On July 12th, I participated in a virtual Panel Discussion: The Rules of Engagement – Can Regulated Businesses Like Pharma and Healthcare Embrace Social Media? This is part of the Social Media In Pharma Summit that is taking place online from July 12-August 4th (#socialpharm).
I was one of four panel members representing a mix of experience and geography:
- Alex Butler, EMEA Marketing Communications, Janssen
- Daisy Chhatwal, Regulatory Affairs, Medimmune
- Eileen O’Brien, Search & Innovation, Siren Interactive
We were charged with speaking to these four questions:
- Is social media right for Pharma?
- How can pharma get started in social media? What are the first steps?
- Who in pharma is doing a good job of using social media?
- What are some industry best practices navigating the complex regulatory environment?
Here are 10 key discussion points and best practices discussed by the panel:
- Social Media is her to stay…health is social. It’s now part of doing business in today’s rapidly changing world. It’s not if Pharma should proceed, but how…The ultimate goal is “collective action” (great term by Alex Butler).
- Social Media is not the strategy but a tactic and needs to be fully integrated with other brand and company efforts.
- Getting started with Social Media means first focusing on the “why”—What are goals and objectives? Objectives may be big and/or small, but will drive KPIs and measurement.
- Selecting which SM tactics to focus on requires thinking through how well a SM tool fulfills objectives and other key criteria: Meets media/SM habits/savvy; Disease and Competitive considerations; Resources/skills needed to establish and maintain, and Fit with company values/risk appetite.
- Discuss product promotion vs. disease education upfront (US only)—but panel strongly suggests that disease education not be a distant second to brand sell.
- Evaluate internal and external risk tolerance…honestly!
- SM demands a rapidly changing environment – need to be able to quickly adapt and evolve.
- An iterative approach can work well—it is OK to ‘dip your toes’; no need to try to launch with every SM tactic all at once!
- Partner with Regulatory and Medical/Legal teams in developing strategy and tactical plans and do so early in the process. Ensure that processes are in place before going live. Maintain effective lines of communication across all internal and external constituents throughout the development and implementation process.
- Use strategies and lessons learned from other areas of oversight and review—but don’t wait for too many case studies or you’ll be too late!
BTW, if you haven’t yet signed up, you may want to check out the agenda which includes many interesting presentations still to come, including a Facebook Case Study by John Pugh, Boehringer Ingelheim; Leveraging SM Platforms to Enhance Patient Relationships by Eileen O’Brien , Siren Interactive; Are You Mobile? The Impact of Mobile on Social Media by Xavier Petit, Shire; Digital Brand Strategy in the NOW Economy by me, and Online Social Presence in the World of Pharma by Chris Brogan of Human Business Works.
Note: slide presentation was created by Eileen O’Brien and Ellen Hoenig.