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16 Essential Facebook Tactics for Healthcare and Pharma Marketers

Each and every day millions “like,” comment, and share disease state education, treatment solutions, support programs, and more. The average consumer spends nearly two hours on social media daily and, especially for healthcare and pharma, social networks have become the connective tissue between brands and health system stakeholders. These platforms are where patients, caregivers, and even HCPs engage with health-related information and seek the counsel of their peers.

The obvious challenge for pharma marketers is that user generated content exposes companies to concerns ranging from reputation management to privacy concerns to adverse event reporting. Making matters even more complicated, the platforms themselves change often, from seemingly weekly channel enhancements to security changes to tweaked algorithms. That makes keeping abreast of new FDA guidance and technological features a true balancing act, demanding non-stop attentiveness, and proven compliance expertise.

The combination of unprecedented audience reach with complex tech, regulatory, and reputations concerns makes implementing social best practices more vital than ever before. So I’ve compiled 50 tips for pharma paid and organic campaigns to help you not only avoid problems, but get the most out of social media for your brands. Let’s start with the market leader, Facebook…

Part 1: 16 Super Ideas for Facebook

1. Ensure your Facebook Page appears in search results by avoiding age or country restrictions, and including a profile picture, cover photo, and call-to-action button. Make sure to add basic info and, lastly, ensure your Page is published.

2. Facebook allows advertising to three core audiences: your Facebook followers, all of Facebook (according to your target criteria), and to a Custom Audience, i.e. existing customers, like website visitors or email lists. Build success from the ground up by selecting the audience best in line with your goals.

3. If an organic page post has received high engagement in the form of likes, shares and comments, that tells you about its popularity; boost such a proven post with paid promotion to reach an even greater audience.

4. Track your Facebook Page performance alongside similar Pages or competitors by adding Pages to watch under the Insights tab:

5. Uncertain of which ad version to launch? Leverage the split test function in Facebook Ads Manager to gather insights based on a specific variable – target audience, delivery, placements, or creative. You can opt for the test to finish early based on the winning ad, enabling your brand to move forward with confidence.

6. Facebook favors ads light on copy. But don’t forget to use the custom link description, which allows you to share an additional sentence for detail.

7. New to advertising on Facebook? Facebook Blueprint offers free online training on all aspects of marketing through the platform. You can also take online exams to earn Blueprint Certification, the only certification officially recognized by Facebook.

8. Your Facebook followers can see how long it takes your brand to respond to a message – so be prompt to maintain good ratings. A solid benchmark can be found with Johnson & Johnson: despite having close to 800,000 page followers, they typically reply within a day.

9. Not seeing the results expected from your Facebook ad? Optimize the ad in real-time by editing your audience, budget & schedule, placements, creative, or delivery choices within Ads Manager.

10. Take advantage of Facebook Audience Network (FAN) to extend your ad campaigns to your target audience off of Facebook. Campaigns delivered through FAN typically see larger reach at a lower cost per result.

11. Unbranded Facebook pages that put people – not treatments – at the center can be a game-changer for pharma. They also help you avoid the complications of branded content, often difficult or impossible to control within a social network. When done right, such unbranded content can nonetheless lead to important behavioral change, driving patients to prescribers, improving their adherence to treatment and motivating them to join awareness programs.

A great example is “Quitter’s Circle,” the unbranded page managed by Pfizer and the American Lung Association, which provides informative and motivational content to more than 150,000 followers.

12. Attending a conference? Unveiling a new treatment center? Welcoming a new physician? Let your Facebook followers in on the action with FacebookLive. These videos now stay on your page, so followers can engage with your content even if they missed it live.

13. Stand out in a sea of sameness, like the American Cancer Society did, by using a video in place of a cover or profile image. Facebook supports videos of up to 7 seconds for profile videos and reels of 20 to 90 seconds for cover videos. For best results, Facebook recommends uploading a pixel size no less than 820 x 462.

14. User-generated content, be it a positive Facebook review or Instagram post, is one of the best ways to increase trust in your organization. Consider featuring testimonials as a paid ad to reach your target audience in a more relatable, peer-to-peer way.

15. If increasing site traffic is the key objective of your Facebook ad campaign, conduct a preliminary split test to measure the cost per click of unique link clicks compared to landing page views. In my experience, link clicks are almost always more cost efficient.

16. Based on the size of your audience and key objectives, advertising on Facebook can be extremely cost effective. In fact, the minimum daily budget for impressions is as low as $1/day. The below ad sets, for example, achieved 2,182 impressions and reached 273 unique people within our target audience for a spend of only $37.75:

Looking for more of my top social media tips? Check out 5 Tips on Unbranded Facebook Pages for Pharma Marketers and 4 Key Advantages of Instagram Stories for Pharma Marketers.

What advice or pointers would you add to this list? I’d love to hear what I’ve missed!

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