Pharmaceutical Giants Pioneering the Way in Social Media


A recent article featured on FiercePharma’s website offers a list of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the social media arena. The article, “Top 10 pharma companies in social media,” lists pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novo Nordisk as the top 3 companies that are currently present and involved online.

One of the key issues addressed in the article was pharma’s reluctance to even become involved with social media due to strict regulatory guidelines. The article mentions that only half of the 50 largest drugmakers throughout the world even dabble in social media. Certainly the high risk of engaging in social media has steered companies away from posting helpful material for customers online.

While many companies are shy to join the social media world, research from Best Practices, LLC showed that, independent of their maturity in social media, about half of companies have written policies in place to govern the use of social media at the workplace. From our research we found that the majority of pharmaceutical companies can fall into one of three categories when it comes to their involvement with social media:

  • No Involvement- 20% of organizations in our recent study are not monitoring or engaging in any social media actions. These organizations avoid risk all together, but are also not reaping some of the benefits associated with engaging with their customers on social media.
  • Simply Monitoring- About 1/3 of benchmarked companies are passively monitoring social media content on the web without strategically driving social media activities. This allows organizations to get customer feedback without the risk involved with adding comments.
  • Proactively Manage- Benchmarked companies that are proactively engaging in social media found the greatest benefits in utilizing Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. These companies reported that social media has had a positive impact on product branding and building their corporate image. 

Organizations in highly regulated industries, such as the pharmaceutical industry, often struggle to incorporate social media into their organization effectively and safely. While many companies still do not proactively manage their social media accounts, we found that social media activities are expected to play a bigger role in companies’ marketing strategies during the coming years. Using extreme caution and having written policies in place to govern the use of social media are essential when navigating the social media world. Although there are many challenges and risks associated with social media, there are also many opportunities that companies can benefit from in the long run.

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