When work commences on a pharmaceutical social media proposal, the immediate inclination is to jam the plan chock full of everything that can be done. You want your creativity to shine through and the potential of social media to be clear. To achieve this goal every crazy idea that crosses your mind finds its way into the plan.
Considering what can be done is important. It provides you with a benchmark for future program ideas and allows for the type of big-picture thinking that is needed to move social media forward. But a word of caution: focus first on what can realistically be done.
It has become abundantly clear to me the more I talk to companies interested in moving forward in social media that an all or nothing approach will more often end in the “nothing” part of the equation. These types of proposals scare of pharma marketers that are still surveying the scene. Rather than excitement the result is trepidation.
Instead of throwing out Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, mobile apps, augmented reality, Foursquare and any other social media idea you can dream up—why not go back to the basics? Start with listening by a well thought out social media monitoring program. During the course of this program, you will get a feel for what your community is lacking, what your opportunity to add value might be and what the rules for engagement are. This is invaluable information as you dive deeper into social media. A good social media monitoring program will tell you where to focus and what to contribute.
As I’ve advocated for in the past, there is a case to be made for social media in stages and on a budget. It allows the building blocks to be put in place before going full steam ahead. Taking on everything at once is akin to throwing the roof on a house before the frame is up—it’s bound to come crashing down.
The “big” ideas should not be ignored nor should they be left out of plans entirely. But aren’t we better served focusing on what can realistically be done before focusing all our energy on what can be done in a perfect world? Because I have news for you, it ain’t a perfect world out there.