Sermo opens up platform to healthcare marketers

Sermo pages doctorAccording to Sermo, doctors representing 96 specialties posted 33,000 times and wrote 626,000 comments in 2015.  

Sermo, a social-networking platform for physicians, launched a new free feature that allows pharma and healthcare marketers to engage with its roughly 550,000 physician members.

Pages, the new feature, is inspired by Facebook and LinkedIn pages and allows companies and organizations to create group pages and generate posts for free after verifying that they are a healthcare-related. Companies can create multiple pages, share posts, and link to videos.

See also: How physician preference for mobile influences strategy

“Virtually all brands and device makers have a flagship site,” said Sermo CEO Peter Kirk. “They're fancy and a lot of money is spent on it but most of them have a hard time getting engagement from consumers and doctors.”

Currently available in 24 countries, Sermo has taken into consideration pharma's regulatory limitations that vary country to country. Just as it allows its physician members to be anonymous so that they can openly discuss sensitive topics such as patient cases, drugmakers can manage how their page is viewed, based on the region.

Sermo pages layout

Once verified as being healthcare-related, companies can create multiple pages, share posts, and link to videos.

“You can choose your presence to be per country or global,” said Kirk. “And you're also able to moderate comments on your page.”

Since its launch last week, Kirk said fifteen pages, ranging from CME companies to device makers, have been established and Sermo is getting incoming requests from medical associations and NGOs as well. He said he reckons it will take more time for traditional pharma companies to join due to their corporate approval processes.

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Although the site is free for marketers, Sermo charges for certain features. “If you want things to go faster and get more people onto your page, you can pay us and we'll do it,” said Kirk. “Whatever organic traffic you get is free of charge.”

According to Sermo, doctors representing 96 specialties posted 33,000 times and wrote 626,000 comments in 2015.  

Sermo Pages should be “quite familiar” for companies that already have internal staff handling their social media presence, said Kirk. Just as they have a consumer social strategy, they should have a physician social strategy, optimizing their opportunity to engage with doctors by speaking their language.

See also: Sermo expands to Canada in global expansion

“It's very important to understand that doctors have always needed a place to be themselves, a sanctuary,” said Kirk.

Kirk said the company plans to continue its expansion in Europe this year and will set its eye on expanding to Asia in 2017.