Pharma industry seeking “Viral” campaigns. Within the healthcare space, having an online campaign go “viral” can be even more challenging due to tighter regulations and restrictions. But healthcare companies are increasingly embracing social media campaigns in search of a viral moment – and FiercePharma recently proclaimed that pharma’s “selfie” game is getting stronger and stronger. As the industry continues to use social media to engage stakeholders around the world, we can look to examples outside the industry to learn more about how consumer brands have succeeded in the coveted “viral” campaign.

For example, who would have guessed chicken nuggets would be the subject of the most retweeted tweet of all time? It all started when Carter Wilkerson, a 16 year old from Nevada, sent a seemingly innocent tweet asking Wendy’s how many retweets he needed for a year’s supply of chicken nuggets, and Wendy’s coyly responded “18 million.” The quick reply and Carter’s subsequent plea to his followers started the #NuggsForCarter movement – with celebrities, media outlets and people across the country joining in on the retweet effort to help Carter achieve his dream.

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#NuggsForCarter teaches us a few lessons we could apply to pharma:

  • You can’t anticipate what will go viral – It’s unlikely that Wendy’s thought their initial lighthearted response would take off the way it did, but once they saw the reaction they were quick to turn it into an opportunity for the brand, leveraging the moment to create massive social buzz and media headlines.
  • It pays to listen to and engage with your audience – While it’s difficult to predict how one tweet will catch fire, #NuggsForCarter shows how important it is for brands to be in tune with and responsive to their social media audience – and how beneficial it can be.
  • The effectiveness of user-generated content – Companies have been embracing user-generated content more and more – including several recent “selfie” campaigns from the pharma industry. But for those who may have once scoffed at the concept, the #NuggsForCarter example proves that content from consumers is as valuable as ever.