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SERMO adds free Pages option

Senior Director, Social Media

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Last Tuesday, March 15th, SERMO announced its Pages offering – a free opportunity to post social content to a vetted physician audience. These pages look like a good mechanism to access the SERMO physician audience and a place to trial actual engagement with social HCPs.

Background

SERMO is the number one social platform for physicians in the US. Its main competition comes from Doximity and Quantia MD. Numbers are hard to find for these platforms, mainly because they are closed and traffic levels are dictated by the relatively small population of physicians in the US. Using a service called SimilarWeb we can get a rough overview of ranking:

Traffic comparison from SimilarWeb. Note that external traffic estimation can be quite inaccurate at volumes like these.

Traffic comparison from SimilarWeb. Note that external traffic estimation can be quite inaccurate at volumes like these.

Traffic sources from SimilarWeb

Traffic sources from SimilarWeb

Traffic Analysis

Overall, we can see that Doximity has the largest volume of traffic, but that SERMO’s traffic is much stickier which possibly indicates they are interacting extensively with the social tools. The higher time on site and the larger sources of referrals and mail (which are almost certainly sent by SERMO) also indicate higher engagement. None of the sites gets appreciable traffic from public, consumer-oriented social channels and this highlights why the platforms exist: to provide a private social experience for physicians.

SERMO Pages

So, we know that some physicians use the social features of SERMO, just not how many. A new service offered by the platform will allow brands to run experiments and find out what sort of engagement they might get on the platform. This service is SERMO Pages which, like their Facebook namesake, allow companies to publish content on the platform for free. Now that’s a price we can all agree on.

Example Page

As an example, we created a page for a branded product called Numara (numertopinib) to get a feel for how the process works and what marketers can expect when creating their own pages. The pages provide marketers lots of room for branding and imagery plus adequate space for company or brand information. Like Facebook, branded information will have to be “reminder ad” format so that it does not need ISI when shared.

Summary View

The SERMO Page in a list

The SERMO Page in a list

Full Page View

SERMO Page example

SERMO Page example

Functionality Roll Out

In conversations with SERMO I’ve heard a number of times that they were pleasantly surprised by the instant attention their new offering garnered from the industry, but they were also a bit unprepared for all the attention. They have a roll-out schedule for functionality and will be adding features that pharmaceutical marketers need to use the service while adhering to internal regulatory procedures.

We got access to the platform on the day it was released and can report that it looks like it will be useful for both brands to distribute commercial information and companies for more condition and corporate news. The functionality on the platform is pretty robust for a first release:

So, there is nothing to stop marketers from playing with the system and trying out some content on a draft-mode page and get familiar with the platform. This will give the marketing teams enough time to become familiar with the functionality before explaining it in detail to their regulatory groups. This will provide marketers the ability to adhere to even the most stringent regulatory review process. Like Facebook, marketers could even have two Pages on the system, one for “staging” where regulatory can see how new material will look and one “live” publishing approved information.

The roll-out schedule for additional functionality is quick but, based on our experience since Tuesday, SERMO’s development team seems to be able to add functionality quickly and in a high-quality way.

That is an aggressive timeline for the platform. We can see that by the end of March SERMO will have a toolset that will allow marketers to participate in the discussions on the platform and by the end of May they will have a robust tool with some advanced features that may make it attractive to HCP marketers across most conditions.

Brand managers should keep in mind, that the amount of time it will take to get a proposal through Regulatory will almost certainly be longer than the update timeline for SERMO. So, if you want to get the benefit of being on the platform while there is relatively little competition, start now!

 

Creating your own Page

When creating the page you need only a few pieces of content:

Regulatory and SERMO Pages

With the functionality being provided by SERMO nearly any regulatory process should be handled.

Media

Build it and they won’t come
Source: Every social media deck created since 2005

Building out a SERMO Page will give marketers some access to HCPs on the platform, but for engagement at scale you typically need to spend on media. There are three options for getting attention on your new page:

Essentially, nearly any media option that SERMO has for marketers now can be used to boost the reach of your Page. Contact your Klick representative or SERMO rep (if you deal with the platform directly) for details.

Recommendation

We think that all the excitement surrounding SERMO Pages is absolutely warranted. The Pages are free and provide a great place to experiment with content on a physician-only site. Talk to your Klick rep today to investigate your options on this new social platform.

More About the Author

Brad Einarsen

Brad is Klick's Senior Director leading the social practice. His group ensures that clients get the best bang for their buck on the social platforms.

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