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MSWatch.ca makes a comeback: Now within Canadian Rx-DTC guidelines

Last month, I posted an article about the removal of the MSWatch.ca online forums. Many people around the world responded to me stating that they felt it was the MS patients who had lost the most from this changed website. I agreed.

On Monday November 15 2010, I was delighted to receive another e-mail from MSWatch.ca, this time welcoming me to the new MSWatch Oasis:

Tell your friends: Twitter Facebook MySpace Digg StumbleUpon Delicious
There’s a place that we go to for comfort after a long day, where can help find some relieft and peace. It could be your favorite part of the couch, the smell of fresh baked cookies or a phone call with a loved one. Whenever you’re there, it’s as if you’re transported away. 

Today we’re exited to announce that there’s something new on MSWatch, a place where you can help build a world of understanding and support for the MS community.

Introducing your MSWatch Oasis

Keep track of your treatments and help manage your appointments in a fun and engaging way.
Perch in the tree where you can find resources in the birdhouses and check in on fellow Oasis members.
Chirp others in the tree and check in on your buddies.
Earn badges just by keeping up with appointmens and therapy.
Update your profile to connect with others in the MS community. Add links to your Facebook, Twitter, blog and website.
Join in to help manage your treatments, connect with other patients and caregivers, and access learning resources and helpful tools. Help build a world of understand and support. 

Visit the MSWatch Oasis

So I decided to take a look at their new site.  I was able to sign in with my username and password from the original MSWatch.ca online forums.  After I logged on, I had the opportunity to let the community members know how I was feeling by selecting one of several pre-written statements.  This protects the pharma company from statements that could suggest an adverse event or one that could fall outside of Rx-DTC guidelines:

Then, I was prompted to update my personal profile.  As part of the profile, I could include my blog website, Twitter username, and FaceBook page.  This is a very interesting feature because it allows members of the community to meet each other on the MSWatch Oasis and then take their conversation onto their personal networks, where they are free to discuss all aspects of their disease and treatment.  Justin Seiler, Electronic Media (Marketing) Associate at Teva Canada Innovation, told me that MSWatch wanted to act as a ‘hub’ for their MS members.  That way, they are facilitating networking amongst the members, yet forcing them to go on third party sites.  As such, Teva Canada Innovation does not hold any responsibility of the discussions held off their site.

Although direct communications between members do not occur onsite, you can see which community member is in the “Oasis”.  In fact, you can click on the person’s username to gain access to a limited portion of their personal information, including hyperlinks to their websites, Twitter and FaceBook profiles (assuming the member has updated their profile with this information):

Another very useful tool consists of the calendar which allows patients to input their treatment days as well as their appointments.  And as you can see in the pic below, community members can also ‘label’ themselves with a particular type of bird.  This is a great way to start a conversion with other community members (offsite, of course).

Although I did not find this on the site itself, I did find it as part of the ‘tour’ of the website:  badges.  It appears as though community members can earn different badges depending on what they actually do on the site.  Unfortunately, I was not able to see the range and meaning of the different badges.

Going through the website, everything looks to be within Canadian pharmaceutical promotional guidelines, including Rx-DTC (where we are only allowed to mention product name, price and quantity).  Brands mentioned under treatment options include all of the players within this category, including a link to their individual support groups.

Congratulations to Teva Canada Innovation for not giving up, and for finding a way to allow MS patients to continue to share with one another while staying within the Canadian Rx-DTC guidelines.  By maintaining the ability to help the MS patients network with one another, Teva Canada Innovation continues to achieve its strategic objective.  This is a valuable service for MS patients and I look forward to watching it grow quickly (as did the original MSWatch.ca online forums).  You have proven yourself to be a social media leader within the Canadian pharma industry!

The agency that worked on the look and feel of the MSWatch Oasis is Twist Image. This is the agency that was also involved in the redesign of MSWatch.ca that took place in 2009.

Do you think the MSWatch Oasis is an effective social networking tools for MS patients?  Why or why not?

Stay in touch,
Natalie

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

Telus social media case study: “Like to Give” campaign

Every once in a while, an organization stands out from the rest as a good corporate citizen.  For the past couple of years, I have been watching the good deeds by Telus which are positively influencing healthcare in Canada.  In fact, they are a sponsor of one of my favorite children non-profit organizations, Upopolis.  Here is a statement that is found on the Info tab of their FaceBook page:

We give where we live. TELUS supports local communities and charities across the country.

This week, I saw the following sponsored ad on my personal FaceBook profile:

When you click on the “Telus” link, you are brought to the “Like to give” tab on the Telus FaceBook page.

Update November 26 2010:  Pic with all 12 charities that were included in “Like to Give” Telus campaign

 

Telus allows comments to be added to their FaceBook posts, but they do not allow wall posts to be initiated by others.  I sent them a note on Twitter asking why this was the case, but 24+ hours later,  I still had  not heard anything from them.  My personal guess is that they do not allow others to initiate posts because they want to avoid negative dicussions being initiated by consumers on their page.  This seems to be an issue on the Telus YouTube channel.  Based on my research, Telus appears to get their fair share of negative comments on social networks by consumers, so if they want to avoid similar issues that Nestle had with their FaceBook page, they probably made the right choice by not allowing others to iniative wall posts.  Keep in mind though that the biggest issue with the Nestle case was the way that they handled the situation. However, Telus is allowing consumers to have a voice as as those who ‘like’ the Telus FaceBook page can add comments to posts initiated by Telus themselves.

Because of the high level of negative comments, I think it is wise that Telus’ Twitter strategy is to have a Twitter profile that is focused on marketing messages (@Telus) and one that focuses on providing consumers with support on Telus services (@TelusSupport).  This allows @Telus to remain focused on their positive marketing messages, whereas the @TelusSupport deals with all the questions and complaints.  However, I do find that the general @Telus account engages too little with the audience.  I did a quick monitoring check and noticed that several people have posted about Telus’ ‘Like to give’ campaign with a mention of @Telus.  This means that Telus does not even have to monitor to be aware of the mention – these public mentions can be found right there in their Twitter profile.  However, I have yet to see a ‘thanks’ sent out to any of those people, including myself.  This is not the end of the world, but it would be a courteous act which would humanize the organization in the eyes of consumers.

I would like to wish Telus and their chosen non-profit organizations the best of luck in reaching their goals with the ‘Like to give’ campaign.  I am not a client of Telus, but their acts of generosity certainly catch my attention.  If ever I am in the market to switch, Telus will at least be top of mind as part of my research.

What else would you like to see Telus do to promote their ‘Like to give’ campaign on social networks?

Stay in touch,
Natalie

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

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