Lisa Banket
Cofounding Partner/Publisher
Taren Grom
Cofounding Partner/Editor-in-Chief
Heather Hummel
Project Coordinator
Dan Limbach
Producer, Webcast Network
Denise Myshko
Managing Editor
Kim Ribbink
Features Editor
Robin Robinson
Senior Editor
Marah Walsh
Cofounding Partner/New Business Development

PharmaVOICE Editors' Blog

Monday, June 28, 2010

How To Delete Your Accounts on Popular Websites

Dan Limbach

So you want to delete your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account. It should be easy, right? Not exactly. Here's an excellent overview of how to delete your account on 14 popular sites/services. 

This article rates each website from 1 (easy to delete) to 5 (hard to delete). There is even one site (Wikipedia) that rates an "impossible to delete."

We all have an increasing number of sites and online services we’re members of, and sometimes it all gets a little overwhelming. At times, we just need to delete our memberships to some sites, either in an effort to simplify our lives or just because we’ve grown tired of a particular site or service.

What we often don’t realize when signing up for all these accounts, though, is how difficult it can be to permanently delete our accounts when we’ve had enough. Some require complicated, multi-step processes that can stretch over the course of days (or weeks). Others take less time, but still require multiple steps by the user.
Click here to read the entire article.

Cameron Chapman is the author of this article.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Top 5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes

Dan Limbach

Business Week outlines 5 major mistakes companies make in their social media efforts. I've excerpted portions of the article here. I've also added my own thoughts where noted.

1. Not (or Barely) Monitoring: Companies that do not first "listen" and observe how their evangelists and detractors talk about their brand risk jumping into a cyclone of unanticipated activity. Constant monitoring is a must.

Even a well-liked Internet brand can fall victim to lack of social media monitoring. In 2009, hackers exploited a vulnerability in online retailer's (AMZN) site, causing all books by GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) authors to disappear. Over the course of a weekend, thousands of consumers on Twitter, Facebook, and forums voiced their concern, suspecting that Amazon had made the authors unavailable deliberately. Two days later, when Amazon made an attempt to explain the glitch, people on Twitter already had created a hashtag further ridiculing the company's ineptitude.

Dan's take: If you wait too long to get involved in the social conversation after an issue spikes, you will have no shot at addressing the issue and protecting your company's viewpoint. A non-response is often perceived as a lack of interest in the conversation. "No comment," intentionally or unintentionally, rarely ever works out for a company under fire, as BP found out in the first couple weeks of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill debacle. They never gave themselves a chance to earn some early credibility and participate in the discussion from the beginning.

2. "Down-sourcing" to Interns or Junior Staff: The fresh, young digital natives at your company embody a crucial resource in helping to navigate the emerging media waters. In some cases, however, their lack of business experience could imperil your brand's "social voice."

Recently, Nestlé's (NESN) Facebook page erupted in a flame war when Greenpeace staged a protest of the chocolate maker's alleged use of palm oil from deforested areas in Indonesia. The "official" posts in response to comments were overly flippant and defensive, which only fueled the firestorm.

Dan's take: Junior staff may know how to use social media better than seasoned staff, but they may lack the experience and diplomacy to deal with an issue properly. Why not pair up a junior staffer with a senior staffer and let them help each other?

3. Fast Beats Perfect: In the digital world, content can spread like wildfire. Immediate, authentic, and humble acknowledgements of your brand's social media kerfuffles are not only necessary but also expected. Taking the time to craft a perfect corporate response with layers of bureaucratic approvals will only cause more damage to your brand's social reputation.

In a matter of days, the now infamous Domino's YouTube video, in which employees did some highly unappetizing things to the chain's food, erupted into a full-fledged crisis. Although the chief executive officer provided a video statement/response, some felt the company's reply took far too long. (The company has since redeemed itself with its highly successful Pizza Turnaround campaign.)

Dan's take: In social media, speed trumps perfection every time. When you only have a short time to get into the conversation, you can't get bogged down by three layers of approvals before something can be posted. Your company's social media policy should be posted where any employee can find it, and should be written in language that is clear and easy to understand. You have a company social media policy, right?

4. Faking It: If you've failed to foster and energize a legitimate set of brand evangelists, don't attempt to disguise false engagement by having employees pretend to be customers (known as "astroturfing"). It will most certainly be found out.

Earlier this year, speculation was that Wal-Mart's (WMT) local Chicago PR agency was behind a fake community support group commenting on blogs in favor of the retail store coming to town.

Dan's take: You know what they say... "You can't fool all of the people all of the time." The savvy folks in the net can smell a rat, and they will out you immediately when you are caught. Don't take a chance - it will only add gasoline to the fire of any controversy and erode your credibility.

5. Having an "Off" Switch: Your brand's involvement in social media should never have an end date, since at its core, that involvement is about nurturing customer relationships. While campaigns that have a social media extension may come and go, you must maintain an "always on" approach and outlook.

TGI Friday's September 2009 cross-channel campaign reached its goal of winning 500,000 fans of fictional character "Woody" on Facebook. In fact, it got close to 1 million fans. TGI Friday's ended the campaign and deleted the Facebook page without those fans converting to TGI Friday's official Facebook page, losing all the social capital built up over the course of the campaign.

Dan's take: Social media efforts never end. Rather than treating social media as a form of "Damage control," think of it as a way to build credibility so if something controversial surfaces, you already have fans who will back you up and help you get through a crisis.

As we're still in somewhat of a nascent period in social media marketing, brands will inevitably make mistakes and learn from them along the way. This learning process is exciting and offers marketers some unique opportunities to connect directly with consumers.

At the end of the day, brands must earn their "social currency." There are no shortcuts or substitutes to authentic engagement in the realm of social media.

Mike Proulx was the author of the Business Week article. He leads digital strategy for Hill Holliday, an ad agency in Boston.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some observations about DIA 2010

Dan Limbach

DIA continues to be the largest conference in the drug industry. Washington D.C. was a gracious host to the 2010 event.

1) I heard several attendance numbers, and the consensus was that attendance was down from 2009. Budget cuts are certainly responsible for some of the decline.

2) Session attendance was very good. Our Managing Editor tells us many of the sessions she attended were packed, and some sessions had to turn away would-be attendees. So while companies may have sent fewer people to the conference this year, the attendees took full advantage of the educational opportunities.

3) Optimism has returned after a “desperate” 2009. Last year, the motto regarding revenue was “Flat is the new up.” There were a large number of people in 2009 who didn’t know if they would have jobs from one month to the next, so quite a few conversations focused on career issues rather than business issues. 2010 had much less of a “Doom and Gloom” vibe.

4) Conversations were deeper and more forward moving this year. While economic factors still weigh heavy and many budgets remain tight, it seems as though more deals are being made now. This may indicate we’re moving out of survival mode and back into growth mode.

5) Smart companies are revving up their marketing engines to establish strong positions in their space. While doing more with less is still necessary, the need to brand your company and market products and services is more important than ever.

6) Networking and fun were as prevalent as ever. There were numerous entertaining activities after the show closed each day. From the DIA Networking Reception, to the massive Transperfect and UBC parties, group dinners, and numerous other receptions, good times were not difficult to find.

7) People are already talking about DIA 2011 in Chicago. The Windy City should once again be a magnificent host of the conference. We hope to see you all there. Until then, keep hustling.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kids Taking Fewer Health Risks Today vs. 90's

Dan Limbach

CDC report shows High School students take fewer health risks than students in the 1990's, with some exceptions.

Here is the post on the Freakonomics blog.

Here is the CDC report.

Smoking is way down. Risky sex, suicide, and drinking is down. Helmet and seat belt use is better. Unfortunately, High School kids today are worse in reference to obesity, asthma, exercise, and using suncreen.

Dozens of additional behaviors are compared in the study, including bullying, school fights, eating habits, dating violence, and more.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How to Track Social Media for Your Company

Dan Limbach

Are people talking about your business or its people using Social Media? How would you even know?

The list of social media tools is long - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, Forums, etc. But the list of ways to track them is possibly even longer.

Check out this list of Social Media Monitoring Solutions.

Some are tailored for one type of social media, like blogs (Google Blogsearch, Technorati). Some social media tools have their own monitoring capabilities (Facebook, Twitter). And still others track social media activities across multiple media (Radian6, ScoutLabs).

Some tools are free, while others require a monthly fee. In general, the free tools are more limiting, but can still be good for basic needs. The paid tools are more robust, typically have a longer learning curve, and, well, aren't free.

I recommend getting your feet wet with a few free tools before evaluating the paid tools. This experience will help you make a more informed choice when you are ready for an all-inclusive service.

When you use these tools, don't just monitor your company name. Monitor your CEO, your key thought leaders, and people in your organization who are active in social media. And don't forget to run searches on your competitors. It may be clear who is embracing social media and who is avoiding it. This could uncover an opportunity for your company to become a leader in using social media in your market space.