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Josephine Borrillo

social content as an extension of #pharma traditional advertising

#Pharma still continues to see social media as an add on of traditional advertising. There needs to be a communications strategy that will combine social media and traditional media. Call it a modern communications plan.


  • Communications or PR staff would write a press release
  • Send to traditional media outlets (journalists, TV, radio)
  • Hope journalists would pick up the story
  • No relationships with the audience was formed

Social media

  • Bypass traditional media filter
  • Allows for fast and easy access to information
  • Allows for instantaneous information
  • Provides for a two way conversation
  • Has allowed for consumers to express themselves

How is #pharma using social media today

  • Still looks like an add on, that is content is not adapted for social media
    • still TV ads on social media (TV ads are designed only for TV)
    • Are people watching your ads?
    • Do you ever ask yourself why would anyone click and watch this?
  • Social media content is still an uncreative process
    • content should be designed for social media
    • try to limit vanity content

What are some of the challenges today for #pharma communications staff

  • PR or communications will have to let go of controlling the message
  • Will need to respond to the wants and needs of the audience
  • Will need to understand how the audience is using social media and traditional media together

How can #pharma combine traditional and social media to benefit the organization

  • Social media and traditional media should compliment each other
  • Traditional media will allow for a broader audience whereas social media a more targeted audience
  • You are providing options for your audience with both social media and traditional media
  • You cover more generation span 

#pharma are you keeping an eye on new social media trends in engagement

Let’s take a look at how social media engagement has changed just within the last couple of years. #pharma are you on top of this?

Social media bypasses traditional media

  • Basically bypassing the broadcasters & mainstream media and filter bubbles
  • Therefore many people turning to social media for primary news source
  • Social media also enables content makers to publish their content again avoiding filter bubbles

Social media controls the news cycle

  • Audience can select information depending on their interests and values
  • Again bypassing the filter bubbles

Social media is more instantaneous

  • Which provides for instant engagement
  • More rapid information sharing
  • Instantaneous dissemination of news, images, audio, video and multimedia content
  • People upload photos/videos for people to view, read and comment on

Messages on social media are short and emotive

  • Thoughts expressed in 140 characters
  • #Hashtags are important and allow to follow information of interest
  • Emotions also bring people to share or interact on social media

Social media encourages people to speak their minds

  • It provides a two way conversation
  • Allows people to express themselves in ways that were not possible before
  • People’s voices are no longer lost
  • People are not afraid to share what they really think and feel

#pharma did you know women dominate influencer marketing

One of the most interesting aspects of influencer marketing today is that it is dominated by women. What can #pharma learn from this phenomenon.

What is influencer marketing?

  • It is a collaboration between a brand and an influencer
  • In a nutshell influencers use products, give authentic and honest reviews and receive audience feedback
  • Being an influencer is a profession today

Why are women leading the pack of influencers?

  • Social media loves personal stories and women are more likely to share personal stories
  • Women are the vast majority of users on social media platforms
  • Biggest categories for influencers are fashion, fitness, food, lifestyle and travel – biggest users within these categories are women

Women influencers and content, what can we learn?

  • High posting rates (up to several times a day)
  • Content is highly curated and professional
  • Women influencers are obsessed with quality more than a schedule

How do women influencers build a community?

  • Valuing engagement more than metrics
  • Being authentic
  • Being transparent
  • Being who you are
  • Creating personal connection with their audiences

How do women influencers build their brand?

  • By showing passion for what they do
  • Asking yourself why do you want to tell a story
  • Asking yourself why are you the person to tell this story
  • By being authentic
  • Creating high quality content, photos and videos

#pharma social media is an evolution, be open to the journey

Social media platforms are very dynamic and constantly evolving. Events or things you did not plan for or did not foresee in your social media strategy can throw you off. #pharma needs to be flexible, be quick to adapt and be open to the journey.

Some changes on social media platforms include the following

  • Mobile first
  • People turning to social media for news first
  • Getting harder to stand out and get your audience’s attention
  • Announcements are no longer made on traditional / conventional news channels

Privacy concerns and transparency

  • Repeated scandals of tech and social media platform companies
  • People concerned about privacy issues / data and how it is being used
  • Trust and accountability

The power of the audience is growing

  • Citizen journalism is growing
  • Being at the right place at the right time
  • Being pulled into political issues (e.g. call for boycotts)
  • The need to respond quickly

The coming of influencers

  • Influencers, vloggers and bloggers have turned into the new celebrities, therefore, the creation of influencer marketing
  • Consumers, however, are also not naive to the fact influencers make money
  • The need for transparency of influencers and brand relationships

Physicians are becoming more outspoken on social media

  • One tweet was enough to bring an online grassroots movement by physicians (#ThisIsOurLane and #ThisISmyLane)
  • Beginning to see a new generation of doctors not afraid to express themselves on social media platforms

what can #pharma learn from the fashion industry about social media

Fashion industry has been experimenting with social media platforms for a while now. Here are some observations #pharma can learn from the fashion industry about social media platforms.

Power of the audience

  • Fashion is being shaped by the consumer
  • Influencers (people) create their own *fashion trends*
  • Because of this influencers are gathering a large following

Social media is an engagement tool not a sales tool

  • Develop a strategy that engages with your audience and does not sell directly


  • Fashion is always exploring new ways of working with fashion influencers
  • Influencers are the key to keeping people interested and wanting to follow the brand or influencer
  • Fashion understands the importance of tapping the reach of influencers

Traditional forms of marketing are starting to get *old*

  • Many fashion houses realize this and are looking for new innovative ways to market to their audiences
  • The fashion industry is searching innovative ways of connecting with audience without pushing a product 

Each social media platform can do something different for your brand

  • Each platform is continuously evolving and changing
  • Pick one or a few platforms and develop those well
  • Have a social media strategy for each platform in place

#pharma and hiring through social media

Social media platforms allows for tapping into a large pool of potential candidates. How can #pharma attract the right talent using social media platforms.

What are some of the benefits of social media recruiting?

  • It allows for creating contacts that a company may never have have come in contact with
  • It allows for a company to see beyond just a written resume (I am not referring to stalking and checking candidates) 
  • It allows for increasing job posting visibility
  • It allows for opportunities to come in contact with *passive candidates* (those not actively seeking)

Which is the best social media platform for recruiting?

  • IMO all platforms provide a source for finding excellent talent
  • Each platform brings with it different demographics and creativity
  • Do not limit yourself to one social media platform
  • Do not focus on just the traditional big three FB, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Do incorporate: YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest

What are some ways to find candidates and connect on social media platforms?

  • Use hashtags
  • Join a community
  • Join a TweetChat
  • Follow influencers
  • Get your employees involved in the process, this will broaden your reach and audience
  • Experiment new techniques and platforms
  • Build relationships early on not only when you are just looking
  • Create engaging content rather than just plain posting
the traditional corporate job posting
a more engaging job posting

Do you have a social media recruiting strategy?

  • Every company should have a social media recruiting strategy
  • Recruiters are responsible for creating the social media recruiting strategy
  • Make sure to track and analyze everything and use data to fine tune
  • Each social media platform should have its own dedicated strategy section: content should be adapted to each social media platform 
  • Track your analytics from each individual platform:
    • Which platform gives more engagement
    • Which strategy has engaged most people
  • Is it aligned with your employee advocacy strategy
  • Is it aligned with your corporate strategy
  • Keep in mind: how active is your company (corporate handle) on social media platforms

I was once asked “Can influencers be hired as employees”?

  • My response: No
  • An influencer is one that has social clout or currency
  • Influencers are experts in their fields 
  • Influencers can help you move your content
  • Influencers can help with access to a different audience
  • Influencers should not be considered an employee
  • On the flip side do look within your organization for those employees that are influencers – they reflect the company culture and are passionate about what they do and can help in reaching potential candidates

#pharma and agency decoupling

#pharma organizations are witnessing a rapid growth of digital footprint. With this growth comes the the need to properly manage all digital assets (for example tagging). Many organizations today do not want agencies to own and manage their digital assets.

What is decoupling?

  • As defined by Merrian Webster Dictionary: to eliminate the interrelationship of: separate
  • Wiki: decoupling, in advertising, occurs when services that were previously subcontracted by  advertising agencies are purchased directly from supplier

Why is this such an important topic today?

  • Organizations today do not want agencies to own and manage their digital assets
  • Organizations need to know where their digital assets are and avoid waste of time trying to locate digital assets
  • Tracking of how assets are being used and commercial rights and payments

Some examples of digital assets?

  • Photography
  • Illustrations
  • Audio visual media
  • Presentations
  • Pdfs
  • Animations
  • Word documents
  • etc

Role of DAM (digital asset management) software?

  • DAM acts as a centralized digital library for managing digital assets
  • DAM allows for greater spend control by improving digital asset reuse
  • DAM allows for easy search, organize and edit of digital assets

Should you rely on DAM from your agency?

  • No, objective is to decrease the reliance on external agencies and increase control of your digital assets
  • What if you change agencies: DAM in house gives control of brand assets from advertising agencies
  • In house DAM, a must is to have in place a skillful workforce and expertise

what #pharma needs to do better in 2019


  • Social media is all about online conversations
  • Produce content that will start conversations
  • Respond when brought into a conversation


  • Be creative with content
  • Create content that will engage with your audience
  • Create content that is informative
  • Create content that is inspiring
  • Create content that is fun
  • Work with your online community to create content

Employee advocacy

  • Leverage your employees as social media influencers
  • It makes your company human
  • It also enables you to reach a broader and diverse audience

Pay attention to what is happening in the tech industry and in social media platform companies

  • After Cambridge Analytica scandal there will be more scrutiny
  • After Facebook privacy scandal social media platforms can lose trust from users and cause people to abandon certain social media platforms

Pay attention to political issues – anyone or any organization can find themselves in becoming part of political and social issues

  • Cannot stand on the sidelines anymore
  • Companies are being held accountable for their business practices
  • Companies need to match their values to their actions
  • Public view and public opinion are being heard

the times #pharma got it right in 2018

Coming towards the end of the 2018 and #pharma has come a long way to getting better on social media. I have identified 5 key areas where #pharma has matured.

#pharma CEOs on Twitter

  • Axel Steiger @axel_steiger CEO @Bayer
  • Brent Saunders @brentlsaunders Chairman & CEO @Allergan
  • Omar Ishrak @MedtronicCEO Medtronic Chairman and CEO

Leaders @Sanofi did not sit back, they took action

@Sanofi tweeted after Roseanne Barr blamed the drug for her series of racist tweets

#pharma was caught in the midst of cyberbullying

  • On March 29, 2018 we witnessed another round of online cyberbullying. This time #pharma was caught in the whirlwind
  • Your stated values need to match your actions online

GSK twitter response handle

  • GSK Response Center on Twitter (@GSK_ResponseCtr) is setting an excellent example

#pharma experimenting with Instagram and much improved compared to a year ago

reverse mentorship and social media for #bigpharma

Can working with the *younger generation* help traditional #bigpharma executives learn more about the social media platforms? Let’s take a look at reverse mentoring for #bigpharma.

What is reverse mentoring?

What are the benefits of reverse mentoring for #bigpharma and social media?

  • For the executive suite that is not familiar with social media this can help
  • Help to grasp the savviness of the social media platforms
  • Be mutually beneficial, younger generation learning more about the business savviness

What are the challenges of reverse mentoring for #bigpharma and social media?

  • Resistance from senior management
  • Finding time to meet

How should it be structured?

  • Should be one on one mentoring
  • Should be focused on social media platforms
  • Should select a few social media platforms
  • Should also include emerging trends and new innovations outside of #bigpharma industry
  • Should be a relationship building opportunity
  • Should be a mobile first

Making it a priority?

  • Needs to be identified as a priority
  • Benchmark with other CEOs, or C suite executives
  • Learn how social media can add value to the company and brand
  • Make it a personal learning priority