NEW YORK, June 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- It is widely recognized that pharmaceutical companies have been slow to master effective social media engagement strategies compared to other industry sectors. Building on Socializing Your Brand: A Brand's Guide to Sociability research by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick in partnership with Forbes Insights, Weber Shandwick Health explored how global pharmaceutical companies are using social media today to engage key audiences.
The findings from the new study, Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma, identify a number of paradigm shifting conclusions. The most surprising finding is that regulatory restrictions are no longer the primary barrier to social engagement. While regulations are a critically important and persistent concern, pharma marketing and communications executives report that they are challenged to a greater extent by socializing their strategies internally, instilling social media confidence in their teams and aligning the right resources.
"Patients are increasingly harnessing the Internet to gain knowledge about health conditions and even self-diagnose, leading to a more empowered health consumer and more informed patient-physician conversations," said Laura Schoen , President Global Healthcare, Weber Shandwick. "In this new age of participatory medicine, pharmaceutical companies must start by understanding what health communities want and then use digital technologies to reach them with information that meets the demand and takes into account applicable regulations in their markets."The research consisted of 12 in-depth telephone interviews with senior in-house pharmaceutical executives responsible for social media decisions. Interviews took place in Europe, the United States, Asia and Latin America.
"As social channels become increasingly important and quite frankly, unavoidable, pharmaceutical companies are no longer waiting for regulatory bodies to clarify what they can do," says Stacey Bernstein , Director of Weber Shandwick's US Digital Health Practice. "Today, the biggest barrier for authentic pharma engagement in social media rests in the need for better internal alignment and understanding of the medium. We need to build social confidence within pharma."
Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma offers communicators with a guide to becoming more socially engaged by offering 10 rules of engagement for building and maximizing social confidence.
10 Rules of Engagement: Building Social Confidence in Pharma
Based on our in-depth interviews with industry professionals, Weber Shandwick recommends the following strategies to help pharma companies maximize their social confidence.
Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma demonstrates that some of the obstacles often cited by pharmaceutical companies are manageable and simply require better internal communication between departments and fresher, more adaptive organizational structures. The opportunity now exists to take steps to more fully integrate social media within company walls while enabling deeper relationships with those external to the organization to yield true integration.
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About the Research
Weber Shandwick conducted in-depth telephone interviews with 12 senior executives responsible for social media decisions in global pharmaceutical companies in the latter part of 2012. Interviewees were located in Europe, the United States, Asia and Latin America.
About Weber Shandwick
Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations firm with offices in 81 countries around the world. The firm has won numerous awards for innovative approaches and creative campaigns including being named both The Holmes Report's 2012 Global Agency of the Year and the "Most Creative PR Firm in the World," based on the agency's first-place finish in its "Creative Index," as well as PR News' 2012 Digital PR Firm of the Year. Major practice areas include healthcare, consumer marketing, technology, public affairs, financial services, corporate and crisis management. The firm has deep, award-winning expertise in social media and digital marketing that helps drive engagement. Weber Shandwick is part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). For more information, visit http://www.webershandwick.com.
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