It is this balancing act that contributes to some of the difficulties in getting pharmaceutical social media programs off the ground. Many companies lack a solid grasp of exactly what their risk quotient is when it comes to social media. And to complicate matters, a successful social media strategy needs to incorporate stakeholders from several functional areas, including: legal, regulatory, safety, IT, marketing and PR. It's likely that your legal team is going to have a different tolerance for risk than your marketing team.
You can see the obvious source of conflict here -- when you get a bunch of people around the table with different priorities, reaching an action plan is a challenge. It's okay to have competing interests at the table. In fact, it's encouraged. However, the problem lies in the fact that people rarely acknowledge when competing interests are present. Instead, meetings get derailed by the inevitable stalemate when each functional area fights relentlessly for its own cause.
Here's a better idea: clear the roadblocks immediately. Start off the meeting by having an honest discussion about risk tolerance. Ask everyone in the group to provide input on how much risk they are willing to take in social media. Here are some questions to ask:
It is impossible to eliminate risk when engaging in social media. But to ignore that it exists during the planning process is a treacherous path. Establish your risk quotient from the outset and lay out a plan for mitigating and dealing with that risk.