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Lilly discovers social media

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Eli Lilly and Co. launched its own blog this month, dubbed LillyPad, to try to start discussions about public policy and corporate social responsibility. The Indianapolis-based drugmaker also launched an accompanying Twitter feed.

“Policy issues like health care reform have been top-of-mind with the public for a long time. And industry watchers are placing an increased premium on trends like corporate citizenship. These are important dialogues, and we’re happy to provide a forum and participate,” wrote Lilly spokesman Greg Kueterman, in a Sept. 14 post.

Others who have posted so far include Amy O’Connor, a Lilly lobbyist in Washington, and Rob Smith, director of Lilly’s charitable foundation.

The new blog received both kudos and criticism from Rich Meyer, a Lilly alumnus who now works as a marketing consultant.

“Lilly needs to set clear and concise objectives for this blog,” Meyer wrote on his own blog, World of DTC Marketing.com. “Right now I’m not sure who the target audience is supposed to be, but if they are trying to reach customers and patients they are going to have to be a lot more open, direct and personable.”

His suggestions? Get Lilly CEO John Lechleiter blogging frequently about Lilly’s business and health care issues. Have the brand leaders of each Lilly drug blog too, he said. And lastly, Meyer said, “Get rid of corporate speak.”

For a company as highly regulated and litigation-prone as Lilly is, that’s probably far easier said than done.

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