“Live.”

It’s a word that can send a shudder through any pharma marketer, but one that signals to patients and physicians the kind of access they excitedly want and need. I’ve recommended Facebook Live for a couple of our clients recently, and fulfilling that desire for access is precisely the reason.

A quick primer on Facebook Live: It is a video that can be broadcast live from a personal profile, in a private group, or, most importantly to brands on a corporate or product Facebook page. While some kinks still need to be worked out, Facebook Live is an opportunity to hold Q&As, share behind the scenes footage, and more, without all of the production time or expectation of high production value.

According to Facebook, one billion videos are viewed a day, with 65% of viewers watching on mobile devices. Facebook is now putting a huge emphasis on videos—hence the launch of the Facebook Live capability. The algorithm is prioritizing video while it is happening, meaning it will appear highest in user feeds. The best part is that Facebook Live provides the ability to reach just the right consumers—and a lot of them, given Facebook’s user count—by using the same Audience Controls typically used for posts. The engagement level for these videos has been astounding. People are nine times more likely to engage with Live videos via likes, comments, and shares, than with regular videos.

As an added bonus, the life of the video doesn’t have to stop once the “live” nature ends. Once the broadcast is complete, Facebook Live videos can be packaged and shared on other social platforms and embedded into blogs.

How to Leverage Facebook Live

With all the guardrails and precautions that are in place, how can Facebook Live be leveraged effectively by pharma? Let’s start by looking at the topics about which target audiences often have questions and to which these populations currently lack access. Marketers talk a lot about what it takes to bring a product to market, so why not do a weekly broadcast surrounding the journey to a physician script? This behind-the-scenes tour tactic can follow a brand from the lab to clinical trials to an advisory committee hearing to launch day. Giving patients and physicians a sneak peek—and keeping them engaged throughout the entire process—gives brands a turnkey way to build and reward loyalty.

How should a pharma brand handle the engagement? If we think about Facebook Live as another medium to host the traditional media interview, the idea of answering unscripted questions might not seem so scary. Preparing on-camera “talent” in advance will ensure a comfort with navigating questions, and even the answer takes the conversation to a private or offline forum to avoid legal/regulatory issues.

And don’t forget about the measurable results! Facebook Analytics will share everything a brand needs to know to adjust titles, content, time of day, and more to ensure broadcasts continue to be successful.

As Facebook continues to develop and provide creative ways for users to create and consume content, this platform offers advantages—and untapped potential—for pharma.

  • Laney Landsman

    Laney Landsman is Group Vice President at Makovsky Health. Laney helps clients develop integrated campaigns that align with company objectives focusing on clients within the pharma and biotech space. Follow her on Twitter @lanes0220.

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