I participated in a very informative #cmworld tweet chat January 31st. The topic was on VR/AR (virtual reality/augmented reality). One of the chat questions that came up was “Can VR and AR work for every industry?” Hum this got me thinking, can VR/AR work for pharmaceutical companies?
Wikipedia defines virtual reality (VR) as *realistic and immersive simulation* , a person can *look around, the artificial world move about in it and interact with features or items that are depicted on a screen* .
Wikipedia defines augmented reality (AR) as *a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented ) by computer – generated sensory*
Pharmaceutical companies need to start considering, if they have not already, to adding social media managers to their hiring portfolio.
1: do you need new skill sets for media management today?
Yes! Social media has become and will continue to be a important channel of communication. It is no longer a “nice to have” or a on the side activity. Pharma companies work in highly regulated environment but they still need to sharpen their skills in social media management.
2: in house or outsource?
There are slight differences, but in the end you need a social media manager, in house or outsource does not really matter. In house always means you start to build and acquire expertise within the organization. Outsourcing, on the other hand, you are relying on agencies which are probably managing other accounts at the same time and cannot dedicate 100% of their time.
3: full time job or just an add on to other job responsibilities?
The bottom line is social media management is a full time responsibility. What you must look for however is to have one sole person responsible. This cannot be a role added to an already existing role and that will get pushed to the bottom of the priority list because some other urgent matter comes up.
4: where should it sit?
I covered this point in a previous post. In my opinion there needs to be a team that is solely dedicated to social media and that hold the right social media skills. There needs to be collaboration and interaction with other functions, such as sales and marketing and regulatory or safety divisions.
5: what are some of the skill sets to look for when hiring a social media manager?
Here is a list of what I would look for:
Social media presence and are they engaged on social media
Knowing the difference among the social media platforms are they staying up to date on platform updates & management
Social customer service, if asked a question or receive a comment you need to know how to respond and respond preferably within an 1 hour
Content curation: managing what content you have in house and where, when and how to share
Community management: this is all about understanding your online community, responding and interacting with your audience
Creativity: no more boring press releases you need to get creative with content to attract and engage
Analytics: analyze posting habits; content that is interesting; engagement; monitoring what is being said about your brand; trending topics
Relationship building: how do you go about building your community and keeping them engaged
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?
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.
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.
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”?
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.
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 ofScience 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.
“Pharma Marketers: Adopt Principles of Sharing Economy to Catalyze New Growth.” MM&M. 18 Feb. 2015. 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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
#Patients are already sharing personal info about their health experiences w the drugs they’re taking, & you should be listening. #DigPharma
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.
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.
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.
GSK’s Matt Lasmanis notes that while we live in digital-first world, only ~3% of global #pharma promo budgets goes to digital #DigPharm
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.