Launching any company into social media requires planning, integration of multiple departments and a strong training program. On the outside, social media may appear to be all “likes” and “tweets,” but opening a new communication channel within a regulated global brand requires a measured and thoughtful approach.
We’re excited to share that on Thursday. September 15th at 6:30 p.m., Merck posted its first Tweet and Facebook status update. The global health care brand was greeted with a variety of “welcome” replies and comments. They readily engaged and thanked their community in appreciation. This was the first time Merck had received real time, instant communication from its stakeholders around the world.
Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to join the project and help bring the launch to fruition. It’s been incredibly rewarding to work with this team and a global brand so focused on CSR initiatives. I spoke with Executive Vice President Cheryl Nigro and Senior Account Executive Zach Molinaro to discuss key learnings.
So why is it important for Merck to have a voice in social media? Cheryl explained, “Merck is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and they are engaged in critical drug development. They need to embrace new media so that the ever growing list of stakeholders—from the patients who take their medication to the up and coming talent in research and development looking for their next job– connect with what makes them tick. As Merck continues to reinvent its brand to meet the realities of the new pharma marketplace, social media will go a long way in helping re-shape their image.”
Zach added, “Corporate Social Responsibility is extremely important to Merck and they spend extraordinary amounts of time, energy and money to help improve global health. Their philanthropic initiatives need to be shared more widely, and social media offers the perfect platform to do just that.”
Although launching a social media program may seem intimidating to regulated brands, Cheryl advised, “Don’t be afraid of the unknown, embrace the new frontier and follow those who do social best even if they are outside of regulated industry.” Zach added, “Regulated industry or not, your stakeholders are using social media to learn about your brand. The better you engage your online communities, the more you improve your overall corporate image.”
While the road may be long, Cheryl stated, “Be patient and never give up! Also, it’s important to stay close to your clients when they are trailblazing and really provide emotional support.” Zach explained, “If you align yourself with team members and clients who share your passion for innovation, great things will happen.”
When I asked the team what hashtag we should use to celebrate the launch, they declared #MerckGoesSocial! So, please join us in welcoming Merck and celebrating #MerckGoesSocial. Join the Merck communities on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the global health care brand.