June 30 is commemorated as World Social Media day
Social Media has become an integral part of our lives. Agree? However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made us realize the importance of social media like never before. At these unprecedented times of nationwide lockdowns, home quarantines, and physical distancing, social media is playing a vital role in enabling us with information and facilitating us to stay in touch with the world around us.
COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of people across the globe in unimaginable ways. Humans, who are inherently social are forced to exercise physical distancing with months of nationwide lockdown to help in flattening the curve. This is taking a toll on our psychological well-being as we feel isolated and disconnected.
Thankfully, we live in an era where we have a plethora of digital platforms to choose from to keep ourselves updated about the world news and virtually connected to others.
Multiple businesses adopting social media for business continuity
The pandemic has reinforced the power of social media across varied sectors. Everything, from interactions to grocery shopping to educational training to doctor’s consultation is being done extensively on the online platforms.
Platforms such as Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams have become popular means of enabling smooth working from home and ensuring business continuity, over the last three months now.
For the pharmaceutical industry, the pandemic has been like a double-edged sword. On one hand, there is a great demand and recognition of the medicines, on the other, it has contributed to API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) shortage and a shift in the market dynamics.
In fact, online prescription shopping is also picking up in countries like India where the pharma sector is hastily venturing into the digital space, especially since the COVID-outbreak.
Restrictions in the movement have encouraged the pharma companies to transition to multiple social media platforms for engaging with healthcare professionals (HCPs), consumers, and employees. They are engaging virtually with HCPs via webcasts, podcasts, virtual ad-boards, and more, enabling them to disseminate awareness about ongoing and current health topics. A few weeks of total lockdown has taught us that if we are optimistic and receptive to change, life can continue under any circumstances.
However, this round-the-clock access leads to mindless scrolling and excessive use of apps which could make one feel inadequate, anxious, and confused.
Strategies for ensuring wholesome use of social media
It is important to subscribe to only those online pages and channels which publish reliable or evidence-based information. One should unsubscribe, unlike or unfollow the pages and people who are gossipmongers and spread fake news. One must also limit the number of hours spent on browsing as that can get compulsive leading to psychological and physical distress.
It is also important to not get swayed by people posting about their culinary experiments, challenges, and other such things that portray them as highly productive and make one feel inadequate. Don’t forget people only show their best behavior on these platforms. This is not the time to be in unrealistic competitions with anyone rather this time calls for empathy and solidarity.
Reinforcing patient centricity through social media
The pandemic induced extended lockdowns caused a lot of distress to people grappling with chronic disorders. Not all pharmacies had the option of delivering medicines at the doorsteps of patients and travel restrictions worsened the situation. Patients struggling with chronic and life-threatening disorders had a horrifying time because of the difficult access to medicines.
Biocon, a biopharmaceutical company that aims to touch the lives of millions of Patients by enabling affordable access stood by its patients, even during the stringent lockdowns. In multiple cases, patients, their doctors, or their family members reached out to Biocon on its social media channels citing the need for particular medicines. The social media team immediately prompted the designated departments and the medicines were delivered to these patients in no time.
The bottom line
Ultimately, the choice is ours. On an individual level, social media use can either lead to narcissistic self-exposure or a medium to connect with likeminded people for emotional support. On an organizational level, while this crisis has offered an opportunity for companies to venture into an online commercial world, it has also opened a window into using social media for connecting and co-creating a bond with the customers.