As you know, I’ve been part of this world for just 15 months, but I’ve gained a wide perspective, and also spent the best part of the last year looking in depth at social media in healthcare. I’ve spoken to over 20 agency leads in both the states and here, including Tom Harrison and Tom Watson – DAS heads. Forgive my naivety if I make some bold statements, but this is what I’ve seen:
The traditional way in which Pharma reach, engage, and influence their audiences is no longer working as well as it once did. The days of the sale force and fact-based messages are long gone. Physicians believe these methods provide little value, and they are costly and inefficient. (1 in 4 physicians refuse to meet the sales force). More and more time is being spent online, but this is where Pharma have least presence. New technology and ways to communicate mean that the old pharma model needs updating to stay relevant in the current climate. But pharma, and by and large agencies, are waiting for others to make the first move. However, while they sit and wait, there is so much movement and progress being made in the wider healthcare arena. Physicians are joining social media sites, disease awareness campaigns are springing up unofficially, and individuals are becoming key influencers in certain areas.
During this presentation, I’ll take a look at the social landscape of the wider world, and then the pharma world. Then I’ll be exploring more of the services that DAS agencies can offer, in both engagement and influence, with a few subsections where I really break these topics down. I’ll then finish by exploring some possible next steps for us as agencies to embark on to help DAS establish themselves as leaders in this area.
I want to start this presentation by exploring the social scene.
You’ve all got smart phones. Why? For work emails? Maybe. For your diary? A useful bonus, but not the reason you ALWAYS know where your phone is. Let me explain, using a little bit of neuropsychology lingo that remains close to my heart.
Every time you look at that piece of plastic and metal, a neurological reaction happens in your brain. A neuropsychologist named Martin Lindstrom carried out an fMRI experiment where he showed participants a video of a buzzing iphone.
What martin found, was that the flurry of activation was concentrated in the insular cortex of the brain. This area is adjacent to, and therefore in regular contact with, the amygdala – the brain area associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.
In short, the subjects didn’t demonstrate the classic brain-based signs of addiction. Instead, they loved their iPhones.
The reason for this, and why the mobile phone defied all odds and became an absolute life essential is due to one simple truth, we are social beings, and phones help us to be in constant communication to each other. That object in front of you is a portal which provides you with access to the gratifying emotion of social contact, and due to that, you have an emotional connection with it.
So, enough of the science lesson. Why am I telling you so much about our innate social tendencies? Because when social media exploded onto the scene circa 2003, the way in which we are able to communicate changed forever . And our biological make-up which dictates this urge to be social, the fact they have now got solid evidence that social and non-social regions of the brain exist, is the reason why this new channel was fail-proof from the start.
Lets take a look at where pharma currently are.
As we all know, pharma have historically been slow to jump on the social media band wagon. They’re scared to put a foot wrong in case they’re pulled up by the FDA or ABPI. In the states, everyone is waiting for FDA guidelines to be published. Already delayed, it now seems to be anyone’s guess as to when they’ll be released. And when they are, they’re unlikely to provide much guidance, because it seems not even the FDA know what rules to set.
The constant to-ing and fro-ing that pharma is doing with regards to social media is creating a tangible sense of fatigue. The on-again off-again relationship is tiring to watch. I really think that we, as agencies, need to encourage our pharma clients to take forward steps into this space and set new precendents. They may not have the knowledge or willing to do so, but we do, and surely it is our responsibility to share our expertise in this area?
However, for now, it seems that the majority of pharma companies are watching and waiting for others to either get burnt, or to find the winning formula.
But while they sit and wait, social media is being used extensively by patients and doctors alike. Pharma are reluctant to engage in 2-way dialogues about their brands, but these conversations are already happening ‘behind their backs’ regardless.
Over ¼ of people have consulted a website about a specific drug – as stated by the Pew Research Centre report (social life of health information). So, if there is minimal pharma presence, then where are they getting this information from, and how accurate is it? The important thing to realise is that the absence of experts in an online conversation does not prevent the public from learning. It may not be accurate information they are receiving, yet the &quot;learning&quot; continues unabated.
The goal of every pharma company when using social media should be to have actual conversations with their customers to correct misinformation, share product knowledge and learn together.
I’m now going to look at 2 key areas: engagement, and influence, and make recommendations for how DAS agencies can provide relevant services in these regions.
First up, enagagement. The days of interruptive marketing are gone. We no longer have a captive audience. Hard-sells fall on deaf ears. People don’t want to listen anymore, they want to have conversations .
We are bombarded with information on a daily basis. 3 decades ago , it was estimated that someone living in a city received over 2000 marketing messages per day. This is a screen grab from a website that calculates the number of tweets per minute originating from a given city. Imagine what the number of messages we receive today might be!
Scientists say that the nature of surfing the web has cut our attention span from 20 minutes in the land before internet, to just 9 seconds now. If something doesn’t instantly grab our attention, it gets lost in the noise.
A wise man once told me that to make something truly engaging in the social media space, you need to be able to play with it, participate in it, and feel the urge to pass it on. I must say, at this point, that this is DDB’s social creativity dictum, and therefore I can’t take any credit for it. However, it really resonated with me as being absolutely true.
Find a way of making something exciting, and it will hold an individual’s attention. Then you have them listening to you. If the content is authentic, and of interest to them, then they might just engage. If they are then that motivated by what you’re showing, they’ll pass it on to their friends.
This is an example of how a disease awareness campaign really took off – the facebook virals which were created in order to raise awareness of Breast Cancer Month. Girls are encouraged to pass on a message to other female friends which encourages them to change their status to something slightly cryptic and slightly provocative – which leaves the male population rather confused. This is an excellent use of facebook, as it speaks to users in a colloquial and light-hearted manner. Interestingly, these weren’t created by an official organisation, but by individual facebook users with an interest in the cause – showing how people are managing to create social media campaigns off their own back – and doing them better than a lot of pharma companies are!
Taking a slightly more professional tone, which is appropriate for this platform, This is Lilly Oncology’s ‘Oncology on Canvas’ campaign, which is housed predominantly on a website but uses Twitter to engage with patients. They are encouraged to get involved by submitting artistic impressions of their cancer journey, which then get publicised using this social media platform. Although 520 followers isn’t huge, the massive social media push resulted in almost 4000 patients submitting their art since the campaign began.
I believe that moving people into action wherever you show up is an effective way to engage. Even if the action is changing your facebook status, you are physically engaging with a brand/campaign for that albeit brief moment.
Facebook and twitter, as demonstrated in the examples above, provide unprecedented means to talk to an exponentially growing audience. However, the tone of these sites mean they are often mainly frequented by patients, rather than Doctors. The number one client ask at the moment with regards to social media is ‘ how do we talk to medial professionals ’? I’m now going to show you a case study which I think has done an incredibly impressive job of this when it comes to medical technology: The Philips ‘innovation in health’ linkedin site
I just want to show you what happens when you type the word ‘innovations’ into linkedin. The top 5 instant results are Philips. And just look at those figures. Over 45 thousand members in the innovations in health group! It’s just phenomenal.
As we’re becoming more aware, healthcare professionals around the world discuss the latest medical developments with their peers and colleagues every day . When discussing Innovations in health, Philips director of innovation Hans Notenboom, said: With LinkedIn, we can bring these thousands of conversations happening worldwide onto one platform .
He went on to say that Doctors across the globe can now share insights and experiences in an environment where we play the facilitator in an unobtrusive way . This is vital for ensuring the conversation stays focused and flows easily , delivering real benefits to the audience.
So how have Philips been so successful? I think the main reason, and something I really want you all to take away from this presentation, is that they have decided to house a serious, professional discussion platform, on a serious, professional social media channel where people exist in their professional identity. The language used is completely different to that of groups on facebook, and this acts to ensure that users of the group conduct themselves with professionalism, therefore adding valuable contribution to the content.
So what can we learn from Linkedin? Context is king. Choose the right platform , not just for the audience, but also for the content you want them to generate.
It might be argued that social media is a great way to reach the general public, but less so for Doctors. However, I want to show you these age statistics for Doctors registered with the GMC.
Nearly 60% of all doctors in the UK are between the ages of 26 and 45, which encompasses the Gen Y population. Also, it says here that just 5% of doctors are under 25, which may well be true, but there are over 10,000 medical students under the age of 25, with this number rapidly increasing to the point of over-subscription. They are already using facebook, flickr, twitter, and will expect to continue to use these networks in their professional lives.
We’re going to have a little quiz interlude. It’s a case of fastest answer wins.
Astoundingly , 65% of HCPs have joined a social network, using them for professional information, advice and education, as well as collaboration among their peers. This proves there’s absolutely no escaping that fact that social media provides unprecedented access to the population. So to reach them, surely you need to fish where the fish are. Amazingly, however, Pharma spend less that 2% of their marketing budget on social media.
A striking example of how Doctors are currently using social media is the case of doctors.net. As of September just gone, there were over 246,000 doctors registered on GMC. How many members did Drs.net have?
The answer, is this. Over 3/4 of all registered doctors in the uk are members of this social network. That’s a huge amount. But membership is one thing. It means this many people have visited the site, once. What’s more impressive, is that
40,000 doctors visit the site every day .
Doctors.net.uk generates its revenue from running targeted engagement campaigns for its clients, which include the pharmaceutical industry, medical technology companies, the government and health care providers. By working in collaboration with Doctors.net.uk, pharma companies can establish themselves as thought leaders and experts in their field, and set themselves apart from their competitors. Pharma can do this by going direct to sites like this, completely bypassing agencies. So how can we make sure we’re of use to them? By being educated in these channels, and understanding what information is of relevance, so that we can package this information on behalf of clients, thus providing a useful service. Social media provides an opportunity for pharma to park their cost-exhaustive sales forces and reach a vast number of doctors through a single, self-propagating channel. But are physicians willing to engage? Lets find out.
So what lessons can we learn from the likes of doctors.net? Doctors, regardless of culture or demographics, are becoming e-reliant , and willing to join a social network. In fact…
59% of HCPs agree with the statement that they would be happy to interact with a pharma/medical device company on an HCP-only social network
What things are important to bear in mind when thinking of using social media to engage with doctors?
They are intelligent beings, by their very nature, and therefore require any communication with pharma to be transparent . They want to know when , why , and how pharma is participating in a conversation.
They want fast, simple, reliable answers to product questions. And when I say ‘fast’ I mean ‘instant’ - we are living in an age where people expect things right away. Clients need to be encouraged to empower their medical team to be able to give answers honestly, openly and right away.
To be of most value, you need to combine networking with content , services and tools that relate to a doctor’s daily practices. Only then will they see the relevance and use of engaging with you.
This brings me on to an increasingly popular area, which has shown huge potential for being able to capture the interest of and engage with a variety of audiences: video
Youtube is now classed as the world’s second most popular search engine, after google?!
TED talks has seen a surge in viewers, with 50 million views of their 900+ videos in 2009, to 500 million views this year.
1 in 3 have watched video.
J&J, a company who was frequently named as being ‘leaders in social media’ when I spoke to people, both in the states and here, are heavily invested in using video. In the 3 years that the site has existed, it’s videos have had almost 5 million views.
And it’s not just patients who are interested in video content. In the last 12 months, 79% of HCPs have watched an online video clip for professional and personal use. Boehringer are really excelling in this area, with their award-winning site named ‘The White Room’ – which they call an ‘oncology media resource’. This contains a number of videos on a number of specific cancer types, and is intended as an educational tool. Video, in my opinion, is one of the most engaging tools you can use in the social media space. I think any site which wants to exist in the next few years needs to include some degree of video content.
To conclude my thoughts on engagement, I want to share some of my recommendations on what to do, and what not to do.
Social media needs to be an ongoing, integrated element of your communications with the outside world. This is not a short term project. You can’t just ‘do’ a short-lived social media campaign because you think you ought to, then let it die a death as members quit and conversations dwindle. If you came across a site dedicated to a disease or a pharma brand a year after it was launched, and it is stagnant, it has a negative effect – often highlighting the lack of commitment in your intentions.
Social campaigns can live indefinitely in the online space, and therefore need to be treated accordingly. In such a dynamic, fast-paced and ever-changing world, they need to be updated continually, must be integral to and linking to other aspects of a campaign rather than being an obvious last-minute attachment, and need to be monitored incessantly. If you embark on a social media campaign, you have to be committed. There are enough fly-by-night virals, that to really impress you need to keep showing up. Endurance shows investment, dedication, and integrity. Much like CSR, if social media is used as a tag-on, last minute tactic, it is easily seen, and proves to damage credibility almost as much as absence. In the current environment, where social media is the centrepoint of many people’s lives, a social media campaign needs to be integral to the rest of the tactics. As for monitoring, this will require a dedicated team member, or entire team. Alternatively, there are
Do you really need to build another community? There are already several well established online communities. This applies to both doctors and patients. The world of diabetes, for example, has countless numbers of forums and groups as it is a heavily peer-supported chronic disease. The gut reaction is often to go ‘ok, we’re focusing on this disease area, lets build a new community’. Good luck! Instead of jumping straight in, observe the current communities, identify any unmet needs or ways in which they may be open to communication. Then make your move. Stop, look, listen. This also applies to every tactic. Is a twitter account really appropriate? Is flickr actually going to be used by the audience? If you geotag clinics and link them up to 4-square, would they actually be used? Before you go slapping every available social media tactic onto a campaign ‘for the sake of it’, use some foresight to see whether it would actually be relevant and engaging. USE PROPS.
Client internal buy-in, education, and motivation will be essential to ensure all teams (marketing, medical, and legal) are educated on these new platforms, and are able to work collaboratively in order to achieve success. I believe this should be part of an agency’s responsibility.
I want to spend a moment discussing the latest changes to facebook.
Since August 15 th , Pharma have had no more ‘no comment’.
This means they are no longer in control of what content is posted on their site. And this doesn’t sit well with them, for fear of adverse event reporting and the worry of including comments that provide misleading or inaccurate product information or promote off-label use.
Unfortunately, in the 3 months that have now passed since this change, many other sites have also withdrawn their pages. These include AZ’s ‘take on depression’ page which had more than 1000 likes, meaning it’s very possible that 1000 people will notice it’s absence. J&J has shut down 4 pages in the last few weeks, which equated to more than 40,000 likes combined.
As explained by our very own Tom harrison, the facebook changes seem likely to expose different types of agency. Those that have prepared for the change, and have put measures in place to ‘fight’ it. These companies, or often their agencies, know that a large investment in staff is required to monitor the sites that are run by the agency, and also a rearrangement in structure as whole ‘social media teams’ need to be created. This rearrangement needs to be seen as a long-term strategic investment, as it’s now accepted that social media isn’t going anywhere fast. Then there may be those who have withdrawn some sites for the time being, as they observe and learn best practice for monitoring their content, and set about implementing agency structural changes. Finally, and unfortunately, there are those who are unprepared, unable, or unwilling to adapt to these changes. And similar to natural selection, they’ll soon see that in such a dynamic world, if you can’t adapt, you’re going to be in pretty big trouble. Social media isn’t going away, so everyone needs to face up to it, and work out how to use it.
Now for the final section of the presentation: influence.
97%. This is because the people they are gaining most of their information from are peers
Trust is a very important word in our social world, and conjures warm and fluffy images of our nearest and dearest, people we can really rely and depend on.
But something seems flawed with this statement.
According to a recent Gallup survey, the pharmaceutical industry has a net positive trust score of -7 ! This makes it just a little higher than the finance, tobacco, and oil industries.
Pharma isn’t trusted. So when they try to engage with patients and doctors about a brand, or are associated with a disease awareness campaign, often their messages are met with suspicion and scepticism.
However, in the presence of authentic social influence, an idea, belief, or message can diffuse through the social network like an epidemic.
Just under 40% of internet users have read someone else’s health commentary. We need to harness the power of word of mouth. Research shows that WoM not only builds trust and foster cooperation, but also helps consumers make faster decisions with more conviction.
Pharma can no longer push their messages out and hope they are picked up. This isn’t an effective or engaging technique and is met with distrust. We instead need to help them first observe the online activity of the audience they’re interested in, identify the key influencers, then influence them to tell their story for them. Influencing the influencers allows people to build a personal relationship with someone , rather than with a company or product .
J&J, have used influencers in both the patient and HCP sphere. This is Marc Monseau, Director of Corporate Comms and Social Media at J&J. Just over a decade ago, he was responsible for setting up J&J’s first website, a move in those days that was highly innovative.
He has since been responsible for launching and managing the Corporation's blog, its first Twitter feed, and its Facebook page. He is a hugely influential thought leader, and largely through the help of J&JBTW, he is now seen as a credible voice in the pharma world. But not only is HE seen as credible, but by association, J&J are also shrouded in the same light. Professionals seek to engage with HIM, but in doing so also engage with J&J, enabling them to be part of, if not shape the conversation, and also to learn from the invaluable conversations that are being held right on their doorstep.
On Facebook, J&J division Ortho-McNeil-Janssen started an ADHD Moms group which had “Mom-bassadors” (members who were identified as being passionately committed and active in the ADHD arena) who were selected to share their experiences in supporting their children with ADHD. They also recruited Debbie Phelps, mother of Michael, to be their ADHD spokesperson. Regrettably, this site was another casualty of the facebook comments change, meaning nearly 24,000 fans will notice J&J’s distinct absence.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but at the beginning of this presentation I made the bold claim that we need to ‘fix it’, so what are the next steps, for us as DAS agencies, if we really are to show that we’re the marketing leaders we think we are?
Firstly, practice what you preach. How much of a social media presence do you, as an agency, have? How skilled and knowledgeable are your staff? I imagine that whilst some of you feel you’re pretty current, there is probably quite a bit more that you could be doing. I really believe that all staff should be educated in and motivated to use social media. Individuals should be encouraged to attend social media congresses. Why not invite people from different platforms or social media influence identification tools into your agency and hold stimulating workshop sessions where staff not only learn but are also excited by the options they have when they are planning a campaign. Also, we really need to start thinking ‘social media’ for everything we do from now on. It may be that social media isn’t appropriate for a certain campaign, but you need to first make sure you explore the options available to you before you decide not to use this tool. Influence: Brandwatch, radian6, synthesisio
Omnicom already has unique partnerships with certain platforms, but now seems like the right time for DAS to form a partnership with Facebook. At a meeting last month between DAS and Omnicom leaders and Facebook, Facebook stated that the next area they want to concentrate on is healthcare. DAS healthcare agencies should therefore jump on the opportunity to partner with this site, to innovate in the healthcare space. This would then enable us to run brainstorm sessions with agency leads, clients, and facebook staff, with the aim of setting some of our own guidelines for this platform which will help DAS pave the way in this area.
As we’re probably all recognising, there is greater integration occurring between marketing disciplines. It’s already happening, and no doubt will continue to do so, that a number of DAS healthcare agencies work on the same product for the same client. Take RAPP and Ketchum both working on Astellas’ Qutenza, for example. I think it would be great if we could run customised creative sessions for our clients, where all DAS agencies working on the same product get together with the client, and brainstorm ideas across all social media platforms. This will not only
Our main priority regarding social media is to work out how to reach Doctors. So, rather then guessing, why don’t we ask Doctors what pharma could do to better in this space to engage with them? A one-day event, DAS plus doctors, really digging down into the issue at hand and hoping to come away with not just insight but also ideas as to how we can use social media platforms to effectively engage with and influence this audience.
Thank you all for listening, I want to leave you with my final, summating thought.
How many internet users with chronic conditions have watched a health-related video?
<ul><li>How many internet users with chronic conditions have watched a health-related video? </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 20 </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 10 </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 5 </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 3 </li></ul>
social services: engagement - Dr. social - Bear in mind - Video - Rules of engagement
What percentage of Doctors.net users say the site is their most trusted source of online information?
<ul><li>What percentage of Doctors.net users say the site is their most trusted source of online information? </li></ul><ul><li>35% </li></ul><ul><li>56% </li></ul><ul><li>72% </li></ul><ul><li>97% </li></ul>