Healthcare marketers are faced with a simple challenge; Social media marketing is essential, yet it is notoriously difficult to access healthcare professionals (HCPs) through this platform.
Social media marketing is a science. You must operate and innovate within its bounds. They can either restrict you, or, force you to think differently. Compound this with the incomparably high regulations (justifiably) enforced on healthcare communications, marketers are faced with two options: follow the status quo, or shatter it all over the floor.
So is this a fight worth fighting, are our audience even on, or influenced by social media marketing?
In short, yes.
Fierce Pharma reported earlier this year that more than half of US physicians surveyed change their initial perception of a drug due to social media, and 94% of pharmaceutical marketers consider it an important channel to reach healthcare professionals (HCPs).
But in a sea of content, how can healthcare truly stand out within the confines of the FDA regulations, whilst still remaining under 280 characters? In order to innovate in this space and reach the audiences you’re after, here are a few examples to get your creative juices flowing:
The oldest trick in the advertising handbook. Influence. A concept that has come into its own with the advent of social media, yet not so often in the health space… unless you're Pfizer. The big pharma giant has recently enlisted Lady Gaga to promote their new migraine drug on Instagram The post discusses her experience of living with debilitating migraines and the impact of the drug on her health, setting a standard for DTC medical marketing.
Although Lady Gaga received some backlash from fans, there is still a key learning from the campaign. People trust people, and there is space for influencer marketing in health (although it should probably be executed differently to consumer ads). Extending your content strategy outside of your own channels could build the credibility of your messaging and position you as a category or thought leader.
Luckily for you, LinkedIn has recently announced a new feature that will make that easier. Thought Leader Ads will allow you to promote content from individuals within your business. So, although Sarah from R&D might not be the queen of pop, she might have something to say that interests your audience and spread your messaging further.
If you have a look down the Pharma Lions winner list from last month, you’re likely to find a lot of content that really REALLY hits you in the feels. When you have that kind of content, it deserves to be shared in a way that is valuable, reaches the right people, and makes an impact.
Amgen’s latest campaign ‘Patient Points of View’ is an eight-part youtube series that spotlights the true journey of a person living with cancer. Its impact comes from the fact that each video reveals a unique perspective on living with the condition, that causes you to consider your preconceptions of what ‘all’ cancer patients must feel like. It ties perfectly to their targeted therapy pipeline, increasing awareness of Amgen’s position in the industry.
The success of this campaign was also elevated by the social strategy. Each video had two social video bites, which were released on relevant calendar dates (i.e. a key note at ASCO related to that therapy area, or an awareness day). Using the functionality of a youtube playlist also allowed viewers to see as much (or as little) of the campaign as they like, without getting lost in single posts from the Oncology channel. When deciding a platform strategy, consider how your audience is likely to consume the content, and optimize based on this. Don’t always just go for a LinkedIn post, its not necessarily always best.
Next, I’m going to tell you something mindblowing.
HCPs are humans too.
So when something as whimsical (or completely addictive & shareable) as the Barbie AR filter comes around, who’s to say they’re not getting involved?
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting is an event attended by all of top pharma in oncology, as well as thousands of HCPs looking to learn about new advances in the field. However, if you’ve ever been to one of those conferences you’ll know that, as anyone would be, physicians are also looking for a bit of enjoyment (preferably beyond the free coffee every other stand is offering).
As part of their booth, Blueprint created an AR filter that introduced the company (still early pipeline in the therapy area) to HCPs, simply stating their reason for being there “a commitment to improving and extending life through precision medicine”, and encouraging others to find out “What’s your blueprint?”
A simple, fun and engaging piece of digital content, replicating marketing activities from the ‘real world’ meant Blueprint stood out from other sponsors and introduced the company to a new audience in a memorable way.
User-generated content is the top marketing trend for 2023, but is not a strategy at the top of the priority list for many CMOs in health.
In line with their breakthrough science, Shasqi is ignoring the rules of the all-blue-super-dry-jargon-filled-corporate-post, in lieu of user-generated content from their own people. As a small start-up positioned to make waves with its Nobel Prize technology, the people of Shasqi are all innovators and leaders in their field, so why mute the voices of the experts?
UGC adds authenticity, builds trust, and drives engagement, making it a potent tool for connecting with the target audience. Shasqi's decision to amplify expert voices through user-generated content creates a unique advantage. By showcasing the knowledge, expertise, and passion of their team members, they establish themselves as credible and trustworthy industry leaders. This approach not only humanizes the brand but also allows its audience to connect with the real people behind the breakthrough science.
The above are just a few examples of how companies have used digital trends in the pharmaceutical industry. Whether you’re an in-house brand or healthcare marketing agency, remember these the next time you approach a social project in order to cut through the noise and get more eyes on your content and brand.
If you’re looking for ways to elevate your social content in the healthcare industry, talk to us about our capabilities in health and pharma by reaching out via firstname.lastname@example.org