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Patient community on social media: three pros and cons

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  1. Pros
  2. Cons

One of the most effective ways to reach patients is through a disease awareness campaign. For a Life Sciences & Health organisation, such a campaign is often set up to create awareness of a (new) treatment or medicine. A social media community is a great tool for a campaign like that. Below three pros and cons of setting up a social media community for patients!

Pros

• Bring the campaign to life!
A patient community helps to bring a campaign to life. By regularly sharing content that your target audience responds to, the campaign becomes tangible and reaches people organically.

• Source of information
A social community is an interesting source of information about the target group. What is going on within the target group? What kind of information is wanted? All these things are very relevant for a community manager when creating and optimising content.

• Start the dialogue
By starting a social community, you open a channel where the target group can interact; for example, about a certain disease, and everything that comes with it. Where patients from your target group may not yet have been able to come into contact with each other, now there is a place where they can.

Cons

• Good webcare is essential, but takes time, attention and expertise
A social community requires proactive webcare. This takes time and attention, and, therefore, budget. It is crucial that the quality of the webcare is high. You do not want typos, or other kinds of errors in the comments of a large organisation. Social media users will take the account, and therefore the company less seriously. Effectively, you have to make sure that the webcare is run by a qualitatively good team or external agency.

• Adverse Events
When opening a community, you also open a channel where possible adverse events can be reported. This may seem scary, but measures can be taken in advance with a protocol developed specifically for the campaign. Read more about the social media protocol here.

• Not always the right tool
Setting up and managing a social community is time-consuming business, so it must be worth it. Keep your goal in mind at all times. Do you really want to build a community, or do you just want to generate website traffic? If you only want to get traffic to a campaign website and do not want to publish organic content, an advertising campaign using dark posts may be effective enough. Therefore, consider this carefully!

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