Monday, August 15, 2011

Pharma's Facebook Free Ride is NOT Over! Take Advantage of This Loophole Dudes

Today is the day that Facebook will no longer allow pharmaceutical companies to disable comments made to their Facebook pages.

"Today is the day that many pharma and healthcare companies that like their Facebook Pages hoped would never come. Remain calm," said Jonathan Richman on his Dose of Digital Blog.

As Jonathan noticed, so far it doesn’t appear that Facebook has actually turned on comments on any pharma pages.

Facebook may be tardy in carrying out its threat, but that's NOT the "free ride" I am talking about.

No matter when the new policy is implemented, pharma Facebook pages such as this one for Lunesta (see screen shot below) can STILL have comments disabled (listen to this podcast interview of Jonathan Richman for the details).

The difference between the Lunesta Facebook page and the standard Web page is:

The Facebook page is FREE! The pharmaceutical company that markets Lunesta (Sunovion; formerly Sepracor) pays Facebook NOTHING to create and maintain this page, whereas it pays to create and maintain the site.

This is the best deal in town! Call it CUGC: "Corporate User Generated Content."

I hope the pharmaceutical industry doesn't cry too hard if and when Facebook implements its comment policy change. After all, there's a loophole you can drive a truck through.


  1. Anonymous2:06 PM

    Nothing is free. Someone has to write content, post it, Q&A it, develop custom tabs, find and crop photos, monitor metrics, etc.

    This "Facebook is free" or "Social media is free" stuff is another reason pharma brands have killed social programs; they think they are going to be free and/or cheap to launch, manage and maintain.

    Social media is a marathon. You have to be in it for the long haul, and that takes resources - both people and funding. Just ask P&G, Coca-Cola, Kraft, NY Times, and the other companies and brands who have successfully used social media.

  2. OK, it's not free, but pretty damn cheap compared to hiring Web site designers! Just use the FB template that's available and insert assets like videos and graphics you've already created.

    FB is just one leg of the SM marathon -- more like triathlon -- you are talking about.

  3. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Um, I said social media is a marathon, not that Facebook was a marathon. So I don't think we need to extend the metaphor, there, PharmaGuy.

    Well, you could just put up a facebook page with templates, and look like your local car wash or coffee house page, OR you could create a great, welcoming experience for your audience.

    Just because you can do it cheaply, doesn't mean you should. I could build a pretty sweet website using WordPress, too, but I don't think I want my customer's brand experience being defined by their templates.

  4. But isn't that what pharma is currently doing with its FB pages?

  5. Anonymous3:28 PM

    Did you like it? Once I liked a pharma I was able to post to their wall.

  6. You mean the Lunesta FB page? Yes, I "liked" it, but cannot post comments. There are other pharma pages where you CAN pot comments after "liking", but not this one!

  7. This was part of the original decree from Facebook. Branded Rx drugs can still have the exception to eliminate comments.

    It's just Corporate and Unbranded pages that should now have comments enabled. Many already had comments for those who "like" the pages anyway.


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