Social media listening is an important step on the path to online engagement. This is a process that is crucial for all brands but even more pivotal for pharmaceutical companies. Most listening exercises are set up with an eye toward devising a social media engagement strategy. Naturally, the information gleaned from social media listening will identify any exiting content gaps a brand might be able to fill.
Embarking on an online listening project solely as a means to create a full-scale engagement strategy is an adequate approach. But as I’ve touched on time and time again here, when we put social media in a vacuum we run the risk of becoming irrelevant. So where else can the intelligence of social listening support brand marketing efforts? Extending that even further, where can social listening break outside of the marketing department and provide value across the brand?
It doesn’t take a huge leap of faith to see obvious opportunities for social media listening to help inform marketing efforts beyond just creating an engagement strategy. Despite this, social media listening as a mechanism to augment market research is overlooked. When you are dealing with large pharmaceutical brands there is likely a dedicated market research team. If you are not careful, social media listening can feel like a competitive threat to their function and role inside the brand. Of course, it’s not a threat and as social media marketers we should work hand-in-hand to determine what market research needs from us and how we can augment their process—not supplant it. Through your online listening, you might find that people talk about the symptoms associated with a brand differently than you imagined. The conversation online might in fact be more colloquial than clinical. This type of simple intelligence can have big implications for your brand marketing strategy.
This is just one simple, easy example of extending social media listening beyond serving as a bridge to engagement. Social media is a strategic function of an organization’s engagement strategy. However, marketers too often think about social media in a silo. Market research is an easy connection point to demonstrate and extend the value of social media beyond just engagement.