By DJ Edgerton
“If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Another Isaac Newton quote, there.
Have you tried the BASE Method recently? No, it’s not a complicated scientific deductive analysis. BASE is a common acronym for “borrow and steal everything” – a tongue-in-cheek description of not reinventing the wheel.
(Borrow best practices. Not content. The former is efficiency. The latter is plagiarism. Enough said. You’re grown-ups.)
Pharma marketers and communicators can be so quick to dismiss social-media projects from other industries. “We can’t do that.” “That’d never get past legal.” “That’s not HIPAA-compliant.” “Regulatory would have a field day.” And many times that’s all completely true. But why, why, why leave it there?
There are social-media lessons everywhere, if you really look. Flip things over, poke around – dig out the element that can become a lesson.
One local restaurant offers discounts to patrons who are fans on Facebook. Interesting. While you probably can’t ask patients to “fan” a drug, you certainly could think about how to offer useful value-adds through social media channels. For one example, check out Acuminder – Acuvue contact lens’ genius bi-weekly reminders via email, text, desktop widget or Facebook. Now think. What service would be useful enough for your audience to get from you that it would make them willing to give or receive information? There are probably many. Which ones can you give them?
Victoria’s Secret sells underpants. Not exactly a highly regulated industry, so what is there to learn here? Well, if you get on their mailing lists, either print or email, and want to leave, something excellent happens: you get options. It’s not just subscribe or unsubscribe, send me a catalog or never speak to me again. You can choose from different frequencies of contact, in addition to the add and unsub options. Similarly, the New York Times website has a “single page” option. How many times have you clicked on a news site’s “print” option just to see an article all on one screen? The Grey Lady chose reader happiness over a few more cliecks per story. Great decision. Now think. What are you thinking about in terms of yes or no, black or white? There are probably more options – more choices you can offer your patients. And they might be really easy to give.
When you’re a painter, you see everything like a painter. When you’re a new parent, you see the world through the eyes of your toddler. If you want to bring social media into your pharma work, you have to see it everywhere. Fair warning, it’s going to make you a bit weird at cocktail parties. But it’s going to make you darn good.