• Lyn Cruickshank

#Be human – the art of Twitter

Updated: Jan 2

There’s a lot of debate about the right tone of voice of businesses should adopt on Twitter. While consumer brands find themselves at home with the lively banter, for B2B – and pharma in particular – it’s difficult to know what voice will convey the right image.

The Harvard Business Review’s judgement of companies who do and don’t get Twitter, describe businesses as being ‘human’ when they show empathy. You might expect the pharmaceutical sector, which works at the coal face of people’s suffering, to be masters of empathy but Harvard Business Review puts them at the bottom when it comes to bedside manner. What are they getting wrong?

Researchers at the University of Florida say empathy is easier than you think. They analysed linguistic patterns of how nurses interacted with a virtual patient and concluded those which included only the pronoun ‘you’ were less empathetic than ‘I and you’ because it conveys the nurse’s understanding of the person’s feelings.

A flick through pharma Twitter accounts shows some great examples of empathy in action.

Merck’s series of posts with messages to and from cancer sufferers and the company was rewarded with 1,000s of interactions.

Bristol Myers Squibb posts videos of employees sharing personal stories of losing a family member to cancer and why they feel positive about being part of a company that is trying to find cures for the future.

Another post appeals directly to the reader saying simply, ‘You know someone with diabetes. RT this.’ A lot of people did.

#socialmedia #twitter


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