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Posted by Shannon Dubois on December 29, 2022
healthcare influencer marketing patient watches doctor on laptop

Healthcare influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential customers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.  

Influencers are the next big marketing wave… one that healthcare, biopharma, biotech, and life sciences definitely should not miss out on.

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increase in Google searches for “influencer marketing” in the past year
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of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets over the next year
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projected increase in global influencer marketing ad spend

Is Influencer Marketing the Right Fit for Healthcare?

Influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing online marketing channels. Influencer marketing in the healthcare industry is an invaluable tool to spread your message, share your services, and effectively reach and expand your audience.

Healthcare influencer marketing can be used to promote specific products, and organizations can leverage healthcare influencers to promote their organizations, including hospitals. Many people turn to healthcare and medical influencers to evaluate the quality of a hospital or healthcare system as a whole.

Benefits of Healthcare Influencer Marketing Include:

  1. Improved Engagement: Healthcare influencers who create engaging and authentic content about the brand they promote are incredibly effective at boosting engagement. Their authenticity keeps their target audience engaged, even when sharing promotional content. An engaged audience is a valuable, receptive audience who are more likely to convert.
  2. Established Trust and Loyalty: Gaining and maintaining the audience’s trust can be challenging, even for the most successful brands. Influencers have already earned the trust and loyalty of their audience, so to be able to speak to your target audience through an influencer they know and trust is a huge advantage.
  3. Credibility & Exposure: Influencers can deliver the type of exposure that helps build brand awareness, which is an ongoing challenge in the saturated healthcare marketplace. Influencers can put your brand front and center into the market in which you need to stand out and be a trusted brand.
  4. Boosted SEO: Beyond social media, influencers who mention your brand on their website or blog content can also improve your SEO rankings and strengthen your page in search results.
  5. Stay Competitive: Keeping up with your competitors can be a crucial component to your brand’s success, especially when the growth of social networks has drastically increased the popularity of influencer marketing. An increasing number of marketers are turning to influencers to help them create engaging content, drive engagement, and reach the growing audiences who follow and trust celebrities and influencers.
  6. Generate Leads and Sales: Influencers enable you to reach precise audiences with custom content, so there is a high likelihood that your message will resonate with your target audience and drive conversions. Healthcare influencers can be essential to convert leads into loyal patients.

What Makes a Successful Healthcare Influencer Marketing Campaign?

In healthcare influencer marketing, credibility is everything. Influencers who have earned their audiences’ trust come across as more believable and credible than even the most polished and professionally produced messaging from a healthcare brand, so selecting the right influencer is the key to a successful healthcare influencer marketing campaign.

When it comes to determining trust and credibility, consider E-A-T, or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, which is a range of signals that Google uses to evaluate and judge content to recognize and reward high-quality, expertly written, and factual content.

  • Expertise: How much of an expert is the author or influencer who wrote the article or post you are reading? Can you find out anything about them? Are they renowned experts, won any awards?
  • Authoritativeness: While looking to determine authoritativeness, Google takes the author, the content, and the website itself into account. It’s all about who you are, who you represent, and your reputation.  
  • Trustworthiness: For trustworthiness, Google also takes the author, the content, and the website into account. How much of an authority are you and your site?

When considering an influencer to work with, it’s critical to find those who are trusted, credible, and whose goals and audience align with your objectives and who you are looking to reach.

For a Successful Healthcare Influencer Marketing Campaign:

  • Focus on trust more than reach
  • Share on multiple platforms
  • Have clear goals in mind
  • Follow regulations
  • Build a strong social media following

Healthcare influencers can be leaders in their field with reach across the marketplace that includes patient care and medicine. Often, healthcare influencers have extensive clinical experience and engage in cutting-edge research, making them deeply knowledgeable in their area of practice. However, healthcare influencers can also be patients with a large following who share their journey with a given disease or illness, or even CEOs with loyal followings.

Influencers fall into certain categories based on their reach:

  • Nano-influencers: 1,000–10,000 followers
  • Micro-influencers: 10,000–50,000 followers
  • Mid-tier influencers: 50,000–500,000 followers
  • Macro-influencers: 500,000–1,000,000 followers
  • Mega-influencers: 1,000,000+ followers

Key Opinion Leaders

A key opinion leader (KOL) is a trusted, well-respected influencer with proven experience and expertise in a particular field. 

In healthcare, these thought leaders could be:

  • Physicians
  • Hospital executives
  • Health system directors 
  • Researchers 
  • Patient advocacy group members

Because key opinion leaders have so much experience, they carry significant influence within their communities. This means that KOLs might be able to generate awareness about a new drug or device, and even help to increase sales volume for suppliers. Key opinion leaders might also be able to impact purchasing decisions within their own hospitals or networks.

KOLs can also provide insight into a specific disease state—including existing treatments or areas of continued research—but they can also help to inform clinical trial design, product improvements, and go-to-market messaging.

healthcare influencer marketing cancer patient watching laptop on couch

Patient Influencers

Patient influencers are advocates speaking out about their patient experience with a particular disease or illness via social media. They have built a dedicated group of followers who are in some way connected to the influencer’s chosen therapeutic area. 

Patient influencers are sharing their stories and experiences to help fellow patients who are newly diagnosed or encountering the unique frustrations that come along with the life of a patient. They are reaching the exact audience a healthcare or pharma company are looking to target and that audience is poised to listen.

Benefit of Patient Influencers:

  1. Receive game-changing feedback from your end-user
  2. Garner a deep understanding of the patient community you work with and reach highly targeted audiences to expedite recruitment timelines
  3. Build trust and brand awareness

CEO Influencers

CEOs as influencers can be very successful because they are extremely effective at capturing audiences, such as Elon Musk, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Richard Branson. CEOs of major companies often have large social media followings and the information they share can really influence the people consuming it. However, CEO influencing isn’t without its drawbacks, as it also requires a lot of time and money. 

To do it well, you need:

  1. CEO time 
  2. Copywriter time 
  3. Video editing time
  4. Graphic Design Time
  5. Distribution time 
  6. Strategist time to analyze performance & come up with content

Why Digital Sleuthing Matters

Many medical influencers gained greater social media fame due to the uncertainty and challenges presented by the pandemic and the public’s reliance on their platforms, so the determination of facts versus misinformation spread online is a critical component of influencing. 

There are many people with huge followings, but it takes a lot of effort to find the true, most relevant key opinion leader, which is where digital sleuthing comes in. 

Digital sleuthing is the use of artificial intelligence to parse through millions of social media conversations to help companies find the most impactful KOLs in their respective disease areas. Not only does it identify who’s doing the talking, it analyzes who they are talking to, how often people are sharing their posts, and how relevant the discussion is to the disease area.

By using digital sleuthing to identify true and trusted KOLs, healthcare and pharma companies can help steer patients toward credible sources for information.

Which Social Media Platforms Should be Focused on?

When determining which social media platforms to focus your healthcare influencer marketing strategy on, always start by determining where your target audience hangs out and what platforms that demographic uses most. By making this assessment first, you’ll be able to inform your strategy and be more likely to reach the audience you’re seeking.

Influencer marketing most frequently takes place on Instagram and TikTok, so targeting these platforms may prove optimal, particularly if your target audience is in their user demographic.

In 2022, TikTok was the most popular social media platform for influencer marketing, with 45% of paid collaborations taking place on the platform. Instagram came second, with 39% of paid influencer collaborations in 2022 taking place on the platform. 

  • Instagram: Influencer marketing on Instagram has gained popularity in recent years. Brands and companies partner with users who have large audiences to help promote a product or gain awareness of initiatives. Consumers, patients, or healthcare professionals can be influencers and typically communicate about health and wellness topics and share a company’s product or campaign message.  
  • TikTok: Many patients, healthcare professionals, biotech and biopharma companies are now active on TikTok, using the platform to share educational resources, patient stories, treatment options, health-related symptoms and diagnoses, and to build community. Doctors and HCP’s have also embraced TikTok trends and use the space to educate on health-related topics in an engaging and easy-to-understand format.

Regardless of which platform you choose, partnering with content creators and influencers whose audience aligns with your target demographic can help you reach more people and get your message heard by the people who need it.

Are You Ready to Begin an Influencer Marketing Campaign?

In the world of healthcare and with something as critical as health, credibility is everything. Influencers have grown their communities and earned their audience’s trust, which is why influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing online marketing channels. Influencer marketing in the healthcare industry is an invaluable tool to spread your message, share your services, and effectively reach and expand your audience.

For a proven strategy to begin and succeed at healthcare influencer marketing, to get your message across, reach your target audiences, and accomplish your goals, reach out now. Let’s get started.

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