Making the case for pharmaceutical brands to interact


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MSLGROUP had a couple OTC pharma clients who knew they should be on Facebook but whose legal departments wouldn't allow them to interact at all with their fans, let alone let them "like" them... which goes against the entire point of Facebook, but is a common problem in the pharmaceutical industry. I put together this deck to help get through to their legal departments not only as to WHY the pharma brands should not only have presences, but allow interaction. Needless to say, it worked and said brands are now enjoying very successful and interactive Facebook pages!

(Major hat tip to Jonathan Richman of Bridge Worldwide/Dose of Digital for his "All About Eve" concept.)

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Making the case for pharmaceutical brands to interact

  1. 1. There’s no need to be tight-lipped: Making the case for pharmaceutical brands to interact on Facebook Prepared by: Stacy Lukasavitz Social Media Strategist 7.12.10
  2. 2. Facebook – what’s the point? “ Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
  3. 3. Brands get it. They know they should be here.
  4. 4. Some brands don’t entirely get it. They don’t allow users to comment on their content. They don’t allow users to share their content. They don’t allow users to “like” their content. Many of these brands are in the OTC pharmaceutical industry. They are afraid. They’re on Facebook, but . . .
  5. 5. All about E.V.E. E xpected V isitor E xperience (Not this one)
  6. 6. Expected Visitor Experience <ul><li>When people visit your page, they expect to be able to: </li></ul><ul><li>Comment on your content </li></ul><ul><li>“ Like” your content </li></ul><ul><li>Share your content </li></ul><ul><li>… in short: ENGAGE WITH YOUR BRAND. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Expected Visitor Experience <ul><li>Primary goals for having a Facebook page: </li></ul><ul><li>increase customer engagement </li></ul><ul><li>boost brand loyalty </li></ul><ul><li>spur word-of-mouth among brand advocates. </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t play by Facebook users’ rules, you will have a hard time doing any of these things. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Main fears of allowing comments Some brands have contacted Facebook and had them disable commenting on content all together. Why?
  9. 9. Main fears of allowing comments <ul><li>Negative feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Complaints of adverse events </li></ul>
  10. 10. Negative feedback If someone is going to say something negative about your brand or product, they’re already saying it elsewhere. “ What if somebody says something bad about my brand/product?”
  11. 11. Adverse events As of July 2010, there is still no FDA guideline or regulation that specifically covers the content of online discussion in a way that is different from reporting AE information derived from any other source. <ul><li>Current FDA guidelines give four parameters for submitting information about adverse experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>The pharmaceutical company should have knowledge of: </li></ul><ul><li>an identifiable patient; </li></ul><ul><li>an identifiable reporter; </li></ul><ul><li>a specific drug or biologic involved in the event; </li></ul><ul><li>an adverse event or fatal outcome. 1 </li></ul>
  12. 12. Adverse events <ul><li>A 2008 Nielsen study revealed that only 1 out of 500 posts online met all four of the FDA’s reporting requirements. </li></ul><ul><li>On Facebook, there is a higher chance that all four criteria could apply to AE reporting as opposed to comments on anonymous message boards. However, the FDA requirements for how frequently AEs should be reported remain the same 2 : </li></ul><ul><li>New drugs: quarterly for 3 years </li></ul><ul><li>Drugs 3+ years old: annually </li></ul><ul><li>“ serious and unexpected events”: within 15 days </li></ul><ul><li>Every company already does these kind of reports, so it is simply a matter of including adverse events received from Facebook into the workstream, should they even occur.   </li></ul>
  13. 13. Negative feedback Advantage to allowing Facebook comments: <ul><li>If someone does criticize your brand/product, you can address the concerns “in your own backyard.” </li></ul><ul><li>Addressing negativity directly creates better customer service and brand experience – often transforms critics into advocates. </li></ul>
  14. 14. “ Like” button Some brands have disabled Facebook users from clicking the “Like” button on their posted content, including status updates. (The reasons for this are not clear.)
  15. 15. “ Like” button Why would you NOT want Facebook fans to like your brand or product, or your posted content? (Unlike “Like,” there is no universal “dislike” button – only an app that nobody uses.)
  16. 16. Sharing is the lifeblood of Facebook. “ Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
  17. 17. Sharing is the lifeblood of Facebook.
  18. 18. Web 1.0 Web 1.0 was about one-way consuming of information on the internet.
  19. 19. Web 2.0 Web 2.0 is about multidirectional consuming and sharing of information on the internet, the basis of which is connecting with others - a.k.a. “the social web.”
  20. 20. In the very near future . . . <ul><li>Browsers will learn your preferences </li></ul><ul><li>Search results will be customized </li></ul><ul><li>Knows where you live </li></ul><ul><li>Knows you like animated features </li></ul><ul><li>Knows you like Mexican food </li></ul>
  21. 21. Sharing is the lifeblood of Facebook. So what if you DON’T share or allow interaction on your Facebook page?
  22. 22. Sharing is the lifeblood of Facebook. People will visit your page once, then never return. They will have no reason to.
  23. 23. Sharing is the lifeblood of Facebook. . . . You will be back at Web 1.0. That’s no fun. Without allowing your brand’s information to be shared, the semantic web won’t know you exist.
  24. 24. Remember. . . Web 3.0 is just around the corner. Can your brand afford to live in the past? Also, it should be pointed out that . . .
  25. 25. There is a HUGE opportunity for backlash.
  26. 26. The bottom line: Let people use Facebook the way they are used to using it.
  27. 27. The bottom line: Fulfill their expected visitor experience.
  28. 28. The bottom line: Let them talk to you. Let them share your content. Let them like you!
  29. 29. Appendix Slide 4: “All About E.V.E.” borrowed from Dose of Digital blog 1 From FDA’s “Guidance for Industry: Postmarketing Adverse Experience Reporting for Human Drug and Licensed Biological Products: Clarification of What to Report,” issued August 1997; available online at: 2 From FDA’s Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, available online at Contact: Stacy Lukasavitz Social Media Strategist [email_address]