07/28/2011  |  Posted By:

With headlines like the ones above, it is no wonder that a growing chorus of health thought leaders (see here, here, and here) are raising the issue of pharma giving up on social media.

However, before deciding to walk away from social media the pharmaceutical industry might want to consider a few things first.

  1. Promoting product is not only communication goal. Before drug companies take drastic actions in limiting use of social media they should consider the impact on their communications efforts with key opinion leaders, media and other audiences they engage with.
  2. Social media is social. If you want to present the facts in a controlled way then use your website. Go ahead and leverage social elements (Facebook like button, tweet, +1) on your website to bridge it to social media. If you want to engage with an audience then and only then should you build a presence on a social media platform.
  3. Comments can be moderated. Facebook’s new rules do not prevent the use of a moderation system that allows you to view and approve comments.
  4. Measure what matters. Too often companies fall into the trap of driving their social media strategy based on what is easy to measure (friends, likes, etc.) rather than the goals of why they are there (see our recent newsletter).
  5. Focus on the problem not the solution. There is not a disease that exists that does not have a conversation happening around it in social media. Rather than creating a social media campaign about your particular product, join and contribute to the conversation that is already happening. Partner with an advocacy group, create an online tool that assists patients or supports care givers. If your company contributes to the conversation you might just make some new friends.