#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

transfer of knowledge for #bigpharma with the help of the community manager

In a previous post I covered the role and responsibilities of the social media community manager. One key responsibility of the social media community manager is the transfer of knowledge from the outside to the inside of an organization. Why is this information important for #bigpharma? And why should #bigpharma invest in this role?

What kind of information can social media provide?

  • ideas
  • experience
  • opinions
  • knowledge
  • resources
  • trending topics

Why the social media community manager?

  • knows the audience very well, because they are interacting with them on a daily basis
  • understands the needs and preference of users
  • knows what is trending online
  • knows what is working and what is not working
  • understands the analytics
  • responds to questions
  • tracks results
  • monitors trends

Social media community manager and social media reports?

  • puts together regular / if not daily reports
  • reports on social media campaigns
  • reports to asses the information / performance against identified benchmarks
  • provides regular / daily high level information about communications and metrics

Which tools can be used for the reporting?

  • screenshots
  • reporting tools that come with social media platforms, such as Facebook activity logs
  • third party reporting and monitoring tools
  • analytic tools like Google analytics

How can the information be used for refining your social media strategy?

  • encourages community relationships
  • helps in crafting responses
  • checks which content works
  • gathers ideas for future content 

#bigpharma and Instagram takeovers

Instagram (IG) takeovers have been around for a while. It can add fun and uniqueness to your Instagram account. Should #bigpharma consider doing an IG takeover? I say yes!

What is an Instagram takeover?

  • Temporarily allowing *Instagramers* to take over an Instagram account and share content with their audience

Which kind of takeovers are there?

  • Full control of the account
  • Semi control of the account
  • Inviting external guests – for example, influencers
  • Being invited as a guest on another Instagram account
  • Takeovers can take the form of posts, stories, or go live

How can Instagram takeovers be applied to #bigpharma?

  • Have employees or colleagues on Instagram takeover company account
    • grows following, engagement, reach on Instagram
    • get an inside view of the company
    • for global companies great for worldwide perspectives
    • also adds variety to the account
  • Getting invited as a guest on another Instagram account (great way to reach a new audience)
  • Invite guests patient groups, HCPs in raising awareness for a common cause or disease awareness

Benefits of takeover?

  • Can be a valuable social media marketing strategy
  • Allows for individuals and influencers to collaborate and cross-promote content
  • Allows for collaboration and partnerships
  • Can be fun

How to promote your takeover?

  • Announce on Instagram when takeover will take place
  • Announce on other social media platforms
  • Have guests do the same on their social media platforms

What should you do #bigpharma when scandals hit social media platforms

FB has been again in the news. How will people react? Will they abandon the platform? But more importantly what will happen to your audience and content that you have invested across the years. What should you do #bigpharma when scandals hit social media platforms?


Stay on top of news headlines and trends in social media

  • Many users not happy about how private data is being used
  • Launch of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) more people are aware of privacy rights
  • Ethical processes within the social media companies are not clear
  • Psychological profiling is being used secretly and there appears to be no ethical review process in place

Content, invest in DAM

  • #Bigpharma is an enterprise system and digital asset management (DAM) software must be in place
  • Organization and tagging of content is a must:
    • content by year
    • topic
    • event and content type
    • makes content more accessible for curation and reuse

Social media strategy keep on making adjustments

  • Track performance of your content and if needed make changes
  • Look at engagement – are people engaging with you
  • Reach – how are people engaging with your content


  • Listen to your audience
  • Diversify your audience building – algorithms or changes to platforms do happen
  • Develop audiences on different social media platforms
  • Learn from influencers – they engage with audience on more than one social media platform

Be on more than one platform

  • As the old saying goes – *don’t put all your eggs in one basket*
  • Use more than one social media platform to expand reach
  • Different platforms attract audiences with different demographics
  • Social media platforms are free so why not use them
  • Remember to adapt content to each social media platforms

modeling the response you want online #bigpharma

So you want people to look and engage with your content. So you should be doing the same. Model the response you wish to have from your online audience, don’t just expect it.


  • Social media platforms do not wait
  • They are on 24/7
  • Respond quickly and fast


  • If you want people to comment on your posts, you have to do the same
  • It shows you have authority
  • It shows you are an expert in the sector
  • It allows you to gain ideas from your audience
  • It allows to build your following
  • It allows to build your brand


  • It shows you are human
  • It shows you care
  • It shows you are authentic
  • It shows you are real
  • It allows for an exchange of opinions and views
  • It allows to gain deeper insight
  • It allows for CEOs to be in contact with their audience


  • Do not only share your content but share other content that may interest your audience
  • Share on different social media platforms
  • Share to inform people
  • Share to help people


  • Content is king
  • 80% informational and only 20% promotional
  • Who are you creating content for and how will you change their life
  • Ask and engage with your readers for ideas
  • Experiment with different types of posts
  • Look at your archives – some may need updating
  • Experiment with different mediums
  • Write with personality
  • Be human
  • Be authentic

who are your followers #bigpharma

Do you know who your followers are #bigpharma? Do you know the people that make up your following? Do you know what content they like or do not like? Do you engage with them? Followers are very important for growing your community. Getting to know who are your followers will guide in creating content and engaging with them.

General audience

  • Are people interacting online
  • Are an international audience – located geographically around the world
  • Look at bios to find out more about them
  • Can be influencers
  • Always remember online audience engages and expects an answer rapidly

Healthcare professionals

  • Look at bio to find out more about their specialty
  • Are they involved in research or policy
  • Social media platforms are changing the environment of the professionals
    • Provide updates on research technologies
    • Good sources of information for clinical trials, including recruitment
    • Share updates from medical conferences
    • Participate in tweet chats with patients and general audience


  • Remember today most people turn to social media platforms for news
  • Roles and responsibilities of journalists are changing
  • Journalists rely on social platforms for publishing, distributing and promoting content
  • Journalists also share opinions/insights and engage with readers daily

Not for profit organizations

  • Focus on community engagement and education
  • Focus on brand building and reputation management
  • Focus on program recruitment
  • Focus on fundraising
  • Focus on raising awareness


  • Seek information
  • Express experiences
  • Express opinions
  • Provide a great source of information about a particular disease
  • Twitter chats are like a virtual support group – often breed communities of patients with similar medical problems (they support one another)

content marketing on LinkedIn for #bigpharma

LinkedIn is probably one of the safest social media platforms to use for #bigpharma. However, it can be very competitive to stand out from the crowd and get attention. What should #bigpharma be doing to get engagement and content seen.


  • Produce valuable content
  • Have a team of content creators and curators in place
  • Do an audit and check which content has performed well on LinkedIn
  • Mix content shares between your own original content and other sources of content
  • Post a couple times a week
  • Use hashtags – comes up better in searches
  • Video is available on LinkedIn and can be highly engaging

LinkedIn Publisher (Publishing Platform)

  • LinkedIn Publishing platform – are you using this feature to publish posts
  • Promote your LinkedIn publisher post content on other social media platforms
  • LinkedIn status update – this is perfect for short, concise updates and messages

Executives publishing on LinkedIn

  • Just like CEOs on Twitter you need to have CEOs writing on LinkedIn
  • CEOs posting on LinkedIn increases reach
  • Publishing on LinkedIn allows executives to connect and engage directly with the audience

Employee advocacy

  • Your employees are your most valuable assets
  • Socially engaged employees help to boost corporate image and brand
  • Executives (see above) on social media yields better employee advocacy
  • Give employees interesting content to share
  • Sharing latest post from the company blog is good but it needs to be strategic

Recruiting on LinkedIn

  • Go beyond keyword search, job posting, and positions
  • Follow thought leaders
  • Look for influencers
  • If you meet someone in the real world then try to connect on LinkedIn
  • Have employees tell the audience about their job roles
  • Valuable content (see above) can also grow your visibility and in turn attract new talent