POST SUMMARY: At its heart social media is a conversation between your brand/product and your audience. Do you want someone from the corporate communications talking to your audience or should it be someone from the brand team who understands your audience and can converse with them in a meaningful way that adds value to your brand?
There is a maze of online health information and most pharma companies are doing very little to help patients and caregivers get the information they want and need in a timely manner. In fact, a recent survey of physicians found that the top physician challenge of the health 2.0 movement is that patients often misinterpret what they read online causing tension in the patient-physician relationship.
Social media can be a valuable tool to help patients get to credible health information but in order to participate in the conversation we have to speak to the audience as an authority on our products and how it can meet audience needs. I would argue that only someone from the brand team, who understands the who, what and why of the product, should be responsible for implementing social media not a mouth piece from corporate communications who every once in awhile Tweets a link.
Corporate Communications is fine for implementing social media for investor relations but patients and caregivers want someone who can keep it real and speak to them with respect, transparency and honesty.
If pharma is going to get serious about digital marketing, and they would be foolish not to, then each brand should have multiple digital marketing people working to reach an online audience that is being bombarded with a wealth of health information. The days of having one Director of Digital Marketing across the whole company just don’t make sense anymore.