Knowing who your audience looks to for guidance is more than half the battle.
Healthcare companies are asking social media influencers to help them connect with target audiences. New data show consumers are more likely to ask their healthcare providers about medication if an influencer shares it.
83% of consumers say that seeing content from regular, non-influencers would make them ask about a drug. That number rises with the size of the influencer’s audience. 90% of consumers would start a conversation if they saw an influencer with a 1K-to-5K audience share the content. That number jumps to 94% for influencers with more than 5K followers. (WEGO Health)
"If messages come from people who you perceive to be basically more like you—your friend, neighbor, coworker—the more likely it is to have an impact or be more open to performing certain behaviors."
What happens when more people are relying on getting their medical advice from social media influencers than healthcare providers?
You get companies that begin to leverage these people to help spread the word about their services.
FastCompany.com shows how Walgreens tapped into the social influencer market to help reconnect with a generation following this trend. The company paid people to promote the benefits of getting their flu shot at Walgreens, NOT the benefits of the shot or medicine itself. They were not asking for medical advice. They were simply promoting the experiences everyday people had in getting a flu shot at Walgreens versus somewhere else.
"A BOOMING (but complicated) Business"
As we can all agree, this is not as easy as it sounds. Social Media platforms are there for people to speak their minds. That, of course, does not guarantee that they are going to be industry-compliant with what they say. As marketers, we need to make sure that influencers are not promoting false information about our clients. We must protect the integrity of their brands. That is why it is so important to monitor social media influencers in healthcare.
If this is the new way to reach audiences and promote company initiatives, we must ensure accuracy and trusted sources. The Association for Healthcare Social Media is now using medical professionals as influencers and asking them to spread messages responsibly.
The FTC came out with updated guidelines on how to disclose sponsored content. However, education on how to use social media platforms to connect with audiences and help regain trust for medical professionals is still necessary.
Social Media has proven to be a successful avenue for marketers in general but, what does that mean for the healthcare industry? How does that change the way companies promote their business? Here at Alexander Health we understand the power of social media and our clients trust us to help them manage the overwhelming task of staying compliant and innovative.
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