There’s been much debate recently around brand Facebook pages, with many critics arguing that they don’t make sense and some brands ignoring critics’ warnings and forging ahead. Launching a brand Facebook page shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially in pharma. Strategic considerations and critical research are needed to determine whether a Facebook page can be an effective way for your brand to build and engage a community.
Consider these questions to help you determine if a Facebook page may be right for your pharma brand:
- Do you have an audience? Determining that your brand’s target audiences are on Facebook and willing to or already engaging with consumer-facing content is the most important factor in determining whether a Facebook page makes sense for your brand. Inserting your brand into a naturally engaging space for your community is key. This research and analysis can be done in advance through social listening.
- Do you have something to say…that’s engaging and distinctive? Consider the brand, disease state and online community to figure out what type of content you’ll share on your page. If your content only consists of brand messaging, it most likely won’t be seen. Is your target audience interested in raising awareness, motivational tips, nutritious recipes, exercise or other lifestyle factors to help manage their condition? Decide what will truly resonate with your audience – what they’ll want to read, share and keep coming back for – and what they can’t find anywhere else online. Most importantly, if you mention the disease state in your brand page’s Timeline posts, you’ll need to include fair balance. To keep your content concise and consumer-friendly, you may want to consider not mentioning the disease state (or any other claims) in your posts so that you don’t need to include the fair balance. However, if you do that, you’ll need to ensure that your content will make sense and be meaningful, without a mention of the disease state.
- Will your content be authentic and impactful? Consider working with key influencers in the community, including patients, caregivers or healthcare professionals, to co-create or provide input on content for your Facebook page. The more support and contributions you can share from real community members, the more trust and influence you can build with your target audience. And don’t forget to keep posts short and use videos and images as much as possible.
- Do you have paid media built into your plan? Paid media has to be a part of your Facebook strategy. Recent changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm have drastically reduced the percentage of fans that will see your content organically. A paid strategy ensures your content will scale, adds to organic sharing and increases the shelf life of each post. It doesn’t require huge budgets, but it is an essential component.
- Are you ready to commit? Make sure you have the necessary resources in place before launch. Launching any Facebook page requires a commitment to developing new content on an ongoing basis, constant monitoring, analyzing results and optimization to be successful. On top of that, branded pharma Facebook pages often require more creative thinking and constant liaison with legal/regulatory teams. Facebook will make sudden changes periodically with no forewarning. So, keep an eye on the design and functionality (yes, every single button) of your page to ensure you’re prepared to catch any changes and to submit the updated page to legal/regulatory for immediate re-review.
Still think Facebook may be right for your brand? There may be even more opportunities to engage with your target community on the horizon. First, there are rumors that Facebook is planning to launch a healthcare offering, which could impact how brands interact with communities on Facebook in the future. Also, the recent draft FDA social media guidance said that companies are not responsible for correcting user-generated content on sites where they have a presence. This means brand pages may be able to open user-generated comments on their Facebook Timelines in the near future…opening doors to entirely new ways to build two-way relationships with your community.