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Social media tips and pitfalls in pharma

Start with looking at how your company might benefit

Social media is certainly not a one-size-fits-all communications option – so one of the first steps is to carefully work out why you want to use social media and how the company will benefit.

Nevertheless, it's easy to make social media mistakes. Almost everybody does it sometimes.

But mistakes are more likely if you're not sure how the technology works.

The UK has had two social media-related breaches of its Code of Practice, involving Bayer and Allergan, and a key part of both was not thinking through what very specific uses of the technology meant when it came to industry rules.

So, don't get complacent and don't leave a channel to just one person – because should he leave the company, or change roles, that channel can easily be forgotten and that's when rules and regulations, inadvertently, get broken.

Social media tips

Among social media users all age groups are present to some degree, proving that it's not just for young people. But pharma does faces some challenges if it wants to use social media to really make a difference.

“A pharma company wishing to use social media to improve patient outcomes, can only do so successfully if it manages to build trust, credibility and collaboration with the online community first,” concluded a benchmarking report by consultants Whydot Pharma on the industry's use of Twitter.

This applies whatever channel you choose to use, though each will have its own etiquette and the way the technology works will have to be reconciled with regulatory codes and internal rules.

But, ultimately, it's not about the channel, It's about what you do with it.

4th April 2012

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