As the word social in social media implies you have to be social. Does being on social media and not being social work? Many pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations for that matter are looking to using social media platforms as just another tool to push their messages across. They have not yet grasped the notion that social media is really not a tool but more of channel. A channel of communications, to have conversations or a dialogue with real people.
1) what do we mean by being social on social media?
Social media platforms are set up in way that allows for a two way conversation. The word social is in there for a reason, is all about relationships. It is about human relationships. We tend to forget but people on social media are real people. Businesses that “get this” are and will be the most successful on social media and in return their ROI.
2) what are some of the mistakes we still see pharmaceutical companies doing on social media that is not social?
I still see pharmaceutical companies being so corporate. Posting and sharing traditional corporate messages on social media does not really work. These kinds of messages do not really allow for audience engagement and frankly I find them to be very boring.
Pharma is still following the traditional PR paradigm of pushing messages out. What really needs to change is for pharma to get some real people on board. For example start with your CEO, get them on Twitter. (see my post on this) Get your employees on social media, they are your best advocates.
Pharma should also start following the 80/20 rule. That is serving 80% of the time and selling 20% of the time. This is a great opportunity for Pharma since they can be of service 100% of the time instead of selling and at the same avoid the many problems of illegal promotion of medicines to the public across most of the globe.
3) can a corporate style pharma company coming from a push information style transform to an engaging style? and what will it take to convert to this new paradigm?
The first step for pharma would be to get marketers to think of social media as a different way of marketing. They need to make the paradigm shift to thinking of social media as being a channel and not a tool. The social media platforms are where people go to search and find people. They are platforms where people can an ask questions or answer questions. They are platforms where people can express themselves.
Second step would be, social media needs to change from being a “nice to have” on the side activity to being an integrated component of the business strategy. Traditional marketing worked back in the days of brick and mortar. But in today’s digital age social media has become the word of mouth or the new sales rep.
Third, there is a need to get on board people with social media skills. Whether pharma hires for this role in house or outsource, you need to have people with the right social media skills on board. A social media manager has a big responsibility. It is not a job role that is just added on to something you are already doing and that constantly shifts and gets put to the bottom of the list because of other company priorities.
4) does social media engagement matter?
In today’s world yes. It is all about empathy and empathy is a true human connection. Not showing empathy or engaging on social media today will have an impact your on your bottom line. Pharma needs to understand that social media is more about reflecting your corporate culture then it is about generating revenue. For example, pharma does a lot of good work and gives back to their communities. Why not highlight this and start a conversation with the community you work with or give back to.
5) measuring social on social media?
Social media is all about measuring social relationships. It is not just measuring vanity metrics; likes, followers and comments. It is all about being real. Building up value and loyal followers and advocates. Metrics therefore should be established on what you do with your engagement.
Some metrics that can be used to measure social performance on social media include the following:
- Do you respond if someone asks a question or a mention? Do you then answer in the most appropriate way?
- Do you highlight user generated content?
- Are you creative with your content? Or are you pushing a regular bland press release or blah corporate message that can be found on your website.
- Do you share pictures, images and videos? These today do very good on social media platforms because they are real.
- Have you considered crowdsourcing content? I do not feel pharma is ready for this, but something to think about for the future.
- Do you spend time evaluating your content? Do you analyze what worked what did not work and which content was most engaging?