This is the second in a two-part series on HCP marketing communications.
In our first post, Insights for Effective Marketing Communications for Healthcare Professionals (HCPs), we touched upon the importance of understanding your healthcare professional (HCP) audience, building trust, and using appropriate marketing communications channels to reach HCPs. In this article, we will focus on integrating digital and social media platforms to reach HCPs.
It’s no surprise that HCPs continue to increasingly embrace the use of digital channels and social media, and it has changed the way HCPs interact and exchange information with each other as well as with their patients and healthcare organizations. It’s important to understand this transformation to implement effective HCP communications strategies.
57% of US-based physicians frequently or occasionally change their perception of a medication or treatment based on content they’ve seen on social media. (Sermo and LiveWorld)
Traditionally, healthcare professionals have relied heavily on in-person conferences, seminars and peer-reviewed journals to connect with their peers. These channels are still important but have been augmented by digital and social media channels that facilitate more HCP interactions than ever before.
Digital and social media platforms like LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube and specialized platforms including Sermo and Doximity provide access to a vast network of HCPs almost instantly. The ability to engage in discussions around new research, share best practices, or even seek advice on complex cases is a game changer in advancing and sharing knowledge among HCPs.
This provides healthcare organizations with more opportunities to reach their HCP audiences, which is why it’s vital to include digital marketing strategies as part of HCP outreach and education.
35% of HCPs say LinkedIn is the most helpful social platform for learning about key opinion leader presentations. (Sermo and LiveWorld)
Quality content plays an important role in the success of many digital and social media campaigns. Creating and sharing valuable, educational content is a very powerful way to build credibility among HCPs. This content can focus on a variety of topics, such as product launches, research updates, or general education on disease states. Content developed can be shared in multiple ways, including blogs, whitepapers, videos, webinars, dedicated websites, as well as via social media posts. In fact, over a third (38%) of healthcare professionals (HCPs) regularly follow/view videos for professionals.
One example is “Physician’s Perspectives,” a peer-to-peer education campaign that we developed in partnership with Boston Scientific. The program is driven by educational articles authored by physicians and hosted on Boston Scientific’s website, then shared via various channels including LinkedIn and X to inform HCPs about important topics in their field. The program successfully achieved 1.25 million impressions in its first year across a variety of paid and organic channels.
The role of Key Opinion Leaders, or KOLs, is being redefined by social media. Engaging an HCP influencer can help drive thought leadership, peer-to-peer education, word of mouth and even trial—especially since we already know that HCPs often turn to their peers for trusted information.
For one of our clients, early adopter physicians were enthusiastic on social media, and the client needed to harness their enthusiasm. We laid the groundwork for social media guidelines and processes, and then created campaigns to leverage their physician customer enthusiasm. During the first two years, the program gained followers, boosted website traffic and even had physician customers asking to be featured. (Learn more here.)
52% of HCPs prefer to receive medical and promotional information from pharmaceutical companies on social media (Indegene, 2021)
Having the opportunity to engage in discussions and share expertise, HCPs can build their credibility and reputation—as well as credibility and trust for companies. When you decide which physicians with whom you want to work, be sure to consider their social media reach and activity. Even if they aren’t often on the podium, they might be highly influential.
An organization can collaborate with an HCP influencer and have him/her share a company’s content via their own social media channels, or host or participate in a live discussion on a specific topic. HCP influencers can also participate in third-party partnerships on behalf of an organization.
For example, for our client Penumbra, we recently sponsored and participated in a live discussion on X called #ClotChat about the impact of venous thromboembolism (VTE), or blood clots in the veins, where we could talk about our client’s treatment options. We engaged with three KOL physicians and worked with them to create content in advance of the program so that they could easily post and engage in the discussion. Overall, the ClotChat generated 32 million impressions, 1,809 tweets and had 195 participants in the dialogue.
We’ve also worked with clients on many CME (continuing medical education) campaigns, including developing webinars for credit with outlets such as Medscape and Pharmacy Times, “Ask the Expert” series, and live broadcast events.
It’s important to develop marketing communications strategies that reach, engage, and educate HCPs where they are active on digital and social media platforms for the best results.
It’s evident that digital and social media channels for HCPs play an influential role in how HCPs get, share and partake with information, their peers and healthcare organizations. With this, it’s important to develop marketing communications strategies that reach, engage, and educate HCPs where they are active on digital and social media platforms for the best results.
Need help reaching HCPs? Drop us a note here to learn more about our experience and how we can help you.