follows:
- very young target group (8 – 16 years): TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube
- Young target group (16-20 years): Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, blog
- The target group of young adults (20 – 35 years old): Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, blog, podcast
- Middle-aged target group (25-45 years old): Facebook, YouTube, blog, podcast
- older target group (45 – 75 years old): Facebook, YouTube (if at all)
In the fourth step, we take care of the content for your social media strategy. The content is usually based on your strategic goal. If you want to inform, the content planning will look different from if you’re going to focus on your company’s values. Remember Bayer’s Instagram channel. This was also designed primarily to carry the corporate values outwards. Therefore, a large part of the posts was dedicated to campaigns and projects in which Bayer participates, which reflects the values for which the company stands. At this point, we would like to mention that variety is a point not to be neglected in the social media strategy. So don’t just produce content about your company’s values, even if that is your core strategy for social networks.
After you have thought about the possible distribution of content, the next step is to determine its type. This depends on the one hand, in the kind of social networks and on the other hand, on your preferences. Images spread better on Instagram. For text content, you should set up a blog. Podcasting is suitable for audio content, while YouTube is the video platform par excellence. Facebook is a mix of everything. Videos work well here, as do texts and photos. When choosing the content type, also keep in mind where your target audience is primarily.
5.Analyze and optimize
After you have set up your social media strategy basics, the most crucial step is to be taken. You are analyzing and optimizing. The final step is ultimately to find out what works and what doesn’t. What content does the target group jump to? What kind of content should you leave out? For analysis, most social networks offer analytics tools that show which content has reached how many people.
As an example, we would like to show you Instagram Insights. In this case, the analysis shows the activity and actions of users on your profile. After posting on Fridays and Mondays, the interaction rate was higher than on the other days. The tool could also help you find out when your posts get the most attention. Analysis tools also have the option of analyzing individual posts and showing the reach of the posts.
You can ultimately use all of this information to set up the best possible social media strategy.
Social Media Marketing Strategy – The special features for Pharma and Healthcare
When the subject of social media marketing in the pharmaceutical industry is addressed, the reactions are often similar: “It all sounds great, but we can’t do it like that.” “Great idea, but our compliance never lets it through!” “We would like to be active on social media, but we are afraid of potentially negative comments. “
First of all: No, social media communication is not a one-way street. And yes, you have to be prepared for user reactions. In most cases, the worries are unfounded, and the benefits outweigh the benefits for pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
Nevertheless, the social media marketing strategy for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies should be carefully considered and planned. Sufficient resources must also be designed. Social media is not a topic that the intern or assistant should take care of on the side. A successful social media strategy requires expertise. It is not necessarily a problem if the expertise is not available in your own company. The topic of social media is one that is often outsourced and implemented by agencies or freelancers, for example.
Necessary: Find partners familiar with the specifics of pharmaceuticals and healthcare when it comes to social media. Here it is not only essential to observe the legal situation (keyword: a ban on lay advertising), but also to keep the industry’s codes of conduct.
Social Media For Pharma – You Must Know That!
Before you get started, there are a few things to consider.
- Long-term planning: Don’t rush to open a social media channel without thinking about long-term planning. Often accounts are started as part of particular campaigns. In the beginning, think about how you can continue the version after the campaign has ended. Who will take care of support and content production in the long term? Is there a commitment in the company to work sustainably here?
- The right channels: It is essential to know which channels you can use to reach your target audience. Twitter may be relevant for the media and politics, but you will hardly go patients there. Research in advance where your target group is and act accordingly. The content that you want to and can post is also crucial. For Instagram, for example, you need very high quality and unique visual content. If you only work with stock photos here, it won’t be easy to achieve sustainable success.
- Possible content: What content would you like to present to your target group? Is it a corporate account, or is it about a specific indication? Also, always keep in mind that the content that is posted is influencing the conversation. If you post harmless topics and entertaining informative content, you also reduce the risk of a flood of negative comments because of each posting. Of course, unpleasant comments can always occur. Be prepared. Prepare guidelines and clarify responsibilities in advance.
- Branding, yes or no? It doesn’t always have to be just one corporate account to disseminate information. This is precisely how you can focus on a specific indication. Another possibility would be to support organizations. You don’t have to run a channel yourself, but you can provide support and resources and content.
- Bring compliance on board: Include compliance right from the start when planning. In this way, it can be avoided that planned campaigns cannot be launched at the end because individual requirements are not met.
This is why social media marketing is so crucial for pharma
The way content is consumed on the web has changed enormously in recent years. Please do not assume that today it is enough to have a beautiful website and wait for the potential target audience to land on the website. Today, pull instead of push applies in digital marketing. You have to make your content available where your target audience is. And that content needs to be relevant enough to generate interest.
The Facebook network has been said very often that it is dying or becoming irrelevant. The figures clearly show a different picture. Even if many people withdraw from the platform, many new users follow. Older user groups, in particular, show steady growth. With the right content and the right strategy, you can spread your content very successfully on Facebook.
The same goes for YouTube. Still the most popular social network in Austria. Don’t forget: YouTube videos can also have a positive effect on Google ranking. For planning 2020, you should take a look at the most extensive video platform.
Why content marketing is still neglected in the pharmaceutical industry
Content marketing is resource-intensive, and it takes patience. You cannot expect that you will quickly set up a website and open a Facebook channel and that users will come to your media by themselves. Content marketing requires long-term commitment and a clear strategy. This strategy must also include a budget for marketing. The so-called organic traffic on Facebook and co . is steadily decreasing. Only those who pay have a long-term chance. What does that mean? Posting content without a paid strategy is a waste of time and resources.
Often the majority of the budget is invested in the production of content. At least as much should flow into marketing. Because when the website goes online or the first posting is published on Facebook, the project is not finished. On the contrary: Now the tricky part begins. And there should still be enough resources left over.
The pharmaceutical, legal situation for social media
For pharmaceutical companies that are active in the prescription-only area, this means that they can score points on the social web, especially with information about health and illness. The need for valid and scientifically sound sources of data on the Internet is excellent. The social web also offers a suitable contact point for image campaigns. There is also nothing legally speaking against applying for the company itself.
It is best to discuss details of the legal situation with your lawyer or the compliance department.
Conclusion social media strategy
At the end of this long article, all that remains said is that the pharmaceutical industry can no longer do without social media communication. With the right strategy, conscientious planning, and commitment from the management floor, opening up to the outside world and allowing a view into your own company can bring significant advantages. Especially for the pharmaceutical industry, whose reputation is often negatively affected, social media channels are an excellent opportunity to approach the potential target group actively.