So, pharma is — arguably — “over the social media hump.” Everyone now “wants to do it”. But how does pharma do it? How can companies successfully use social media to market their messages and their products? That’s the question addressed in Pharm Exec’s new episode of Pharma Faceoff, chaired by Barbara Ryan of Deutsche Bank.
There’s no question, of course, that pharma is still being hesitant when it comes to actually engaging with social media, regardless of the desire to do so. Faceoff participant Bruce Grant, SVP, Strategic Services, Digitas Health, advises that it’s helpful “for us as marketers to think of social media not as a channel but as a conversation.” But, he adds “a conversation is not a natural instinct for a marketer, it’s learned behavior.” Currently, it seems pharma marketers main hesitancy stems from uncertainty of operating in a world where “marketers are no longer in sole control of the conversation.”
So will the FDA smooth the way with more guidance on social media? Jennifer A. Colapietro, Partner, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Advisory, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, doesn’t think so. FDA hearings are only likely to result in guidelines and perameters and provisions, she says, “but the rubber really hits the road in your individual interpretations, and operationalizing those within your organization.”
So what can pharma do? One thing is to gain a proper understanding of what social media is. “There’s a common misconception that social media is just the triumvirate of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. That’s not what social media is,” says Colapietro. “There needs to be some awareness and education about what it is, what the risks are and how you can use it.” Tune in here to find out more!
The first of this new Pharma Faceoff series is already generating some positive responses from industry. Steve Woodruff, President of Impactiviti, says on his blog: “Kudos to Pharm Exec for taking it on… let’s face it – video is where it’s at for on-line communications, and this is a great way to hash out some issues and gain needed exposure.”
Watch this space for more Faceoffs to come.