The explosion of health-related social media use In little more than a decade, social media – those digital platforms that allow sharing, collaboration and discussion – have evolved from niche concepts into part of everyday life for many people across the globe. It is estimated that over a quarter of the world’s population has some form of social media account . Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are some of the best-known names, but there are dozens of platforms, including country, and language-specific networks, those focused on patients with particular medical conditions, and professional-only and enterprise-class networks.
The impact of social media on all types of business, including the pharmaceutical business, can no longer be ignored. Pharmaceutical companies need to be informed and prepared if they are to stay ahead in the new environment, even though this means taking on extra work. Going ‘back to basics’, and focusing on first ensuring compliance and operational excellence is the formula for increasing the chances of success of any value-adding programme, such as social media engagement or monitoring. Good business processes, a well-trained workforce and appropriate technological enablers provide a solid foundation for investments in social media, reducing the risk of costly errors and facilitating the development of an effective strategy with senior-level buy-in.