A Little Birdy Told Me…Week of 12/5/11

It’s Friday again, yay! It’s the two-week mark for anyone doing Christmas shopping. I plan to get all of my shopping done this weekend at all costs (figuratively and literally) so I can kick back next weekend. Plus, the closer it is to the actual holiday, the crazier it gets in the various shopping centers. Hopefully, you are also getting your Christmas lists checked off and have some free time to relax this weekend. If you have a few spare moments, here are this week’s links and articles of interest to share–enjoy!

Review of LinkedIn Alumni Feature (by @alumnifutures):

Keeping up with the various social media features can be tricky, especially as the social networks try to best each other on the interwebs. Luckily for those of us with limited time and attention spans, there are dedicated folks out there testing the new bells and whistles and sharing their experiences.

For those working in alumni relations and social media, Andy Shaindlin offers a review of the new alumni feature on LinkedIn. The jury is still out as to how effective this feature really is, but Mr. Shaindlin suggests that it’s helpful to get a sense of the range of alumni out there to see what connections are possible.

A Pharma Company Finally “Gets” Social Media (by @richmeyer):

If you’re a regular reader of Rich Meyer’s World of DTC blog, then you know he’s critical of what some pharmaceutical and healthcare companies try to pass off as “social media strategy.” Very few of these campaigns pass his muster of effective social media, so when he shares that Sanofi-Aventis is doing it right, then that’s reason to look into the reasons why. Mr. Meyer shares how Sanofi is using its YouTube channel for an insulin campaign, but also points out exactly what works about it from his perspective. His key points to this end are helpful not only for pharma companies, but for any company or brand willing to go out there on social media.

WordPress.com Blogs That Covered 2011’s Biggest News Stories (on @socialmedia2day via @pgillin):

Here is an interesting post to consider this week, as a Montana blogger was fined for defamation due to the fact the court found she was not a journalist. Several regular bloggers with the free WordPress.com interface (like yours truly) used their space to cover and contribute to the top news stories of the year. Now, whether or not you consider this journalism, you have to admit it’s nice to see “the little guys” in the blogosphere contributing to the news cycle and discourse about the world’s hot topics. It’s still heartening to see that citizen journalism is still alive and well, regardless of the legal circumstances that surround the issue.

Journalist Imprisonments Jump Worldwide (by @pressfreedom via @juliemoos):

Since I’m on a bit of a journalism kick here, I thought to add this post. I’ve made no secret that I am a huge proponent for a free press in all nations, so this latest report from the Committee to Protect Journalists hits me pretty hard.

What’s more alarming is that the higher rates of journalism imprisonment take place in Middle Eastern and North African countries, often where some of the most prominent global news stories broke last year. If journalists in their own countries cannot enjoy press freedom, who’s to say that foreign journalists in those same nations can expect the same? It’s difficult to not sound preachy on this topic, but it’s good to see organizations like the CPJ keeping the world informed of these issues and injustices.

Please feel free to share any links or posts you found interesting as well and have a great weekend :)

December 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Alumni Relations, journalism, social media. Leave a comment.

A Little Birdy Told Me…Week of 6/6/11

Whew, it was a scorcher on the East Coast this week! Thank goodness it’s Friday and it looks like the heat wave is finally going to break. Hopefully, you got through the heat this week and have plans to go somewhere to cool off this weekend. In the meantime, here are this week’s links and articles of interest to share–enjoy!

How a Nonprofit Integrates Social Media (by @jdlasica via @Shonali):

I’ve heard it said that social media is not brain surgery. Sometimes, it just takes common sense and a little foresight to know what works for your institution. In the corporate world, many things often get convoluted, and social media is no exception.

It’s refreshing to read about nonprofit organizations that understand how social media can be integrated it into their communications campaigns. While the setting for this case example is specific to the Hope Institute for Families and Children, it also has implications for the corporate world to take note of.

Facebook to Pharma: You’re No Longer an Acception to Comments (by @adage):

Facebook recently turned up the heat on pharma companies with Facebook pages, namely that they cannot disable comments from their pages. The whole issue of handling patient or consumer feedback in real-time is part of what has thrown pharma companies through a loop with social media.

I know from having worked with a few pharma companies that the idea that one does not have as much “control” over the message scares the living daylights out of them. (as I’m sure it does for just about any consumer organization). But with Facebook standing by their policy that pharma is no longer an exception, I think it’s a step in the right direction to get them to play by the same social media rules as any other company, regulated or not.

Social Media Use at a Community College (on @Comm_College via @CASEAdvance):

Working in higher education, it’s great to see examples of how other colleges and universities are utilizing social media to connect with their various audiences. This post by Kyle Schwarm shows how a community college made the commitment to social media as part of its integrated marketing strategy. I like how they started in one social stream (YouTube) and eventually tied it to a larger and more strategic marketing plan. It goes to show that if higher education can make social media work for them, any business can do the same as well.

Your Field Guide to Identifying the Media (by @Jaxx09):

You can always count on Jackson Wightman to have a great, creative post that any PR pro can relate to. This week, he casts the usual suspects in media relations according to their key characteristics in a handy “field guide.” It’s a fun to read for any PR pro who has dealt with the media, as there’s sure to be a few of these you’ve run into over the years.

Hope you have a comfortable and cool weekend–please share any links or articles you found this week as well :)

June 10, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . pharmaceutical/healthcare, public relations, social media. Leave a comment.

A Little Birdy Told Me…Week of 3/21/11

Here we are at another Friday. This week marked the end of one chapter in my professional career and the start of the next. I’m sure many of you have also been met with a new path in life, whether professional or personal. I’m looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities with my new path, and it hasn’t impeded me from gathering a few links and articles of interest to share. Here they are–enjoy!

Newspapers Need to Figure out the Web (by John C. Abell via @Reuters):

Here’s a fresh post about the “dead web.”

Newspapers have dealt with direct competition for breaking news before (i.e. radio and television) so why can’t they figure out the web? John Abell makes a good point that even with apps for newspapers, most people search out news on the web itself. The web can be print’s friend if they know how to harness and best use it to reach their readers who want up-to-date and constant information.

Women in PR Agency Management (by Tonya Garcia via @PRNewser)

How far have women come in public relations? I’m sure a lot has changed over the past decades, not only in PR, but in other industries for women.

PRNewser, a great source for PR news, featured a Q&A with Susan Veidt, regional president and GM of Fleishman-Hillard’s St. Louis office. She shared some insights about her observations on women in the PR field and in management positions in agencies in particular. Having worked in a communications agency with a PR practice, I can say it’s positive to hear that women are taking on more leadership and management roles.

The Rise of the Fifth Estate (by @geoffliving)

With the greater access to the web and mobile technology, we now live in a world were people seek out news online, and in some cases, online news sources out-pace their print counterparts.

Geoff Livingstone offers a great post here about the rise of the Fifth Estate, or citizen journalism, in the face of the decline of traditional journalism. Sure, there are issues of fallacy and lack of fact-checking with citizen journalism, but Mr. Livingstone makes a good point that there are organizations dedicated to training and helping ensure greater accuracy as this trend evolves.

Still Waiting on FDA Social Media Guidance (by @eyeonfda):

The FDA released another statement this week that I learned of via a tweet from @eyeonfda. Needless to say, it was not the anticipated social media guidance for pharmaceutical marketers, but rather, your typical corporate ambiguous mumbo-jumbo to say to the effect that they were and weren’t issuing the guidance anytime soon.

Regardless of when the social media guidance is released, phased, or whatever, this waiting game has been disappointing. Mark Senak’s post provides context to exactly how long the waiting has been. Most folks in the pharma marketing/comm. Industry are used to waiting by now, but it would be nice to have some direction from the federal regulators some day.

Hope those are an interesting addition to your daily reading. Feel free to share your links or articles as well!

March 25, 2011. Tags: , , , , . journalism, pharmaceutical/healthcare, public relations, social media. Leave a comment.

A Little Birdy Told Me…Week of 2/21/11

Here we are folks – the close of February is imminent, can you believe that? Just when you thought the Winter blah’s were setting in, Spring is just around the corner. I hope you’re not too snowed in or rain drenched with the weather patterns of late. In the meantime, here are this week’s links of interest to share – enjoy!

Third Party Agencies and Social Media Execution (from @joshdbrett):

I noticed an interesting discussion explosion on Monday due to a PR agency’s execution of a pharma company’s Facebook page. At issue is whether pharma companies should allow third-party agencies execute their social media campaigns or if they should keep social media in-house.

I admit to a holding a slightly biased perspective, having worked on behalf of pharma in an agency setting. However, Josh’s post presents a good argument for agencies to help create social media policies but leave social media execution to pharma – mostly because pharma already has staff better educated on FDA product marketing regulations.

Astro Turfing and Fake Personas on Social Media (from @ginidietrich):

File this under scary but true – Gini Dietrich from Spin Sucks recounts a story from the Daily Kos on how a company laid out plans to create fake online personas on various social media platforms for the purposes of character attacks and the illusion of support.

I love to read these posts from Gini because I believe she really does get as fired up at these topics as she conveys on her blog posts! Fake online identities do not help the PR profession when we advocate for transparency and honesty in social media campaigns. This practice only adds to the argument that PR is all about smoke and mirrors and deception.

Exercise in Bad Media Relations (by @JDShan from @tressalynne):

Sometimes, I read a post that makes me do a “spit-take.” That honor this week goes to student newspaper editor Josh Shannon who posted a well-written example of bad media relations.

No PR professional should ever insult a reporter’s intelligence by thinking that coverage or inclusion of a client’s link is a quid pro quo. From the sounds of this pitch, it seems that there is a double standard for student reporters when it comes to media relations. I wonder — would they include a cheesy iPad contest with a pitch to the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times? Regardless of this careless pitch, Josh seems to be on the right track in his journalism career, and I my only hope is that this experience doesn’t sour his opinion of PR pro’s.

My Heart Belongs to Blogging (from @pgeorgieva):

The New York Times spurred another significant discussion (at least in my social media world) about the “death of blogging” among youngsters in favor of Twitter. Really? Really? Can we please move past the notion of death already? It’s getting old.

It was refreshing to read Petya Georgieva’s post because  I agree with her on this sentiment. No matter how popular the social media platform de jour, there will remain a place for thoughts and ideas longer than 140-characters. She also makes a good point that Twitter can compliment, rather than replace, blogging as a means to share content and build a network of contacts based on common interests.

And finally, this video from Coca-Cola has been making the rounds on Twitter – sure, it’s a little gimickey. But c’mon. Remember when you were in college, maybe studying or taking a break in the cafeteria? Wouldn’t you have liked to have a surprise from the vending machine? It’s so hard to watch this and not smile, thus spreading the happiness :)

How was your week – any interesting posts or links to share?

February 25, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . media relations, pharmaceutical/healthcare, public relations, social media. 2 comments.

A Little Birdy Told Me… Week of 2/7/11

Wow, where has this week gone? I don’t know about you, but has this year been off to a running start, hasn’t it? I hope that means that Springtime and warmer weather (for those of us on the East Coast) is just around the corner.  Here are this week’s interesting links and articles to share. Enjoy!

Twitter Tips for Pharma (from @eyeonfda):

The 2010 ePharma Summit took place this week in New York, and from following the Twitter hashtag #epharma, it looked like there was a big discussion regarding the lack of FDA social media guidelines for pharma companies. Despite absence of said guidelines, pharma companies are getting active on Twitter, usually from a corporate or nonbranded (i.e. no product mention) perspective.

Mark Senak, who knows the pharma marketing business really well, offers some great tips on Twitter use for pharma, but it’s also a good list for regular Twitter users and companies to take heed.

Free Speech, Media Law, and Social Media (guest post on PR at Sunrise from @worob):

Media law, while usually black and white, is a great area of discourse. Throw in social media, and it only gets more interesting. And considering that information shared on social media platforms may not constitute protected speech, and it starts to get complicated.

Fritz Messere, dean of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts at State University of New York at Oswego, provides a great discussion piece on the implications of taking words (or tweets) too far on social media. As PR and marketing folks, we need to remember that as we evolve our communications, the law will also evolve to enforce its guidelines.

The Life Cycle of a Social Media Crisis (from @adage)

Well, a week has passed, and it’s easier to ascertain the real “damage,” and, more importantly for communicators, the learnings from the Kenneth Cole Twitter fiasco.

For anyone unfamiliar with the situation and outcome, Rupal Parekh provides a step-by-step recap of the incident while also making a valid point about the now all to common social media crisis. The lesson to learn is how humor actually detracts from the issue that made us angry so to begin with.

Getting “Smart” with PR Objectives (from @journalistics)

How many times have you drafted a PR plan only to have it rejected, or worse, not work out as planned? Perhaps you set the bar too high or didn’t adequately define your tactics.

The helpful folks at the Journalistics blog bring up a good acronym to remember (or put on a Post-It note on our desktop screen)-S.M.A.R.T. Sure, acronyms can be cheesy, but this one is really helpful, especially if you read it and nod your head because you may have overlooked a few of these principles.

That’s all for this week. Do you have any interesting nuggets of knowledge to share?

February 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . media, pharmaceutical/healthcare, public relations, social media. Leave a comment.

The Heat Is On: Will More Pharma Cos. Join in Social Media?

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The temperature may be dropping, but I’m feeling the heat due to recent discussions about pharmaceutical companies and social media.

Just in time for the holidays and New Year, the FDA is expected to begin rolling out its social media guidance later this month. As pharma companies patiently await these new regulations, various sources are already weighing in on the issue.

The New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial about pharma’s role in new media marketing and suggested precautions for physicians as a pharma marketing audience.

Another perspective on pharma and social media came from WSJ.com’s The Source column. They posted a subsequent commentary recommending increased freedom for pharma companies to respond to critics and repair their reputations via social media.

Previously, I’ve compared the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and social media to that of cats and dogs. The two may coexist with the usual bumps in the road, but it appears that the relationship is more tenuous than I thought.

And with academic journals and major news outlets scrutinizing their absence, pharma companies might feel the pressure to jump into social media once the FDA lays out its recommendations.

Despite the heat from external audiences, it’s always important to step back and evaluate if social media is an effective tactic for your company or client.

Pharmaceutical companies, just like any organization, must determine if social media is an appropriate component to integrate into their marketing and communications strategies. Just because social media marketing works for Ford Motor Company doesn’t mean it will produce the same results for Pfizer.

Social media has proven tricky with regard to disclosing risk and safety information, as companies who thought they were doing an adequate job have had their wrists slapped by the FDA. (For example, read what happened to Novartis and their product Facebook page.)

Pharma companies will have to weigh various issues when deciding how and when to engage in social media for their products and initiatives. As a regulated industry, social media may not as simple as it seems for them.

So, what will happen once the FDA issues its guidance during this holiday season? Will it be a lump of coal for pharma or will it be a pretty pink box?

The answer awaits us in the New Year. For now, I’ll make myself a hot toddy and cozy up to the fire and wait to see what happens.

Other healthcare marketers or communicators, what are your predictions? Do non-pharma PR folks have some recommendations or comforting advice to share?

December 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . pharmaceutical/healthcare, social media. 2 comments.

Cats, Dogs, Pharma, and Social Media

It’s amazing what you can learn from observing animals. Their similarities to humans are sometimes surprising and reassuring as we search for answers in our own lives.

No, that’s not just some existential crap I picked up from watching “The Dog Whisperer.”

Take for example the dynamic I’ve noticed between our newly adopted 6-month-old mutt named Wes and our cat, Lupe.

Wes is a sweetheart, and, despite his large size, he is quite mellow and a loyal companion to my husband and me.

“Baby” Wes

Our cat of six years–the hitherto Queen of the Castle–has been avoiding all contact with him, choosing to carefully observe him from afar despite the fact he poses no threat to her.

Their behavior reminds me of the relationship between social media and pharmaceutical companies.

I posted previously about my schoolgirl crush on social media as an extension of PR. One of my colleagues, Josh Brett, who authors On Message, reminded me of the conundrum those in healthcare communications face with social media–the desire to engage vs. the fear of regulatory backlash.

In this sense, the animals’ actions reflect the current relationship between social media (embodied by Wes) and pharma or healthcare companies (Lupe).

For instance, there are plenty of pharma companies engaged in some form of social media (either on Twitter, corporate blogs, or Facebook). Yet there exists a general hesitance in the industry to participate and engage with stakeholders via social media.

Lupe is not amused

Pharma companies–like Lupe–have quietly observed social media and tip-toed around the idea of entering the realm. They aren’t sure if they can trust social media, much like Lupe isn’t sure if she can trust Wes.

Social media, on the other hand, is doing fine on its own. Regular Joes and Janes, small businesses, and large consumer companies are active everyday on social media, but there is always the question of when or whether pharma will join in.

It’s similar to how Wes treats Lupe. He is very patient with her, and often doesn’t stir if she passes by. But there are times when he wags his tail when he sees her, signaling she is welcome to approach him.

Alas, Lupe is still not allowing Wes to get close to her. But, at the same time, she is not discouraging his presence. She is merely taking it all in and figuring out her comfortable with him.

It may take some time for our two beloved animals to coexist, much like I suspect it will take time for pharma to figure out the right balance between regulation and promotion in order to jump on board with social media.

The FDA is expected to release part of its social media guidance this December. Maybe then, pharma will be more comfortable with social media and learn how to coexist with it as part of their marketing and communications efforts.

Anyone else have animal or wildlife observations to share with the professional world? Or do you have cute pet pictures to share? (I’ll try to make this my only post where I tout my pets)

November 4, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . marketing, pharmaceutical/healthcare, social media. 3 comments.

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