Google plus a new opportunity for pharma?

Googles new social network Google+ has now been accessible for a few months and in the time of writing this post nearly 10 million have signed up. While many people might not see the point in abandoning Facebook just yet we see some exiting potential that Google+ could hold for pharma businesses.

Use circles to communicate

One of the core features of Google+ is the way you can divide your network into groups (known as circles) and define what you want to share with each one. By default you have access to four circles (friends, family, acquaintances and following) but you can easily create and customize your own. Whenever you share or post something be it text, images, video etc. you can select which circles you want to share it with and in this way prevent everyone else from seeing it. This could be beneficial for pharmaceutical companies who want to limit their communication to a specific group of people such as specialists or an online advisory board. For example a closed circle of oncology specialists exchanging research results together with pharma science divisions.

Fan pages – a thing of the past?

On Facebook it is almost impossible for pharma to have a presence due to the fear of people reporting adverse effects and other product related information but with Google+ this might never become an issue. Google already proclaimed that they do not want companies and brands to set up fan pages. So if the 1+ feature (can be compared to the Facebook Like function) becomes popular, companies can just use their own web sites. For example: Panodil would normally build a fan page, but with Google+ integration, you could just ask visitors to +1 your website page and it would be displayed on their Google+ pages/feeds. In this way the users become the publishers themselves and discussions would be happening at their own pages within their own networks. This could lead to the sort of viral marketing that we’ve seen happening on Facebook.

It’s difficult to say what the future holds for Google+ and this is just our initial take on it. As more people join the network it will mature and evolve just like Facebook did starting out as just a college network.

How do you feel about it? Do you think Google+ has the potential to help pharma engage with social media in a new way?

Mikkel Duckert, Digital Media Consultant


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