A Pharma Social Media Precedent Has Been Set

March 15, 2010

For the first time ever, a pharmaceutical company social media site has been practically shut down due to a barrage of posts made by a “disgruntled” patient. The site is sanofi-aventis’s (S-A’s) VOICES Facebook page.

As reported by Pharma Marketing Blog, Shirley Ledlie, a cancer survivor who had permanent hair loss after taking Taxotere, a drug marketed by sanofi-aventis (S-A), has succeeded in causing S-A to shut down all comments to the Wall of its Facebook page (see “Disgruntled Patient Shuts Down sanofi-aventis Facebook Page“).

“I actually think i did a very good job in closing down the FB page of Europes largest drugs company, something i am very proud of and something i havent finished with yet,” said Shirley Ledlie in a comment made to my “Ask Social Media Intern” questionnaire/survey.

“In a quick visit to the VOICES page,” said John Mack, author of Pharma Marketing Blog, “I found that all the posts to the Wall had been deleted and have been replaced by this statement: ‘sanofi-aventis VOICES has no recent posts.’ No further comments can be posted to the VOICES Wall. It appears that S-A could not stand up to the onslaught waged by Ledlie’s solitary ‘voice’ and just decided to call it quits!”

A precedent has been set by this experience, which does not bode well for the future of pharma social media,” said Mack.

In a comment to Mack’s post, Andrew Spong (@andrewspong) said that “S-A sleep-walked into this. I think Ms. Ledlie has achieved rather more than that. I don’t think she’s been tilting at windmills: I think she has provided us a with a compelling example of what happens when pharma companies want to maintain a presence on a social media platform whilst playing ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’. I say good for Ms. Ledlie.”

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Who are the “Dummies?”

March 13, 2010

Of course, I don’t mean YOU!

When I say “dummies,” I’m talking about all those people out there who don’t know as much about the use of social media by the pharmaceutical industry as I do. Since I am an “intern” in this field, I don’t yet know much. But I am working with the best and the brightest and hope to learn more! Of course, as I do learn more, there will be more and more “dummies” out there who have not kept up with me. So don’t be surprised if one day you find yourself to be a “dummy.” It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It just means you have to learn a bit more.

Now there are also experts with regard to one aspect of pharma social media who are also “dummies” with regard to another aspect. If you look at it that way, then we are all “dummies” all the time because social media is changing so rapidly that it is almost impossible for anyone to keep up with ALL of it. This is especially true in the pharmaceutical arena because pharma marketers are very creative and have many ways of working around regulations, even when those regulations do not even exist! For example, pharma marketers may just decide one day that there is a social media “rule” that is evident from warning letters issued by the FDA. Since there are so many ways of interpreting these letters, there are many “dummies” out there who have completely missed the point!

Hopefully, if we agree that we are all complete “dummies” some of the time and partial “dummies” all of the time, but not complete “dummies” all of the time, then I think we will get along nicely!

To determine if you are a pharma social media “dummy” in comparison to others, I suggest that you take the Pharma Marketing NewsRate Your Social Media Marketing Readinessself-assessment survey.