Coverage of this session by Evette Tan of Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

1:30 —’s Jeff Casale introduces AbbVie’s Senior Director of Corporate Digital Marketing, Molly James-Lundak.

1:31 — Molly begins by stating her challenge: growing awareness and trust for AbbVie as a $21-billion startup.

1:33 — Molly: One way we did this was around our corporate responsibilities campaign, called Week of Possibilities.

1:34 — Molly: FDA guidelines in social media is kind of “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the steamy parts because there aren’t very clear do’s and don’t’s. Outside of the US, for example, you can’t talk about the products at all. There are many limitations with social and pharma, so we’re still testing the channels. We’re moving in the right direction, but it’s a bit of an oxymoron to talk about social and pharmaceuticals.

1:35 — Molly says Week of Possibilities started in 2014 for five consecutive days done in 11 countries. The basic idea was to pull employees out of work for a day and work with charitable partners. They wanted to grow awareness for AbbVie’s corporate social responsibility as well as increase overall global employee engagement

1:37 — Social Campaign Objectives:

  • Engage all employees
  • Reinforce commitment to causes
  • Extend our message
  • Support non-profit partners
  • Test and learn

1:39 — Molly adds that they knew their campaign couldn’t be all about them, so they looked to leverage other people to tell their story. The six areas they honed in on were:

  • Pre-planned content
  • Partner outreach
  • Opportunistic posts/retweets
  • Employee-generated posts
  • Employee training
  • Multiple channels

1:40 — Molly: Our follower base really gravitated towards quotes that we shared. These were under pre-planned content. We also tested four-block graphics on Twitter to do Twitter quizzes — each block had an answer to a question and the graphic would change when users clicked on them to say if they had the right or wrong answer. It was a way to educate the audience on challenges we were trying to address.

1:42 — AbbVie had great partners to work with. AbbVie gave them briefing sheets and sample tweets to help guide their social media use as they were eager to do so but a little hesitant in case they did something they weren’t supposed to.

1:44 — AbbVie also had plenty of live coverage throughout the week, to showcase employees as they gave back to the community. Molly mentions having a video crew around to take footage, mostly for internal use. Molly talks about how they were able to work with the video crew to change the story so that each day covered focused on the different parties involved: AbbVie, employees, partners, and the children they were working with.

1:47 — Molly: The key to this is social media training. We wanted to empower employees to talk about the week so we gave them 101 training, guidelines for deciding how appropriate their content is, how to shoot videos, and encouraged them to take selfies.

1:49 — Molly walks us through the results for the campaign, with 2015 being a baseline year. There was a lot more engagement across all channels — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (also their biggest channel), and Instagram. They didn’t have a corporate Instagram presence but because their employees were on it, they had a strong showing there as well.


Q: When you’re doing the tally for the results, are you doing that manually?

A: We use the native platforms on one hand, but we also use Unmetric. It allows us to compare our brand’s engagement levels with our competitor’s. We also use Netbase as another social analytics measurement tool.

Q: Our corporate responsibility team has their own separate social channels. Do you agree with this strategy?

A: We decided we were stronger together, and it depends on volume. But the responsibility story is core to the corporate story, especially for us.

Q: How did you overcome the hurdle of fear within a regulated company?

A: We still struggle with how much we encourage salespeople with social media. At this point, talking about corporate news or talent recruitment is still a safe space for pharma in social. We also don’t ask a whole lot; we don’t expect our C-level to participate.

Q: Did you have any issues around the photos being taken involving minors, kids in schools, etc?

A: This is where it’s a benefit to be as buttoned-up as a pharma company has to be, but we had photo releases to address those kinds of things. We do them for everything we do already, so it was easy to keep doing them for social.

Q: I’m curious with the week-long campaign — how has that changed your overall content strategy throughout the year, and have you been able to sustain your engagement with your audience?

A: We learned a lot from doing it, like the Twitter quiz we tested. We still use that for other content. The campaign’s also helped reinforce our strategy, and beliefs we had about what kind of content works and what doesn’t.


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