Making a Social Media To-Dont List

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by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)

Its a dog-eat-dog world out there, so for companies to succeed, they need to either dream big or go home. However, in a competitive world, turning a dream into reality requires action.

With social media becoming a formidable communication tool, pharma and health care companies are devising new strategies to communicate with patients, consumers, partners, and internal constituents. Whether its creating branded messages for Facebook, using Twitter to direct people to the corporate website or other relevant content, launching a mobile app to bring interactive information to peoples fingertips, or setting up a Yammer community for employees, everyone has their eye on social media and how it can be used to support marketing efforts, build sales and deliver a point of differentiation.

To stay organized, encourage productivity and support goals, many organized people create to-do lists. When it comes to social media, with all this focus on what needs to get done, its easy to lose sight of what you should not do:

Dont rely on the spaghetti strategy. In a rush to have a social media presence, individuals and organizations established a presence on many social networks, but without forethought to what theyre trying to achieve and the best platform to reach their goals. Is it enough to have a large base of followers? Are you just moving your website content without leveraging different audience dynamics? Is the basis of your strategy “me too? Are patients looking for active communities, promotional materials or health-related information? Dont just “throw things out there and hope it sticks.

Dont put social media on a checklist. Creating a social media presence might have been on your 2008 checklist. Today its about nurturing your networks, and being creative and nimble in response to change. For example, commenting changes to Facebook, have spurred many pharmaceutical companies to pull down their Facebook pages or replace disease-specific information with corporate communication. Dont assume you can put up a presence and walk away from it.

Dont suck all the air out of the room. Pharma communication has traditionally been a one-way street with companies providing information and patients, doctors and others consuming it. Were in a different world where everyone is part of the conversation. While there are restrictions in the types of interactions pharma can participate in, there are no limitations on listening in to what consumers and patients are saying. Dont forget to “take the temperature to understand how messages are being perceived so you can alter your strategy accordingly.

Dont post the same updates on all of your social networks. Of course there are some messages, such as product recalls, that may be appropriate for your entire customer base, but dont assume people use all their social networks the same way. Delve into the demographics on the platforms you participate in and then tailor messages to the specific audience. Every post, reply or retweet is a chance to deliver additional messaging to support your overall communication efforts.

Dont lollygag. We may all be gray-haired in rocking chairs by the time the FDA gets around to issuing formal social media guidelines. Rather than wait for that day to occur, begin setting your own internal policies and best practices that are in accordance with industry guidelines so you can move forward.

Its easy to forget what you dont want to do. Figure out the things that are keeping you from achieving your social media goals, and dont do them.

Whats on your to dont list thats keeping you from reaching your social media goals?

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6 Responses to Making a Social Media To-Dont List

  1. Social media is not limited to the pharmacy department but it also expanded in all over the area .Most of the companies are working through social media and almost every one is connecting to this media.In this sense social media is one of the most way of communication between people.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Of course social is not limited to pharma, but as we here at Pixels & Pills have a focus on new directions in digital pharma, it makes the most sense to focus our editorial content in that direction. Certainly agree with you that social platforms are a great tool for companies in any industry – to reach a wide variety of people.

    Thanks, again, for your comment. We hope you’ll keep readin!

  3. Carmen Gonzalez says:

    Good tips, Brianna. Consider doing a follow up on the best social media guidelines in the industry. Sometimes showcasing best practices helps newbies in the industry get on board the right way.

  4. Jason Boies says:

    Another good article, Briana.

    RE: FDA
    FDA guidance could still be a long way off so its important to have solid internal social media policies in place. I have a feeling the FDA won’t be issuing anything particularly earth shattering anyway. I’d like to think that keeping existing guidelines (print, TV) in mind may be more sufficient than some think. So good points there.

    Pharma is a pretty unique business isn’t it? It’s not often you hear of an industry crying out for more government guidance. ;)

    Jason Boies
    Radian6 Community Team
    @Radian6

  5. Great idea, Carmen!
    Thanks for the comment.

  6. Thanks, Jason. I agree, I think it will be a long time before we hear anything substantive from the FDA and pharma needs to keeps itself moving in the right direction.