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10 Rules of Engagement: Building Social Confidence in Pharma

A new report outlines 10 strategies for getting to grips with social media

If you're wondering how to start using social media in pharma, a new report outlines 10 strategies for getting to grips with the medium.

After its research concluded that it is actually riskier for pharma not to engage than to engage with social media, Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma by Weber Shandwick recommends the following steps for companies to maximise their social confidence:

1. Focus on the content, not the channel: Anything you can do offline, you can do online, as long as your content adheres to current regulatory standards.

2. Start small: Test the waters with focused projects – perhaps around corporate goals, news and reputation issues – to gain an understanding of what works, how to begin finding audiences and building reach.

3. Prepare, but remain flexible: Preparation is important but companies must accept their strategy will need to change and evolve over time.

4. Choose your channels wisely: Initial monitoring and research of specific audience groups to explore where they currently engage and what types of information they seek as well as share will avoid jumping into social media for its own sake. Developing a strategy without this 'social listening' is not recommended.

5. Ensure transparency and honesty: There must be clear rules of engagement that are plainly visible on all social platforms. Consider making a digital code of ethics available to both internal and external audiences.

6. Deputise a person or team, and give them full support: The organisation's social confidence increases it should be able to move beyond the need to pre-approve all posts or tweets

7. Bring others into the fold: Working to gain the support of internal colleagues, especially from legal, regulatory and medical teams is critical. Additionally, including socially-supportive leaders from business units in strategic planning will ease the process of resolving any issues that arise in social media programming.

8. Ramp up internal education efforts: Sharing the benefits and best - and worst - practices around social communications will go a long way towards gaining broad support for the medium. 

9. Staff for social confidence: It is important to offer ongoing training on company guidelines and codes of conduct and identify internal and external resources that can supply fresh and relevant content for social platforms.

10. Continuing pushing the limits of ROI: While no one has answered the unique ROI challenges faced by the pharma industry, it is imperative to persistently seek better ways to articulate the ROI from social media.

• Read Digital Health: Building Social Confidence in Pharma online

6th June 2013



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