3 Tips for PR Pros Working in the Pharmaceutical Field

Marc Monseau

How communicators working in healthcare can leverage social media—and still stay within the regulatory boundaries—was the topic of a panel discussion Thursday night titled, “Open Collaborative, and Regulated: Social Media in Healthcare.”

The discussion, which was sponsored by Affect, a PR and social media agency, focused on social media best practices for drug companies amid an evolving regulatory environment

After four years of studying (and debating) the issue, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to publish clear guidelines on the use of social media among pharmaceutical companies, which puts PR pros in a bit of a bind.

Marc Monseau, managing partner of Mint Collective, a digital communications and marketing consultancy, is quite familiar on the role that PR pros can play in helping drug companies navigate the social-media terrain. Prior to launching his own company, he was director of corporate communications and social media at Johnson & Johnson.

Monseau, who took part in the panel discussion, shared three tips with PR News on how communicators working in the pharmaceutical field can get their hands around social media even though they’re hamstrung by regulations:

1. Listen. Ensure that you know who are the influencers in your market and who is talking about your brand or business and what they are talking about. Establish a system to track, analyze, report and, most important, how to act on that information.

2. Establish guardrails. Work with your legal and regulatory counterparts to help them understand the business rationale for what you are doing on social channels. Establish limits (and a methodology within those limits) to support your customers and how to reach those customers in ways they expect to be reached, in terms of speed and content.

3. Provide useful and relevant content. Despite a lack of guidelines from the FDA there are some interpretations that companies need to make when it comes to what is appropriate content and what is inappropriate content. That’s why it’s crucial to befriend both the legal and regulatory departments, but also to ensure that the content you create resonates  with your audiences based upon what you learn through listening.

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Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1; Follow Marc Monseau: @mdmonseau