What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “influencer marketing”? If you’re an avid Instagram user, you might think of beauty, travel, and fashion brands that rely on influencers to promote their products and services on social media.
However, there’s no reason to limit influencer marketing to only a few niche categories. Influencers can help marketing campaigns for any industry, including healthcare.
What is Influencer Marketing?
You can think of influencer marketing as a type of sponsored marketing. Just like athletes get sponsorship deals to promote sports drinks and clothing, social media influencers can earn money by promoting certain products that relate to their niche.
A critical difference between a significant sponsorship deal for an athlete and influencer marketing is the audience size. Sponsorships typically reach a broad, general audience. In contrast, influencer marketing focuses on a smaller targeted audience.
With influencer marketing, engagement trumps numbers. An influencer with 1,000 engaged followers is much more valuable than an influencer with 1 million unengaged followers.
How Can Influencers Impact Healthcare Decisions for Individuals?
Healthcare topics are becoming increasingly popular on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Influencers use these platforms to provide information on their health challenges and offer suggestions to their followers.
The personal nature of sharing a healthcare journey creates an emotional connection between the influencer and their followers. This makes it more likely that an influencer’s followers will trust them when they recommend products or services.
Getting advice from a trusted influencer is the same as getting advice from a close friend. In some cases, it’s viewed as more trustworthy. One survey from Google found that four in 10 millennials rank influencers as more reliable than their friends.
What kind of information are people looking for on social media? One study found that 79 percent of patients turn to social media to find information related to their personal experiences.
Other reasons patients have for turning to social media include finding emotional support, finding caregiver resources, finding patient resources, learning about new treatments, learning about their particular condition, and researching treatments they are considering.
How Does Influencer Marketing Help Healthcare Organizations?
In addition to using influencer marketing to promote specific products, healthcare organizations can leverage influencers to promote their organizations, including hospitals.
Research has found that 57 percent of people consider a hospital’s social media presence when deciding where to go for service. Further, consumers associate a hospital’s social media presence with cutting-edge technologies.
In addition, 12.5 percent of health care organizations have reported social media as a successful way to attract new patients.
Healthcare organizations can take the benefits of a social media presence further by partnering with influencers.
Challenges with Influencer Marketing for Healthcare
Of course, there are some significant differences between influencer marketing in healthcare versus fashion or other areas that couldn’t potentially cause considerable harm to someone.
Healthcare influencers need to be careful not to give direct medical advice or say anything that violates federal guidelines for pharmaceutical companies. So, it’s essential to work with influencers who can be trusted to stick to your guidelines.
Getting Started with Influencer Marketing for Healthcare
Before going all-in on influencer marketing for healthcare, you should know that there are several guidelines healthcare marketers need to follow to ensure they aren’t misleading the public.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has several guidance documents that detail what social media influencers can and cannot say in their healthcare posts. It also has guidance for correcting misinformation published by third parties (i.e., influencers).
Leveraging influencers is just one approach to take with healthcare marketing. An omnichannel strategy can help you reach a broader audience through multiple channels.
HealthLink Connect’s programmatic marketing solutions help marketers streamline their efforts to accurately engage over 95 percent of active healthcare professionals in the US. Contact us to learn more.