Lilly aims to harmonize its social-media voices

Eli Lilly ($LLY) wants to speak with one voice online. But interest in social media is growing throughout the company. So, Lilly communications specialists are working on a unified social media strategy, to allow more interaction without a lot of cognitive dissonance.

As PMLive reports, Lilly has had strict controls on social media activity. Only a few people are allowed to tweet and post on the company's behalf, and they all work in corporate communications or government affairs. Now, the company wants to allow other departments to pipe up. Harmony is the key, CorpComm director Greg Kueterman said at the Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry conference earlier this week.

"We don't want to have eight different social media platforms that all look and sound very different from one another," Kueterman said. "So we're going to try and do something where they all have their own identity but are still consistent within the company."

Drugmakers have been adding their voices to the social media sphere, albeit slowly. It's not easy for pharma companies to talk online about drugs, because of FDA regulations governing communications about product benefits and safety. So, companies have mostly been circumspect about product talk, while experimenting more freely with disease awareness, patient advocacy, corporate communications, and the like.

Lilly has a corporate blog, LillyPad, that launched in 2010. The company plans to continue expanding that effort, Kueterman said. The blog recently unveiled a Canadian version, and the company wants it to expand further geographically. Additional LillyPads are in the works for U.K., Belgium and Mexico, and Kueterman hopes some will launch this year.

Other social media initiatives within Lilly include its Clinical Open Innovation team, which launched a blog and Twitter feed earlier this year. And then there's its Campaign for Modern Medicines, focused on U.S. health policy. That group has a Twitter feed, Facebook account and YouTube channel.

- read the PMLive piece

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