How to Avoid a Social Media Crisis - e-Patient Connections 2011 Workshop


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Daniel Ghinn's presentation slides from his workshop 'How to Avoid a Social Media Crisis' at e-Patient Connections, Philadelphia, September 2011.

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  • Before we start, this is where we’re heading. I hope that’s OK and you’re in the right workshop!There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions of each other, or me, as we go.
  • Firstly, so you know where I’m coming from, here’s me.A few photos from my Facebook profile…
  • What would your social media profile say about you?
  • Before we start, let’s be clear about what we mean by social media. It’s a widely-used term and just as widely interpreted.Here’s what I think is a reasonable definition.‘Social media’ does not refer to an individual site like Facebook or Youtube. It includes any and every online media outlet, application or tool that allows people to collaborate and share information. Access may be via any Internet-connected platform including a desktop computer, tablet or other mobile device.And regulators see it this way, too.
  • Most social media sites and applications encourage people to upload a profile containing information about themselves and allow users to share that information online with other users. Social media encompasses a wide range of categories, including but not limited to, the following:Examples of Social Networking sites include Facebook, Badoo, QQ, LinkedInNext, there are Social Bookmarking Sites such as Delicious, StumbleuponSocial News Sites are next and include Digg, RedditCommunity Forums include CafePharma,, MDTFSocial Wikis such as Wikipedia and IntellipediaPopular Blogging Sites like Blogspot and Blogster, and millions of stand-alone blogsMicroblogging tools, of which the most popular is currently TwitterOther sharing sites like Quora or From a regulatory perspective, they care about what is being shared in such online tools AND where this informationcan go once it leaves your fingertips. In other words, it’s about what you post and where it ends up, geographically or from a marketing perspective.
  • What kinds of words are used to describe social media? – Inside or outside your organization, or by you, or your peers?Is there a general trend or tone? Can we capture the ‘mood’ or sentiment towards social media?
  • For some, there’s a sense of mixed feelings… perhaps how you might feel in this situation: a mix of fear and excitement?
  • It might seem like a big statement, but can you think of ways in which social media has changed the way things happen?The speed at which things happen, or the way events develop?
  • Here’s a recent example. Does this add to the sense of fear and/or excitement?What impact does this kind of story have on how social media is perceived in your organization?
  • And here’s one from my home city of London.
  • What to do? Hide and hope nobody notices? That’s not really an option, is it?
  • How would you put out this fire. You’d blow it out easily, right?
  • How about this one?Every inferno starts relatively small. Catch it before it’s out of control.
  • Imagine the worst case social media scenario for your organization.What does it look like?Perhaps you have already encountered a social media crisis or ‘near miss’?
  • Workgroup exercise
  • Take-away #1: Be preparedThis starts with listeningDon’t wait until it’s so big that everybody has noticed.There are many ways you can do this.Boehringer Ingelheim have developed a custom tool to track social media activity around their brands.Some companies use external monitoring agencies; some do it in-house.Exercise:Are you prepared? i.e. what actions could you take that will enable you to be aware of an emerging social media crisis before it becomes a crisis?What will it take to achieve these?
  • Here’s a list of the NYSE Biggest Percentage Decliners for March 30 this year. At the top we see KV Pharmaceutical with a drop of over 20% in share price.
  • The FDA’s statement on Makena followed a PR disaster that escalated rapidly over a three week period.
  • The social media attack on KV Pharmaceutical earlier this year was a key component in a PR disaster that had direct and far-reaching implications for the company.After an angry reaction to the company’s pricing of synthetic progesterone product, Makena, after its FDA approval, one mother took action on Facebook and the page she created, entitled ‘Shame on You, KV Pharmaceuticals’, became the focus of both online and offline activity that engaged an extensive breadth of stakeholders taking action.Just three weeks later, the FDA announced that KV should not have exclusive rights to produce similar products. The pharmaceutical company’s share price plummeted, and has not recovered since.Read the full story at: in the book, ‘Taming The Digital Wild West’ available from Creation Healthcare’s stand at ePharma Connections.
  • How does social media differ from traditional media?Here are some ways we have observed.
  • This is how the e-Patient sees social media, in the eyes of the founder of the ‘Shame on you, KV…’ Facebook page.
  • Fire rangers look out for forest fires before they become uncontrollable.
  • Take-away #2: Digital Governance.This means being in control of your organization’s digital engagement.Exercise:Who is, or should be, responsible for your organization’s digital governance?What needs to happen to ensure all digital engagement is well controlled, without stopping innovation?
  • Here’s an example of a blog response assessment which might be helpful when you think about responding in your organization.It’s used by Pfizer in Canada and, learning from outside the industry, is modelled on a chart used by the US Air Force.In this escalation process, every time something happens, there is a clearly outlined decision framework.
  • Take-away #3: Develop a Crisis PlanKnow what you will do if a crisis starts to break out.Exercise:Plan a ‘social media crisis’ war-room test, to practice responding in various scenarios.Who should be in the ‘war-room’?What will their responsibilities be?What actions do you need to take immediately?
  • Johnson & Johnson has had its fair share of social media crises. Amongst the most memorable was the ‘Motrin Mums’ incident in 2008, where an advertising campaign failed to hit the mark with mothers who reacted angrily on Twitter, creating a social media outcry over a weekend that led to wider mainstream media reporting.The legacy of this social media disaster lives on, with the Youtube video that was created at its peak still online with 111,000 views:
  • Johnson & Johnson was quick to respond, using the same channels of engagement as the online community, apologizing via its blog, fact, J&J was already, and has continued to be, proactive about its social media presence. Running a Youtube channel since mid-2008, where a huge amount of engagement takes place, and lessons are learned, the company later established a Twitter presence in 2009.
  • When I spoke with Rob Halper whilst judging the Healthcare Engagement Strategy Awards in 2010, in which J&J won Best Engagement Through Video, he was happy to share advice from his own experience engaging via the J&J Health Channel on Youtube, which posts videos open to comments and has to date served up more than 4.5 million video views.You can read the full report and conversation with Rob Halper at
  • Proof that this proactive approach pays off? Johnson & Johnson still ranks as one of the most admired brands in the world, beaten only by Google in the most recent Harris Poll, and is way out on top of all pharma corporate brands.
  • Take-away #4: Engage.This means respondingExercise:How do you currently engage via social media?Are there any areas of weakness? What will it take to address these?
  • Let’s recap on those four big take-aways I promised you. Will they change anything for you?
  • OK then, how are we doing?Do this individually, and then discuss with your peers if you wish.Score yourself between 1 & 3 for each item.How did you score overall, out of 12? (open discussion)Identify up to three priority actions to get on track.
  • How to Avoid a Social Media Crisis - e-Patient Connections 2011 Workshop

    1. 1. Social Media Crisis?<br />Taming the Digital Wild West<br />Daniel Ghinn, Creation Healthcare<br />e-Patient Connections, Philadelphia<br />September 2011<br />
    2. 2. What to expect<br />Get equipped to avoid a social media crisis<br />4 key take-aways<br />Tools to envision senior executives<br />We’ll look at real-world examples<br />You’ll compare notes with peers<br />You’ll get to ask questions<br />
    3. 3. Daniel Who?<br />
    4. 4. Who’s in the room?<br />
    5. 5. Defining Social Media<br />What are ‘Social Media?’<br />Online tools that foster communication and interaction<br />
    6. 6. Defining Social Media<br />Social networking<br />Micro-blogs<br />Social bookmarking<br />Blogs<br />What are ‘Social Media?’<br />Social wikis<br />Social <br />news-sharing<br />Community forums<br />
    7. 7. What’s the tone?<br />What kind of words have you heard used about social media?<br />
    8. 8.
    9. 9. Is social media changing the world?<br />
    10. 10. …young Egyptians armed with Twitter accounts instead of assault rifles emerged as rebel darlings<br />, August 28, 2011<br />
    11. 11. Police revealed they had considered switching off social messaging sites including BBM and Twitter.<br />, August 16, 2011<br />
    12. 12. Everything’s changed<br />
    13. 13.
    14. 14. “A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”<br />James 3:5<br />
    15. 15. What’s the worst case social media scenario for your organization?<br />
    16. 16. What went wrong?<br />Thinking about that worst case scenario,<br />Where did it start?<br />What would be the first sign that things were going wrong?<br />
    17. 17. Take-Away #1<br />How will you<br />?<br />be prepared<br />
    18. 18. The price of a social media crisis?<br />
    19. 19. FDA understands that the manufacturer of Makena,KV Pharmaceuticals, has sent letters to pharmacists indicating that FDA will no longer exercise enforcement discretion with regard to compounded versions of Makena. This is not correct.<br /> <br />…FDA does not intend to take enforcement action against pharmacies that compound hydroxyprogesteronecaproate based on a valid prescription…<br />FDA, March 30, 2011<br />
    20. 20. What went wrong?<br />
    21. 21. Social media vs traditional media?<br />The ‘journalists’ of social media don’t call your press line to ask you for a quote before they publish<br />Social media publishers ‘go to press’ at any time of day or night<br />Compelling stories have the potential to achieve huge reach very quickly – before you have even woken up<br />In social media, everybody has a voice, instantly.<br />
    22. 22. The e-Patient’s strategy<br />“I started this page quite simply because I was outraged. I knew if other people knew… they’d be outraged too.<br />“Facebook gave me the platform to reach a lot of people in a short time.<br />“My hope was that we’d stir up enough public anger… I believed that if we put our heads together, we’d figure something out.<br />“Not only did affected moms and dads get involved, but doctors, news reporters and medical organizations joined the conversation.<br />“We shared information and ideas on everything from boycotts to contacting our Congressional representatives.”<br />Christine O’Connell, founder of ‘Shame on you, KV Pharmaceutical and CEO Greg Divis‘ Facebook page<br />Quoted in Healthcare Engagement Strategy, March 30, 2011<br /><br />
    23. 23.
    24. 24. Take-Away #2<br />Who’s responsible for <br />?<br />Digital Governance<br />
    25. 25. Source:<br />
    26. 26. Take-Away #3<br />What’s your<br />?<br />Crisis Plan<br />
    27. 27. J&J: Lessons from engagement<br />
    28. 28.
    29. 29. Keep the content fresh<br />Monitor comments every day, on a regular basis<br />Be open and honest. If you make a mistake, or offend somebody, take responsibility for it.<br />Don’t try to sneak in a commercial message without being transparent about it.<br />Remember it’s a living organism – it’s not something that’s static. You have to get your hands dirty. And it’s fun!<br />Youtubelessons from J&J’s experience<br />Rob Halper, Director of Video Communication, Johnson & Johnson<br />Quoted in Healthcare Engagement Strategy Awards 2010<br /><br />
    30. 30. Source: Harris Interactive, New York, March 23, 2011<br />
    31. 31. Take-Away #4<br />How do you<br />Engage<br />?<br />using social media<br />
    32. 32. Take-Aways<br />Listen and be prepared<br />Control how your organization engages: Digital Governance<br />Develop your Crisis Plan<br />Be familiar with channels & online stakeholders: Engage<br />
    33. 33. Self-diagnosis: Social media<br />Listening<br />As an organization, we know what people are saying online about us, within less than 24 hours.<br />This information immediately gets to the people in our organization who can take appropriate action.<br />Digital governance<br />All our digital engagement activities are controlled by a digital governance policy backed by senior executives.<br />Crisis plan<br />We have a social media crisis plan in place, and it’s been tested.<br />Engagement<br />As an organization, we can confidently engage stakeholders using social media channels.<br />
    34. 34. Questions?<br />Talk with us on the Creation Healthcare Stand<br />Sign up for our book,Taming the Digital Wild West<br />Sign up to receive our monthly e-journal,Healthcare Engagement Strategyat or on our stand.<br />Daniel<br />