Posts Tagged 'linkedin'

Check-in to your GP?

Personally, I don’t hold much truck with Facebook on a social level (maybe I shouldn’t say that considering that technology, digital and social media is my day job!) and I prefer LinkedIn for business networking and Twitter for status updates and to quick-share information.

And when I am mobile, on the go? SMS and again Twitter. Maybe because Facebook is too feature-rich, maybe I am distrustful of Zuckerberg and co with their frankly poor privacy record. It’s quite apparent that I am in an minority of the mobile-internet-using world, as the BBC reported back in February that Facebook accounts for nearly half the time spent on mobile internet in the UK, equating to 2.2 billion browsing minutes in December 2009 alone. That is a great number of lols and a huge number of inane updates about what people had for breakfast.

These musing were triggered by Facebook’s launch of it’s location-based services (with the moniker of Facebook Places) this week. Now, these types of services are not new, the most popular such as Foursquare, Gowalla (both of whom have teamed up with Facebook), Britekite, or Google’s Latitiude offer a variety of location-based social features from identifying where your friends are (Britekite and Latitude), to “checking-in” at shops, bars, places of work and other communal areas to show that you have frequented them (Gowalla, Foursquare). In fact, this has become popular with the consumer marketing brigade to offer benefits to those who check-in frequently at a store (Starbucks being the most high-profile).

So what can Facebook offer that these other services can’t? The obvious answer is that it brings location-based services to the mainstream, and offers a combination of services including those offered by the services mentioned above. In addition, Facebook are publishing an API for Facebook Places, which throws up some interesting uses of the service in the healthcare sector. There’s a ‘Read API’ for reading check-ins and learning more about check-in pages. There’s a ‘Search and Write API’ for making check-ins and searching through them.

And for the healthcare industry? If we can overcome and manage the obvious privacy issues, if the Facebook Places features take off, would it allow clinics, hospitals, surgeries and pharmacies to promote their services to patients in the local area, possibly encourage patients to attend their appointment and remind them where to pick up their prescription?

I think there is potential. Let’s see if it catches on…

Over the falls

So I’ll begin my first blog post to say that, ashamedly, I have been a voracious consumer of content surrounding digital and social media in the pharmaceuticals industry, but never really one to engage.

For example, I have accounts on all the major networking tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc, but I primarily use them (along with a number of blogs) to monitor trends, viewpoints and discussion surrounding the digital arena. I don’t really get involved in the wall-posting and virtual-turnip-growing interactions that occur between my friends on Facebook. I do, however find myself having to monitor my events and message inbox, as this is the forum that many of my friends use as their primary form of communication.

It’s only really now, after a long while observing how others interact within these media, that I have been able to decide for myself that I have a contribution to make to the debate, that my input into the discussion may be valuable to others, and that maybe I should put myself out there into these ongoing discussion in order reap the benefits of engaging.

As I see it, this is also a lesson that needs to be learned by pharma marketers who might view the social media environment with the air of a barrel-clad lady looking out at the Horse-shoe falls. There may come a time where you exhaust all the passive ways that you might push out your messaging to your audience of HCPs (no matter how innovative your conference booth touch screens are), and where do you go from there?


About me

Hi, my name is Paul Jacobs and I write the Medigital blog, as well as being the Director, Digital Strategy at Sonic Boom, a digital and social agency. I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts about the digital domain in pharma and medical communications/education.
Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are my very own and do not necessarily reflect those my employer, family or pets. Twitter: @PJ_Medigital
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