Top 5 tips: Social Media Listening

MH900187159 As Lars Bogner, Head of Section, Digital Center of Excellence, Corporate Marketing, Leo Pharma, stated in his talk at this year’s DigiPharm event people have thousands of conversations online everyday which could impact your brand. Are you listening to them? By listening in on conversations online you can gain insight into your brand which you can then use to improve your services or to determine which initiatives are working well and which perhaps need to be adjusted. Below are the top 5 tips inspired by Lars’ presentation:

1. Keywords are key

Firstly remember the way you describe your product and the words which you believe centre around it may not be the only keywords which your customers/patients use.  Conduct some keyword research to ensure you are not missing a trick so to say when it comes to pinpointing discussion around your product/brand/organisation. For example diagnosed v. non-diagnosed patients may use different descriptions/terminology. Be aware of the long tail, and plan accordingly so you don’t miss relevant conversation. Secondly make sure you are monitoring their use, Google Alerts is probably the best place to start if you aren’t already monitoring keywords. Even if you just add an alert to the name of your organisation, the tool is an effective measure of just when and why you are being talked about. There are various tools available for different channels, invest some time in researching which ones work best for your organisation.

2. Channel breakdown

Different channels can provide different insights so it is important you do not isolate just a couple. For example personal blogs, and patient centric forums may contain information on specific treatment types, mentions of specific treatment side effects and levels of effectiveness. Whereas Twitter is less likely to be as detailed, more likely to be symptom specific without direct mentions of certain treatments.

It may also be useful to split the channels further into a ‘diagnosed segment’ and a ‘non-diagnosed segment’, to gain a deeper insight. Lars used the case study of a Psoriasis story shared on a forum in the non-diagnosed segment, it contained specific symptoms, mentioned the use of online research into the condition, and overall showed a high motivation towards seeking medical consultation.

non-diagnosed segment

Whereas within the ‘diagnosed segment’ Lars was able to establish behavioural traits of the sufferer such as feeling not in control of the disease, along with reasons for flare-ups, and importantly the reasons for switching treatments.

diagnosed segment


3.  Educate your teams

Social media listening does not just have one focus or one benefit, it can be used to monitor different aspects of each organisation/product, from the visual identity of the brand, to pricing, to regulatory affairs. Therefore ensure your team is fully briefed on best social media practices where relevant.  

4. Go back in time

How far back does your social media listening cover? If you have only ‘listened’ in on the last 6 months you may be missing certain patterns which become invisible within shorter spaces of time. For example if you are monitoring a product which helps to treat Psoriasis, it could be useful to gain insights from at least a year’s worth of data to uncover if there are any patterns which relate to seasonal flare ups. You may also wish to isolate certain events such as the moment a new drug enters the market, use the information you gain to understand how opinion changes, and why.

5. Don’t forget to compare

Social media data or research is not and should not be used as a lone tool, instead compare your social media data analysis with that of focus groups, one-on-one consultations, direct feedback and surveys. Private data and social data naturally compliment each other, you might discover correlations which weren’t obvious before. The outcome of the final overall analysis will help you to become more patient centric, and enable you to act upon any key issues which become apparent.

Do you have your own tips to share? Feel free to add them below.


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