Earlier this week, Mark Senak of Fleishman-Hillard and of Eye On FDA fame uploaded a podcast to his blog of an interview with yours truly and Rob Halper, who is responsible for the Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube.
In this interview, we both talked a bit about the steps we took at Johnson & Johnson to get involved with social media. We covered how our colleague Margaret Gurowitz blazed the initial trail through the legal and regulatory jungle with her Kilmer House blog, how I then created JNJBTW and how Rob took what we learned to help establish the Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube . Given the podcast is only about 10 minutes long -- and given I tend to talk WAY too much -- Rob and I only briefly touch on what all of this involved, but we did cover a few key points that other companies could keep in mind:
1) In a highly regulated industry, work closely with your legal and regulatory groups to understand their concerns about the risks associated with different social media projects.
2) Once you understand their concerns, develop an approach that minimizes or mitigates those risks.
3) Start small -- by doing so you can dispel some of the perceived risks and gain experience that can be applied to more complex endeavors.
4) Keep trying out new approaches.
Now I don't for a minute think that we are doing all that we can or should be doing -- and there are certainly other organizations -- like JetBlue and Ford -- that are well worth watching and learning from. But I do know that you can never learn unless you get started -- and I'm pleased to say that though we've stumbled on occasion, we keep trying. The fact is, that by getting involved in the conversations that are taking place online whenever possible, you soon discover that there is a lot to be gained.