Five Steps to Your Company’s Facebook Page

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Author: Stacey Homan

Creating a Facebook page is quick and easy.  And with Facebook slated to be bigger than Google in just a few years, the time is now to start developing plans to create a Facebook page for your brand to engage and inform your customers who are already online:

So, here is a quick checklist to starting a fan page on Facebook for pharma and medical device companies:

  • MESSAGE, NOT MEDIUM – With the lack of social media guidelines, remember it’s the message, not the medium.  Until the new guidelines are issued, the same rules apply to Facebook as apply to sites elsewhere on the internet.  The recent Novartis warning letter clarifies and reinforces some of the already-known guidelines regarding online promotion: don’t go off-label.  Include risk information.  If you are a pharmaceutical company, widgets need to be submitted 30 days prior. Note the warning letter did not have issue with the widget/pages themselves, rather the message.
  • TRANSPARENCYyou owe it to your patients to be transparent as to who is sponsoring the page.  Disclose everything:  conflicts, majority sponsorship, editorial control.  Take the best of journalistic practices and apply.
  • COMMITMENT – it will take time to gain followers and fans of your page.  Designate a person or group who will be consistent with updating the content.    Start weekly for a month or two to iron out any kinks and move to daily.  If you decide to stop the project, the page will need to be completely deleted.
  • REGULATORY SUPPORT –There needs to be a framework in which to operate the page in your procedures and review committees – reviews, approvals, oversight and audits as well as timely response to comments.  Check out Elsa’s ‘Safe Driving in Social Media’ postings (part 1, part 2, part 3) for an overview of regulatory concerns and solutions.
  • QUALITY COMPLIANCE – be prepared for negative comments and how you will respond to them, paying careful attention to the potential for patients to describe device or surgical failures.  They may need to be reported to your quality department for further review to determine if they are feedback, complaints and/or reportable MDRs.  The above mentioned warning letter also mentioned that the initial, company-sponsored post would be subject to FDA guidelines, but not the comments made by patients.

It’s important to remember that communicating with patients through Facebook is a new concept and there will be a substantial amount of figuring out just how this new medium works best with patients and stays compliant.  There will be ideas that work; there will be ideas that don’t.  But failing to notice the trend lines that are occurring within the online space would be doing your marketing department and patients a disservice.

On a side note, GoodPromotionalPractices.com is launching a Facebook page of our own.  You can use it to keep up to date on the latest information, give feedback, ask questions and network with fellow industry professionals as well as post relevant job openings.

To keep up with the best in Good Promotional Practices, subscribe to our GPP RSS feed, our Facebook page, our Twitter stream or our LinkedIn group.

Related Links:

Novartis Warning Letter

Digitas Health POV: Online Sharing: What Pharma CAN do

Top 10 Tips for Successful SMB Facebook Pages

Harvard Business Review: Business Leadership in the Age of Transparency

Does Your Kidney Have A Facebook Page?

One response to “Five Steps to Your Company’s Facebook Page

  1. Hi Tracy,

    Thanks for the blog post, I found it via a Twitter message, the joy of social media. We have recently added our company to facebook, we are not in the Pharma sector, however we do have Pharma clients as we build drug study portals for them.

    So, obviously we don’t have the same issues I can imagine Pharma companies are facing, but what we are currently struggling with is what content to add to our Facebook page? Realistically so far the people who like our page are our friends who are likely to get border relatively quickly if we talk about website development.

    A second group of people who have started adding themselves are direct competitors and other software developers, so again not really our target audience and finally we have potential clients, like Pharma digital managers but what would they really want to gain from our facebook page? That to me is the big struggle 🙂

    Cheers, Chris @readingdancer

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