Facebook Page Views Still #1 in Canada

Despite all the glitches and privacy issues that seem to continuously pop up for Facebook, the social media giant still manages to maintain their page view share in Canada.  This week (December 14 2018), they announced another privacy scandal which might affect 6.8 million Facebook users.  The issue is that photos that were considered private, such as photos in Facebook stories, may have leaked out to about 1,500 apps.  Hmmm, what will the following chart look like in a few months from now?  I predict that it will stay the course.  Although this is a big issue, we have not been told yet how many of the affected Facebook users were Canadian.  Since the big dip in page views that occurred after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, there have been several security breaches for Facebook users over the past few months yet the Canadian statistics for the page viewership on Facebook has remained largely unchanged.

statcounter - social media - Canada - Nov 2016 to Nov2018

Stop Thinking that you Would Never Forget your Child in your Car

never_leave_child_in_hot_carThis is an odd topic for this blog because I always post about healthcare and pharma marketing, trying to inspire creativity and innovation from other marketers.

Today I am making an exception, just this once.  As a mother of four young children, I feel compelled to write about this on my blog.

Last week, a 3-year old was found in a hot vehicle in Hamilton, Ontario.  He died of what appears to be signs related to being left in a hot vehicle.  This week, a 6-year old boy was found dripping in sweat in a hot car after a friend of the parent left the child to go shopping for a bit.  Apparently the child did not want to go shopping so he was left in the car with the doors locked and the windows closed tight.  Luckily, that child was found and saved by a couple walking by. We hear way too many cases like this. It is devastating.

As mentioned, I have four kids. The age span between the youngest and the oldest is 6 years, none of them are twins, so they were all born very close in age.  Just imagine, I was basically dealing with 2 or 3 babies at a time for a while.  It was chaos.  I was forgetting a lot of things, things that I would never forget normally.  I feared that one day, I would end up forgetting my keys in the ignition, lock the door and shut it before taking my kids out of their seats.  This was so worrisome to me that I started wearing my spare car key around my neck every day. I never needed to use it, but it helped keep me on my toes.  My 3 older kids are able to unbuckle themselves and get out of the car on their own now, but I still wear that key around my neck every day I bring them somewhere with me.  I was NOT being paranoid.  I was admitting to myself that I was capable of making errors, and I was preparing myself in case a bad scenario came up.

My point in telling you this story is that as parents and caregivers, we have to stop saying to ourselves that something bad, like forgetting our child in a hot car, will never happen to us.  It can and unfortunately does happen to some.  You are better off to take extra precautions and protect those wee ones.

We live in the era of technology! Take the time to use the technology that is on your smartphone to help protect your child.  You might feel like it’s silly and useless, and it might never be an issue for you, but why not take the extra precaution.  The effort to set this up is next to nothing and the peace of mind that will come with it will be enormous.

Here are some high-tech and also plain and simple ideas for you or anybody else that drives your children around, especially if it is out of the adult’s routine;

– Put your wallet and cell phone next to your kid’s seat

– Use Waze as a child reminder (yes, it has that feature!)

– Set up an alarm on your cell

Baby Reminder Widget app

My Precious Cargo app

A sensor for your child’s carseat

 

Thinking that an idea is a good is not the same as actually implementing it!  Take action now. Set something up that works for you right or anybody else that drives your children around.

If you know of a healthcare or pharmaceutical company that implements a campaign to help remind parents to take their child out of the car, let me know as it might be worth featuring on my blog.  Thank you in advance!

A Pharmacy Facebook Party

I remember when my children were younger, it seemed like all the parenting blogs were hosting Twitter and Facebook parties to generate awareness and sales for their clients.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see nearly as many Facebook or Twitter parties promoted as I used to.

But a few weeks ago, I saw a Shoppers Drug Mart Facebook party being promoted on Facebook.  I did not participate in the party, but since one of my objectives for this blog is to inspire healthcare organizations to use social media and digital marketing to reach their audience and achieve their objectives, I thought it would be worth posting a few screenshots of the Shoppers Drug Mart Facebook party.  See bottom of blog post.

The objective of the Shoppers Drug Mart Facebook party was to promote women’s mental health and to recruit women for their upcoming Run For Women event.  Very clever!

SDM RunForWomen FB ad

Shoppers Drug Mart promoted the hashtags #SHOPPERSLOVEYOU and #RunForWomen during the Facebook party.  If you are not familiar with hashtags, these are a great way to create a conversation and to help others find conversations about your topic.  According to Hashtagify.me, one of my favorite sites for tracking hashtag data, the #SHOPPERSLOVEYOU hashtag has a good momentum going on whereas the hashtag #RunForWomen had a slight increase for a couple of weeks, but now it is back to being flat and barely used.  Both hashtags have been tweeted mostly by Shoppers Drug Mart and other users tended to be concentrated in Canada.

ShoppersLoveYou hashtag

Shoppers Drug Mart has also been promoting their run for women via Facebook ads.

ShoppersLoveYou ad

Here are the screenshots of their Facebook party event invitation and a few others.  If ever your organization wants to create buzz around an event, why not try to host a Facebook and/or Twitter party.  It could be a great hook for your real objective.

SDM Facebook party 1SDM Facebook party - welcomeSDM Facebook party - thank you at endSDM Facebook party - FB story

One Step at a Time Up the Stairs to Success

No elevator to success - liteI don’t often share personal information on my blog, but since having restarted to promote my business, people have been asking me what I’ve been up lately. So here it is, the short version about the appearance, quieter times and recent reemergence of Marketing 4 Health Inc.

Almost exactly 10 years ago, I started my own business, Marketing 4 Health Inc.Marketing 4 Health Inc., helping healthcare / pharma companies manage their social media. I was climbing the proverbial ‘success stairs’, sometimes it even felt like I was skipping a couple of steps at a time. Business was booming.

But about 4 years ago, I decided to intentionally slow down my business to take care of my growing family. Despite having 4 young children to raise at home, I kept at least a couple of clients on my roster at all times, but I knew that I could not handle any more than that, so I stopped all promotion of my services.  I even wiped out my blog, which was a sad day for me because it was gaining so much traction from the Canadian pharmaceutical industry at the time.  But frankly, putting my family first was the best decision ever and I would do it all over again.  Ultimately, it was well worth the sacrifice.

Move forward to now, and the kids are finally all in school now, so I can spend more time tending to my business. Ah, it feels invigorating to be climbing up those stairs again. Even though my business kept going throughout all those years, a lot of things slowed down, so now I’m putting in the effort to get the ball rolling again. So far it’s been baby steps, and that’s OK because I am enjoying the challenge and the thrill of it all.

Right now, I’m excited to be in the process of networking to regain my spot in the healthcare / pharma social media / blogging world. If you know of somebody who is looking for an experienced blogger or social media manager who knows and understands the regulations of the healthcare / pharma industry, please send me an introduction to them either on LinkedIn or via email; nat@marketing4health.net . I am eager to help my next clients reach their business goals!

Until then, let’s all keep climbing up those stairs together!  Cheers!

Almost 1/3 of Canadians are Using Mobile Apps to Monitor their Health

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Photo credit: 123rf.com

It comes as no surprise that an effective way to reach health-conscious Canadians is via health apps.  CEFRIO, the Research Chair in Digital Health and Canada Health Info Way released some interesting results in September 2017.  Here are some of their key findings;

In the first national study of its kind in Canada, and the largest ever world-wide, we now know that 32% of Canadians are using mobile apps to monitor certain aspects of their health.(1)

Canadians using the apps are typically younger, employed, university-educated, wealthier and are generally healthy.(1)

The most popular type of apps being used are those that track physical activity, nutrition, weight information and sleep.  Many of these apps are being used with a smartwatch.  The greatest motivator is that the users want to know themselves better and want to track changes.  The second greatest motivator is daily encouragement to reach personal goals.(1)

Here are the top 10 most downloaded free health apps on Google Play in Canada: (2)

  1. 7 FIT
  2. Carrot Rewards
  3. Headspace: Guided Meditation and Mindfulness
  4. Calm: Meditate, Sleep, Relax
  5. Calorie Counter: My Fitness Pal
  6. Shoppers Drug Mart
  7. Fitbit
  8. Period Tracker Flo, Ovulation & Pregnancy Calendar
  9. Lose Weight in 30 Days
  10. Google Fit – Fitness Tracking

 

Creating an app to help Canadians improve their health while promoting your product(s) and / or service(s) makes sense, as long as you provide value.  It cannot be an aggressive sales push or people will get turned off.  But beware, just because you created an amazing tool, it doesn’t mean that people will hear and know about it right away.  Just because you built it, it doesn’t mean they will come.  You will  have to promote it to draw people in.  There are lots of tools at your disposal to help you promote your app.  Forbes put together a list of 65 ideas to help you promote your app.(3)   Pick a few that you know you can excel at and focus on them consistently!

Let us know your experience with a health app, either as a manufacturer or client, in the comments below.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Sources:

(1) “Diffusion of Smart Devices for Health in Canada” report, September 2017.  Download report here.

(2) Similar Web, Mobile App Ranking, Updated October 21 2017

(3) Forbes. 65 Simple Ways to Promote Your Mobile App.  Nov 7 2015.

Canadians Google for Symptoms of ..

Google doctor

Over the past year, when Canadians used Google to search for information about symptoms, here are the top 10 health conditions that they were looking for: (1)

  1. Cancer
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Flu
  4. Diabetes
  5. Anxiety
  6. Cold
  7. Menstruation
  8. Thyroid
  9. Depression
  10. Pneumonia

Google has also seen a rise over the past year from Canadian searches about symptoms for the following conditions: (1)

  1. Mumps (+500%)
  2. Food poison (+300%)
  3. Lyme disease (+200%)
  4. Norovirus (+200%)
  5. West nile virus (+120%)

 

Go ahead and search for information, but please beware of diagnosing yourself with the data that you find online.  In a head-to-head study where doctors were given the same medical history and symptom information as online symptom checkers, the doctor got the right diagnosis 72% of the time vs. only 34% for the online apps.(2)

Sources:  1) Google Trends.  2) JAMA Internal Medicine, online October 10, 2016.

Funny Medical and Science Sites on Social Media

If you are like me and enjoy having a good laugh while sometimes learning a little something at the same time, then the following medical and science sites might give you a giggle.  You will find their social media links below so that you can easily follow them if you wish:

  1. Antibotic resistance joke

    Source: Beatrice the Biologist

    Beatrice the Biologist is one of my favorites because her comics are educational and can be used with a target audience (in my case, my children) to lead into great discussions.  Her jokes make the core message very memorable.  You can find her on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

2. The Awkward Yeti, which features, Heart and Brain, is a funny comic strip which sometimes delves into sciences.  It is meant more for leisure than education, so it is a perfect science humor site if you are looking to relax. They can be found on FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit.

3. ZDoggMD features Dr. Zubin Damania, MD.  Dr. Damania produces entertaining videos expressing his frustration with the healthcare system.  These videos would appeal to stressed out healthcare professionals and frustrated patients alike.  You can find ZDoggMD on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

4. And if you are like me and you cannot get enough of Dr. Damania’s videos, then you might also enjoy his Doc Vader persona where he shares his darker humor on FaceBook and Twitter.

5. GomerBlog is self-described as “Earth’s finest medical satire news site”.  They might be right, but you must have the right sense of humor to enjoy their content.  I’ll admit that I am a fan!  You can find them on FaceBook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram and Pinterest.

There are plenty more entertaining medical and science websites out there.  Tell us which is your favorite and we just might include it in a follow-up blog post.

280 Twitter Characters and Canadian Pharma

wersm-twitter-280-characters-657x360

Image from wersm.com

Twitter recently announced that it is testing 280 characters per tweet. That is double what they currently allow. What does this increase in tweeting space mean for the Canadian pharmaceutical industry?

 

 

 

Direct to consumer advertising of prescription products in Canada
In Canada, prescription drugs can only be promoted to healthcare professionals. Direct to consumer (DTC) advertising can only mention a product’s name, quantity and price. The product name cannot be linked to a disease state or promotional messages as this would then be considered advertising, and that would be a problem because it goes against the Pharmaceutical Advertising Advisory Board (PAAB) guidelines.

Ray Chepesiuk, the Commissioner of PAAB, had this to say about the new 280 characters:

“If you don’t have the ability to close off the audience so that only healthcare professionals see your tweets, then it’s still a problem because you cannot control your target audience. It’s the same problem with Facebook which has always allowed a lot more characters. You must ensure that only certain groups have access to your promotional information. Once you can isolate an audience, then you must follow section 6 of the PAAB code.”

Just remember that even though the maximum characters in a tweet may be changing, the drug advertising rules are not.

Institutional messages and PR by Canadian pharmaceutical companies

However, if a Canadian pharmaceutical company wants to send information about their organization (ie. charitable donations, community programs, relief missions to send drugs to other countries, a patient drug program, etc…) and still include the product name, it can be done within the guidelines. As long as you do not link therapeutic use and brand, as that would exceed name, price and quantity, you should be OK.

Hashtags make it easier to find your tweet

Another benefit is that having space for additional hashtags could help make your post easier to find. But make sure that post is not considered advertising, and you cannot be sneaky and include promotional hashtags because then you’ll be crossing the line.

Things will be a bit different for the US pharmaceutical industry

The new 280 characters could be a little more exciting for US pharmaceutical advertisers. There, online DTC advertising can reference their brief fair balance summary to somewhere else (ie. in an ad that they published in a magazine or elsewhere). In the US, they can probably use the extra characters to get more message in about their drug and meet their fair balance and legal obligations. This is not an option in Canada.

For a greater analysis of the impact of a longer tweet in the American pharmaceutical industry, please check out Andy Grojean’s article from 2016 “Beyond 140: How Twitter’s 10K Character Limit Could Change the Game for Pharma”.

OTC brands in Canada will benefit

As for DTC advertising of over-the-counter (OTC) products in Canada, there is certainly much greater latitude in the way that they can be promoted. Therefore, the OTC companies are probably pleased about the extra character allocation, because they will be able to be more creative in their use of their extra space.

Overall, the increase in Twitter characters will be slightly beneficial to the Canadian pharmaceutical industry but presents greater opportunities for OTC brands and corporate messages.

What are your thoughts on this?  And are you one of the lucky people who already has access to the 280 characters on Twitter?  I don’t, not yet anyway.  I love reading your comments, so please share what is on your mind.

Video Games that Teach Disease Management

Hemocraft screenshotPfizer recently released a new video game based on Minecraft™ to help teach kids how to manage hemophilia.  It is called “HEMOCRAFT™ Infusion Adventure“.  Players can craft the components of an infusion kit, track their preparedness for the adventure with a ‘factor bar’ and get ready to slay the Ender Dragon.  This is an excellent way to reach kids!

Congratulations to Pfizer for this innovative learning tool and we wish them much success in reaching out to their patient base as well as friends and caregivers who could benefit from learning about hemophilia as well.

Currently the game is only available for use on a PC.  Hopefully it will become available for use on tablets and smart phones as well which would amplify their target audience reach.

Pfizer is not the first to develop an online game to try and educate patients and the public about healthcare issues.  Here are a few others that are worth looking at, but in my opinion, few seem as fun and alluring to kids as the Hemocraft™ Infusion Adventure:

I read about a father and son team who are working on a Minecraft mod aimed at educating kids about diabetes type I.  That sounds promising as well!

If you tried any of these games or any others, let us know which one you played and what you think of it.