In recent weeks, Eli Lilly ($LLY) has been flexing its social media muscles in an effort to reach out to journalists on the popular platforms of Facebook and Twitter. The drug giant already had been tweeting and posting on Facebook, but the new effort gives its PR team a direct and explicit conduit to reach those reporting news and shaping the top stories of the day.
This morning I began following @LillyPad_Media, the new Twitter handle that Lilly has launched this month in addition to a new Facebook presence under the same name. The handle is an explicit acknowledgement of how Big Pharma companies and journalists communicate. Want to get an interview on deadline? One way to ask is a direct message on Twitter, on which many eyes in the media business are glued to track breaking news and expert commentary in one continuous stream of terse tweets of 140 characters or less.
"LillyPad_Media will provide a fast, reliable and informative resource for journalists who are looking to tell Lilly's story," Ed Sagebiel, Lilly's senior director of corporate communications, wrote in a PhRMA blog post.
The Indianapolis-based drugmaker plans to use the LillyPad_Media handle and Facebook page to break news and send info to journalists about "corporate responsibility, finance and business development, diversity, and biopharmaceutical innovation." Lilly has already been doing this for a while now via its LillyPad social presence, yet what is different here is the overt attempt to reach members of the media.
"News cycles are moving faster than ever, and journalists increasingly rely on digital channels to inform their perspectives and shape stories," Sagebiel wrote.
Like its pharma peers, Lilly has been subjected to the benefits and banes of rapidly spreading ideas and information in the social realm.
Last year Lilly highlighted the benefits of solanezumab in certain patients in two otherwise lackluster Phase III studies in a press release that spread fast across the web. Twitter commentators (including @JohnCFierce) quickly batted down Lilly's positive twist on the news of the failed trials, and the company ended up not pursuing approval based on the mixed results.