Today is a (relatively minor) milestone day in the relationship of pharma companies and social media – this is the day when Facebook no longer provides exceptions to including comments on walls. Some are even on a “deathwatch” – how many pharma Facebook pages will come down because of the regulatory ramifications? The Washington Post has the story here (I’m quoted along with several other industry colleagues).
I say it’s a relatively minor milestone because it is one change on one platform. There’s really a much, much larger question on the table, and maybe we should ask it.
Does Pharma (a company and/or brand) really have anything uniquely valuable to offer on social media platforms?
I’m not asking if pharma can participate – that’s already happening (mostly at the shallow end of the pool). What I’m asking is: does pharma have anything to offer in the public sphere that isn’t already being offered by others – who don’t have the same legal/regulatory handcuffs? The issue isn’t just, can we do social media – but can we uniquely add value (a question every company should ask, by the way). And if so, how?
Now, I have wrestled long and hard with this issue over the years, and have my own opinions, but if you believe a pharma company or brand does have a unique value and voice in public social media, here’s what I’d like you to do: put that thought in the comments. I think it’s time that we wrestle with this fundamental question, and if pharma has an important role to play in the social sphere (not just a “let’s-burnish-our-image-by-being-on-popular-platforms” role), that we articulate what that is clearly.
Ready -> Go! (if you want to carry on discussion on Google+: www.gplus.to/connectionagent)
Also be sure to read Andrew Spong’s post on the Facebook change.
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