MedCity Influencers

Bring your pharma brand to life with Facebook Live

By complementing life science marketing strategies with Facebook Live, companies will be able to connect with and engage more people in a more familiar and direct manner, which will drive digital word-of-mouth.

pills, drugs, pill, pile of pills, medication

Facebook Live has enabled pharmaceutical companies to connect with healthcare professionals and consumers in social media by broadcasting video content live on Facebook. Live video is easy to use, can be low cost or professionally produced, and enjoys extremely high engagement levels. Healthcare marketers are increasingly adding this tactic to their social media marketing programs and leveraging the unique storytelling features of live video.

Video storytelling helps companies connect with an audience emotionally, transfer more information in a highly efficient manner, all while gaining valuable attention for their teams, programs and products. Live video, in particular, is a way for pharmaceutical companies to become more accessible to healthcare professionals, and connect with patients to improve adherence. These videos can provide a new dimension to a brand in social media and provide a way to connect with people in a preferred manner that compliments marketing programs in other channels.

Viewer engagement levels for live videos are ten times more than regular video by social media metrics such as likes, comments, and shares, making Facebook ideal for connecting to a pharma brand’s audience. Additionally, healthcare industry videos receive six times more engagement than any other Facebook content.

Facebook is now putting a greater emphasis on videos. Their algorithm prioritizes live video while they are being broadcast allowing the content to appear at the top of a  user’s News Feed. Using the same advertising targeting controls for Facebook sponsored posts, marketers can dial-in just the right audience for live video content. And, with over 1 billion videos viewed per day on Facebook, audiences can be sizable.

A simple video from over-the-counter (OTC) drugmaker Aleve was one of the most viewed videos on Facebook in 2016 with more than 7.7 million views and 11,000 shares.

Educate, empathize and connect with key audiences

Live video enables pharma companies to breathe life into the brand, projecting an empathetic and supportive tone, while educating consumers on their product in a conversational format. Done well, live video packs rich content that commands attention and connects with an audience more deeply than text or image posts. Deeper emotional connections increase social media engagement via likes, shares, and comments which drives up overall video views. Monitoring and collecting comments from live video becomes a natural extension of ongoing community management and social media brand protection measures.

Healthcare brands are finding that Facebook Live is a natural fit for raising brand and product awareness through a more preferred storytelling format. They are using Facebook Live to:

  • Raise awareness of little-known conditions
  • Improve people’s understanding of a disease or disorder
  • Interview company experts and industry authorities
  • Promote corporate social responsibility activities
  • Enhance brand perceptions

One of the earliest live video success stories was Novartis’s Facebook Live event to support its Rise Above Heart Failure initiative – a disease state awareness campaign about heart disease. The program featured a Facebook Live chat with Queen Latifah, which drew nearly 1,000 people during the live event – and ultimately received approximately 35,000 views showing the two-punch potential of live and on-demand video content. Compelling content achieves views, shares and conversational engagement offering a more effective way to achieve marketing objectives.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is an excellent example of not having to be a large brand with a large budget to use Facebook Live to bring attention to their healthcare professionals. The organization began in 2016 with a live video series on Periscope – a live video platform that works across social networks and is similar to Facebook Live – that featured a new mother learning how to care for her premature baby, Madeline. The first three live videos attracted a total of 900 viewers and were considered a success – and encouraged the hospital to continue to broadcast content and connect with families using live video.

Next, Children’s Hospital started creating weekly “Q & A” live video events and later added a “Meet the CEO” live events aimed at hospital staff, which began to draw thousands of views. They have since used Facebook Live to showcase events such as a three-day marathon fundraiser. Today, the weekly live events attract between 15,000-45,000 views and drive traffic to produced video segments that receive up to 200,000 views. These efforts have helped Children’s Hospital gain 145,000 Facebook fans, an impressive feat for a small regional hospital in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Building their Facebook audience through live video has enabled the hospital to leverage their engaged community to participate in future events, fundraising, volunteerism and direct donations such as their wildly successful Rocks for a Reason campaign.

Korre Johnson, Digital Engagement Manager for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, is the man behind live video campaigns. Johnson and his team continue to tap their creativity and time to bring an innovative edge to healthcare marketing building impressive engagement. Johnson generously shares his knowledge and experiences at speaking events such as Health.

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin using Facebook Live and Periscope to engage patients and families.

Why live videos make sense

Video is quickly becoming the new standard and preferred media type with adults spending over an hour a day watching, mostly on mobile devices. Investments here, small or large, are paying off for those who include video as a core element in their marketing playbooks.

Live videos on platforms like Facebook empower brands to connect with consumers in real time, increase followers and harness the power of social networks through likes and shares to grow viewership. By encouraging viewers to ask questions and comment on live videos, marketing professionals will get instant feedback from their audience, which they can use to share empathy, information or promote digital resources.

Adding Facebook Live is one of the most real, sociable and genuine ways to connect with followers online and on mobile devices. Facebook Live can act as a window into a brand in the moment with real people conversing. But it’s not the only choice for live video. Twitter Live and Instagram Live share similar attributes and are worth exploring as marketers delve further into using live video.

What to take into consideration

After completing a live broadcast, the video is available to view like any other post. For those who were not able to tune into the live event, they can watch it when it’s convenient for them, increasing the life and value of the video. To drive additional value, promote the video in email newsletters, on websites, or with paid advertising to bring a broader audience outside Facebook to your Facebook page and video content

Check in on your video analytics to see what content works and what doesn’t. In addition to the standard Facebook Audience Insights video stats, Live analytics provide additional insight into peak live view times, total reach, reactions, comments, and shares.

Just like you would during any other public outreach in digital channels, pharma brands need to a plan to remain compliant. However, that’s not difficult to manage, at least when it comes to managing adverse events (AEs). Facebook Live simply becomes another comment thread – like traditional posts on Facebook – that needs monitoring to keep your brand protected.

Harness the power of real-time video and tell your brand’s story in new and dynamic ways. By complementing your marketing strategies with Facebook Live, you’ll be able to connect with and engage more people in a more familiar and direct manner that as with everything in social media, drives digital word-of-mouth.

Photo: Martin Barraud, Getty Images



This post appears through the MedCity Influencers program. Anyone can publish their perspective on business and innovation in healthcare on MedCity News through MedCity Influencers. Click here to find out how.