Insights

Influencer marketing in healthcare: what are the opportunities?

Often the follower of a blog sees the author as his friend. He follows him closely, trusts his story and is influenced by his opinion. Organizations within the medical, healthcare and pharmaceutical industry want to appear reliable and influence their target group, but they forget the wide reach that is needed for that. For this they can use the reach of an online influencer. There are many influencers that write about different subjects. In the medical, healthcare and pharmaceutical industry there exist certain rules for promoting products and services. In this article I deal with the opportunities of influencer marketing that exist within these sectors.

Opportunities for the medical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sector

During the quest of the e-patiënt for medical information, he arrives on different websites, forums and social communities. He looks for information that is useful and reliable. Medical, healthcare and pharmaceutical organizations can employ an influential blogger for a fee to talk about a product, service or medical condition. This way they profit from the large reach and the reliable persona of the influencer. Many blog-websites and social media channels of influential bloggers are modern, up to date and are well-thought-out SEO-wise, which ensures that the online presence in Google is strong.

Blog

A good and frequently used example of influencer marketing within the medical-, healthcare- and pharmaceutical industry is the blog. An influencer can submit a link to a website on medical conditions in his blog or YouTube-channel or recommend a medical product or service. See it as an online advertorial. Through social media the influencer shares the blog to reach his followers. The more followers/readers he has, the greater the reach of the message within the target group.

Example: a health blogger with a large following writes about a self-care product (like vitamin pills) he had a good experience with. This benefits the brand awareness and reputation of the brand (in this case a pharmaceutical company). The blogger’s following take the information they read for granted and will, just like the blogger, have a positive reacton to the brand.

In the case of promoting medicines an influential blogger/vlogger can talk about a disease, without naming the medicine. In this way awareness for the disease is generated and no rules are broken. For promoting self-care products there are less strict rules than for drugs and medicines. These rules are established in the rules and regulations of the pharmaceutical industry.

YouTube

Social media is essential to make influencer marketing as effective as possible. YouTube for instance, is a convenient channel. The number of subscribers to the popular channels of influential videobloggers (vloggers) is often very high. For the medical-, healthcare- and pharmaceutical industry the use of video is interesting. If an influential vlogger proclaims a message in a video related to the medical-, healthcare- or pharmaceutical industry, the target group will be subjected to the authoritative opinion of the vlogger. Besides, moving image and sound make sure that the message gets through even better.

An example of influencer marketing through YouTube is Beautygloss. Female vlogger Mascha produces a number of videos every week wherein she recommends different health- and beautyproducts to her followers. On her Youtube-channel and website i can see that many advertisers make use of her large reach. I am able to identify a banner of Tiger Balm, a product of pharmaceutical company Vemedia. This self-care product is a good fit with the blog- and vlog subjects and the ad is able to reach part of her 380.000 followers. In this case we speak of online advertising, instead of influencer marketing. However, female vlogger Mascha can name a product like Tiger Balm or another self-care product in her vlog and hereby promote the brand.

Twitter

Another socia media channel where influencer marketing can be convenient, is Twitter. There are a lot of influential Twitterati with a high number of followers and a large reach. Organizations within the medical-, healthcare- and pharmaceutical industry can pay influential bloggers to write about certain health care products, services or diseases for specific target groups.

With more than 44.000 followers the Twitter-account Matthijn has a large following and emits authority. Matthijn blogs on health and lifestyle. His tweets give his followers tips and inspiration for a lifestyle that is as healthy as possible. For a health care service provider, medical producer or pharmaceutical company it might be clever to work with a microblogger like Matthijn on Twitter to create awareness for a product, service or medical condition. The message will reach a large group of people interested in health related issues and will be considered reliable.

Influencer marketing as part of the health care marketing strategy

Speaking for myself, there are many opportunities for the medical-, healhcare- and pharmaceutical industry that relate to influencer marketing. Rules and regulations have to be followed, but the advantages are too big not to utilize them. Consider, as a medical producer, health care service provider or pharmaceutical company, what influential person is the best fit to make your message known in the best way possible. Get to know the background of the person, the size of his or her following and the people that reside in this group. Only then you know your message will reach the right people and investing in influencer marketing has paid off.

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