Devon Eyer is one of that rare breed of healthcare communicators who’s been able to drive real change in the way her large company engages with all of its various audiences using social media.  Her pedigree as a communicator is stellar – featuring increasingly complex jobs in organizations like TMP Worldwide, Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs and her current home – Johnson & Johnson – where she’s worked since 2007.

Some key takeaways from Devon’s presentation:

  • The organization has to get over the mindset of brand control or brand ownership.  Who owns your brand?  EVERYONE.
  • We don’t always know who’s behind the avatars, there aren’t any rules about what they can say. And there’s no way that you can stop them from talking about whatever they want.
  • We don’t have to react to every perceived crisis – when you’re part of a real community, the community will often auto-correct without the brand having to do so.
  • Eventually that leads to executives who navigate the “7 stages of social media angst” and get to the right question: How do I participate and change the conversation?

Devon was able to take us through some of the key elements of really engaging in social media (as opposed to just being there).  It starts with finding and using your voice – which is more complicated than it sounds. While elements of your brand diffuse all communications, conversations in social media are generally different than those you’d have with a journalist.  And perhaps most importantly, you’ve got to get rid of your “one-and-done,” campaign-oriented mindset and resource yourself to be able to build and maintain consistent, long-term relationships and dialogs.

With Devon at the helm, there’s no doubt that long-term communications innovator J&J is going to continue to lead the way.