Benefits of Influencer Marketing in Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
What is Influencer Marketing?
Social media has changed the way we live our lives and interact with other people. According to research by Statista (2017), 38.7 Million people in the UK used social media in 2016, set to rise to 42.3 Million by 2022. As people spend more time online, a new type of ‘celebrity’ has emerged.
Social media influencers (SMI’s) have earned credibility within a particular niche. They have the ability to shape their audience’s opinion by virtue of authenticity and trust. Through the sharing of personal photos, videos or blogs, followers build a strong para-social relationship with the influencer. This personal insight makes SMI’s seem authentic and relatable. Their recommendation of a product/service is therefore perceived as unbiased word-of-mouth communication and has a powerful effect on consumer decision making.
Benefits of Influencer marketing in Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals
- Authenticity. Social media influencers are not fictitious characters, they are real people facing real struggles. It is this authenticity that allows them to build a following. By leveraging a social media influencer to promote a product/service it is perceived as authentic word of mouth communication. This authenticity is rare in many advertisements seen in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Choosing the right influencer is therefore crucial as consumers are hyper aware of disingenuous influencer campaigns. The personality of the influencer must match that of the brand.
- Originality. Consumers are tired of over-used mass-marketing strategies. Influencer marketing through social media exploits a new medium with a new message. The new medium enables ‘micro-marketing’, this is the targeting of specific demographics with unique characteristics. In pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing, this may be the targeting of a specific patient cohort that require certain therapies. The new message connects with patients on a personal level. This is seen in the male androgenic alopecia online community, where patients who have undergone a hair transplant procedure document their process to informs/educate others.
- Co-creation of Content. The effectiveness of outbound ‘push’ marketing is diminishing and proving to be increasingly expensive. Encouraging the co-creation of User-Generated Content ‘pulls’ customers to become involved with the brand. This may be through the use of Hashtags, video creation or asking a question on social media. It enables brands to grow their owned media without spending excessive amounts on paid campaigns. This strategy invites customers to build a long-term relationship with the brand which is invaluable in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. For more information read our article on value co-creation.
Understand the law.
The Healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors are risk-averse and highly regulated and all legal regulations must be adhered to. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) code of practice lays out the law regarding the advertising of prescription products to healthcare professionals and other relevant decision makers. Ensure all laws are met.
For more information on influencer marketing in healthcare and pharmaceuticals, check out the following links:
- How pharma can unlock the potential of influencer marketing
- The Evolving Role of Patient Influencers in Pharma Marketing
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Or read our article ‘Benefits of social media marketing in Healthcare‘ for more on the topic.
Statista (2019) Forecast of social network user numbers in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2015 to 2022 (in million users). [Online] Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/553530/predicted-number-of-social-network-users-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/ [Accessed: 01/04/19]
ABPI Code of Practice (2019) CODE OF PRACTICE for the PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY 2019 [online] Available at: http://www.pmcpa.org.uk/thecode/Documents/ABPI%20Code%20of%20Practice%202019.pdf [Accessed 01/04/19]