Social Listening and Community Management – The Perfect Pairing for the Engaged Brand 

Dr. Katelyn Alderfer, Data Analyst, Social Media | Dave Thomas, Associate Director, Community Management 

February 17, 2021

Executive Summary

Today’s pharma marketers can’t deny the importance of social media to their customers, especially in the pandemic age where social networks have become an integral part of how we stay connected with the world around us. To stay up to date with current trends and consumer behaviors it is imperative that marketers listen to the conversations going on in these spaces and engage with their audience to build an engaged brand that identifies with the customer. 

To better stay up to date, marketers need to be in the know about both past and present conversations from customers or passive and active listening respectively. By combining passive listening achieved through social listening’s historical data and active listening with community management’s real-time pulse on the conversation, brands can build a complete picture of trends, wants, and needs. Pharma marketers can take this holistic picture even further by completing both community management and social listening within the same agency, the benefits of which include well informed data and campaigns.

Passive Listening with Social Listening 

Passive listening allows the pharma marketer to gain insights from observation of past conversations. Social listening gathers historical conversations from social networks, blogs, forums, and news sources to better understand your target audience and their community as well as to understand your competitors and their initiatives. By understanding your audience, you have the knowledge to better build your brand by serving your audience what they want. For example, with social listening and research, a pharma company might come across a plethora of comments from consumers stating that they would like to see a particular addition to a company’s OTC products. Armed with this knowledge, the company can act on that feedback and make the change, or simply have that knowledge going forward to apply to product design, campaigns, written/public statements, etc. 

Social listening has the ability to uncover these insights to help your brand become more informed. From listening to owned brands to listening for competitive mentions, we can use social listening to find what is being said to not only keep you informed but to also help inform media campaigns. In the past, social listening reports have helped to identify both consumer and HCP influencers for influencer campaigns, have identified language that is used by consumers to inform campaigns, and have identified competitors’ moves on social to keep brands up to date, just to name a few.

Active Listening with Community Management 

Active listening in the form of community management helps to keep a pulse on real-time trending topics, keywords, hashtags and community events. Community management gains audience insights and brand protection through real time alerts and is unique in that it allows a brand to track, analyze, and respond to customers in real time. This real time tracking can help pharma brands prepare for engagement opportunities as well as help understand what language is being used by customers and what keywords are relevant. These insights can then be used to inform responses, campaigns, and even social listening.

At CMI Media Group, our community management team meets pharma brands wherever they are on their social engagement journey. We have the capabilities to quickly launch community management programs that include 24/7 monitoring, response capabilities, and adverse event escalation to ensure comprehensive and reliable brand protection. In addition, we have successfully built channel guidelines and response templates that have informed community engagement strategies across brands and even entire organizations. Our expertise in social media in the pharmaceutical industry and our unparalleled access to data through social listening empowers our clients to successfully manage existing conversation and build towards future community engagement goals.

Our Strategy: A Dedicated Team All Under One Roof 

The merging of both active and passive listening can lead to a complete picture of customer trends, wants, and needs, but it can also lead to truly inspired marketing. Social listening and community management create a symbiotic relationship on social media by both learning about the customer and then responding to that customer. What might the merge of these two look like for Pharma? For example, a brand might use social listening to identify what patients are saying about the insurance approval process or payer coverage for their medications. After discovering through a social listening report that patients are having difficulty with the insurance approval process, the brand then might decide to reach out to these individual patients through community management and provide them with links to patient assistance websites or educational materials.

We recommend the strategy of combining social listening and community management, which allows for better flexibility and responsiveness. CMI Media Group’s unique structure allows both social listening and community management to be conducted alongside a dedicated media team. This enables the development of the most informed brand strategy through insights derived from customers for their campaigns. 

Our Recommendations 

The combination of social listening and community management is key to providing exceptional customer service and to delivering unforgettable marketing. The truly engaged brand must be on the cusp of the latest conversation and nimble enough to act in real time according to the latest sentiments and trends. In pharma, this means listening to what patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers are discussing and how they are discussing it in order to be able to quickly, efficiently, and effectively respond. It means building a relationship with your customer base by knowing their wants and needs, which is especially important when it comes to health.

To be as efficient and streamlined as possible, it is recommended that both social listening and community management are managed by one team who can flawlessly execute both components in perfect unison, under one agency and platform. The result is a relevant, impactful, and secure brand. For more information on how to have a winning social listening and community management strategy, contact your CMI Media Group Media Lead to get it touch with the CMI Media Group Social Intelligence Team today!