I attended a conference on social media and healthcare in NYC recently. It combined two topics of great interest to me and I found the information shared very good. The most astounding thing I heard was from a pharmaceutical company communications representative was “Does everything need to be a press release? Can it be 120 words on Twitter, or go on You Tube.” Wow. Pharma’s and other bio-tech companies are under regulations from FDA and other organizations. The fact that they are embracing the new social media outlets is progressive. Of course, your target audience is always a key factor in messaging and who you are trying to reach. It’s fair to say You Tube and My Space and some others are higher skewed toward the teens to early twenties, as opposed to traditional media outlets, newspapers, broadcast and even online sites. Remember ten years ago when on-line sites were the new ones on the block and some clients refused to even give an interview for them? I do. You have to be in touch with your clients and know what messaging is appropriate for what audience and what is not. Many commented during round table discussions that they couldn’t put external messages out because of their clients conservatism and or highly regulated industry.
The great PR agency Edelman was mentioned regarding a study they came out with that said most people need to see a message 3-5 times in different media before they see it as credible. Quick, targeted messages on the social media front can help you get there. I don’t believe it will ever replace traditional media outlets that afford length, and detail that you can’t achieve with the social side. Social media is another form of communication that the old brick and mortars are now embracing which lends more credibility to this progressive form. So, if you haven’t Tweeted, looked at a video on You Tube, connected with someone on LinkedIn or become a friend or a fan on Facebook, now is the time. Don’t be shy, dip your toes in and see how it can work for you. You’ll be amazed at the amount of information you can amass for fun, and professional reasons. If the CDC ( Center for Disease Control) can effectively inform teens about the spread of the flu and preventative measures utilizing social media, a website with villagers all their own, think of all the other possibilities of getting messages read and heard that are now available.