What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas with my social media teammate Kerri Cole. Hundreds of marketers gathered in the desert to discuss everything from social storytelling with data to innovative content marketing ideas. Don’t worry — those learnings weren’t left in Vegas. I’ve highlighted the main takeaways from the conference here and how they apply to pharma marketers.

Be a Rock Star on Three Platforms, Not Mediocre on Ten
It’s easy for brands to want to participate on every social platform so they don’t miss out. As “Creating a Seamless Brand Experience” workshop leader and director of social media at JP Fuji Group Eric Clark put it, if you have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), you’ll inevitably miss out. Brands should make sure that developing a channel makes strategic sense and that adequate resources are available to manage the community after it’s launched.

Keynote speaker and brand strategist Phil Pallen, of Phil Pallen Collective, said that brands that spread themselves too thin aren’t being effective at communicating. Concentrating efforts on the few platforms where they have a high level of engagement and content will help brands get more bang for their proverbial buck. To help figure out how to optimize channels, Pallen suggests asking, “What’s the goal of the channel?” Be specific and hold the channel accountable to consistently develop content that satisfies that goal.

While most pharmas we know don’t suffer the problem of being on too many platforms, these are still wise words for those considering expansion. Using resources properly is especially important for pharma marketers, where community managers are asked to monitor and moderate channel comments, report adverse events, catalog activity, create content and analyze performance. Ensure that brands have adequate resources before committing to a new channel. If needed, your social media agency should be able to help fill resource gaps.

Leverage the “Hero, Hub, Hygiene” Strategy for Video Development
We know social video is exploding. In order to get more brands to create video content, YouTube created a content strategy framework known as “Hero, Hub, Hygiene.” This three-pronged approach explains the types of videos YouTube recommends for brands to create in order to grow subscribers and views, but it applies beyond the YouTube platform.

  • Hero (annual content) — Large-scale content that reaches the masses, i.e., what would be a brand’s Super Bowl moment for broad awareness?
  • Hub (monthly/quarterly content) — Regularly scheduled content geared around customers’ major passions, i.e., what fresh perspectives can you offer them about those interests?
  • Hygiene (daily/weekly content) — Content that’s optimized to viewers’ intentions and interests, i.e., what is your audience actively searching for regarding your brand or industry?

Beverly Jackson, VP of social media and content strategy at MGM Resorts International, and Nick Mattera, senior director of digital content at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, use this concept to develop content. Both brands primarily produce hygiene content on a small scale for everyday use, with hub content coming monthly or quarterly and hero content only a few times a year.

Employing this technique can help brands reach a variety of audiences without the often-impossible expectation of creating a “viral” video.

It’s important when developing video content to consider the behavior of the target audience. Since most video is seen on mobile devices, the priority for social video is to stop mobile viewers from scrolling past the video in their apps. Think: primary goal = interrupt the scroll.

Pharma brands should develop visual and video content to leverage this trend. For brands developing videos with text disclaimers, be aware that many of your views will come on mobile devices, where small text may be harder to read.

Most videos shouldn’t attempt to “go viral” (hero content), but instead answer questions and provide insight for patients, caregivers or professionals looking for information about a treatment or disease (hygiene content).

Embrace the Power of Data
Several of the sessions were focused on how to best implement data strategies to connect brands with key audiences. Looking through an integrated analytics lens can help brands create a meaningful and personalized experience for their audiences, even in hyper-regulated spaces like pharma and banking, Corey Padveen, an economist by training and business development lead by title, spoke on leveraging data sources — such as owned media, web analytics, CRM data and industry data — to create a clear picture of how to improve opportunity mining and engagement tracking.

Through that integrated lens, brands can begin to develop content that’s based on relevant and actionable data points. Corey talked about looking at the three T’s of content:

  1. Type — The type of content that resonates best in a data sample
  2. Tone — The tone that is yielding actual conversions
  3. Timing — The timing of content that performs best in any day/week/year

Capitalize your placement, content development and resources by using the aggregate data trends for your content and audience.

Closing session speaker Robert Michael Murray, chief innovation officer at Matchfire Co., also focused on the power of data. He spoke about his experiences with National Geographic and Nike — how they used data to form storytelling and create meaningful moments of intent. To him, storytelling is not content. Storytelling is connection. Robert pointed out that paying attention to the actions, activities, and behaviors of your community; developing insights that illuminate moments of opportunity; and enabling moments to empower community members is the future of how brands will successfully connect with their audiences.

On Pinterest, Think Like a Pinner
Christine Cassis, the curation and social media lead at Pinterest, spoke about how brands can participate and effectively market on their platform. Christine noted that the life of an average organic tweet is 30 minutes, the life of an organic Facebook post is three hours, but the life of a Pinterest pin is over 100 days.

As we’ve mentioned before, Pinterest can be a great source for traffic because it’s one of the top social referrers. Pinterest suggested these tips to enhance a brand’s profile:

  1. Put yourself in the mindset of a pinner. What does your target audience search for and pin?
  2. Be search-friendly and descriptive to make your content easier to find.
  3. Keywords matter on Pinterest, but hashtags don’t.
  4. Pin inspirational content for your community because that type of content is highly engaging on Pinterest.
  5. Don’t spread your resources too thin, trying to pin hundreds of pieces of content every week on dozens of boards.

To make pins more helpful for a community, marketers should take the following steps:

  • Include detailed descriptions of pins.
  • Include step-by-step instructions and how-tos, especially for complex concepts.
  • Curate lists to make relevant tasks easier for your audience.
  • Provide text overlays within the images.
  • When including branding, keep it tasteful.

Pharma has primarily embraced Pinterest only as corporate entities, with a few unbranded awareness campaigns leveraging the platform to its fullest extent. Brands considering Pinterest can follow these steps to develop relevant and engaging content for the channel.

To sum it all up, one great social conference attended by two Intouchers over three days yielded four main takeaways.

  • Be a rock star on three platforms, not mediocre on ten.
  • Leverage the “Hero, Hub, Hygiene” strategy for video content development.
  • Embrace the power of data.
  • On Pinterest, think like a pinner.

These concepts should help any pharma brand stay relevant in the social space.