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Canadians, FaceBook and Healthcare

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Pfizer Canada shares its social media response flow chart

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Is PAAB Doing a Good Job in Educating us on Social Media Regs in Canada?

Several months ago, the PAAB (Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board) held 3 social media marketing sessions called “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada”, twice in Toronto and once in Montreal, where they provided some of their insights on Canadian regulations regarding pharmaceutical social media marketing.  This meeting even had a representative from Health Canada as a panel member.

Then earlier this month, they presented even more guidance at the Eye For Pharma eMarketing Canada conference.  Just yesterday, they made their slides from the conference available on the PAAB website: PAAB Guidance on Social Media Marketing (61 slides). Enable audio on your computer as each slide has audio. The audio track on each slide is by Patrick Massad (Chief Review Officer at the PAAB).  Beware – the file is huge.  It slowed my computer down for several minutes.  But once you go through the slides and audio, you will find that it is full of valuable information, some of which was not presented at the recent eMarketing conference due to lack of time.

The PAAB has also made itself more available to the Canadian pharma community by setting up a LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter profile.  The PAAB has been using these avenues to not only update the industry on PAAB activities, but also to share information about social media from other countries.  On Twitter, the PAAB even posted a request for people to join one of their social networs and to start a discussion.

As far as I know, the level of outreach by the PAAB to the pharma industry with regards to guidance on the regulations that impact social media marketing is the first of its kind worldwide.  Please correct me if this is inaccurate.  I am aware of the FDA meetings held a while back, but so far, no guidance has been made available since those meetings.

Whether we like the regulations or not, and whether we feel the regulations are doing justice to the mantra of social media being open for engagement by all stakeholders, we have to give credit to the PAAB for their efforts in helping the Canadian pharma industry understand what we can and cannot do within the legal framework.  I am not a fan of the current Rx DTC regulations in Canada.  They are outdated, and I would like to see these regulations re-visited and modified.  But I don’t blame the PAAB for those regulations.  They did not make the rules.  They just help us work within them.

The only recommendation that I would have for the PAAB (and Rx&D as well for that matter), is to include something about social media guidelines as part of their overall set of guidelines.  Perhaps that is in the works and I am just not aware.

Do you think the PAAB is doing a good job in educating the Canadian pharmaceutical industry on how to apply current regulations to social media campaigns?  Do you have any suggestions for them to improve their outreach to the industry?

Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the PAAB on various social media activities, but this post is my personal opinion.  The PAAB has not had any input or influence in the content of this article.

Stay in touch,
Natalie

Connect with me on the following networks:
FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn

PAAB Offers Guidance on Regulatory Social Media Thought Process

Eye for Pharma organized the 1st eMarketing Canada conference, which was held in Toronto, on November 1-2 2010.

Patrick Massad (Chief Review Officer at the PAAB, Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board) presented an algorithm to facilitate the regulatory thought process when planning a social media promotional activity.  Here is the suggested algorithm:

1) Is this advertising?

2) Who is the intended audience?

3) What restrictions should I consider for this audience with respect to disease and product schedules?

4) What mechanism will I use to limit access to that audience?

5) What is the sponsor’s tolerance for uncertainty & risk?

6) How will I align the site with this tolerance level?

7) What are the regulatory consequences of adding and/or linking other tools/content to my site?

 

Here are some highlights of Patrick’s presentation with regards to the very 1st step to detemine if tactic in mind is advertising or not:

Health Canada’s definition of advertising is as follows:  “any representation by any means whatever for the purpose of promoting directly or indirectly the sale or disposal of any food, drug, cosmetic or device” (as per section 2 of Food Drugs Act).

If this does not help to answer the question about whether the promotion is advertising or not, you can then refer to Health Canada’s policy document “The Distinction Between Advertising and Other Activities”, which lists the following 7 questions:

•What is the context in which the message is disseminated?
•Who are the primary and secondary audiences?
•Who delivers the message (the provider)?
•Who sponsors the message and how?
•What influence does the drug manufacturer have on the message content?
•What is the content of the message?
•With what frequency is the message delivered?

By answering these questions, the intent of the promotion becomes clearer as to whether the tactic is advertising or informational.

The intented audience and type of drug will determine which regulatory body needs to be consulted.  See this article here if you need assistance to determine which Canadian regulatory body to consult for your promotional campaign.

For more information about PAAB guidelines regarding social media, see Highlights from “Social Media Marketing in Pharma: What Works in Canada”

What do you think of this algorithm?  Would you add, delete or change any of the suggested steps?  Please leave a comment below.

Stay in touch,
Natalie

Connect with me on the following networks:
FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Social Media Used by Pharmacy to Respond to Criticism

Last week, I posted about Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix’ latest promotion, where consumers who purchased a certain value of goods at the drugstore would receive a free gift certificate for McDonald’s fast food restaurant.  I have no issue with the individual organizations themselves.  However, in my opinion, it is inappropriate for a healthcare-focused organization to be promoting fast food.

Objective of this follow-up post:  I wanted to see if other Canadian consumers had used social media to voice their opinion about the promotion, and if so, how did Shoppers Drug Mart respond to the online chatter.

It turns out that other people also wrote online criticisms about the Shoppers-McDonald’s promotion, but many more people actually spoke about the giveaway in either a neutral or positive tone.  According to socialmention* (a free online tool that monitors and analyzes social media mentions), the sentiment ratio for mentions that include all keywords “shoppers”, “drugmart” and “mcdonald’s” (from October 10 to October 16 2010) was generally more positive than negative.

The largest clump of negative mentions seemed to be on the Shoppers Drug Mart FaceBook page,.  These were posted as comments to Shoppers Drug Mart’s announcement of the giveaway:

Here is what Shoppers Drug Mart did so far to counteract the negative comments:

Shoppers Drug Mart used their FaceBook page to address the negative feedback.  Their statement suggests that this promotion may not be right for everybody, but at no point do they hint at the fact that they made an error in judgement when they agreed to this fast food promotion.

Shoppers Drug Mart is committed to delivering value through our promotional events, so we’ve partnered with Canada’s top businesses to provide you with a range of offers. Your comments help us better understand what you value. The McDonald’s gift card promotion may not be the right fit for you, but we hope you’ll conti…nue to tell us what you want (or don’t want), so we can give you what you need in the future.

As of October 17th mid afternoon, there were 36 ‘likes’ and 37 comments to the above statement, most of which consisted of followers providing promotional ideas for future campaigns:

It appears as though Shoppers Drug Mart was using their FaceBook page as their main platform to respond to the critiques.  They are even redirecting people within other networks onto their FaceBook fan page.  I noticed this when they responded to my Twitter post about my dislike of their current campaign by redirecting me to their FaceBook page.  Since there is no URL for the post itself, but rather for the entire page, I had to scroll down until I found their statement.  As new posts are added to the wall, this statement will disappear under “older posts’.

Here are a few benefits of using FaceBook as the platform to respond to negative mentions:

1) you can quickly respond to the critiques and existing fans will have access to this information quickly,

2) you can easily engage your followers and get them to provide their insights, and

3) the statement will quickly disappear as it scrolls down, thus will rarely be seen unless somebody looks at older posts.

There is a downside though.  If somebody who critiques the campaign was not a member of FaceBook, they would  have difficulty accessing the organization’s response.  But considering there are over 16 million Canadians on FaceBook, I think this is  a reasonable platform to reach a Canadian audience.  I would suggest that Shoppers Drug Mart also post their statement as a comment below the ‘giveaway announcement’ post which contains all the negative mentions.  That way, everybody who wrote a negative mention would be notified that Shoppers had indeed responded to the issue.

My personal opinion is that this was a very bad marketing idea which got lucky because it did not get the public backlash that I expected it would get.  Considering the fact that the online mood was mostly neutral/positive, I don’t blame the PR folks for writing a ‘light’ response to the issue.  I do give them credit though for addressing the issue, and for asking the public for input for future campaigns.  Now hopefully they will listen to the feedback.

Do you believe that Shoppers Drug Mart did a good job in responding to their upset clients?  Tell us if you would have done anything differently:

Do Canadians talk about healthcare online? Do you want to join the conversation? Check out #hcsmca

If you are on Twitter, you know that hashtags have a powerful way of uniting people with common interests.  For months now, I have been following and participating in discussions with the hashtags #hcsm and #hcsmeu.  I even subscribe to their paper.li daily e-newsletters here and here.

But now, we have our very own Canadian healthcare social media hashtag, #hcsmca, thanks to the initiative by Colleen Young, who is also known as @sharingstrength on Twitter. Colleen manages Sharing Strength, a Canadian online resource and community for women with breast cancer.  She describes herself as a “plain language writer and e-patient advocate”.

Yesterday marked the very first #hcsmca Twitter chat.  Although I was only able to attend the first few minutes of the session (such is the life of a work-at-home Mom with a teething baby and active preschooler), I took the time afterwards to review the tweets that were posted as part of this Twitter chat.  From what I saw, there was a diverse mix of participants; e-patients, healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, health 2.0 enthusiasts and consultants and others.  In fact, there were a total of 75 tweeps who used the hashtag #hcsmca yesterday.  That is  very impressive for a first time event.  You can see the transcript of today’s discussion on Twitter here.  The discussions included introductions of participants, questions about how to use Twitter more effectively, exchange of ideas of how to manage social media for one’s own organization, and more.

Here is the link for the daily #hcsmca e-newsletter.  This will include articles that people on Twitter have posted along with the #hcsmca hashtag.  These posts are not all necessarily related to the #hcsmca Twitter chats, but rather articles that people thought other Canadian healthcare social media enthusiasts might find valuable.

Not on Twitter? Well, I would like to convince you to join Twitter because it is such an effective tool for meeting and talking with people with common  interests, but that is an entirely separate dicussion (but if you want to ask me questions about why and how to use Twitter, send me a note – I’m a big fan of this network).   You can view the discussions happening on Twitter that are related to #hcsmca.  Just check out the links I posted above.  They are available to anybody who uses the Internet.  The only thing is that you won’t be able to participate in the discussion, you’ll just be a listener.  Maybe once you see the quality of some of the discussions, you’ll see the benefit of joining Twitter (again, feel free to send me a note and I would be happy to help).  It also looks as though Colleen will set up a FaceBook page as well as a LinkedIn group, so you will be able to join in the discussion on those networks if you are a member there.  Once I get the links to the new FaceBook page and LinkedIn group, I will share them with you.

UPDATE: FaceBook page and LinkedIn group are now live. Join us!

Congratulations to Colleen for starting a great initiative which will allow Canadians with an interest in healthcare to connect and exchange ideas on the topic.  And who knows, maybe we can help improve Canadian healthcare one tweet at a time.

Do you talk about healthcare topics online?  If so, what do you get out of these discussions?  If not, is there something holding you back?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Pharma / Healthcare eMarketing Survey: Results Will be Shared

Please help Essential Research with their Healthcare eMarketing survey.

The survey is focused on Pharma, Biotech and Medical Device companies and their eMarketing to healthcare professionals.  The study seeks to get a high level view of overall resource allocation, dimensions of spending as well as adoption attitudes.

The objective of this survey is to generate a baseline understanding of Pharmaceutical Manufacturer and Agency perceptions and attitudes towards eMarketing to physicians and other healthcare professionals within the Canadian Pharmaceutical industry. Individuals with an interest in this industry are encouraged to participate. Full results will be available at the Eye for Pharma Conference – eMarketing Canada November 1st and 2nd in Toronto – and will be posted online at www.essentialresearch.ca.

Results will be reported in aggregate for analysis purposes. These results will be based on healthcare industry sector (e.g. Pharmaceutical manufacturer or agency). Given this, no one individual or company can or will be identified as an outcome of the analysis.

As a thank you for participating in this survey, Essential Research will be having a draw for five $25 gift cards from Starbucks .  It is your choice to opt-in or out of this draw. The survey takes no longer than 10 minutes.

The survey will be active until approximately the 3rd week of October.

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