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Data-driven Social Media Marketing

At least half of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies are now actively engaged with social media, and many are seeing the benefit of being involved across multiple social media channels. While uncertainties around regulatory issues are still a factor for many companies, it feels in recent years that there has been a growing acceptance that pharmaceutical companies do have a positive role to play in the social media conversation.


Companies are now starting to go to the next level and use social media in a more targeted way.  “Data-driven marketing” is a major tool to help companies achieve this. Using social media data, companies can tweak communication strategies to stay on top of trends and ahead of competitors.

Finding the conversation that matter most

With social media now spanning a multitude of channels from blogs and microblogs to video and picture sharing networks, and streaming and niche communities, one-size-fits-all strategies generally will not serve a company’s content well.

Gathering analytics over a period of time can allow companies to gain an understanding of what content best resonates with their target audience and how and where their audience engages online. Data-driven marketing therefore allows companies to find the most relevant social media channels as well as to give them an idea of how to engage with their target group.

Benefits of data-driven social media marketing

Data-driven social media marketing is the process of mining data from social media sites and reviewing that data to make strategic data-driven marketing decisions. Companies benefit in several ways from this.

First, it can provide a deep dive into who their audience is (e.g. behaviour, attitudes and emotions). It can provide insights into who clicks on what content and when, at what times of the day the core target group is active, what click sequences the users of social media channels take to access the website, and much more besides. In addition, it gives companies the metrics they need to distribute their social media ad budget in a more targeted way and adapt it over time to avoid wasted resources. It also helps to achieve tangible proof of the value of social media campaigns.

Accurate interpretation is the key

There are various tools available to help provide this kind of data and almost every social media channel provides their own set of analytics tools, e.g. Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics. Google Analytics is a commonly used tool which can provide a detailed understanding of how a company’s social activity is influencing their site traffic, conversion rate, goal completion rate and so on.

There are other analytical tools, and it can be advisable to use different ones for different situations. But most important is the correct interpretation of the data and the resulting strategic recommendations. Here it can help to work with agencies with the necessary social media expertise in healthcare and also to share insights with colleagues also involved in social media marketing.

Tom Oelschläger & Ross Williams

Tom Oelschläger is part of the antwerpes social media lab and specialises in data-driven social media marketing and digital marketing trends. For optimising social media strategies in the healthcare segment his focus is mainly on sentiment analyses, community management and KPIs for conversion rates.

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