Social media is moving and growing too quickly for marketers, providers, physicians, and pharmaceuticals to sit around and wait for the FDA and HIPAA to catch up with the times. I urge the health care industry to dive into social media, it will be messy at first but it is a learning opportunity. It is time to be proactive, because lack of action have proven to be unsuccessful in communications.
Below is a look at two companies that are doing it right: General Electric (GE) and Eli Lilly. Social programs are about listening, problem resolution and rallying advocates; these two companies have done just that.
General Electric: Named 5th global brand of 2011 by Interbrand, GE knows how to manage its reputation and remain consistent, even after entering the social media space. Currently, the company has close to 107,000 fans on its main Facebook page, with campaigns like healthymagination garnering close to 30 thousand followers. As a company, GE believes that health is everything and is committed to providing the tools and applications necessary for people to live better lives. Some of these tools are available right on their Facebook page and talked about on Twitter. GE acknowledges that “Consumer conversation is the key, and healthy action is what we’re trying to encourage and enable.” Through its blog, GE Stories, and other forms of social media, GE is telling the patient’s story in a way that allows them to be compliant but still compelling. It is connecting people with similar issues, letting them know they are not alone and supplying tools to make them better. Visit for more information: http://www.healthymagination.com/
Eli Lilly: This pharmaceutical company has been successful in creating a blog with the goal of sparking conversation and creating dialogue around public policy issues, corporate responsibility initiatives and advocacy efforts. The Lilly Pad blog has become “the place for policy and perspective on health care innovation.” This is important to note because Eli Lilly is rallying advocates for issues important in the biopharmaceutical industry through the sharing information for DC and the health care space. They have become a part of the social conversation talking to patients about issues that are not specifically about them by using Twitter and blogging. They provide information to their audiences and are able to engage and listen.
If they could do it, everyone can. Waiting on the FDA to provide some guidance isn’t the smartest move from a communications perspective. It is important to stay competitive and incorporating social tools into the communications strategy is one way to do so.