Quite a debate going on in social media about my post on online communities. That’s great as online debate gets people thinking. While I have heard more reasons for “we can’t” than why “we should” there are some aspects of developing an online community that I would like to clarify.
First, online communities are not right for ever condition and for ever target audience. I would make sure that my audience is interested in hearing from other patients and that they would find value in what they had to say. Second, remember that the objective of the online community maybe a place where people can share their experiences. Pharma’s role is twofold: moderate the board to ensure it stays compliant with FDA guidelines and use the brand to bring people together; act as a facilitator.
A March to June survey of US adults conducted by About.com found that 84% of respondents felt that brands needed to prove themselves trustworthy before they would interact with them or other information sources. Moreover, the study found that there were 10 primary trust “elements,” or cues, that brands must establish in order to engender trust, including accuracy, expertise and transparency. One of best ways to build back that trust is by letting people read and share experiences about living with a health condition. You could even say the purpose of this community is to share with other your experiences of living with…
A great example would be people with IBS. When you hear people in research talk about living with IBS you understand that, for them, it’s a serious issue. However in the research people were actually coaching others on how to live with the health condition along with do’s and don’ts. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to have that information shared on a branded website for an IBS drug ?
I know there are a lot of online communities out there already but what I have found in recent research is that there are so many that consumers often don’t know which ones are credible and offer the best information. This in turn often leads to frustration as they spend more time online than they would like.
They are coming to your brandes site to get information on your product and health condition so why not also provide them with a chance to hear what others have to say. Think about why not why not….