By Andy Smith
Social media has changed many facets of business from how we interact, exchange ideas and information, and generate innovation. Even traditional media is going social to engage audiences. However, its important to remember that networking, educating and raising awareness among your target audience needs to happen beyond the digital frontier. While everyone seems captivated by the social media phenomenon, pharmaceutical companies and other health care organizations need to remain diligent in creating multiple touch points to reach buyers to generate business outcomes. Ever hear of the adage dont put all your eggs in one basket?
Social media is an integral part of a coordinated and integrated marketing campaign, but participation should complement your other marketing initiatives not replace them. Its imperative to have a strategy that allows you to share more depth of detail than a 140-character tweet when communicating with doctors and others. How can you influence and inform a widespread audience beyond your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and Twitter account? Consider the following:
Strengthen your presence at industry conferences: Whether you speak or exhibit, the conference circuit is a great venue for face time and putting personality behind your brand. Want to establish credibility in your field, speak to a room full of prospects, and get some recognition for your company? Answer a “call for papers and prepare a proposal to speak at an event.
Connect with media and other industry influencers: Email is a great conversation starter and makes it easy to present information without interruption. However, it shouldnt be your only foray into a physicians world. In-person office calls and dinner programs can strengthen connections and are conducive to sharing ideas.
Develop compelling collateral: Our knowledge-based society craves information but the chaos of conferences and dizzying array of information presented makes it hard to recall new drug developments or treatment therapies. The power of the written word whether through brochures, websites or other collateral allows you to fine tune your message while enabling the reader to learn more at their own convenience.
Social media networking: Theres a world beyond Facebook and Twitter for online socializing. New communities are created all the time. Brand sponsored communities, patient communities and other interest-specific communities can be useful to develop clinical trial awareness and find patients for enrollment. Prior to jumping in, have a social media policy that addresses how individuals participate on the companys behalf, and stress transparency in all communications. On the Internet, you can run, but you cant and shouldnt hide.
Tactics such as content creation or community relations, while necessary, should support the overall strategy not define it. Understand your business goals and create an integrated campaign with consistent messaging across all platforms. Effective communication that builds relationships, brand equity, and customer loyalty happens online and off.
How are you reaching your customer?