Why with caution?
In Part 1 of this post I talked about why pharmaceutical companies should definitely continue marketing with Facebook. Now I’ll review why companies should do this with caution.
Consider the recent change to Facebook policy that took effect in August. Drug companies can no longer disable the comments feature on their pages, although Facebook may allow some pharmaceutical brand pages to disable comments on a case by case basis, if the page meets certain criteria. Under the new policy, the public would be able to comment about adverse side effects, promote off-label uses, or make inappropriate statements about pharmaceutical products. So pharma companies that were using Facebook for social media marketing, and used to disabling comments for any number of brands, may need to become much more deliberate about monitoring active dialogue rather than simply maintaining static pages.
Concerns over risks of public commenting and the added expense of policing their own Facebook pages has led some drug companies to completely shut down their pages. For example, AstraZeneca recently shut down a Facebook page dedicated to depression. While other companies have announced new public commenting guidelines or expressed intent to increase monitoring of their company pages. For more details on this new policy, refer to these articles Fuerst Law, Ad Age, and ClickZ.
Facebook is the most visited website in the world. Pharmaceutical companies need to do marketing in this space. The question becomes….what level of presence are we equipped to have? Specifically, does our company have the resources and confidence in our brand to actively engage the public through branded pages (assuming the comments feature will be enabled) or do we need to stick with a simple, static company page for now? If we do have capacity for commenting, how many pages/brands are we prepared to support in this manner?