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June 30, 2011
The Dose of Digital site has announced the 2011 DOSIE winners, and 2 of the wins were by Canadian pharma organizations: MS Village FaceBook page has won Silver for the Judges' award, and MSWatch.ca has won the People's Choice award.
I am very pleased to see MSWatch.ca win the People's Choice award because they worked very hard over the past year to completely revamp their site in order for it to meet Canadian regulatory guidelines. To learn more about their evolution, check out this post which explains what they did when they closed their original site, and this post which details the revisions made to the site.
The MS Village FaceBook page won the DOSIE award, but their social offerings are much greater than just that. Check out the main MS Village site to learn more about them. I have also often seen MS Village advertised in FaceBook ads.
Congratulations to both! What a great way to kick off the Canada Day long weekend.
June 24, 2011
The Dose of Digital site is holding its 2nd annual DOSIE awards, where online healthcare sites are recognized for their contribution to patient healthcare, quality of information, and overall use of 'social' functions. The original list has been filtered down to 40 finalists, 2 of which are Canadian in origin: MSWatch and Accu-Check. Voting ends on Sunday June 26th, 11:59 pm E.D.T. It is really easy to vote, so please take the time to do so.
Of course, I am cheering for our Canadian sites to win.
- My fingers are crossed for MSWatch because they took a bit of a regulatory 'beating' for their original site, which they shut down and then completely revamped to maintain as much 'social' functionality as possible within the Canadian regulatory framework (sure they could have allowed free comments and continuously monitor and edit, but with a network as large as the one theirs, that's not really practical for the company and probably would have ended up ticking off the site users also).
- I would also love to see Accu-Check win because the site is full of great content, and I really like how they include diabetes bloggers as part of the NEST widget, and their blogs is kept up-to-date with relevant content. The Accu-Check site won the 2010 DOSIE award, so it would be a great honour for them to win it again this year. Click here for a review of the Accu-Check site that I wrote earlier last year.
Although I like both sites, I don't feel it is fair to compare the two against one another, as MSWatch is under much stricter regulatory guidelines than Accu-Check considering the types of medical products that they represent. Unfortunately, they are competing against one another.
Good luck to both, and don't forget, go VOTE now !!!! Canada Day is just around the corner, so please give our Canadian sites a little push in this competition.
April 12, 2011
Here's an interesting Canadian pharma case study where the social media campaign seems to be very well designed and executed, but reaching the intended audience and getting them to take action is proving to be a rather slow process. The details of the campaign are below. Share your thoughts with us on the Maybe Someday campaign in the comments section. In January 2011, Novartis Canada kicked off a social media campaign, "Maybe Someday", designed to raise up to $25,000 for the Canadian MS Society. This is a purely Canadian initiative. Considering their drug Gilenya® (fingolimod) capsules, the first oral disease-modifying therapy developed for relapsing-remitting MS, was approved by Health Canada on March 9th 2011, the Maybe Someday campaign was most likely a pre- and early launch tactic to raise awareness of Novartis as a player in the MS industry, and to develop a relationship with key MS stakeholders. As such, Novartis and Tank, the agency who developed the site, designed the Maybe Someday campaign so that it would be more than just a fundraiser. Despite following restrictive regulatory guidelines, the campaign manages to provide an emotional and memorable experience to the multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, friends, relatives and caregivers that participate. These stakeholders get to write a hope that they have regarding MS, either for themselves or a loved one. What can be more emotional than somebody's hopes and dreams. Just read some of the hopes that were written on the main site so far, and you will see that many people poured their heart and soul into their 'hope' statement. There is no real motivation for repeat visits to the site, but I don't think that was part of the objective for the campaign in the first place. The main component of the campaign is the MaybeSomeday.ca site, where a 2 minute and 15 second video explains the concept of the site and encourages people to write their hope. The main site clearly states that Novartis is behind this initiative. I am assuming that regulatory issues concerning the restrictive Schedule F Rx-DTC advertising in Canada have been taken into consideration, thus restricting all mentions of drugs:
"Please note that we can't post messages about medications and treatments - only inspirational thoughts and wishes."You can scroll through the hopes that people wrote on the left side of the screen, and the bottom left keeps a tally of the English and French hopes which have been written thus far. As mentioned earlier, some of them are very touching. The user's experience would be enhanced if they could comment on the hope of others. But according to the “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada” conference, a pharmaceutical company is responsible for all content within their site, regardless of who posted it. If people were to share information with each other about their treatments or disease on the Maybe Someday site, Novartis Canada would hold full liability for this content. Novartis could allow it, but they would have to monitor and edit in order to ensure that the comments stay within the guidelines. They could however add a 'like' button or something similar to allow people to at least show support to the author of the hope. Other case studies of Canadian pharma companies who are involved in social media but do not accept comments can be found here, here, and here. I added my hope on the MaybeSomeday.ca website. You can see it just below this paragraph. After your hope has been submitted, you are encouraged to help spread the word about the site via Twitter, FaceBook and e-mail. An automatic message comes up for Twitter, which includes the hashtags #maybesomeday and #MS. Upon scanning the #maybesomeday hashtag: it is being used by many people who are writing a wish on Twitter, very few of which were regarding the MaybeSomeday.ca site (ie. looking for the right girl or guy, wanting to attend a fun event, etc...). FaceBook page as well as a Twitter account. These are promoted from the main site. There is a YouTube channel as well with the Maybe Someday video, but there is no activity at all there and Novartis is not pointing anybody to its direction either. Interestingly, none of these sites mention the name "Novartis", except that the FaceBook page 'likes' the Novartis FaceBook page. However, they all link back to the MaybeSomeday.ca site, which does mention Novartis twice. The FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube profiles were all set up by Tank. The posts are all kind of similar, in that they are promoting the MaybeSomeday.ca site, and are encouraging community members to write a 'hope'. There is little engagement on the FaceBook page because members are only able to 'like' and share a statement. It is noted on the FaceBook information tab that "This page can't save your comments". I decided to test this out. I was able to write a comment, and it was visible for a short little while, but it was then quickly removed. As for the Twitter account, the messages are also very focused on sharing info and the link to the MaybeSomeday.ca site. However, it seems as though Novartis is taking the time to thank the people who are posting information about their site on Twitter. I got a thank you note very quickly after I promoted their site, and I saw a few others on their post timeline. You may have noticed that there is a very small following on both the FaceBook and Twitter profiles. As of April 8 2011 morning, there were almost 1,200 hopes. Novartis has an objective of 25,000 hopes in order to raise $25,000. Considering the site has been up for about 3 months already, that averages out to about 10 hopes per day. At this rate, it will take another 6 1/2 years for Novartis to achieve their objective, which is probably longer than Novartis plans to keep the campaign alive (this is my personal guess, nobody from Novartis told me this). My immediate thought was that perhaps there was a lack of advertising of the campaign. It seems as though there has been FaceBook advertising. People who visit the site and write a hope are then encouraged to help spread the message via their social networks. Traditional promotion of the FaceBook and Twitter sites has been through the MaybeSomeday.ca main site and on the home page of the Novartis Canada site. Based on this info, I do believe that the MaybeSomeday.ca campaign is getting fewer 'hopes' and minimal community members because there is a lack in advertising of the program. Personally, I find the program was designed and implemented very effectively, but low awareness is an issue.
Could the MS Society of Canada help to spread the word about the campaign? I spoke with Rob Petrollini, Manager Web and New Media at the MS Society head office and asked if the MS Society had posted anything about the MaybeSomeday.ca campaign on their social networks. Their Facebook and Twitter profiles have a large number of community members (FaceBook has over 6,400 members, and Twitter has over 2,500 followers as of April 8th 2011). Surely a quick post about the MaybeSomeday.ca fundraising activity would drive their members to help raise the donation and follow the campaign on either FaceBook or Twitter. But unfortunately the MS Society has a policy that prohibits them from promoting any pharmaceutical company program, so they have not posted anything related to the Maybe Someday campaign:"The MS Society's total revenue from pharmaceutical companiesis less than 2% of the amount of money the organization receives annually. Any pharmaceutical funding received by the MS Society of Canada is subject to the MS Society's strict policies that prevent any control or influence by the donor on our decision-making. This is consistent with the ethical principles of Canada's research-based pharmaceutical companies which require that they assure the independence and integrity of stakeholders, in terms of their operations, policies and activities." This is a shame because the Maybe Someday campaign was developed by following the restrictive regulatory guidelines regarding Canadian Rx-DTC advertising. I find it hard to believe that the MS Society community members would have a more negative perception of the society if they were made aware of the Maybe Someday campaign. If a consumer company would sponsor a similar initiative, would the medical organization promote it? I'm not sure what the answer is to that question, but this might be a good topic for a future post. So what are your thoughts on the Maybe Someday campaign? Please share in the comments section. Disclosure: I have no ties with the Maybe Someday campaign, and Novartis is not a client of mine. I just find their site interesting, and I hope that Novartis reaches its goal so that the MS Society of Canada can get the full $25,000.
January 10, 2011
I am a believer that FaceBook can have positive influence on healthcare. With so many healthcare stakeholders involved on the network, it seems like the perfect place for everybody to get connected. Just looking at the number of people who are members of this network should be enough to make any marketer stop in their tracks and decide whether they should reach out and engage with their target audience on this medium. And over the past couple of years, there have been several reports that have suggested that Canadians really 'like' their FaceBook time (yes, that was an intentional pun, but it is true). The most recent report that I have seen was the one from eMarketer.com's November 29th 2010 post "Canadians Say Yes to Social Media".
Almost 10 million Canadians went on FaceBook per day in September 2010. That is a lot of people when you consider that the Canadian population in 2010 is estimated at just over 34 million people by Stats Canada.
If that is not enough to convince you to at least consider whether FaceBook fits into your strategic objectives, take a look at the video clip below. It is part of Time's Person of the Year issue, in which Time put together a fascinating video clip showcasing statistics about what happens on FaceBook in 1 minute . The statistics are global, not Canadian-specific, but it is worth taking a look at.
The facts from the video are noted below in case you are having trouble viewing the video:
- Shared links: 50,304
- Photos tagged: 66,168
- Event invites: 74,204
- Wall posts: 79,364
- Status updates: 82,557
- Friend requests: 98,604
- Photos uploaded: 135,849
- Messages sent: 231,605
- "Likes": 382,861
- Comments: 510,404
If you need more Canadian-specific stats to help you make your decision, here are a few articles that you might find helpful:
If you are interested in seeing examples of various healthcare FaceBook pages, just go to the Dose of Digital social media wiki. Here, you will find lots of creative uses of FaceBook from all over the world. Keep in mind that advertising and promotion guidelines for healthcare products vary from country to country, so some of the examples that you will find in the wiki may not be suitable for Canada.
I am not suggesting that all healthcare marketers jump on board and set up a FaceBook page. It needs to make sense for your business. Social media is nothing more than a tactic designed to help you reach your organization's strategic objectives. What I am suggesting is that all healthcare marketers should take the time to at least consider whether FaceBook fits their strategic goals or not. For marketers who are not on FaceBook themselves (and I know quite a few are out there), it might seem a little bit overwhelming and obscure to market in this new environment, but that should not stop anybody from at least considering the possibility that the fit might be there for the target audience. Do a little bit of monitoring to see where your audience hangs out, and if they are already on FaceBook, then you might want to join them there.
If you have considered a FaceBook page and decided to forego it, what is stopping you from setting one up? Leave a comment below.
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January 7, 2011
I just read a great post on SmartBlog, "Andy’s Answers: How Pfizer created a practical social media playbook for employees". I enjoyed learning about how Pfizer created their employee social media playbook so I wanted to share it with others as well. In Andy's blog post, he attached a video clip in which Kate Bird (Director, Corporate Internet Communications at Pfizer Inc) talks about how Pfizer is helping its employees better understand and use social media for personal and business purposes. The video is a bit over 27 minutes, but it is well worth the watch. Here is the link to the video: Pfizer: Social Media Playbook: Practical Guidance for Colleagues, presented by Kate Bird from GasPedal on Vimeo. In case you don't have time to watch it, I have pulled a few quotes and highlights from the video. I did not write down all the information that Kate talked about, so if you find the highlights below of interest, you should definitely take a look at the video. Note that the info is not all in chronological order of the talk. I took some of the info from the Q&A session at the end of the talk and added it to the appropriate category:
- "The conversation (at Pfizer) has changed from ‘we can't do social media’ to ‘how do we do social media’ ". At the very end of the video, during the Q&A session, Kate suggests that a large part of this cultural shift may be due to the acquisition of Wyeth.
- What employees do on social media has significant impact on the corporate brand
- "We have clearly a role to play here (in social media channels), and a responsibility … to provide information to patients and customers."
- "Build better relationships that ultimately will influence the corporate brand experience and reputation. ... As people get to know us a little bit more, they like us a little bit more."
- Share what you’ve already done within the organization. It reduces redundancy costs and helps build a more cohesive brand strategy
- Pfizer developed a global template for YouTube
- Truly understand why your program needs its own social media space (ie. FaceBook page). Could you build off something that already exists within the organization?
- It provides tips on how to engage with various key stakeholders on social media (ie. consumers, vs. healthcare professionals, etc…)
- It is designed so that any employee should be able to find guidance on social media activities. The content is applicable to marketing, senior executives, assistants, etc…)
- It contains social media best practices that are specific for various channels; Twitter, FaceBook,YouTube, etc…(what is it, how do you use it, what are the best practices, what to watch out for)
- It shows steps that need to be considered to implement social media within Pfizer (consider legal, talk to regulatory, take a disciplined approach as to how you want to roll out your communication strategy)
- It highlights case studies of best practices within Pfizer and other organizations
- It will help connect people within Pfizer affiliates of various countries so that they can learn from one another
- It could act as a training book
- Printed copies,
- Rolling it out at global communicators’ meeting, quarterly web master meetings (shared with web masters across various countries)
- On the website under 'Company tools and resources' section, alongside other digital and legal guidelines
- Quarterly social media webinars. Pfizer affiliates were asked to provide case studies for discussion at this meeting, where they will look at objective, target and lessons learned from the case studies. One of the case studies that has been submitted is the "Can you feel my pain" from the UK
- Other than the playbook itself, there is some social media training happening in different parts of the organization. For example, some scientists went through formal training and are blogging, and there has been robust training for marketers
Twitter is really … the most used channel for any type of crisis communication within our organization.If crisis management on social media is of interest to you, you might find the Pfizer Canada social media response flowchart valuable. Does your organization have a playbook set up? If so, what are some of your lessons learned? If not, what would you like to see as part of such a resource? Leave your insights in the comments below. Stay in touch, Natalie Connect with me on the following networks: FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn