BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media is an amazing series of events presented by that features 8 great case studies in corporate social media. To learn more, visit

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In his BlogWell Bay Area presentation, UCB Pharma's Manager of Social Media and Customer Influence, Greg Cohen, explains how the brand used social to better connect with their patients on a personal level.

He shares how UCB Pharma's latest social wellness campaign lets patients express themselves and inspire others through multiple social channels.

Below is live coverage of this session:

— Greg: I promise not to talk about anything too crazy. All my friends imagine that I have nine screens in front of me at all times, but I think of myself as a James Bond figure, not worried about the technology, but about meeting people and understanding what’s happening around us.

— I focus on making patients feel special, not just an ID number. We specialize in patient-centric marketing. We like to let patients speak and tell their story. It’s not about selling products. It’s about sharing — from diagnosis, to their story after dealing with a disease for many years.

— How to handle Social Expression:

1. Listen. Understand what they need.
2. What do your patients want?
3. Consider language. Make it relatable to patients. Patients only know how they feel and what they want to talk about.
4. Develop programs to elicit feedback that gives patients the opportunity to express themselves.

— Greg: What social can give us and can do for us: Insights into what patients are thinking and doing, descriptions of patient-doctor interactions, general direction for quantitative and qualitative research, and patient success stories.

— We work with a variety of diseases, and we give people information about their diseases.

— We developed an integrated marketing approach to help people understand their disease, including a printed magazine.

— We inspire, educate, and engage.

— We launched our page in 2009, with no commenting. In 2011, we turned on limited commenting. In 2013, we decided we would let our team post what they wanted. Before that, we had to approve every post.

— We launched a My4Words campaign that became an emotional driver that let patients express themselves and inspire others. We developed a campaign around everyday victories for arthritis patients. So far we’ve had about 900 stories shared with us and we hope to have a couple thousand by the end of the year. We developed 208 thank-you videos with people submitting their stories. We matched donations from donors and worked to engage our community.

— Key Lessons When Dealing With Disease on Social:

1. Be positive. Don’t let it get you down.
2. Encourage creative thinking beyond the rules of compliance and regulatory bodies. Then, reshape the context of what is possible.
3. Don’t rely on education tools of the past.
4. Set up processes and stick to it.
5. In the end, it’s all about patients.

— Greg: What I love about my job is that there is no sales function connected to it! We’re here to make communities, friends and connections. We’re here to help and here to be a resource for people.

Q & A:

Q: How do you measure success?

A: Greg: In the beginning, it was about metrics. But what we began focusing on was people who saw our content that weren’t already in our community. We’re spreading information about serious diseases and our programs.

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