Why do Life Sciences Companies Use Social Listening Pre-Launch?

It’s no secret these days that patients, their caregivers, and even their doctors are using social media to connect and discuss health conditions online. These communications are playing a significant role in care decisions. One study found that 40% of patients reported that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. Using social research to leverage these online conversations can uncover actionable insights for life sciences clients, including the behaviors, attitudes, and needs of key customers. This research is particularly useful for pre-launch and newly approved brands, who have a number of unique concerns—especially when entering into a newly-indicated therapeutic area. In the transition from commercialization to
This research is particularly useful for pre-launch and newly approved brands, who have a number of unique concerns—especially when entering into a newly-indicated therapeutic area. In the transition from commercialization to competitive stage, brands seek to identify their target customer, engage key opinion leaders, and deploy a field sales team. However, patients are diverse and HCP opinions can be nuanced. Has traditional research uncovered all of the needs and concerns of your patients? Are divergent HCP opinions shaping the market in a place not previously captured?

With these uncertainties in mind, it is critical to conduct social research for two reasons.

  1. To understand the social media conversation. Brands can use social research to understand how online posts can influence stakeholders and shape opinions. The rule of thumb with social content is the 90-9-1 rule. Just 1% of social media users are contributing actively to the content there, and 9% contribute occasionally. The remaining 90% are lurking— they’re only reading what others have posted without directly engaging. Understanding what opinions are out there and shaping the 90% is crucial.
  2. To understand social media as an unbiased complement to primary research. Social media can fill in the gaps left by focus groups and IDIs. Social media is unguided and unbiased because patients are engaging with their communities organically rather than with an outside researcher. They might not admit that they skip their medicine to an interviewer, but they may be more likely to admit this in the online posts shared with their peers. Furthermore, social data isn’t limited or biased by the questions in a discussion guide. Questions might not focus on patients feeling judged by their peers for their choice of treatment, or moderators may not inquire enough to obtain natural patient language describing successful or unsuccessful treatment. Social listening provides insight into authentic and organic exchanges happening every day outside of the interview room.

So what are clients doing with all this information?

  1. Gaining an understanding of the patient, their needs, challenges, and preferences. Brands are learning what matters to patients when it comes to managing their condition and using this information to shape patient support services.
  2. Shaping brand messaging by understanding the competitive space. By listening to what key stakeholders—patients, their caregivers, and their healthcare providers—are saying about the treatment options already on the market, teams learn how to craft a message that matters.
  3. Monitoring emerging conversation around pre-launch and newly approved brands. Are doctors tweeting about your approval or has it gone unnoticed? Do they share positive clinical trial information to their audiences or is skepticism shaping the dialogue?

Social media provides brands access to real-time insights that capture, validate, and interpret the conversations key customers are having online, to optimize launch readiness and help accelerate brand adoption. To learn more about how social media analytics can help your team, head to our website.

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