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Pharma and Social Media: What's the New Normal?
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Pharma and Social Media: What's the New Normal?


When considering the role of social media in the pharma/healthcare industry, it is best to step back and grasp the overall trends shaping the way we now communicate. What is the New Normal?

When considering the role of social media in the pharma/healthcare industry, it is best to step back and grasp the overall trends shaping the way we now communicate. What is the New Normal?

Published in Health & Medicine
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  • 1. Pharma and Social Media:What’s the New Normal?
    Steve Woodruff
    President, Impactiviti
  • 2. By the way…
    The purpose of this presentation is to help those who are interested in social media to understand the inevitable and central role that digitalnetworkedcommunications will play now and in the future.
    That is most clearly seen by looking at the overall trends shaping the way society increasingly communicates…
  • 3. Outline
    What is Social Media/Networked Communications?
    Trend Currents (not current trends!)
    How does Social Media Intersect with Pharma?
    What does all this mean for me?
  • 4. What is Social Media?
  • 5. Social Media is…
    People doing what they’ve always done – connecting and sharing
    Instead of a backyard fence, we now have a digital web
    We’re communicating, in multiple ways, as we always have – but faster, broader, and richer
    Social media is…
  • 6. Networked Communicationson steroids!
  • 7. Networked Communications
    Social media is a subset of a much broader category that we can call (digital) Networked Communications.
    We’ve always done Networked Communications (think: the neighborhood gossip grapevine.) Now, it’s just faster and richer.
    Only when it is placed in its broader context does it make the most cultural and business sense.
    See more on this topic at:
  • 8. Cultural Ubiquity
    Social networking is cutting across ALL areas of business (not just marketing), and the use of social networking in business is a subset of its broad use in general life and culture. It’s not going away!
  • 9. Trend Currents
    Things like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. are current trends – temporary manifestations
    Networked Communications is a Trend Current – those inexorable forces re-shaping culture and technology
  • 10. The Inexorable Trend Currents
    Networked Communications are interwoven with these trend currents:
    Mobile Computing
    Community Formation
    These inexorable trends are the flowing river (specific social media platforms are the boats)
  • 11. 1. Disintermediation
    The barriers between people and information/people/goods are rapidly falling.
    Example: Amazon and buying (books + whatever!)
  • 12. The Bottom Line: Then
    There were once many walls and gaps between most people – direct contact with people and information was severely limited and regularly mediated
  • 13. The Bottom Line: Now
    Peer-to-peer engagement:
    The new normal
  • 14. Smartphones/pads
    Web and Apps everywhere
    Wi-Fi & always-on connectivity
    2. Mobile Computing
    Everything from text to video will increasingly be in portable form factors.
    Digital communications over a network will simply be assumed – like breathing air.
  • 15. 3. Self-Expression
    There is no longer a barrier or time lag between idea, expression, publication, and consumption.
  • 16. 4. Community
    People are now free to create their own communities, without top-down involvement, supervision, or geographical constraints
  • 17. So…Who is in Charge Now?
    These Trend Currents – and the digital tools that fuel them – make the growth of social media/networked communications into virtually every sphere an inevitability.
  • 18. Social Media and Pharma
  • 19. Houston, we have a problem
    Social Media world
    Pharma world
    Communications: Dialogue
    Control: Bottom-up
    Evolution: Rapid
    Environment: Open
    Connections: Direct
    Communications: One-way
    Control: Top-down
    Evolution: Glacial
    Environment: Closed
    Connections: Indirect
  • 20. Sample Collision
    Fake Sanofi-Aventis Facebook page put up by a patient, to complain about side effects
  • 21. Enforced Transparency
    Digital Evidence
    Immediate Exposure
    Engagement with Stakeholders
    What does this mean for corporate culture?
    The “bucket of money” black eye suffered by AstraZeneca when an internal newsletter got out.
  • 22. The Empowered HCP (Healthcare Professional)
    Clinical Information
    Multi-level Connection
    Professional Collaboration
    What does this mean for pharma sales?
    KevinMD – popular healthcare blog
  • 23. The Empowered Patient
    Disease/treatment Information
    Multi-level Connection
    Community Collaboration
    What does this mean for pharma marketing?
    ePatientDave (David deBronkart) – cancer survivor, patient advocate/spokesman (on-line and off-line)
  • 24. The Empowered Employee
    Improved Internal Access
    Informal Learning (70-80%)
    Ambient Awareness
    What does this mean for training and internal comms?
  • 25. Where’s the low-hanging fruit?Most community value / Best biz potential / Least risk
    • Research
    • 26. (existing) Patients
    • 27. (potential) Consumers
    • 28. Health Care Providers
    • 29. Health Communities
    Video/pod -casting
    Focused communities
    Lifestream platforms (e.g. F’book)
    • External Comms
    • 30. Internal Comm/Collaboration
    Companies need to figure out what activities and applications to use to successfully reach out to various audiences.
  • 31. What’s in it for YOU?
  • 32. Opportunity
    Companies can humanize – connect and communicate with customers
    Knowledge can flow easily (in all directions)
    Messages can go forward “unmediated” by others
    Advocates can be created and user communities built
    Internal silos can be eroded through peer-to-peer communication
  • 33. By the way…
    Businesses that try to jump into social media, without having key people personally involved (building trusted network connections as individuals) will almost certainly fail.
    Therefore, a primary call to action is to encourage involvement in personal and professional digital networks in order to understand the environment (which is very different from the one-way communications format)
  • 34. Start Opportunity Networking
    Personal involvement – building a network – is key
    “Safety Net” - fear- and circumstance-driven
    “Opportunity Network” – confidence and future-driven
    Greatest opportunities, for you and others, will be through ties of shared interest, sympathy, and connections
  • 35. Levels of Involvement
  • 36. Passive Outposting
    Add your basic info to on-line repositories (Visual CV, LinkedIn, etc.)
    Allows you to be “findable” on-line
    Join to an early strategy of “lurking” (reading and listening) to get a feel for the landscape
  • 37. Formal Connecting
    Reaching out and becoming a “connection” with trusted individuals you know
    LinkedIn very common on the professional level; Facebook the standard on the personal level
    Begins to open up access to wider networks (friends of friends)
  • 38. Lifestreaming
    More open sharing of multiple facets of life
    Higher level of focus on status updates, pics, quick videos
    Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare very popular
    Professionals may struggle to gain a comfort level with this amount of disclosure
  • 39. Engaging with Private Communities
    Countless focused (some open; some invite-only or private) communities exist around areas of interest
    Private “walled gardens” allow a freer level of sharing without wide open exposure on the web
  • 40. Open Web Sharing
    Your writing, comments, updates, pix, etc. are open to the whole world
    Blogs, Twitter, and other sharing platforms enable an unlimited audience
    Can provide a vast Opportunity Network
    Must embrace privacy/publicity tradeoff
  • 41. Levels of Intimacy
  • 42. Roles People Play
  • 43. What do I do now?
    What’s in it for…them (give, add value)
    Be pro-active and think long-term
    Merge on-line and off-line
    Become a connector
    Remember: Google is your new resume, and it never forgets!
  • 44. Where I live on-line
  • 45. Web:
    Pharma resources:
    Twitter: @impactiviti
    Digital Biz Card: text swoodruff to 50500
    Free e-book!