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Unsexy Social:
How Social Media Is Adding Value to Regulated Industries in Unexpected Ways
By Annicka Campbell, Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis, SapientNitro

Its not easy being regulated. For organizations operating within regulated industries, social media presents a range of unique challenges, ranging from legal to internal compliance and organizational governance. The development of a meaningful social strategy that drives business objectives is no small task for any brand, regardless of industry. In 2012, Deloitte and Forbes Insight surveyed 192 executives at top U.S. corporations (earning more than $1bn in revenue) about sources of risk posed by the marketplace over the next three years. The study revealed that, alongside the global economic environment (41%), and changes in government spending (32%), 27% of executives identified social media risk as a concern. As the space has matured, consumer-facing brands have grown more comfortable with the pace and transparency of social. Brands operating within regulated industries, such as healthcare and financial services have been markedly slower in their adoption, due in large part to government organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that guide regulated businesses. There also seems to be a pervasive misconception that consumers arent interested in engaging with certain industries in social that perhaps were less interested in having our bank start a conversation with us on Twitter than our favorite cookie brand. From a purely quantitative lens, this theory is somewhat valid. SocialBakers weekly ranking of brand pages on Facebook (by fanbase) include CPG, beverage, retail, and technology organizations. Within the 50 largest brand pages on Facebook, not a single business operating within a highly regulated industry is represented.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF FDA GUIDANCE ON DTC MARKETING PRACTICES


FDA Milestone Industry Impact Sources: ClickZ, 2009; comScore, 2009; TXState.Academia.edu, 2010; New England Journal of Medicine, 2011

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But as were learning as an industry, success in social is not measured solely by size of community, nor page likes, nor follow count alone. One of the fascinating things about social media is the myriad of actions we can take as consumers to show brands positive or negative engagement. Historically, marketers have used metrics like presence performance and site referrals to understand success in social. In recent years, weve learned that qualitative measures like passive and active sentiment, share of voice, and influence are integral metrics as well. This is an important point success in social is best understood by a combined measure of engagement volume and quality, depending on a brands unique business objectives. Its telling that a highly regulated brand is leading the charge to evolve our understanding of social success. Intuit has done an amazing job in building communities and relationships through social, providing valuable support to customers while driving conversation around Intuit products and services. The company has also implemented innovative methods of measurement, such as a profit attribution model for its Facebook content. When Intuit posts content on Facebook, it includes a URL tracking mechanism (such as Bit.ly), which can tie content engagement directly back to a key business objective, such as website conversion. Intuit has also socialized new perspectives on the value of social within the organization. For example, Intuit measures traditional call center activity as a key measure of social success. This may seem unintuitive (pun intended), but theres a real correlation between those two channels. Say Intuit hosts a webinar educating its small business customers about a new product, promoted through Facebook. After the webinar, if Intuit begins to see a decrease in customer service calls regarding that product, they can begin to draw some conclusions about the impact of educational content communicated through social media on other parts of their business. Lets delve into two specific industries that are leveraging social to add value, despite facing high levels of governmental regulation.

Social metrics without business context are useless. Our goal is to tie it back to some key outcome.
Adrian Parker Intuit Social Lead, August 2012

PART 1: PHARMACEUTICALS
Digital and social media have been incredibly impactful for the pharmaceutical industrys complicated, competitive marketplace. The distribution of marketing spend within the pharma industry reflects that impact. According to eMarketer, digital advertising spending by the U.S. healthcare and pharmaceutical industry will hit $1.58 billion in 2012, and is projected to reach $2.48 billion by 2016. It should be noted that the industrys shift of dollars from traditional to digital investment is also a reflection of the ways many healthcare professionals and their patients have embraced digital and mobile media. The web is a key communication channel for healthcare conversations 55% of adult consumers in the U.S. use it to find medical information, and 38% use social to read about and review physicians. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with ways to insert their brand into this new online healthcare dialog. Weve seen pharma brands leveraging interactive, targeted digital channels that hold more opportunity for relationship building those that allow the brand to not just market to physicians and consumers, but also to educate, influence, and engage those audiences. But the pharmaceutical industry has long been dependent on the FDA to provide guidance and regulation on appropriate (and legal) marketing and communication methods and social is no different.

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Pharmaceutical Regulation: A Brief History


The FDA has been guiding the healthcare industry for the past 100 years, but it wasnt until the 80s that the organization began to issue specific guidance to pharmaceutical companies marketing directly to consumers via broadcast media. In 1985, the FDA began permitting direct-to-consumer advertising of pharmaceutical products. In 1997, the FDA issued a Draft Guidance document, broadening permissions to advertising within broadcast media, and in 1999 the organization began permitting broadcast media to include a toll-free number or website for adverse effect information. In the wake of these FDA rulings, direct-to-consumer ad spending grew from $579 million in 1996 to over 4 billion in 2008. Unfortunately, it wasnt until November 2009 that the FDA organized a hearing on pharmaceutical marketing in social two years after Facebook began offering Facebook Pages for brands. In the years that followed, the FDA has proven to be very hesitant to provide specific guidelines around social media marketing for the pharmaceutical industry. This lack of legal guidance, more than anything else, has been the major barrier to marketing investment. Development of a social media strategy and the internal legal and compliance strategy requires significant investment and commitment, and making the case for that investment without specific legal guidance from the FDA has been a difficult proposition. But despite these vagaries, some pharmaceutical companies are increasingly using social to improve care and help people educate themselves. And luckily, the FDA has increased its efforts to provide more specific regulatory guidelines. Lets look at some brands that have successfully integrated social into their strategies despite strict regulation constraints: NOVO NORDISK In 2009, Novo Nordisk created one of the earliest successful Twitter accounts in pharmaceutical history for its Race With Insulin campaign, which leveraged IndyCar driver and diabetic Charlie Kimball. It was a smart targeting move for Novo Nordisk IndyCar fans are nearly a quarter more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than the average U.S. adult, according to MRI. Charlie Kimball began using the @racewithinsulin handle to tweet about racing, life with Type 1 Diabetes, and Novo Nordisks products, creating a seamless conversation around sport, lifestyle, health, and brand. To avoid legal risks, Novo Nordisk included legal copy on the bottom of the Twitter profile with an adverse event hotline, legal implications, and terms of use. For any pharmaceutical brand that wants to have a public presence on social, this is a must.

Source: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/ 0,8599,2037568,00.html#ixzz285D4vJP4

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ALLEGRA Allegra, an over-the-counter allergy medicine, is one of the biggest pharmaceutical products in the U.S., and thats precisely Facebooks draw. In order to adhere to vague guidelines and mitigate risk, the Allegra team uses diligent community management practices. They create content months in advance so medical and legal compliance teams can pre-approve content and responses and then recycle that content on Twitter. And since the FDA requires pharmaceutical brands to monitor and store social media activity related to product use, Allegra uses LiveWorld to monitor for adverse events and other issues. The brand also uses coupons to drive engagement on its Facebook page. One of its first social coupons yielded 30,000 downloads from March to November 2011, with a 36% redemption rate.

Best Practices
Sanofi US is an arm of the European global healthcare leader focused on diabetes products and devices. The brands successful social initiative illustrates a number of best practices in developing a social strategy within a regulated industry: Best practice #1: Understand the community Much like other pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi US experienced un-moderated, negative chatter on social networks, but the vague guidelines offered by the FDA gave them pause to invest in social. After reevaluating the challenges and opportunities social could provide, they decided to move forward. The company began a six-month research project dedicated to deep listening around diabetes management against its own brand and product objectives. Sanofi US found a huge community within social that was looking not for medication, but for the mediation of lifestyle and habits. Best practice #2: Assimilate and educate Next, Sanofi US created an internal social media task force, which served as a group tasked with developing guidelines for participation in social media. This team includes legal counsel, compliance, customer care, marketing, IT, and C-suite who meet weekly to talk about issues with social presence, growth, and customer concerns. This task force, where everyone can have a seat at the table and talk about issues at an even keel, goes a long way in terms of organizational investment and legal mitigation. It offers guidance and input for existing channels and creates participation in new platforms and tactics. Best practice #3: Mediate risk and develop processes After listening and educating internally, Sanofi US launched on Facebook and Twitter. On Twitter, the terms of use are fairly simple, but on Facebook, things get more complicated. On their Facebook timeline photo and in the About Me section, they include very specific legal copy. If a user does post about treatment or adverse effects, the comment is often deleted and Sanofi US reaches out to that person privately. That interaction is then stored in case of an FDA audit. Best practice #4: Humanize the legal as much as possible Sanofi US also launched an owned community for education, support, and discussion discussdiabetes.com which includes regular Q&A sessions for their customers. The launch of this community didnt have huge implications, but it succeeded in putting a human face on the legal aspects of the brand.

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Best practice #5: Add value No one wants to engage in a brands social media presence if its just treated as another broadcast channel. In 2011, Sanofi US realized that diabetes-related terminology wasnt as universally understood as they thought, an insight they derived from social listening. In response, they launched a crowd-sourced website called diabetapedia.com, which includes standard definitions, complex terminology, and user-submitted entries. The brand also launched The DX in order to aggregate all their content. The DX is a more concerted social network where Sanofi US can post content related to their social presences and curate content from prominent diabetes bloggers. Best practice #6: Let users guide growth Sanofi US continues to engage its community by inviting users to set the companys diabetes-related priorities. This year, the company asked its social fan base to share aspects of life with diabetes that were often overlooked for its annual Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge, which creates new approaches to help others struggling with the disease. This helped Sanofi US understand the true issues and challenges that people with diabetes face. Best practice #7: Use social to innovate Sanofi US also uses its social community to drive internal product innovation. After realizing just how open users are to sharing and connecting, they launched their own product, the iBGStar, a personal blood glucose monitor that plugs directly into an iPhone or iPod Touch. The iBGStar maps correlations between blood sugar levels and meal times, sugar intake, and physical activity and then saves that data. Users can share results with their family or email them to their health care providers. This product hit the market in May 2012 and ensuing reviews and comments will help refine future updates.

PART 2: FINANCIAL SERVICES


The financial services industry has long been active in digital. Financial services organizations now spend more on interactive marketing than any other industry in the U.S. In fact, Forrester Research has predicted that financial services will see a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 17% between 2011 and 2016. Moreover, financial services will continue to lead interactive spending, dedicating $15 billion online by 2016. Banks arent really the most trusted institutions right now. We look to social media to try to change that As with the pharmaceutical industry, the financial services industrys investment in emerging media reflects a significant shift in the behavior of that industrys customers, who now expect seamless interactions with their financial services partners across multiple screens and channels.

Social, in particular, will continue to see very significant it in a very human way. growth in investment from the financial industry. Forrester Frank Eliason, SVP of Social Media, Citi, 2012 predicts a 25% growth rate in investment between 2011 and 2016. Just four years ago, there werent a lot of banking brands that were using social. Since then, weve watched financial organizations leverage social media to build (and in some cases, after the global economic recession, rebuild) meaningful relationships with customers and drive business objectives. Research shows that social media has a definite influence on purchase decisions within financial services. While these banking and investment companies may not receive the most Facebook Likes, they excel at using social to drive real business value, such as conversion or customer service.

perception, and we try to do

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Financial Services Regulation: A Brief History


Unlike consumer-facing, less-regulated industries like the travel and automotive industries, and similar to the pharmaceutical industry, financial institutions are constrained by strict regulations. Those put forth by the U.S. Congress, the FTC, and FINRA regulate communications to customers. These organizations govern how a company can promote products, engage with their customers, and retain personal information. Unfortunately, these organizations have been slow to introduce specific regulations and guidelines for how financial services can engage in social. And in response, financial services organizations have been slow to embrace and invest in social. However, in 2010, FINRA issued the first official social media guidelines for the industry, and since then the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association and the SEC have followed suit leading to an explosion of social initiatives. In 2011, banks devoted less than 2% of marketing budgets to social media, but one year later, 90% of financial services firms in the U.S. have a dedicated social media budget. Outside of regulation, social holds unique obstacles for financial organizations. And as a result, comfort levels with social remain low, despite significant investment in the space. A 2012 survey conducted by Accenture found that 60% of retail banks consider themselves social media novices. This discomfort represents a significant opportunity for marketers to partner with these organizations to craft social strategies that build both confidence and business value.

Best Practices
Despite these challenges, a number of brands are successfully navigating and growing within social. Lets take a look at five insights that can help drive success in social: Best practice #1: Listen and learn Success within social media begins with gathering the knowledge that will guide the development and outcome of any social strategy whether thats social listening, customer segmentation, competitive auditing, or stakeholder feedback in order to create a benchmark for understanding customer behavior. USAA is a financial services provider for members of the U.S. Armed Forces that emphasizes support and a family-based approach to banking. They took the time to listen to their customers (whom they call members) and were one of the first financial services brands to develop a social media strategy. In 2008, the company began a year-long listening phase that included a deep analysis. They found that USAA member behavior was unique in comparison to competitor banks, that members were forming forums and communities around financial advice, and that members were relying heavily on ratings and reviews within those forums to inform their decisions. For USAA, that was a huge opportunity to integrate conversations, reviews, and discussions around their products into the USAA website experience. The brand invited customers to take those conversions within social forums onto their member portal and were able to integrate ratings and reviews into the site experience. In the first year of adding customer reviews to the member site, USAA claimed incremental sales of over 15,000 products.

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Best practice #2: Craft the vision Everything becomes moot if your efforts arent driven by real business goals. Develop a set of formal objectives aligned with a well-defined corporate strategy and map them to specific areas in which social media can generate business value. This can include defining objectives, creating a roadmap, identifying and mapping KPIs, and engaging legal and compliance. In 2009, after USAAs listening phase, they developed a set of guidelines that defined the role of social media within the company. Even today, USAA still identifies these four guidelines as drivers for all their social objectives: Listening. Since 1922, USAA has been a company whose growth has been largely based on word of mouth from its members. Engaging. USAA joins the conversation and answers members questions in their channel of choice. Strengthening relationships. USAAs social strategy includes tools and tactics to understand its members better than anybody else and provide an experience no one else can duplicate. Innovating. USAA looks to extend its social innovation by understanding member insights to make their lives easier.

Best practice #3: Lay a solid foundation A strong base for managing rules and regulations around responsiveness and knowing how to respond, acquire new technology, establish executive support, and identify organizational gaps is mandatory in any social strategy development. Creating a response and engagement protocol is a key part of this phase as well, and can include flow charts for customer response and flow charts to help key stakeholders understand how customer concerns are currently triaged and managed. Investment firms have been even more hesitant than retail and insurance agencies to invest in social. But in 2012, the FTC laid out specific guidelines as to how investment and advisory firms could use social. Shortly after, Wedbush became the first investment firm that allowed and encouraged traders to use social. This let them create devoted presences on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to engage their customers, humanize the conversation, and avoid standard canned responses. Wedbush wanted to comply with the FTCs rules and regulations so they partnered with Socialware to set up social tools and training for their investment agents. Best practice #4: Evolve with shifting consumer behaviors Social is an ever-evolving opportunity and the real-time nature of social requires constant thought about shifting consumer behaviors. Charles Schwab has done a great job with their Twitter feed. They initially launched with a single handle, @charlesschwab. But they found that they were speaking to multiple distinct customer types and werent able to effectively use that single feed to address every need. This resulted in three devoted twitter feeds: @charlesschwab is the corporate PR channel that shares content relevant to investors @schwabservice is devoted to customer service and is owned by the customer care team @schwab4RIAs is a highly targeted channel, geared toward independent investment advisors

Charles Schwab approaches its social strategy as a continual effort to understand customer needs and optimizes that strategy accordingly.

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Best practice #5: Create better products and offerings that meet customer needs Use the social community to drive internal product creation and development. For example, Chase created a closed, online community of affluent consumers and tasked them with designing a credit card built to their specific wants and needs. After partnering with Communispace, Chase then created a social community for 300 of its most loyal cardholders and frequent travelers to conduct research. The brand used the community to have direct and ongoing conversations with customers, focusing on their needs and challenges as travelers to drive product development. The result was the Priority Club Select Visa card, which launched in 2011.

The implications for pharmaceutical and financial industries


Organizations can successfully navigate and operate a presence in social by developing internal capabilities in three core areas: Building a Social Governance Practice. Building a toolkit for escalating, managing and responding to social issues or crises can help organizations to quickly and effectively mitigate risk in social. Developing a Social Monitoring Plan. Developing ongoing social reporting capabilities will help to drive social performance measurement and derive business intelligence from user communities and discussion in social. Educating the Organization. Staying up-to-date on federal guidelines will help any organization stay on top of legal and compliance implications in social. In addition, providing ongoing employee compliance training is a very effective way to ensure that social media practitioners (and indeed, all employees) understand and adhere to key regulatory issues in the space.

It is my hope that, after looking at these best-in-class approaches to social within the pharmaceutical and financial markets, you better understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in leveraging social within highly regulated industries and are more prepared to move forward in todays social world. This POV was originally published as a two-part webinar on October 3 and November 7, 2012.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Annicka Campbell is a digital strategist and researcher with a background in cultural anthropology. She is particularly interested in understanding how communities emerge and evolve online. She serves as the operational lead for the Social Insights team, a globally distributed research capability leveraging multiple sources of social data (listening, secondary research, and primary research) to help drive business objectives and create innovative customer experiences. Based out of SapientNitros Chicago office for the past three years, Annicka has developed, executed, and managed research programs for Fortune 500 clients within consumer packaged goods, automotive, financial services, and healthcare, and has served as a panelist and speaker on topics such as consumer behavior, the ethics of online research, and applied anthropology.

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