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Lead With the Customer and Not With Tactics

It’s easy to start planning various social media activities before you’ve determined a strategy and objective for your latest campaign or promotion.  So instead of coming up with a bunch of Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram photos, first ask yourself what the goal is for this marketing campaign.

  1. Do I want more people to see my content?
  2. Do I want to drive new people to my website?
  3. Do I want additional sign ups for a newsletter or webinar?

All these questions will help you determine which tactics make the most sense.  From one social media marketer to another, we’ve all been in a situation where a client or coworker asks: “Can’t we just create a Facebook page for this latest product?” or “If we post this event on Facebook we should get more registrations, right?”  Our strategies shouldn’t be filling our days with activities, but determining what makes the most sense for the target audience and bottom line business growth.

Here are a few things to determine before you start working on tactics for your next campaign:

  1. Find out where the majority of inbound website traffic is coming from.
  2. Determine which posts (fans, photos, stories, news, etc) resonate best with your fans across channels, (i.e. look this up under Facebook Insights or ads.Twitter.com*).
  3. Survey your customers and ask where they consume information on your particular product or industry (i.e. try a http://www.surveymonkey.com survey with your mailing list).

Frankly Speaking:  Go back to basics and make sure you understand your customer sales funnel before you invest in potential resource-draining tactics.

*To access Ads.Twitter.com for your Twitter handle you need to set up a billing account by entering a credit card (you don’t have to spend ad dollars to activate this).

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Trying to Understand the FDA and Social Media

Last summer (2014) the FDA released its latest Internet and Social Media guidance for Pharma and med-tech companies.  If you haven’t read it yet, have a look here:

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM401087.pdf

With the rise and use of social media across all industries, med-tech was destined to adopt its use.  I believe this is mostly due to social media’s prevalence for customer engagement and relatively cheap way for reaching audiences.

The FDA guidance explains it was published to illustrate the agency’s thinking on the communication of benefit and risk information on mediums such as social and online media.  The overall suggestions and illustration of what the FDA shares is food for thought for any health care organization or marketing professional working in health care.  Below is my attempt at summarizing the guidance for anyone interested.

In the U.S. the FDA generally recognizes two types of labeling; that which is required labeling (think labeling for product approvals) and promotional labeling (subsequent marketing materials/labeling).  When promoting products online the agency recommends the following:  1) Be truthful and non-misleading, 2) When making a claim about a product, indicate the use and risk of the specific product. 3)  Make labeling easily available when discussed. 4) Include risk information and intended use when advertising a drug.  If the name of the product is mentioned as a “reminder” promotional, instead of how the product is used, it’s then excluded from this rule. 5)  Fairly present benefits and risk information of drug advertisements. 6) Prominently reference risk information of suggested uses.

The FDA asks firms to consider carefully whether or not they can accurately meet the guidelines when promoting products and making product claims on social media.  The document then subsequently goes through each of the guidelines mentioned above with generic samples of how to disclose risk information within brackets [ ], which includes how to incorporate URLs for additional product information.  The main takeaway here is to be succinct, truthful and informational with your product promotions where a claim is being marketed.

For social media professionals working in the medical space it’s always important to inform your customers to consult their medical practitioner for medical related inquiries and not social media!   Furthermore, clearly state your right to remove abusive language or information not pertaining to the community.  This helps keep the conversations relevant to those visiting your communities.  Lastly, include fellow employees and emphasize the need to act truthfully when on social media, especially when engaging customers, fellow colleagues, clients, business partners, and the public.

I personally believe med-tech companies should not be intimidated by social media.  We should all view it as an opportunity to shine with whatever specialty your organization brings to the table.  Empower employees to embrace change and new tools for the growth of your brand and the evolution of your customers’ experiences.

Frankly Speaking:  Implement a checks and balances with key stakeholders so your content is vetted through appropriate processes.

Empowering Colleagues with Social Media ROI

Social media is a powerful education, customer service and sales tool. For years traditional marketing measured ROI (return on investment) through ad buys, print brochure distribution numbers and bottom-line sales. Social Media’s built-in analytics gives us opportunities to measure ROI in a granularity similar to digital advertisement methods like Google Adwords, online advertising and website conversion tracking. These opportunities benefit from a sales team’s willingness to utilize Social as a sales tool. In the Altimeter Group’s infographic “The Six Stages of Social Business Transformation”, stage five; “Become a Social Business” is described as “Social Across Business Units” which includes departments across the organization.

Every time a sales rep is on a sales call, visiting a client or drafting an email it’s an opportunity to talk about your brand’s social media. If you use a CRM tool like SalesForce, try generating a report showing the sales leaders the amount of new sales activity originating from Social. This is possible when you have a customer service team, social media professional and sales rep who understands the strength of tagging sales activities with an identifier. Something as basic as “Social Media” in the sales notes, or a more granular description like “Twitter” or “Facebook” will help any marketing professional show ROI.

I was recently in touch with one of my colleagues outside the U.S. about her impact on our social media channels. We had an email thread going discussing local translation for some social media content and the topic of local fan numbers came up. I remember telling her: “Do you realize how quickly our fan base is growing in your country!?” She replied saying: “I knew it had to be, I’m talking about social media at every consumer event, added the social media icons to my email signature and talk about it with professionals regularly!” Where I currently work we are even able to track inquiries on social media originating from her region which she can mature into an actual sale, thus growing the business That’s ROI folks.

If you’re a one-man marketing professional or a team of marketers and have had a difficult time getting social media buy-in from leaders, try creating cheerleaders out of your sales people by showing them the impact of their activities on social media. One thing most sales people will agree on is the pay-off of being patient. I recommend looking into publishing tools like SproutSocial for engagement, publishing, channel analytics reporting and even tasking of sales or support inquiries. You will be surprised with how ROI comes organically, demonstrating the importance of Social and hopefully creating a company-wide desire for social engagement.
Frankly Speaking: Get buy-in early from your colleagues so they recognize the opportunities from social media and then validate their buy-in with data!

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