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Getting to the Social Media Starting Line

By now, most pharma/biotech/med device companies have concluded that social media is important, is here to stay – and somehow needs to be included in future communications.

Most large companies have at least begun the process of hashing out the use of social media – how to use the various platforms, governance, internal ownership, content approval, SOP development, risk mitigation strategies, etc., etc.

If your company is looking to be in this (unavoidable) race, how do you get to the starting line?

In the early years of pharma social media (I’m only talking about 3-4 circuits around the sun, now!), typically one or two advocates emerged within a company and began the long process of evangelizing, with a lot of process development and pilot projects happening on the fly. Others leaned on digital agencies to help jump-start the process (or as an outsource partner).

Organic internal initiative, or high-priced agency intervention, each can have their place. But….

Here’s another idea – consider hiring on a Social Media Sherpa.

Sherpas, in mountaineering terms, are local guides to help people climb imposing mountains such as the Himalayas. Sherpas know the landscape, provide guidance, and can do a lot of the heavy lifting.

A Social Media Sherpa can be engaged for 3-9 months to help you get to the starting line. A sherpa knows the platforms, the tools, the regulatory environment – he or she already has experience in digital networks and can serve as the initial guide and trainer to safely move the company forward into the world of social networks.

Getting started involves a lot of collaboration and process development, and to be successful you want an experienced guide who has walked these paths beforehand. This may be one of the most valuable consulting retainers you ever invest in.

Realistically, I can work with only one client at a time doing a sherpa engagement, but there are others who have the corporate/social media experience and makeup to do this really well. If your company would benefit from this approach, let me know. I can make the right connections for you.

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