A discussion with Jonathan Richman (see bio), Group Director, Insights and Planning at Possible Worldwide, about Facebook's changes to its commenting policies and his recommendations for pharma marketers who wish to develop Facebook pages.
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Jonathan Richman wrote on his Dose of Digital blog (see Resources): "A few different sources have reported on some potentially upcoming changes to the way Facebook works that could affect not only pharma brands, but brands in every other industry as well. The first of these came from Jim Dayton at InTouch Solutions who reported on an upcoming change to pharma pages regarding 'whitelisting.' What Jim reported on was the special exception that some pharma (and OTC brands) pages have been given by Facebook that turns off not only people's ability to post on a page's Wall, but also to prevent them commenting or Liking anything that the brand posts on the page. This latter setting isn't something available to most pages, as it is functionality that Facebook could turn on as a case by case basis. To see what a page with this functionality looks like, check out the Epilepsy Advocate page, which is sponsored by UCB pharma.
"The second report of these changes came from WCG. It's a post that has been cited numerous times in different blog posts and at conferences since it was published (see Implications of Facebook's Page Commenting Changes: Turning Off Comments May Be a Problem). I've been a little skeptical of some of the claims in this post since the beginning (and posted a lot of comments all over the place about it) and it appears that my skepticism was justified. WCG had some of the main idea correct, but included some additional details that turn out to not be correct."
What are the different types of comments on Facebook?
Which comments can you shut off and which can't you shut off? Now and when Facebook changes its policy?
How will this change affect current and future pharma Facebook pages?
What do you recommend that pharma companies do to prepare for this change?
Jonathan Richman is Group Director, Strategic Planning, for Possible Worldwide (formally Bridge Worldwide), an interactive and relationship marketing agency based in NYC with offices in 9 countries.
Prior to joining Possible Worldwide in 2007, Jon worked at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals for more than 11 years, holding positions in sales, training, sales leadership, and marketing in diverse disease areas including cardiovascular, oncology, asthma, and neuroscience. In his final role, Jon was US Brand Leader for Faslodex, a specialty injectable treatment for advanced breast cancer. During my tenure, Jon helped lead the product from negative growth to the second highest growth rate in the company in less than two years.
Jon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from Tulane University and a Master of Business Administration with a marketing concentration from the University of Phoenix.