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Being social on social media

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?

Yes.

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?

Pharma and online reputation

Social media today is a very important tool for reputation building. Pharmaceutical companies are not best known for their use of social media platforms, but the time has come for them to cultivate and take care of their social media online reputation. Your online reputation is your reputation. What you say and do online equals what you represent or are offline.

 
 

1): What is online reputation? 

In doing the research for this blog post, I was unable to find a verified definition of “online reputation”. So I will try to define it in my words. Very simply online reputation is what people find when they google you, your company, your products. It is also what people are saying about you or sharing about you on social media platforms. In other words, it is how you are perceived by the public online and what the public thinks about your products, business and services. What people say about your company on social media or anywhere online is todays’ most important reference for everyone. 

 

2): Why should pharma care about their online reputation? Should pharma be interested in their online reputation? Does it matter?

It should be your top priority, since online search today is the first step for everyone and social media platforms is where the discussion takes place. Social media allows for the rapid dissemination of news about your drug, brand, your company. So any negative news will spread very rapidly.  Deleting will not help either because once online it is a sure bet someone will have seen it. Pharmaceutical companies should take note of recent events that have taken place across social media such as EpiPen pricing controversy and price hikes by Turing Pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceutical companies create drugs that people use and people use social media to discuss and express their anger and frustration. 

 
 

3): Is there an expectation that pharma respond to social media engagements by patients?

If you think you can just be silent then you are wrong, somewhere online they are talking about you. Pharmaceutical companies we all know are not used to engaging with their audience or consumers on social media platforms. However in todays’ online world, interaction is vital to any online presence. If we think about #epigate EpiPen price gauging, it is because it is a life saving medicine and patients cannot afford it. Pharmaceutical companies today need to take time and have in place a strategy to how you would respond to negative news online. Pharmaceutical companies need to change their mindset and be able to face consumers and accept feedback, positive or negative. It does matter because it reflects the behavior of your company and how you communicate with the public. Think global, even if it is on one market it will have an effect across the globe.

 
 

4): What would a pharma company who is exceptional at managing their online reputation look like? Is there an example?

It is fundamental that you do not ignore patients or consumers and their angered frustration, but try to understand and answer.  Do not think or pretend people are not talking about you. They are talking and you need to address them. The catch 22 is when and how should you respond to what is being sad. Easy to respond to positive feedback, but what about negative comments? There may be times when engagement or answer is necessary and other times it is not warranted. So how do you decide?  It is vital for pharmaceutical companies to monitor everyday public online content of what is being said about your company or brands. Then process and analyze both negative and positive information found and decide how to address what was found. Your aim is to avoid online reputation situations such as #epigate. These cases are the worst since not only is your reputation shattered but the impact is felt on the entire pharmaceutical sector.

 

A good example in my opinion of pharmaceutical companies managing their online reputation would include the following points:

  • listening to the patients or consumers, which gives an advantage for handling online reputation;
  • not only listening but responding and creating the situation for open dialogues
  • have guidelines and company policies in place for engaging
  • take a more proactive approach in managing online reputation
  • get rid of old school “damage control” mindset

An example of one pharmaceutical company and the modern approach to online reputation. What it has? real time online discussion with the public. 

An example of one pharmaceutical company and the old school approach to online reputation. What is missing? listening and true real time online discussions. 

As stated by Pfizer,  “We focus on proactive activities that communicate with people”……However, old-school marketing it’s not – in that it doesn’t pitch any products, even indirectly. It’s a different, unexpected way to interact with people”……..

 

5): Is there a value to online reputation?

Online reputation is the new practice. The value of online reputation today is to be transparent and present. For pharmaceutical companies, or any company or person, this can be risky, but it pays off in the long run, along with your bottom line. What does being transparent and present mean today?  It means that pharmaceutical companies will need to answer to good and bad news and decide when best to respond and if to respond to what is being said. 

 

resources:

Pharma and the “sharing economy”

We are living, just in case you didn’t notice, in a “sharing economy”. We ignore adverts that continuously push their products upon us and we try to make use of “stuff” that is hanging around in our homes. But the interesting question I think is, where does pharmaceutical and healthcare in general fit into the picture of the “sharing economy”?

1) What do we mean by “sharing economy”?

Let’s start be defining “sharing economy”:

“Sharing economy” is a social, economic and technological movement that is changing the way business is conducted

“Sharing economies allow individuals and groups to make money from underused assets. In this way, physical assets are shared as services. …….For example a condo owner may rent out his condo while he’s on vacation.”. PWC has put together an excellent video that explains our shared economy

 

 

2) What factors are needed to have in place a “sharing economy”?

The “sharing economy” is an economy built on trust, convenience and community. People trust people more than they trust brands. You could think of it as a modern day version of “word of mouth”. For example what has worked for Airbnb is an ecosystem built on reviews and people really caring about others’ reviews.

Another important characteristic of the “sharing economy” is business models are hosted through digital platforms. Transactions that offer access to a car, a house, a space and although they take place on digital platforms, it involves real people.  The digital platforms serve as a platform to create a user experience – one that feels more like friendship when compared to the traditional cold anonymous method of exchange. For the organization, this all means providing more choice while mitigating cost and creating a unique user experience.

3) What does pharma need to do to be a part of the “sharing economy”?

Big corporations are conservative, careful and risk adverse, especially pharmaceutical and healthcare. So one place pharma could start, is getting the right talent onboard. Get millennials on board they know how to navigate the new business models. And the next generation after them, will be even more revolutionary.

“Sharing economy” sets a new mindset of not necessarily needing to own everything. It is about avoiding a lot of waste, properly called consumerism. But having a lot of “stuff” lying around becomes an opportunity for sharing and to reduce the waste. A mindset of less consumerism, less materialism and more of building a community.

4)Any examples of pharma doing this already?

I think it is a given that pharma is not a disruptor. Its’ approach is more of a wait and see and we will adapt to market forces. However, I was surprised to find the “8 out of 10 of the top pharmaceutical companies use Science Exchange to outsource experiments”.

5) What are the opportunities and risks for pharma in the “sharing economy”?

Some opportunities could include sharing facilities, equipment, offices. The science world has already stepped into the “sharing economy” through the birth of  Science Exchange. So what does this mean for big organizations?  Being more efficient and less inefficient, exactly what the new consumer wants to see today.

The “sharing economy” would mean also sharing with the community intangible assets that includes intellectual property, clinical trials, brand and talent. This is something I am afraid pharma is not yet ready to deal with, yet. Pharmaceutical companies want to keep proprietary technologies and guarantee their intellectual properties..

However, pharma can take a cue from some traditional corporations that have adopted or experimenting with the “sharing economy”.

Citi Bike(Citi), for example has found a novel way of reaching and connecting with people and consumers. Citi Bike brand is associated with a an environmental friendly transportation model.

ReachNow at BMW and premium mobility services. Millennials not really interested in spending money on owning a car acquisition.

Wonolo is a company that is tapping into the sharing economy by creating an on demand staffing. That is you don’t have to hire, and you can still keep a level fo professionalism that will represent your company.

In the end you can be as creative as you want and come up with how your organization can be a part of the “sharing economy”.  All it requires is a change in the way innovation is traditionally approached.  Take a leap and expand the brand through shared economy experiences.

References:

“Pharma Marketers: Adopt Principles of Sharing Economy to Catalyze New Growth.” MM&M. 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Consumer Intelligence Series: The Sharing Economy.” PwC. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Deborah Berry Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Histopathology and Tissue Shared Resource, Georgetown University. “The Sharing Economy Comes to Scientific Research.” The Conversation. 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

Science Exchange – Order Experiments from the World’s Best Labs.” Science Exchange – Order Experiments from the World’s Best Labs. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

David Hunt. Web. 16 Dec. 2016

Pharmaceutical CEO influencers

I came across Allergan’s CEO on twitter following the hashtag #forbeshealth. I was in awe. Yes! All pharmaceutical CEOs should be on Twitter. We live today in society where people can directly interact with others and establish human relationships. This is definitely a excellent example of pharma’s new role in the social media universe.

1) What is influence and what makes someone influential on social media?

Hootsuite sums it up very nicely “an influencer is quite simply someone who carries influence over others”

In the social media world a social media influencer can influence others mainly through engagement. They carry on conversations, respond and ask questions, give their opinions, even outside the business sector.

2) Can CEOs be social media influencers?

Yes. Most of the success will rely on their distinctive online personality. Below are a few of the non pharmaceutical CEOs that are on twitter:

Tim Cook (@tim_cook)

Mark Cuban (@mcuban)

Elon Musk (@elonmosk)

Jack Dorsey (@jack)

Jeff Weiner (@jeffweiner)

The wining factors are having that distinctive online personality; being outgoing and authentic; and directly communicating with people.These CEOs have understood that the social media platforms aim is establish human relationships. Being “social” on “social media”. People today want and can engage in conversations with thought leaders, and that includes CEOs.

3) Any pharmaceutical CEOs on Twitter?

It is very exciting to see also that some pharmaceutical CEOs are taking this leap and are engaging on Twitter:

Brent Saunders (@brentlsaunders) Allergan CEO

Axel Steiger (@axel_steiger) Bayer Benelux CEO

4) How can you recognize influence or the capacity of a CEO to influence?

According to a study conducted by Claudia Kubowicz Malhotra and Arvind Malhotra there are four different types of CEOs that use Twitter MIT Sloan Management Review.

Generalists, those CEOs that share broad information and links. However, they tweet very little information regarding any new initiatives.

Expressionists, these CEOs mainly share their opinions. Mainly see Twitter as way to build their self brand.

Information Mavens, CEOs that share links to information and news.

Business Mavens, these CEOs although their tweets are mainly business related, they have a healthy mix of opinions, information, new initiatives.

5) What are some of the overall business benefits of CEOs being on social media?

First and foremost it allows for creating human connections with followers. This indirectly creates a connection with the company. A retweet can be very powerful too. The more followers you have the more easily it becomes to spread your message. When tweets are re-tweeted they can reach a greater and even diverse audience.

References:

Hexagon, Crimson. “How CEO Influencers Impact Social Branding on Twitter.” How CEO Influencers Impact Social Branding on Twitter | Crimson Hexagon. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

“How CEOs Can Leverage Twitter.” MIT Sloan Management Review. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Why CEOs should be on Twitter. Twitter UK. Web. August 22, 2013

Highlights from Digital Pharma East Conference 2016

 

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Very interesting and intriguing tweet from Digital Pharma East Conference 2016. What will pharmaceutical digital marketing look like in 10 years?

Will pharma still be discussing the same things over and over again? Or will they be a true disruptor and move away from the status quo/ business as usual model?

I followed the Digital Pharma East Conference on twitter and I would like to share what I believe to be important take aways for the future of digital pharma.

 

 

1.) The patient

Pharma still continues to throw around terms such as “the patient”, the need to be “patient centric, mapping the “patient journey”. The key take away, for me, is “Be what people are interested in”.

Pharma needs to stop pushing their message, and listen but really listen to what people are talking about. This is where social listening becomes a very important component to understanding the patient journey and to the digital strategy roadmap.

 

 

2.) Trust

The Epipen pricing controversy (or #epigate), along with Turing Pharmaceuticals’ Daraprim pricing scandal (beginning of 2015) and the Theranos’ scandal (earlier 2016), have eroded any trust within the pharmaceutical sector. Even if a company was not directly involved, the scandals did have a domino effect on the entire sector.  Pharmaceutical companies, today more than ever, have a social role. By this I mean they need to be companies that develop high quality drugs at a reasonable price.

 

 

3.) Content marketing

Yes! Finally content marketing is being talked about at a digital pharmaceutical conference. Traditional marketing is making way for content marketing.

Content Marketing Institute has defined content marketing as:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Pharma is still very far behind in content marketing. Instead of the traditional “push” mode of information, pharma needs to provide relevant and useful content and be engaging to their customers.

 

 

4.) Multi channel

I see this still being thrown around within pharmaceutical companies, and most pharmaceutical companies are still struggling to launch successful campaigns. This is due still the siloed organization within pharmaceutical. (Please read my post on “Which department owns social media in a pharmaceutical organization?” ) For true success you need more integration.

 

 

5.) Learning from other sectors

Pharmaceutical sector, like the healthcare sector in general, have what I call the “I am different” attitude. We live in digital-first world and it is very sad to see 3% of global pharma promotional budget going to digital.

Yes, each industry sector may be different, but there are learning experiences (both good and bad) that one can learn from other sectors. (Please read my post on “ Silicon Valley versus Wall Street” )

 

 

Below you can find my curated transcript of the Digital Pharma East Conference 2016 .

Virtual support groups

Haythornthwaite and Kendall (2010) state “People are using the Internet in ways that are driving change in communities – specifically, where and how they are constituted – and creating transformative effects on how we define, attach to, and retain communal identity across online and offline venue”. Whether online (via the internet) or offline (face to face) support groups are where people can share experiences, information, challenges and seek emotional or moral support. Moving from what was once listservs or support groups via emails to online Twitter or Facebook support groups. If you want to be patient centric, then you need to participate or listen in to online support groups.

1). What are online support groups? And what do patients gain in participating in online support groups?

Preece, Maloney-Krichmar and Abras (2003) define online communities as a group of people who interact in a virtual environment with a purpose, supported by technology and guided by norms and policies. Basically the social interactions take place online.

Patients and caregivers gain the following from online support groups:

  • Health related information
  • Emotional / social support
  • Access to individuals 24 hours
  • Global connections / reach
  • Sharing of experiences
  • Ability to ask questions
  • Possibility to meet and talk with others that have their same shared experience
  • Overcoming geographical location

2). How are online support groups organized?

Online support groups form around topics of interest and like minded others. Value of an online support group is provided by the ability to answer questions and concerns. On Twitter they form around tweet chats or hashtags. On Facebook they form around groups. These support groups are all open to the public, which allow for greater participation.  Closed communities such as mail lists, closed forums and closed chat rooms are not discussed here.

In 2012 Yasi, Taylor, Wells, Howell, and Raphael stated that social networking sites on Facebook provide a “psychological first aid as a support to community resilience building”, “Overwhelmingly people reported feeling a sense of connectedness and usefulness, felt supported by others and felt encouraged by the help and support being given to people. To a lesser extent people reported feeling hopeful about the future, actively involved and less worried”

3). How are online different to offline support groups?

All support groups offer informational as well as emotional support, whether online or offline. However, online support groups may help especially those that have difficulty in participating in face to face groups due to geographical location or may have a disability therefore not allowing for participation.

4). Good online support groups, what to look for?

  • A skilled moderator
  • Meets online at regular times or posts regularly
  • Has a proper hashtag
  • Tweet chat or hashtag is listed on symplur.com
  • Has doctor participation
  • Focus is on learning and on sharing of experiences and stays positive.
  • Stay away from bashing in general (doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical)
  • Stay away from data mining and spamming

5). Can pharmaceutical companies work with online support groups?

Below is one example of pharmaceutical company, @JanssenUS, working with #IBDSC online support group.

August 31, 2016 #ibdsc tweetchatibdsc-1ibdsc-2

What seems to have worked in this tweet chat:

  • Disclaimer was upfront @JanssenUS sponsored tweet chat and no talking of product was allowed and no sharing of personal information

What can be done better in this tweet chat:

  • Pharma working at arms length. If you can’t join in the discussion then thank the participants for a great tweet chat.
  • I hour and 1/2 can be pretty long, especially if you do not have a lot of participants. Tweet chats usually last 1 hour.
  • Keep the conversation going in between tweet chats you will build a larger following, which adds to the strength of the online community
  • Register the hashtag and tweet chat on symplur.com so that others interested can find and participate

Check out previous #IBDSC tweet chats:

April 2016 (https://storify.com/Sara_Ringer/dudes-with-ibd-recap-ibdsc?utm_content=bufferfdafd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer0

Previous one in 2015 (https://storify.com/Sara_Ringer/teen-life-with-ibd-chat-hosted-by-sara-ringer-dan-?utm_content=buffer4ee38&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer)

Resources

Online Social Engagement by Cancer Patients: A clinic-based patient survey. Lawrence C. An, MD et al. JMIR  Cancer August 19, 106 in Vol 2, No 2 (2016): Jul – Dec

Finding healthcare support in online communities: an exploration of the evolution and efficacy of virtual support groups. Donna Z. Davis and Willemien Calitz. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. Volume 7, Number 3 Lantern (2), August, 2014.

Pharma and health hashtags

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Health hashtags are transforming healthcare research online, are encouraging collaborations and can bring like minded thoughts together and turn tweets into conversations. Let’s take a look at how pharma is using healthcare hashtags in their online engagement.

1) Is pharma using health hashtags?

I have selected some random tweets from pharmaceutical companies and below each tweet you can find my comments on health hashtags.

amgen

I would have added a specific oncology hashtag.

az-nami

I would have added psychology / mental health hashtags and also NAMI twitter handle.

gilead-science

If you can’t find a specific hashtag then submit one to Symplur.

az-fit2me

I would have added some diabetes hashtags.

Overall, I truly believe pharma can do a better job in using health hashtags.

2) How can pharma benefit in using healthcare hashtags?

It is an excellent way of getting your brand seen and heard

It is an excellent way of getting relevant information to the right audience

It is an excellent way to get clinician perspectives, since clinicians use hashtags

It is an excellent way of discovering important voices in healthcare

It is an excellent way to put lay people in touch with recent research & researchers with people with lived experience

It is an excellent way to encourage collaborations, especially around health care topics

It is an excellent way to identify topics of discussion

It is an excellent way to help collaborators identify each other.

3) Getting the right hashtag?

Sometimes hashtags can be overly specific and too generic making them hard to find and hard to collaborate on specific topics. I have come across hashtags that only have one or a few tweets. The Symplur Healthcare Hashtag Project is free platform for patients, caregivers, advocates, doctors and other providers that connects them to relevant conversations and communities. Can’t find a specific health hashtag, you can also add a hashtag on Symplur.

symplur-homepage

4) So how can pharma adapt to health hash tagging effectively?

First and foremost be sure to research a health hashtag before using it. If it’s rarely used it won’t reach a large audience. Do some social listening to identify health hashtags and topics of discussion. Sometimes pharma companies create their own specific hashtags, but it’s hard to develop a following. The best approach would be to have brand teams include in their campaigns popular health hashtags.

5) What are some of the most common health hashtags?

Symplur is your go to resource. On their website you can identify Tweetchat hashtags, Conference related hashtags, Disease hashtags and health hashtags that are regularly used.

symplur-healthcare-hashtag-project

Resource:

Symplur: http://www.symplur.com

Self forming groups the new form of patient advocacy

team-386673_1280

Pharma working with traditional patient groups may look like old school or so yesterday.  Inspiration for this blog post comes from  the New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope, How parents harnessed the power of social media to challenge Epipen prices (August 25, 2016). Today self forming groups is the new form of patient advocacy.

Q1: What is the difference between self forming patient/consumer groups and traditional patient/advocacy groups?

With the advent of internet and social media, self forming groups have been coming together to organise online. They tend to quickly organise themselves around a certain cause or issue, driven be a passion and motivation and tend to generally be short lived. Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell referred to these consumers and their voice as Citizen Marketers. Traditional structured patient advocate groups on the other hand can be defined as “an individual or an organization, often, though not always, concerned with one specific group of disorders. Typical advocacy activities may include: patient rights, matters of privacy, confidentiality or informed consent, patient representation, awareness building, support and education of patients, survivors and their carers”.

Q2: How are they different in driving patient advocacy?

Traditional patient groups, which are built as traditional hierarchical organisational structure, which in todays internet world can slow decisions. Membership, plays a key role in sustaining these patient organisations and as political clout. Also fundraising is a cornerstone to sustainability and several, if not all, are bound to pharmaceutical sponsorship. Whereas self forming groups come together when there is a need, have no internal reporting and no binds to sponsorship. In fast paced world of internet and social media they are free and more quick to respond to consumer needs.

Q3: Should pharma pay attention to these groups?

They are a force with which pharmaceutical companies must learn to contend with. The self forming groups have the ability to gain momentum very rapidly and have the potential to bring about change. Through crowdsourcing, broadcasting or making our opinions concerns heard across the internet or through social media can come about very easily. Crowdsourcing can be defined as:  the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially an online community, rather than from employees or suppliers. Each person’s contribution combines with those of others to achieve a cumulative result.

Q4: How could pharmaceutical companies work with these new groundswell groups?

Usually these groups are initiated by one influencer which has the capacity to bring together a crowd, through crowdsourcing. One way pharma could approach these groups would be to identify and build a relationship the influencer. Responding or engaging, which pharma is still trying to figure out, to the online discussion would also be vital. I also believe there is a possibility to work in both real and virtual spaces.

Q5: Do self forming groups have success?

Yes. Just take a look at the recent #epigate. A perfect catalyst for change initiated by one influencer, who had strong feeling of rage and anger, created a kick ass hashtag, and through crowdsourcing, was able to raise awareness and challenge epipen prices.

Resources:

How parents harnessed the power of social media to challenge Epipen prices. Tara Parker-Pope. New York Times August 25, 2016.

Citizen Marketers, a book by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell

Which department owns social media in a pharmaceutical organization?

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Probably one of hardest and most often asked questions I get is “who owns or where should social media sit within an internal organization of a pharmaceutical company”?

Q1: So where should social media sit in an organization or who should own the responsibility of social media?

Social media across the years has come to play an important role in business. No longer is it just a nice to have, but rather it is an essential and integral part of any organization. In the same right social media has become a very sophisticated art and science that requires expertise, knowledge and the proper skill sets.

Therefore that is why today we speak of a “social media community management” that sits within an organization. Social media experts within pharmaceutical company should know social media platforms and audience best and what works and does not.

I believe that social media is not the responsibility of a sole team. Instead I see social media effecting the entire organization.

Owyang (2010) describes five different models in which organizations can organize internal for social media management . Dots represent those using social tools within an organization.

screen-shot-2016-08-24-at-10-28-41-pm

Most pharmaceutical companies appear to be, in my opinion, in the “Organic” structure. Why? From the outside it appears that messages are not really coordinated and branch offices are doing their own things. There does not appear to be coordination of company message, but more of isolated initiatives. HR is using social media for hiring. Communications is just an extension of the PR arm pushing press releases via different channels  or communicating corporate messages / corporate reputation. Whereas, marketing, is using social media an arm’s length away by delegating to PR agencies, still need to work on how to use social media campaigns and product launches. Pharmaceutical is a very regulated industry, then even more so to have a more coordinated structure or multiple hub & spoke in place.

Q2: Should you be making your organization more social?

So how do you go about by making your organization more social. Start by building your expertise in house.  Giving social media the priority it deserves within a product team. Start by identifying employees within your organization that are using social media and understand it. Get them on board since they will understand how social media works. This will give you the competitive advantage and knowledge.

Q3: What kind of model works bets in coordinating a response in a crisis?

Many departments will have a role in a crisis management. This is further evidence why social media should sit across the entire company and not to a sole team or department. In a crisis situation all teams and departments will want to act swiftly and messages must be coordinated. Each department and/or product team knows their product and responsibilities best.

Best way to manage this would be to a have dedicated social media person on the team that would know how to respond.

crisis-social-media

Q4: Who is the content expert and department expertise?

Content expert is the product team. Usually cross functional. But social media always is an expertise in it’s own. Departments are usually built around a certain function or supporting function that are experts with legal regulations and company policies and standard operating procedures.

Q5: What role does social maturity play in all this?

Social maturity plays a very important role in having in place an organization that incorporates social media. In my honest opinion I believe that pharmaceutical companies are still in the early stages of social maturity. They are aware that social media is changing our way of doing business. But there is lack of coordination. The marketing team has some agency Tweeting a conference. HR looking for potential recruits. PR posts a video or has blog about their corporate reputation. There is still doubt within the organization about the value of social media and what impact it can play in business.

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Resources:

Framework and matrix: the five ways companies organize for social business. Jeremiah Owyang. April 15, 2010.

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/04/15/framework-and-matrix-the-five-ways-companies-organize-for-social-business/

Where does your social media department sit in your organization? By Alan Cronin November 3, 2015

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/where-does-your-social-media-department-sit-alan-cronin-

The evolving social media department: a new approach to maximizing social ROI. By David Rush. Uly 24, 2014

https://earshotinc.com/evolving-social-media-blog-html/

Who “owns” social media data at your company? By Kevin Shively. July 26, 2016

http://simplymeasured.com/blog/who-owns-social-media-data-at-your-company/#sm.00000sqejtztd4ctxx4tydnulmz8z

Where should social media sit in an organization? By Will Bond. May 14, 2014

http://www.emoderation.com/where-should-social-media-sit-in-an-organisation/

Blurred lines: who owns social media in the enterprise? By Sam Fiorello January 15, 2014

http://www.senseimarketing.com/blurred-lines-who-owns-social-media-in-the-enterprise/

Why it doesn’t matter who “own” social media. By Jade Mangahis. January 28, 2015

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Why_it_doesnt_matter_who_owns_social_media_17991.aspx

Who should own social media? By Karima Catherine March 12, 2013

http://3angelsmarketing.com/2013/03/who-should-own-social-media/

Why pharma should put social media influencers on their roadmap

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The internet has brought about many changes in the way we exchange, share and seek information. The internet has also created social media influencers. Who are these influencers?  Should pharmaceutical companies and healthcare start to have an influencer marketing plan and ditch the celebrity testimonial?

1)Who is the social media influencer?

Altimeter Group defines an influencer as follows:

“An influencer is defined as someone of notable status and focus within a community who possesses the ability to cause effect or change behavior among those to whom they’re connected”

In other words the social media influencer leverages his/her social capitol.

The Altimeter Group then goes on to describe the three pillars of influence: reach, resonance and relevance. Reach is built on popularity, proximity (geo location) and goodwill. When we speak of relevance, we are referring to subject matter expertise such as authority, trust and affinity. Resonance on the other hand refers to how many people see a post and for how long that conversation continues in time: frequency, period and amplitude.

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2) Is there a way of measuring the social media influencer?

As a society we love numbers and numbers guide us in our decision processes. If we go back a just few years ago it seemed like everyone was looking at their Klout number. Klout, an online platform measuring social media influence software, could calculate how “influential” one was online. Today we have moved beyond Klout and just relying on a number is not enough.

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The social media influencer has become more of a polished and refined profession. The social media influencer today picks and chooses the platforms or a platform that seems to works best for them and their business. In other words you can still be influential and only be on one platform.

The number of followers is still important, but it is not the only indicator of influencer since it can be misleading. In order to have an effect on others we must look at the engagement level of our social media influencer.

3) So how do you find influencers?

You can find influencers on any social media platform. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn. Each platform is different and engagement levels and audiences are very different.

4)Should pharma have an influencer roadmap?

Yes. First, start identifying where your social media influencers are and which social media platforms they are using.  Start by just listening, what they taking about? Who is their audience (that is their outreach)? How do they engage with their audience?

Everything in pharma is more complicated because of it being a highly regulated industry.  As a case study I think what comes to everyone’s mind is the Kim Kardarsian post on Instagram regarding a drug for the treatment of morning sickness. The post was immediately pulled after FDA sent a warning letter to the drug manufacturer.

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As people in pharma know very well, guidance in the US is given by the FDA. However, it would be of interest to also take a look at the FTC guidelines. The guidelines updated in June 2015 and focuses primarily on how brands should work with testimonials and endorsements. The aim of the FTC is to make sure that the consumers can clearly distinguish between a paid-endorsement and an independent third party review. The bottom line is always be transparent.

5)Why should pharma consider social media influencers in their thinking process?

As mentioned in the opening lines, the internet has brought many changes and todays’ consumer has fundamentally changed. To be in line with these changes pharmaceutical marketers need to start incorporating digital influencers in their thinking process.  In my opinion, it feels like DTC is so “yesterday”. I truly believe, the future could see a switch from celebrity testimonials to online influencers. Many factors point in this direction. Social media is becoming the more widely used source of information for patient information, you can reach a wider audience and it is way cheaper.

Resources:

Influencer marketing is the next big thing – just don’t make the same mistakes as some pharma companies by David Zaritsky, January 5, 2016

https://www.pm360online.com/influencer-marketing-is-the-next-big-thing-just-dont-make-the-same-mistakes-as-some-pharma-companies/

The rise of influencer marketing and the opportunity for marketers in 2016. By Nicolas Chabot December 10, 2015.

http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-features/the-rise-of-influencer-marketing-and-the-opportunity-for-marketers-in-2016/2974

Getting a sharper picture of social media’s influence. By Jacques Bughin. McKinsey Quarterly. July 2015.

http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/getting-a-sharper-picture-of-social-medias-influence

The rise of digital influence. A “how -to” guide for businesses to spark desirable effects and outcomes through social media influence. By Brian Solis. March 21, 2012. Altimeter Group.

http://www.slideshare.net/Altimeter/the-rise-of-digital-influence