Tag Archives: hashtags

Challenging Pharma and Medical Device Companies to Be Better on Social

Written by: Olga Kraineva
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Pharmaceutical and medical device companies and healthcare practitioners alike have been cautious to join social conversations due to fear of their legal and regulatory bodies and FDA regulations. Twitter, in particular, is worrisome due to the cap of 140 characters – how to disclose everything necessary for best use? Even Kim Kardashian was recently hand slapped for not fully disclosing both the positive and negative side effects of a morning sickness pill on Instagram.


An easy place to start for many companies was live-tweeting around events, such as healthcare conferences, and simply echoing their press release information. As a heavy media-oriented, news-like channel, Twitter worked well for this, as that info is already approved by legal and regulatory. It also worked well when joining in on the social conversations that occurred at different conferences, simply by adding on the official conference hashtag at the end of their tweet.

However, just this summer, a group of scientists and HCPs have joined together to form the #MICEProject (Measuring the Influencer of Commercial Entities) in the Twitter backchannels of medical conferences. Their argument is while there are certain precautions taken at live conferences to separate third party entities (pharma and medical device companies) and “learners” (healthcare providers, other attendees) so that a learner, if they so desire, would never have to expose themselves to a third party. Currently, these restrictions do not exist on Twitter. Using PageRank, the study analyzed the influence of HCPs and third party entities at 13 different medical conferences from 2011-2013, suggesting that medical device and pharma companies exert around the same amount of influence as healthcare providers within the social space, something that is protected against happening at live conferences.

Their bottom line is that pharma and medical device companies should stop spreading biased information and instead focus on evidence-based medical knowledge – or curb their use of medical hashtag use overall. While it’s quite provocative to have full restrictions on companies’ hashtag use at medical conferences, the larger issue this brings up is using social strategically and not posting for the sake of posting.


As part of the #MICEProject, Pharma Marketing News created an initial survey on third party medical conference hashtag use.

As an overall struggle many companies face, pharma and medical device companies need to move past one-way communication streams and sending information that is likened to an ad and instead engage in social conversations that add to the dialogue. Using event hashtags can be a great springboard to reach your target audiences, but make it conversations that matter to them – not just what is safe and approved by your L&R. At the present moment, as seen with the #MICEProject, we’re in a place of not applying best practices and angering our audiences – quite the opposite of the intended result.

Just When You Thought You Knew Everything About Hashtags…

Written by: Rita Mogilanski
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You may be surprised to learn that there are very specific and different rules for using hashtags on each social platform. This red, yellow, and green guide will explain how lenient and indulgent one should be when including hashtags in a post.

  • Red = Steer clear of using hashtags
  • Yellow = Use hashtags sparingly
  • Green = Go hashtag crazy.

FB logo Facebook
Red. Stop. Move away from “shift” and “3” keys. Hashtags should not be a priority on Facebook. When applicable, tag a partner page instead of using a hashtag. Hashtags should only be implemented when it complements a call to action as part of a larger, cross-platform campaign.

Twitter logo Twitter
Yellow. Twitter is the birthplace of hashtags and still their most natural home. Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without, and 55% more retweets. However, using MORE than two hashtags in a tweet actually decreases engagement by 17%, so use them wisely.

YouTube logo YouTube
Green. Feel free to go hashtag crazy. Hashtags (in the tagging section) on videos are important for search and discoverability. Use at least 3 tags on videos to increase the likelihood that users will find your content.

GPlus logo Google+
Yellow. Like YouTube, Google+ is a platform that is important for search. Google will automatically tag certain posts with relevant and popular hashtags. Hashtags can also be added to comments on a post. It is often good practice to tag or add search terms used for paid SEO and webpage strategies on Google+ posts as well. Use one or two hashtags that will help users discover content.

Instagram logo Instagram
Green. Instagram is home to #ThrowbackThursday, #TransformationTuesday, and other alliterations that allow users to post baby pictures. #There #seems #to #be #a #hashtag #epidemic #on #Instagram, but believe it or not, these people have the right idea. Hashtags are the primary way to find and browse new content on Instagram, and data has shown that interactions are highest on posts with 11+ hashtags. While over-hashtagging is distracting and considered poor etiquette, do not hesitate to include as many hashtags as are relevant to the post to increase discoverability.

Tumblrlogo Tumblr
Green. Like YouTube, hashtags are hidden on the back-end on Tumblr. This allows users to post more hashtags that cover all the aspects of the content. Use 9-12 terms that are both specific and general to completely represent the post content and the interests of the audience. Just remember that only the hashtags that are entered into the tag section will be clickable and searchable.

Pinterest logo Pinterest
Red. Believe it or not, hashtags may harm the reach of content on Pinterest. Clicking a hashtag will actually take you away from the content on the page, and to a list of all posts using that hashtag. This means that you will end up driving users to a list of other similar brands and competing content. Keywords, without a hashtag attached, are a better way to label content and help users discover it.

Vine logo Vine
Yellow. Like Instagram, hashtags are really the main way to find content, and like Twitter, Vine features trending hashtags and topics. It is best to include any and all relevant hashtags, but over-hashtagging isn’t proper etiquette. #DoItForTheVine

LinkedIn logo LinkedIn
Red. LinkedIn is unique in that the platform does not support hashtags at all. They are not clickable or searchable. A hashtagged word will just show up as normal text, and what good is a pound sign if doesn’t automatically hyperlink? Steer clear.

Headlines & Stuff

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Facebook Nixes Sponsored Results
In an effort to further streamline its advertising offerings, Facebook is planning to phase out Sponsored Results – the ads it had served up for searches. The company plans to stop offering the unit to advertisers in July. Later that month, users will stop seeing them.

Twitter Launches #FollowMe Video Service

This week, Twitter launched a new tool that allows users to instantly create sharable movies depicting their social footprint – top tweets, photos and followers. The videos will include a large section of licensed soundtracks from a catalogue of over one million songs, thanks to a partnership with Rumblefish.  Twitter is dubbing the venture #FollowMe.

Facebook Adds Hashtags
Borrowing Twitter’s signature feature, Facebook this week announced adding support for hashtags on the social network. The long-rumored move allows Facebook users to add a hashtag to their status updates or comments to connect to conversations around the same topic. When you click a hashtag on Facebook, you will see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.  Marketers can also use hashtags to amplify existing campaigns including advertisements.

Global Social Media

From Japan, The Biggest Social Network You Never Heard Of
Nine months ago, Twitter was all the rage in Japan (topping 20 million users). But now, there’s a new platform in town – Line. The mobile social network was launched in 2011 after the Tohoku earthquake. The name refers to the lines that formed outside of public phones after the disaster. The app, which provides free IM and calling via smartphones, tablets and desktops, is the world’s fastest growing social network, reaching 50 million followers in just 399 days. In January 2013, Line had 40 million Japanese followers, and 60% of Japanese women in their 20’s and 30’s use the platform every day. Brands have a presence on the social network – but they must pay. There is a fixed-rate card and the number of messages they are allowed to send is strictly controlled. A four-week campaign with five messages will cost 8 million yen ($81k), while a 12-week campaign with 15 messages (max two per week) will set you back 15 million yen ($151k).

Pinterest Launches Localized Version for France
Pinterest is picking up more global momentum. This week, it announced the launch of a new website in French, with users in France getting pushed more localized content and more French site links in both their search and category feeds. The French version is being launched on the web, iOS and Android. The news follows the launch of Pinterest UK in May.

Noteworthy Campaigns

Kellogg Gives Free Cereal For Instagram Photos
Kellogg’s is once again experimenting with social currency – this time using Instagram. You may recall that the brand launched Tweet Shop last year in London to promote Special K Cracker Crisps by giving them away in exchange for tweets. This time, the Special K store in Stockholm is offering a free box of new cereal to anyone who takes an Instagram photo and tags it with #nyaspecialk (which translates to “New Special K”). Customers simply snap a photo, tag it, post it, and then show the cashier. The company chose Instagram because it is more popular in Sweden than Twitter.