The new skill sets for social media management

 

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

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?

interesting reads # 14

 

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.

Admon, L., Haefner, J., Kolenic, G., Chang, T., Davis, M., & Moniz, M. (2016). Recruiting Pregnant Patients for Survey Research: A Head to Head Comparison of Social Media-Based Versus Clinic-Based Approaches. Journal Of Medical Internet Research18(12), e326. doi:10.2196/jmir.6593 http://bit.ly/2hr4NrL

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.

The Q3 2016 Sprout Social Index Turned Off: How Brands are annoying customers on social http://bit.ly/2bNcOt5

 

Healthcare needs to learn from retail, retail is getting social media right
Healthcare appears to be the most annoying on social media
 
People’s perception is healthcare is unresponsive but in reality they are actually worse in responding to online
Although the topic of social capital is nothing new, I have added this book my to read list for 2017. Why? Well, I am interested in comparing differences and similarities between online and offline social media concepts. A distinguishing feature of of social media influencers is their social capital. So how do we define social media capital? How can what we know about social capital offline be transferred to online social capital learning? How do you build it? How can you leverage it? How is it different or similar to offline social capital? Is it organized in the same way? Is it easier to build social capital online then offline?
Achieving Success Through Social Capital: Tapping the Hidden Resources in Your Personal and Business Networks Wayne E. Baker

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:

Interesting reads #13

“10 Things for Pharma Marketers to Know about Facebook and Instagram.” MM&M. 29 Nov. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

There are many opportunities for even pharmaceutical companies on Facebook and Instagram. Here are some top tips for pharma from Facebook Health on how to reach out and engage with audiences on Facebook and Instagram.

Inc., Hootsuite Media. “LiftMetrix & Hootsuite.” LiftMetrix & Hootsuite. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

The key challenge facing social marketers is probably measuring social media ROI and which metric(s) do you choose. According to AdAge and as reported in the ebook, social media spend is expected to make up over 20% of all marketing budgets by 2020. And social ad spend in the US is expected to exceed $12 billion in 2016.

Some of the biggest challenges for social marketers? ROI and connecting the dots between social media and business outcomes.

Social@Ogilvy Follow. “How Pharma Companies Are Using Social Media.” Share and Discover Knowledge on LinkedIn SlideShare. 04 Nov. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

A social media check up by Ogilvy of where pharmaceutical companies are on social media and how they are using social media.

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

Interesting reads #12

Patient-Centered Checklists: The Next Frontier for Engagement? NEJM Catalyst. http://catalyst.nejm.org/patient-centered-checklists-next-frontier/. Published August 2016. Accessed December 12, 2016.

Patient engagement + technology + checklists = smart lists. The use of interactive checklists or “smartlists” could be the future for better patient engagement. Switching from paper based checklists to a digital checklist, could this be the secret sauce to better patient engagement? Physicians can engage with patients through an interactive checklist, thereby facilitating the dialogue between patient and physician and making sure the patient journey is on course. Yet to see is the impact of these smartlists.

                                                                                                    

Silverman, Ed. “FDA to Study How Promotional Tweets for Drugs Should Convey Side Effects.” STAT. 04 Dec. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

FDA will study if one click can be a feasible way to provide drug safety information to the public on digital platforms.  Written comments can be submitted by January 6, 2017. For further information please visit Federal Register website.

                                                                                                    

Original Research: David H. Thom, Jessica Wolf, Heather Gardner, Denise DeVore, Michael Lin,Andy Ma, Ana Ibarra-Castro, and George Saba. A Qualitative Study of How Health Coaches Support Patients in Making Health-Related Decisions and Behavioral Changes. Ann Fam Med November/December 2016 14:509-516;doi:10.1370/afm.1988

This qualitative research identifies 7 themes to a successful outcome of  health coaches and patients working together: 1) shared characteristics; Availability; trusting relationship; education; personal support; decision support; bridging (health coach is the liaison or bridge).

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

Interesting reads #11

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“How Did We Get Here?”: Topic Drift in Online Health Discussions. Park A, Hartzler AL, Huh J, Hsieh G, McDonald DW, Pratt J Med Internet Res 2016;18(11)

Online conversation in health can lead to a change in topic discussions – otherwise referred to as topic drift. Can an automated tool help detect and bring the discussion back on topic?

                                                                                                    

Use of Social Media in the Diabetes Community: An Exploratory Analysis of Diabetes-Related Tweets. Liu Y, Mei Q, Hanauer DA, Zheng K, Lee JM. JMIR Diabetes 2016;1(2):e4

The study sets out to examine how patients, consumers and physicians are using social media to facilitate discussions related to diabetes. Discussion related to diabetes are taking place and the study also demonstrates that the location of tweets indicates are happening at a global level.

                                                                                                    

5 Best practices to augment a pharma social media strategy. By John MacDaniel, senior director, digital and voice of the consumer, Telerx. October 7, 2016 Life Science Leader

A must read for pharmaceutical companies on embracing social media and the need to advance on the social maturity scale.

Highlights from Digital Pharma East Conference 2016

 

digital-marketing-1527799_1280

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 .