2/21/2017 #CMWorld PodcastingComments closed
Pharmaceutical companies need to start considering, if they have not already, to adding social media managers to their hiring portfolio.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a list of what I would look for:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Can social media help in the recruitment of patients for clinical research? Interesting results by Admon and his team suggest that social media could be a very effective and inexpensive approach to recruit patients.
example of FaceBook ad used during recruitment
cost break per completed survey of social media based versus clinic based recruitment
Interesting data by Sprout Social regarding what followers really think about a brand on social media.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
An example of one pharmaceutical company and the modern approach to online reputation. What it has? real time online discussion with the public.
— Brent Saunders (@brentlsaunders) December 28, 2016
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”……..
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.
Reputation management with digital and social media. Retrieved 3 January 2017
Building A Reputation Management Strategy for 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2017
The Definitive Guide to Online Reputation Management. Retrieved 23 December 2016