Philadelphia, PA — AstraZeneca has been investing in supporting people via social media for 6 years. Their goal is to educate patients about available resources (including cost, access, affordability) and to address specific product inquiries. They gain great insights there, too. It’s not all easy work. People talk about everything – from adverse events to personal medical information.

AZhelps uses Hootsuite to listen for comments about their products. When they see a comment that meets their engagement criteria, they respond. Clear rules of engagement mean they don’t respond to every tweet they see. Frank Lock, Director of the Information Center at AstraZeneca said that in the first two quarters of this year, the team responded to 34 questions about affordability and cost and 16 about specific product questions.

They’ve built their social support system right in the call center with someone (Heather!) who is experienced addressing customer questions and is scheduled and dedicated to the task.

Some of the questions can be answered online (like “@twittername Maybe we can help … you may qualify for our savings card program. http://…) Others need the deeper kind of conversation that only a live connection can support. For those, tweets direct customers to the call center: “@twittername We’d like to find out more about your experience while using our product. Please call 866-478-3798”

What’s the value proposition to Lock? It’s education. People don’t have as much time with their physician as they might want, he said. They might remember something about the prescription, but not everything. So they reach out to fill in those gaps. If a patient doesn’t feel comfortable with those answers, they might not take the drug.

Mary Ann Belliveau, Sales Leader for Health and Wellness at Twitter joined Lock to talk about what new tools pharma is using on Twitter now. Big moves: Adding an image to cover ISI or adding a video to earn a longer-form engagement.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.