Digital Media Agencies not doing digital

Today one of my twitter chums, Andrew Spong, posted a very valid comment on twitter about digital agencies and their own use of twitter (see the image).  Essentially if as a digital agency you are not regularly using your twitter account then do not highlight your twitter account on your home page.  Very wise words indeed.

 

 

This reminds me also of a comment made by @skoko a while back about digital media agencies practicing what they preach.  How can a digital agency be credible if it does not participate actively and effectively in at least some form of digital media.  Most digital agencies now have very snazzy websites – and how those that do not (and they do exist) get any digital business is beyond me. 

 

Websites are still generally the first port of call for potential clients and as such a website needs to accurately reflect the business you are in and your skill areas.  If you are a company supposedly skilled in digital having a poorly designed website is not a good start.  There is of course the danger that some websites become too “over-ambitious” – lots of dazzling flash imagery and pop-out boxes all looking great but not much actual content.  Websites need to be visually appealing but also need to be functional.  They need to grab enough attention to hold the visitor when they first land on the website – and here the visual impact is crucial – but also contain the information a visitor is looking for and expects to find on the website.  This information also needs to be easy to find or the visitor will give up and look elsewhere.  This is actually a big problem with pharma websites but that is worthy of a post all to itself.

 

Some of the things to consider for websites are:

  1. Objective: What is the objective of the website?  Is it to sell products / business, provide information, etc?
  2. Audience: Who is the target audience and what is of value to them? What content do you expect and need to find?  How are they accessing the website? What search terms are they using to get to the website? etc
  3. Internal factors: What are your internal resources dedicated to the website now and in the future?  Do you have the manpower to keep the website updated?  Do you have the budget to maintain the website? etc
  4. External factors: How is the competition using their website?  Are there industry events that will impact traffic to the website? etc

 

If as an agency you have not looked at the above when building your own website then how can you advise clients on theirs?!

 

These days I also expect to see a link to any social media on the homepage (and this goes for pharmaceutical companies too).  I expect a digital agency to be active on twitter, have video footage on YouTube and to have a blog.  I am not that fussed about a Facebook page to be honest – to me Facebook is a personal space and I do not go there for business – but if your business is digital you probably should have a presence on Facebook.  Of course it goes without saying that you also need to make sure your company’s Linkedin page is kept up to date.

 

Starting with Twitter, and Andrew’s tweet, I think it is fair to say that not all digital companies are doing brilliantly well here and Andrew is quite right – if you are not doing it well do not highlight it!  I know of one UK digital media agency at least that as of today had not tweeted since the beginning of May – that is over one month of nothingness. I also recently had a discussion with another agency (also not very active on twitter) that said twitter was too time consuming.  My response to that both these points is . . . yes building relationships is time consuming but that is what business development is also all about!  How can you advise clients on how to run a twitter campaign if you yourself are unable to actively and effectively use the communication channel?  Personally I have made some great business contacts through twitter and I strongly believe that by being active on twitter I as an individual build up my credos in digital media (providing I stick to saying relevant things and do not start drunk tweeting!).

 

My advice regarding twitter would be to make it the responsibility of one person and make it part of their job role.  The chances are there is already at least one person in the office active on twitter – maybe see if they would be interesting in taking on the role.  Another option is to split the responsibility up between various people – but personally I am not a fan of this method.  Twitter is about a conversation and developing relationships – unless the team working on this are very clearly aligned and have very similar communication styles and closely follow what the others tweet it could soon become a very disjointed twitter account – essentially a multiple personality twitter. As to the time element – tweeting is not about taking hours out of a day.  A quick glance at the twitter account a few times during the day (which takes all of five minutes all being well) and posting, responding or re-tweeting once a day (which again takes all of five minutes) would suffice.  

 

The other bit of twitter advice I would give is not to just post company information such as “check out our new blog post” or “we just won this shiny award”.  While that obviously should be tweeted that type of content is not particularly engaging – and personally I find it a bit dull most of the time.  What makes for an engaging twitter account is not only posting new content (and yes here you can post the corporate blog posts) but also re-tweeting and sharing interesting articles (not written by the company) and taking part in conversations.  An example of this is some of the agencies, such as @aurorahealthpr and @streamingwell, who take part in the various tweet-ups such as #HCSMEU.  Not only do they engage using twitter they also highlight their expertise and knowledge.

 

Moving onto YouTube – admittedly not every agency will have video content but if they do then it should be on YouTube and sign-posted to via the corporate website.  What every agency should have however are slide decks which they can share – for example the standard “this is us” pitch deck – and this should be shared.  It can be turned into a video – you can add music, a few images etc – and then posted on YouTube or it could be shared via Slideshare (an under-utilised resource in my opinion).

 

Agency blogs are also a bit hit and miss – some agencies have regularly updated, content rich blogs/articles  (e.g. http://creationhealthcare.com/articles/) whilst others have blogs that they only update sporadically and others have no intellectual content at all.  Blogs and articles are essentially a great way of highlighting the company’s thinking and its intellectual capital.  If a potential client reads a really engaging and thought provoking blog post or article they have a more positive image of the company.  Of course the opposite is also true – a badly written, poorly thought-out blog post or article leaves clients walking away with a negative opinion.  Whilst not updating blogs is obviously a sign of how furiously busy an agency is doing tons of great work (!) it is also a lost opportunity to share the agency’s great thinking.  The time element again crops up with blogs – writing articles and posts is time consuming and very few people really have time to dedicate to this.  One way round this is to encourage all employees to write blog posts (which can be signed off by a dedicated blog person) – why should it be down to just one person to do all the writing?  If it is down to one person then this clearly needs to be part of their job role and they need objectives set up against this.

 

As to Facebook – wary as I am of corporate Facebook pages I think if you work in digital and you will be advising clients on the use of Facebook you should really have a Facebook page yourself.  However I say that because I think I ought to – if you do not have a corporate Facebook page no worries!  As long as no one else sets one up for you instead that is and hijacks your brand name.  As Facebook pages move more towards a blend of website and twitter streams though I think it is getting easier to have a corporate Facebook page.  You can stream your tweets via it already providing you with regularly updated content (that is if you have followed the above advice about twitter).  You can also post your updated blog posts on Facebook (again providing you are writing decent blog posts).  You can also use the Facebook page to share interesting articles – except of course you are already doing this via the twitter account – doh!

 

What is important with a Facebook page is the ensure it is regularly checked and comments responded to (if appropriate).  Engagement can be solicited by posting questions – for example The Cat’s Whiskas (aka Whiskas cat food)  regularly asks its fan’s what they are up to, what their cat likes, etc – and fans do respond.  Today The Cat’s Whiskas posted a new Maru cat box video (and if you have not see Maru do his tricks check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbiedguhyvM) and within three hours it had over 270 likes and 78 comments as well as tons of cat posts on the wall.  It comes back to the human element of social media – whoever is posting for The Cat’s Whiskas on Facebook has personality and the posts always feel personal (as opposed to corporate) and by someone who gets cats. 

 

This really is perhaps one of the main rules of social media even when it is from a corporate perspective.  Social media is about relationships and people.  Any social media elements need to be sufficiently personal in order to be effective.  Ideally it needs to be done by someone who is social, has decent social skills and who enjoys social media – and this may not always be the most “appropriate” or senior person in the organisation.  Being active on social media from an agency perspective is not only a good way of demonstrating the agency “gets” social media it is also a good way of making the agency more personal and highlighting the agency culture and thinking.  When it comes to choosing which agency to work with clients essentially buy people as well as skills – it is all about the personality and the ability to communicate effectively.

Government support for silver surfers

This Friday I asked the question during the #HCSMEU tweetup of whether governments should be doing more to teach the elderly how to use technology, including social media, to help improve their care.  My inspiration behind this question was the fact that I had just set my elderly parents up on Skype so that they could have video calls with me and the family but also with elderly friends.  One of these friends was of particular concern as she was a widow, living alone and with no friends or family near her and she was obviously getting increasingly depressed.  Skype would offer her a greater level of interaction with friends which may help her feel less alone which in turn may have a positive effect on her health.

 

One of the points raised in the tweetup for the importance of identifying actual needs before ploughing government money into an initiative.  This is a basic but critical point and as obvious as it seems is sometimes overlooked (particularly by government bureaucrats).  Identifying the need will also help in funding a social initiative that will have a lasting impact.

 

So what are the sorts of needs that could be identified where technology and social media could benefit the elderly?  There are plenty of examples for the use of technology in telehealth and in remote monitoring of the elderly in their homes.  Social media however is a less well explored area.

 

For Alzheimer’s patients social media can help patients in staying mentally alert, for example through social gaming or practicing (or indeed learning) languages. 

 

Social media can provide social support via online support groups and discussion forums to cancer and depression patients.  Being able to discuss problems and concerns online, sometimes anonymously or with strangers, can be hugely beneficial.  It can also be very comforting and supportive to discuss side effects and other aspects of the disease with fellow patients.

 

The simple act of staying in touch with friends and family can help maintain a healthy state of mind which has a large impact on elderly health in general.  Social media very clearly makes staying in touch so much easier, and tools such as skype mean that the social touch is no longer limited to a phone call but now can mean a video call.  Social media is also generally free or low cost – another important point when looking at pensioners often living on small budgets.

 

So what can the government do to help and support the elderly in using social media?  The first thing that springs to mind is providing classes and IT support – for example through local community centres.    Introductory sessions could be run working with local schools  or colleges or working with local associations with high elderly memberships. Having a support helpline could also be an idea – where the elderly could ring up when they have IT problems.

 

National health services, and in particular GPs and other HCPs with high interactions with the elderly, could also be educated in how social media could be used by, and be beneficial to, the elderly.  Hard copy brochures, with simple step by step guides, could be left with these HCPs and they in turn could then pass the message and the brochure onto the elderly.

 

But perhaps the first thing the government could do is the fund research into how social media could be beneficial – this would in turn identify the need – and then also provide the ROI for anyone interested in funding initiatives for the elderly in social media.

 

In the meantime it is up to friends and family to show much patience and help educate elderly relatives on how to set up and use social media in a way that will enrich and provide real value.

It’s not just pharma who can’t do social media

Pharma social media bashing has become quite a popular sport (including by me) – pharma companies have been notoriously slow (and generally bad) at participating in social media.  There are plenty of examples of poor use of social media and tons of articles on how badly pharma is doing in this domain.  There are plenty of examples of other companies doing great stuff using social media like the Old Spice campaign (http://www.oldspice.co.uk/videos.aspx), the Red Bull Facebook page or, one of my current favourites, the Pimm’s Facebook page.

What makes these non-pharma social media initiatives successful is that they resonate with their target audiences.  The Old Spice campaign made great use of humour (and a sexy man) to create a viral campaign.  Red bull’s Facebook page provides loads of updated content on the various Red Bull sporting events which form an integral part of Red Bull’s marketing and appeal to its target market. 

Pimm’s also has plenty of cool content and their Facebook page clearly mirrors their “summer party” theme – as do their regular, amusing posts.  In fact it is the frequent, amusing posts – obviously written by an individual (and not a “company) that I enjoy.  It is these posts that also keep Pimm’s top of my mind and I find I am more inclined to have a glass of Pimm’s rather than another alcoholic beverage.

 

And there are tons more examples of great use of social media – be it using Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, etc – and these get bandied about as positive examples against pharma’s poor track record.  However pharma is not the only one not using social media effectively.  There are in fact plenty of consumer goods companies doing a very poor job with social media.

One of my other favourite tipples is Drambuie – but no sign of an official Drambuie Facebook page in English (there is a French one which is odd as it is a Scottish liqueur).  The Drambuie website is quite slick but again no sign of link to a Facebook page.  There was a blog page which is not kept up to date and here I found a tiny “Follow us on Twitter” link (which did not work). 

Drambuie has been trying to re-launch the brand to appeal to younger drinkers and they started with a new bottle design (which as a Drambuie fan I hate).  In my opinion a new bottle design for a liqueur will not make a huge difference on its own – and in this case they have gone from a unique shape to a rather mundane one.  If you want to get more 20-30 year olds to drink your liqueur then surely having a massive social media presence is what you need to do?  But no – a new bottle and that’s pretty much it.

There are also plenty of high profile examples of social media gone wrong such as Habitat’s use of #iranelection and Motrin’s You Tube ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmykFKjNpdY). My personal favourite is the Ryanair’s employees response to a customers’ comment on their blog (http://jasonroe.me/blog/free-ryanair-free-flight-bug/) – if pharma doesn’t get social media then these Ryanair employees soooooo don’t get it!  That said the Ryanair example certainly provides entertainment : )

So next time you read about how badly pharma is doing in social media have a thought about all the other non-pharma companies, not faced with the same regulatory constraints, who also are not doing social media well.

GP and e-reminder tools? If only!

Today I had the pleasure of spending close to 15 minutes on the telephone trying to book a doctors appointment as well as a nurses appointment.  The reason it took so long was that I ideally wanted them to be next to each other to save me having to make two trips to the surgery.  As I was out and about when I called I asked if they could send me a confirmation sms or email (I have the most dreadful memory if I do not write things down) – the answer was no. Hmmmm – really not ideal.

 

How hard would it be for my doctors surgery to have an sms or email system tool?  I know that with many busy surgeries patients not turning up for appointments is a real problem and surely sending them a reminder is a great idea?  My surgery used to have an sms reminder system which I thought was great (see above about my memory) but one day they just stopped this system.  I suspect the reason being the cost of sending sms – but how expensive is it to send a reminder email?

 

In fact while we are at it – how about a reminder that my prescription is about to run out?  That would be soooooo helpful!  I have lost count of the number of times I have had to book emergency appointments because I have realised that I have run out of pills.  I am a youngish, intelligent person – how much harder it must be for an elderly patient with even worse memory problems or indeed early dementia. 

 

There are a few pharmacies that now have this sort of a prescription reminder service (e.g. Boots) – but that presumes that you always use the same pharmacy or that your local pharmacy offers this service (mine does not).  I think this is a service that the surgery could offer and which would be really beneficial to all patients.  It is also a service that need not cost much and could be automated so would not take up precious time.  Given the health problems related to not taking medication problem and the high rates of non-compliance I really believe that doctors surgeries need to do more to help patients remain compliant to their medication schemes. 

 

From a customer service point of view another great service would be to have an online booking tool – this would also mean that patients could book appointments out of hours and would not need to wait until surgery opening hours to book an appointment over the phone.

 

However what I do not expect my doctor to do is contact me personally via email.  Whilst perhaps for some patients this would be a great service I have to admit that I do not want to discuss my ailments via email nor do I expect my doctor to take time out of his extremely busy schedule to email me. I just expect him to make booking the actual appointment easier, and remind me of it, so that I can discuss my aches and pains with him face to face.

 

Maybe one day my doctor’s surgery will join the 21st Century and set up some e-services to make life a bit easier for patients – until then I will no doubt continue to forget to make appointments!

The Light Fantastic

Last night I watched a very poignant documentary about Terry Pratchett, the author of The Light Fantastic, and assisted dying in Switzerland  (http://bbc.in/lFzMAQ). Terry Pratchett happens to be one of my favourite authors and he is a very articulate man who also has Alzheimer’s – making this a very moving and thought provoking documentary.

 This documentary covered the very controversial and highly emotive topic of assisted suicide – and whether terminally ill people should have the right to die at home, without pain and at a time of their choosing.  It is a very difficult and painful topic and, for anyone discussing this online via social media, potentially fraught with some very vocal opinions and unpleasant discussions.

 Looking at this issue, and some of the potentially controversial opinions that get raised via comments and online discussions, makes it a little easier to understand pharma’s reticence to get involved in social media.  Here is a very good example of the difficulty in enabling comments on Facebook pages and other social media resources – potentially the resource could get inundated with controversial comments.

 It also highlights the importance of monitoring but also the potential size of resource needed to do this.  Any topic that people feel strongly about is more likely to get shared and lead to more comments.  This means that the there needs to be daily monitoring of comments – and by daily I do not mean one hour in the morning but I mean at intervals throughout the day. 

For blogs, such as this one, the issue is easier to handle as you can approve the comments before they go live however when it comes to Facebook the action is retro-active – meaning that there is a real sense of urgency and speed.  Any potentially offensive, harmful or illegal comments need to be removed (ideally) immediately.  This naturally does not happen if you only have a single person checking the page once a day – by the time they check the next day the discussion could have blown up and taken over – making it very hard to handle.

 The trouble is however with restricted (and often decreasing) budgets how can a company ensure that they can fund the necessary resources needed to monitor a social media initiative? Often it falls under the marketing team’s remit to do this monitoring in addition to their day jobs and essentially this may mean a once daily check – but as already mentioned above this is highly unlikely to be sufficient. 

 One option is to use an external agency or programme – but again this can be very expensive.  Another option is to consider using a “cheap” resource such as an intern or fresh graduate recruit to do the regular monitoring at various points throughout the day.  This would need to be set up by starting with some very clear general guidelines but also guidelines specific to the initiative itself.  These would provide the intern with guidance in the day to day handling of the social media initiative.  However there would also need to be some more senior (and consequently more “expensive”) input but this could be limited to providing guidance (e.g. via weekly meetings) and then being on hand to step in during times of crisis or particularly strategic conversations.  This way cost effective, ongoing monitoring can be provided whilst at the same time having resources on hand for any negative eventualities.

 With sufficient resources and ongoing monitoring in place a pharma company could set up a social media resource and would be ready for any comments – even controversial ones

Stop, Look and Listen

 

I was taught as a child to always stop, look and listen before crossing a road.  This simple rule could also be applied to the pharmaceutical industry – with the road being the first step to developing a social media presence.

 

Stop

 The first action needed is to stop being afraid of social media and start to see it for what it is – another communication channel and a way to build relationships with stakeholders – and which can be done within the current regulatory system. 

 

 It is also time to stop holding off and waiting to see what will happen, waiting for industry guidelines and generally waiting to see how the pharma social media pioneers are doing.  This channel is not going to go away, by the time guidelines come along they will probably be outdated anyway and waiting too long could result in the competition gaining a real competitive advantage thanks to their skilful use social media.

 

Look

 That does not mean one should just run straight across the road and jump into social media.  First do look at what other pharma companies have done and are currently doing.  Learn from their mistakes (e.g. The Sanofi Voices saga  http://pharmamkting.blogspot.com/2010/03/patient-unadvocate-lays-siege-to-sanofi.html ).  Learn from the success stories (e.g. Psoriasis360 http://www.pharmaphorum.com/2011/02/07/psoriasis-360-how-pharma-can-do-social-media/ ).

 

The other benefit of looking at what other pharma companies are currently doing is that it provides ammunition for getting internal approval and buy in.  The contention that a social media project is not possible due to regulatory requirements could be overcome by showing examples where it is being done already.  Providing case studies from the competition can also help strengthen the argument when trying to get buy in internally for social media.

 

It is also worth looking at where your target audience is online.  It may well be that there is already a well established social media presence and community meaning it could be more beneficial to try to work with this community, for example through sponsorship, rather than set up a new one.  Knowing where the target audience is going online also gives good indications about their behaviour but also where to place advertising.  Just building a social media presence does not mean people will visit it – they will need to be driven and directed there, for example through banner ads on key websites they visit.

 

Listen

Anyone who has been involved in a successful social media initiative can tell you that one of the key actions is listening.  It is really important to listen to what your target audience is discussing.  This leads to a wealth of knowledge – for example highlighting any unmet needs, providing insights into what the audience sees as “value” and trending topics.  This will facilitate pre-populating the initiative with content that is of interest to the target audience – without which it may just end up being yet another empty pharma web presence.  Moving forward listening also ensures that content continues to resonate with the audience.

 

Listening is a key ongoing activity.  Besides helping to ensure that content is of value to the audience, listening is also crucial in flagging any potential problems.  Monitoring the conversations happening on the social media initiative will ensure that any non-compliance issues, such as discussions around off label use, can be dealt with quickly and effectively.  In fact not listening is one of the core factors behind social media disasters and should never be underestimated – it takes time and resources but is well worth it.

 

So before crossing the social media road – stop look and listen – and join the social media “revolution” safely.

Mature products and digital

This morning I was reading about the approval of Mylan’s generic version of the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept – yet another reminder of the patent cliff Pharma is currently going through. One way that pharmaceutical companies try to stem the loss of revenue brought on by patent expiry is through the release of a “new and improved” version. In this case Eisai is introducing an extended release version which will clearly benefit both patients and carers. Generally though the loss of revenue, even when there is a successor product in the wings, is considerable.

This means that as products mature and go off patent their marketing budgets decrease significantly and marketing focus moves onto newer products. In these circumstances digital can play a major role. The costs related to maintaining a digital resource can be considerably lower than a standard offline marketing presence. This does not mean that digital is necessarily cheap – it is well worth investing a reasonable budget in setting up a solid digital presence for mature products. However once this is done – and done properly – the expense is minimal.

Unfortunately what often happens is that the budget to start with is minimal meaning that only a basic – and often pointless – digital presence can be developed. This provides little value to the customer and will not generate the desired ROI – and in turn will have minimal impact. Digital is like so many things in life – if you build a solid foundation you can build on the structure and it remains standing and provides value, even for off-patent products.

So how could the mature brand teams use digital?  What does value look like?  This obviously is different depending on the product, the customer etc but looking at general trends and data some top level recommendations can be made.  For HealthCare Providers (HCPs) once a product moves into the mature category it loses sales force representation and it can become harder to obtain information about the product itself.  Ensuring that product information is available for HCPs online is a first step – but in order to provide value (and generate return visits, ROI, etc) there is limited point in developing a standalone website for each product.  HCPs want all the information in one single location.

 Having a website or a digital centre with information about all of the companies products, both mature and new products, is a good step in the right direction.  A key element to consider when setting these resources up however is that the information needs to be quick and easy to find and the resource needs to have a good search function.  Many pharmaceutical websites have very poor functionality and search options – HCPs visit them once to find the product information and get frustrated trawling through the mix of corporate information, press information etc before they get to the product information they need.

 The problem for a pharma company in setting up a resource such as this is that it is expensive to do well – but also requires co-ordination across brand and therapeutic silos.  And as to including mature products in the resource this is further complicated by the treatment of mature products once they come off patent – relegated and forgotten about.

 Included in digital resources and digital budgets however mature products can still provide value – they just need to be given a chance.

ADHD Moms – Why Facebook?

There has been quite a lot of discussion around the recent announcement that Facebook will no longer allow pharma to disable comments on their Facebook pages.  I have mixed feelings about this – but that’s for another post.  What this change in Facebook did make me wonder about was how well pharma Facebook pages without comments enabled have been doing.

I dug up an old post on whydotpharma (http://bit.ly/NpXkv)  where there was a mention of the ADHD Moms Facebook page (sponsored by JNJ’s McNeil).  The post written in February 2009 makes reference to the page having nearly 8,000 “Likes”.  Two years later this page, still with comments disabled, has risen to 22,079 “Likes”.  One of the arguments for enabling Facebook comments is that without this functionality the Facebook page will not be able to develop the community and will therefore not be as successful as it could be. However I would argue that a growth of 275% over two years indicates that this is a successful Facebook page!

The title of the page, ADHD Moms, would indicate it is a community page and yet there is no real community functionality.   What is it that makes people “Like” this page then?  There is an element of community in the “Moments” tab where people are able to leave comments – but this is not being done on the wall as is usual (and where it would be more visible).  The page does have some good resources such as useful links and podcasts and content is provided by “Leaders” which are a JNJ paid medic and some “ADHD moms”.  All in all not bad – but more like a website than a Facebook page.  So why not just set up a website – why set it up on Facebook?

The answer is of course that Facebook has become one of the key “go-to” places on the internet and McNeil was simply following the old adage of “fishing where the fish are”.  People are searching Facebook for health information therefore McNeil simply set up a resource for ADHD Moms where they are present.

What will happen to this page in August once comments will have to be enabled?  I hope McNeil does the brave thing and go ahead with the page with comments enabled.  This is after all not a product site but a site for mothers to come together as a community around a disease their children suffer from.  Enabling comments seems like the right thing to do.

Doh!

 Last year I spent quite a bit of effort in setting up my first pharmaguapa website.  I built the site myself using Moonfruit and was very proud of the result.  I wrote quite a few posts – some of which I was told were really interesting.  Then as so often happens work took over my life and, along with my social life, my blog became a casualty of my excessive work hours.  And so my website lay dormant until the project I was working on calmed down and I started to have free time again.  I had also not been overly active on the blog as I had not build it using a blogging platform such as WordPress but rather had built a website which turned out to look better visually but was more work to edit.

 

With my new found time I decided to resurrect my blog and I set up a WordPress account.  However my idea of pre-populating this with the content from my old blog failed miserably.  First my original website had expired and somehow I had not been aware of this.  I had not been notified by email that my Moonfruit account was about to expire – or if I had it had gone into my junk folder.  I had also not been aware that if I let my premium account lapse that I would lose all the content (the basic website was free).  However I had not been overly worried by this as I had it all on my laptop anyway.  Until I spilt a glass of wine over the laptop that is.  I lost all of my old blog notes (along with various work files) – doh!

 

The doubly stupid thing is I am always raving about Dropbox and what a great resource it is – precisely because it acts as a great backup in case of wine spillage (or other technical images).  However I did not save my blog notes on Dropbox – doh again!

 

So here I am starting afresh – and lesson learnt: save everything to Dropbox or some other backup.

What to write as a first post?

As I sat trying to decide what to write for my first “new” blog post it struck me that this in itself is a topic – the growing profusion of resources and issues in the digital space. I was further inspired to start with this topic by one of the myriad infographics that is doing the rounds online (http://bit.ly/mMoBWV).  What would someone totally new to social media make of this (yes there are still people not using social media)? I suspect the response would be one of mild confusion and probably a degree of fear.

 

This response also sums up how many pharmaceutical companies react to social media.  Given the additional complication of regulations for the industry this is understandable.  However this is also a generalisation as there are teams within the industry doing some great work.  So how come some people are managing to launch social media campaigns but others are still struggling with basic websites? There are numerous reasons including lack of experience and knowledge, insufficient senior management support as well as fear and confusion.  Those that are forging ahead often face a frustrating uphill struggle to get their digital assets launched.

 

However the industry is slowly starting to embrace new digital technologies and the next few years promise to be very exciting with a great deal of change in this field.  Leaving me with yet more dilemmas and choices around what to write about!