Tempting though it may be, one can’t say ‘Lilly has hopped to it’ in terms of the time it has taken for the company to get its act together with regards to its social presences on the web.
Those Lilly employees I have spoken to this year have stated that the company had a ‘wait and see’ policy, and that they were in no rush to get involved until needs had been assessed and benefits quantified.
That’s fair enough.
However, the decision to look rather than leap comes at a price, namely the need to repay heightened expectations with interest.
It must be taken into account that all eyes will be on a company that has elected to keep a discrete distance from social environments when it finally does decide to put in an appearance.
So now Lilly is here. What’s the blog like?
Let’s begin with the name: it’s an eye-roller, not an eye-catcher.
I’m left to wonder how many times the concept of a ‘Lilly pad’ brand has been mooted internally over the years as the inevitably corollary of its obviousness. Mooted, that is… and rejected.
Why choose it now? Perhaps because it connotes ‘Lilly and TypePad’, and TypePad’s the third-on-the-podium blogging platform, and… that’s it. No-one, surely, is going to set out to build a brand that says ‘we’re bronze medalists!’ so there must be some other reason. However, if there is, it eludes me.
What also currently elude me are Lilly’s social media guidelines.
After the launch of Roche’s social media principles in August 2010 and the interest and conversation they generated, in my opinion it is no longer acceptable for a pharma company simply to appear on the web and invite comment without being able to give an account of itself in return.
Readers want to know why you are here, what you are going to do, what you are going to say, on whose behalf you are saying it, what you can expect to happen to the comments and content you are hopefully at liberty to contribute, and so on. Until that happens, LillyPad is just another pharma bullhorn, albeit one with seemingly better manners and a more pleasant disposition than pharma normally displays.
Let’s turn to the strap line:
Answers on a postcard, please, as to what you think that means.
Policies and perspectives combine like oil and water. Are we being told what Lilly thinks? Are we being told what Lilly thinks it thinks? Are we being asked to tell Lilly what we think? Are we being asked to tell Lilly what it thinks? Finally, the quotation marks just add to the confusion. “LillyPad: call me Ishmael“.
I’m left feeling that Lilly wants to make statements and invite comments at the same time, but I neither understand why, nor comprehend how.
In short, Lilly needs to impart some clarity around this unnecessary strap line, ideally by removing it altogether.
Turning to the format of the site, there is work to do here, too.
Whilst sidebar categories don’t get tabs, we are presented with a redundant ‘blog’ tab despite the fact that there is nothing else here other than the blog itself. Perhaps this just needs to be re-labeled ‘home’?
The editorial voice of the blog has a certain schizophrenia to it, but don’t get all smart-Alec and start making wisecracks about Zyprexa (off-topic: Jeez! Does that site need a refresh).
At first sight, LillyPad wants to be pals with us:
Dialogue! Sharing! Passion! Participation! Thought sharing! Even ‘two-way conversation’! (sic; try having a ‘one-way conversation’ ;)). Whilst it stops short of offering us a #BuzzwordBingo full house (and I’m loving the fact that ‘engagement’ seems to have been red-penned whilst all the others made the cut), it’s got all the lingo to make a social media health hipster feel at home as they cruise the site on their iPad.
Be careful as to which thoughts you share, however:
Did you see the game last night?
Assuming you can alight upon something that LillyPad decides it, and you, are at liberty to talk about, you’ll want to leave a comment.
First, you’ll need to cough up your details:
I am going to restrict my further comment on this decision on Lilly’s part to two words on the basis that I should imagine that plenty of other people are going to have rather more to say on the subject in due course. Those two words for you: big mistake.
Finally, there is the inevitable accompanying Twitter feed widget where we can review the LillyPad account‘s latest posts. At least they’re not spamming us with ‘come to our conference booth!’ updates.
Whoops! Spoke too soon:
OK, OK, Mr. Snippy!
At least they’re not tweeting like a bot, then.
Bah! Wrong again. Ah well.
Flash tutorial 1: Tweet with us, not at us. I don’t care about your conference stands, quarterly results, or corporate shill. Can that, and we’ll be firm friends. Scout’s honour. As long as you don’t sell my details to spam monkeys.
Flash tutorial 2: It’s OK to thank more than 1 person in a tweet 🙂
Let’s finish on some positive notes.
- Comments are on. Yay! Good work, Lilly.
- We know who the authors of the blog are: Amy O’Connor, Greg Kueterman, and Rob Smith. That’s great, even though there is currently rather less clarity with regards to the Twitter feed on the basis that LillyPad has elected to wait for ‘TwitterPro’ (sic, unless Amy actually meant ‘the Twitter affiliation platform that pays!‘ (RIP). Now that’s what I call ‘social media ROI’ :)) to roll out multiple author functionality rather than avail itself of currently available alternatives. You could be waiting a while for that, Amy (‘Twitter Pro Accounts Coming This Year‘, Inquisitr.com, 25 March 2009 )
So, LillyPad is here. Frankly, it’s not a great start.
That said, let’s hope Amy, Greg and Ron can go on to give us plenty of reasons to trust them.