I followed this event in real time yesterday via the social radio network BlogTalkRadio, although I’ll confess I only became aware of it after seeing the hashtag #BDI appearing in the posts of participants whom I follow.
A full list of the speakers and topics covered is available at the link above. I particularly enjoyed Ray Kerins‘ presentation. Ray did more to bolster Pfizer‘s social medial credibility in 25 minutes than the rest of the company has managed to do in the last 12 months. I salute his honesty, and am pleased to have encountered an authentic Pfizer voice in the social media space for the first time.
Jonathan ‘semper paratus’ Richman had already preloaded his slide deck on the web with a custom URL and was able to announce it at the end of his presentation, which impressed me almost as much as the content itself did. Shwen Gwee demonstrated once again his willingness to help non-attendees join a debate once it is full flow by signposting them to the broadcast links, something that it is easy to forget when you are occupied in following a presentation, and a lesson well worth remembering. John Mack broke some sort of record for ‘most name-checks during a conference in the shortest space of time’. There were laughs along the way, as will be attested to by the hashtag link in the first paragraph above, and I look forward to the next healthcare event from the organizers, the Business Development Institute.
Recordings of the morning sessions are available to review, free of charge and with no need to register. They are certainly worth a couple of hours of your time when you have the leisure to listen to them, but in the interim I offer below 10 take-home best practices that you could usefully adopt in order to maintain an effective social media presence either on your own behalf or in representing the company you work for.
I do not lay claim to any of the following ideas as my own, nor am I going to assign them to particular speakers. If any of them interest you, repay the presenters by learning a little more about them:
- Remember that social media is relational, not transactional.
- Remember that social media is a dialogue, not a monologue.
- A well-executed social media strategy requires reciprocity, relevancy, transparency, authenticity, but perhaps above all other things, commitment. Don’t pump and dump your community. You’ll need to have deployed sufficient resource to ensure that your brand is there for your community members every day, interacting with them, and providing new content for them.
- Get this into your senior managers’ heads: by definition, your company’s social media strategy is not going to fit into your company’s business development plan template. If it does, you’re doing it wrong.
- Do not think of your social media plan as a short-term tactic, implemented in Q1, delivering by Q4. Indirectly, that may be exactly what happens. However, even Jeff Bezos doesn’t think along those lines, so there’s no reason why you should. So: you’ll need a 3-5 year sustainability plan for your social media programme that everyone is happy to support, this year, next year, for the three business cycles after that, and beyond. That isn’t to say that it won’t get tweaked along the way, of course, but you need the time and space to nurture these strategies and help them grow.
- Think it’s all about ROI? ROI is not what you measure, but how you value what you measure.
- That is not the same as saying ‘social media offers no ROI’: If you redefine a Facebook fan as a CRM lead, the ROI they will ‘deliver’ (and I’m indulging you here; you shouldn’t even be thinking in these terms) is much better (multi-faceted, and of a higher grade) than eCRM could hope to deliver.
- Be aware, not afraid. Don’t just monitor, get involved. Try something.
- Prepare to surrender control. It’s not about you.
- Start with the question: what does my community need? How can I add value to it?