How Social Media Listening Can Help Pharma Companies?

Social media listening is gaining popularity over the last few years. From customers to stakeholders, from patients to doctors, from caregivers to health workers all are more active on social media now. Drawing information from their conversations helps in a better understanding of the customers’ needs and preferences. 

With social media listening, pharma companies can get information on their patients’ journeys, disease and treatment insights, diagnostic tools used, and more. This in turn will help them in improving the quality of their research and put their efforts at the right places as per the changing requirements. 

Social Media Listening for Pharma Companies – How can It help?

Innovator firms spend billions of dollars in innovating and launching a product. Researching diligently and capturing real-world evidence can go a long way in an effective product launch and its journey in the life cycle. Social Media Listening can help extensively in capturing patient’s voice and real-world evidence by helping in the following research areas:

  • Patients’ needs
  • Brand Perception
  • Competitor analysis
  • Staying updated


Patients’ needs

By listening to the conversations of the patients on social media channels and patient forums, data can be collected for a better understanding of customer needs, and their points of pain and concerns. According to the World Health Organization, more than 60 percent of initial disease reports are generated from online sources and electronic media.

Social media provides a medium to connect the customers and the drug manufacturers, which in turn helps in the faster detection of diseases.

Brand Perception

Social Media Listening can also help in knowing how the brand is perceived by its patients and other stakeholders. By tracking consumer conversations and measuring consumer sentiments, the concerns of patients related to the efficacy and safety of the drugs can be identified. Brands can further dive deeper by analyzing patient data to understand the drug switches and the reason for these switches.

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The above image illustrates how the real world patient conversations flow in the social media listening platforms to come up with the relevant market and patient insights which can be fed to the Brand teams for their consumption and strategic planning. Third-party vendors or agencies mine the required data from multiple patient forums and social media channels, delivering the raw noise removed conversations, data to market research or digital teams who then process it, and analyze it to generate relevant insights for the brand teams.


Competitor analysis

Through social media listening, important insights can be collected for strategic planning. Getting positive and negative feedback from the consumers can help to refine the product communication, take the right strategic approach and expand the reach of the product by innovating in newer trial populations and product formulations. Identifying the problems and meeting the expectation of the customer can help to overtake the competitors.

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The above picture highlights the usage of consumers on various social media channels including Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms around the world. Twitter and Patient forums together constitute close to 50% of the patient conversations and these can act as important sources to generate patient-based insights.

Staying updated

Social media can help commercial and medical managers keep themselves updated; wherever they are in the world. Millions of posts, interactions, queries, happen every split second. Listening to these comments and trends can help the firms in pharmacovigilance and ensure that any important data is not missed.

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In today’s digital era, valuable insights based on real-world patient evidence needs to be uncovered to help improve the quality of products and communication, provide better care of the patients, improve patient compliance and adherence to drugs, generate higher revenues, and come up with innovative ideas, and solutions to research new products and expand the reach of the existing drugs. Some precautions also need to be taken to avoid spreading misinformation among patients. Social Media Listening can, however, save a whole lot of money, in getting useful patient insights, which companies otherwise get using very high-cost primary researches throughout the year. The pharma companies should embrace Social Media Listening for more commercial success and getting ahead of the competition in the near future.