Think Different: Regulated PR and Mythical Formulas
If Day 3 of AMEC’s Measurement Week in NYC had a one-word theme, it might be “different.”
Laura A. Grover, senior digital strategy director at Quintiles, discussed how regulated industries use social media, while providing universal social best practices.
After that, K.C. Brown, general manager of Cision Global Analysts, discussed why measuring PR doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all formula. (Hint: It has to do with differences.)
Without further ado, let’s get to some of the days best insights.
Social Media in a Regulated Industry
Individuals and brands have adopted social media for its ability to rapidly and efficiently communicate with people. Although social media has existed for only a short time, innovation has been plentiful.
Unfortunately, brands in regulated industries haven’t been able to participate in this trend like unregulated industries.
When a non-regulated industry hears the term social media, they think video, YouTube channels, fans and followers, Laura A. Grover says. The conversation is very energetic and positive in social.
“Come over to the regulated world and it’s terror, fear and lawyers,” she says.
Here are some examples of social media practices that can earn a violation from the FDA:
- Talking about a branded drug without mentioning an equivalent risk.
- Posting something without a risk statement.
- Using promotional or forward-looking statements.
- Including abbreviations that could be misinterpreted.
For the most part, PR professionals in regulated industries engage people less and moderate more.
So what social media metrics matter to regulated industries? You can start with impressions, but they’re not dependable.
“Executives love them. You love them. Why? The big numbers are in impressions,” Laura says.
Better metrics, she says, are interactions, such as clicks and video views, and the different levels of engagement, such as a likes, comments and shares.
Remember, it’s not all about the number of interactions, likes, comments and shares. It’s also about who you reach. Considering social media is a risky platform for those brands, being able to identify influencers is critical.
“What happens when you engage less and moderate more? You depend on others to be the extension of your communications,” Laura says.
Once you identify your influencers, follow them, look at what content they prefer to share and be visible on their favorite networks.
Quintiles, a leading provider of outsourcing services to biopharmaceutical and health sciences businesses, has no engagement on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. They do engage others on their blog, though.
An owned platform gives the company the opportunity to moderate the space, take the time to identify the subject matter expert and run content through the proper communication and legal response process.
Benchmarking helps non-regulated brands establish baselines and goals for their social media campaigns. It wouldn’t be accurate for a brand in a regulated industry to benchmark against a non-regulated industry. You either need to find one in a regulated industry or set your own benchmarks.
Understanding your target audience
To identify the right channels and content, create a matrix that includes social channels, audiences (employees, customers, job seekers, etc.), content and goals.
When Quintiles made its matrix it identified that customers were on LinkedIn, YouTube and Slideshare, job seekers primarily relied on LinkedIn and Facebook, and employees are on Facebook.
“Once you know where they are, you can validate and track,” Laura says. “It arms you with information about what people want.”
Creating valuable content
The best practices for creating engaging content for regulated industries mirror those for non-regulated industries. Here’s how to create more engagement with content:
- Use images, videos and infographics.
- Write without jargon
- Be transparent and authentic
- Create human interest stories
A PR Measurement Formula Doesn’t Exist
PR measurement has caused a lot of head scratching and frustration. AVEs are an inaccurate formula that shouldn’t be relied on. Why doesn’t someone develop a formula that will show the value of a PR pro’s work?
K.C. Brown says no one formula exists because every organization has unique needs and goals. Determining the right formula means understanding your audience, purpose and the standards around that.
Your measurement shouldn’t outline only the great things that you have accomplished or be a list of numbers without any insights. True PR measurement require the right metrics, sound analysis and delivery to the right audience. The key to hitting all three of those comes before you start measuring.
“A lack of goals at beginning and assessing effectiveness at the end undermine your discipline in the organization,” K.C. says.
“Robust measurement opens the doors to moving your discipline forward in your organization.”
Image: Edward Simpson (Creative Commons)
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