To pharma marketers, it’s a glorious sound!!
The beep, ring, chime, or whatever audio tone you’ve set to alert you that someone has commented on your uber-awesome content. When I hear that magnificent notification sound, I picture Lucy getting all giddy over the nickel that Charlie Brown just dropped into her can at the psychiatric booth. Yes, people: The doctor is IN!!
Pat yourself on the back because you just connected with someone. You’ve achieved that ethereal state of being – that buzz word we healthcare marketers understand and love, but don’t always know how to grasp: Engagement. A real person viewed your content and offered their insight.
So what do you do now? For a marketer in the life sciences space, you can’t just respond to, like, or re-tweet a comment as you would on your personal profile. You face a few challenges:
- Compliance issues with global health regulatory agencies like the FDA;
- Balancing risks and benefits in your response;
- Including a hyperlink to a detailed description of the topic;
- Caution when making corrections to third-party information;
- Staying within character limitations on certain social media platforms; and,
- Having the time and resources necessary to meet all these challenges – repeatedly throughout your day as comments pour in.
Whoa. That nickel in the can is starting to sound a little hollow.
Fear not healthcare comms! We’ve got the breakdown on how to handle comments on social media – whether good, bad, or indifferent.
First, the Easy Stuff: Positive Comments
It’s simple: Thank them. You don’t need to get too wordy – save your time for the tougher stuff below.
Now, Have Some Fun: Neutral Remarks
A meh comment opens the door of opportunity for you to engage the person in conversation. Ask a question. Request a real-life example of the topic. Add a legal-department-approved hyperlink. Post a picture of Lucy’s psychiatric booth. Whatever approach you take, make sure it invites further interaction – from the commenter or someone else in your community.
Yikes: Downright Nasty Stuff
Yes, you’ll face negative comments as well. It’s as inevitable as Lucy pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown (officially the last Peanuts reference). What do you NOT do?
- Cower in the corner in the fetal position
- Take it personally
- Ignore it
You read that correctly: It’s imperative that you don’t ignore the comment. You need to respond in an appropriate, professional way. The commenter is but one person that will see how you handle the remark, and you can’t risk alienating everyone else who notices that you ignored it and wonders if you actually care about your brand reputation.
So choke back that stinging response you want to post, and use this guide instead.
- Malicious, Offensive Comments: Hey, that’s just plain rude! No sweat…just take a screenshot of the remarks and then delete the post. Explain to the commenter that they’ve violated your rules for posting. Or better yet – have legal do it.
- Super-Troll: UGH. These are the worst. Maybe it’s because trolls are hard to spot – until you become embroiled in a meaningless, unproductive conversation that gobbled up your time. This is the exception to the Don’t Ignore It Rule. Go ahead and disregard the comment, but leave it up for posterity.
- Legitimate, Thought-Provoking Complaint: Here’s where you can make a huge positive impact – or fail miserably. So take heed…
- Your response should start with an immediate acknowledgment of the comment. Don’t apologize yet. It’s too soon to tell if a “We’re sorry” is proper.
- Take the conversation offline – either to personal email, a chat window, phone call, or some other private method of communication.
- Engage customer service and/or legal to address the remarks as necessary for complicated matters.
So, tell those commenters to bring it on! You’ve got a professional, relevant, thought-out methodology for responding to whatever they throw your way. Even better: Now you’ve got free time to spend creating more of that fantastic content to inspire additional commenters and – dare we say – engage them.
By Marc DeLeuw