Influencer Marketing in Healthcare: How It is Changing the Game

By The SHSMD Team posted 08-29-2017 01:25 PM


The Digital Age we now live in has completely revolutionized, not only how people talk to each other, but how businesses interact with their consumers.

A survey conducted in 2015 by Moz and Factl found that almost 2/3 of millennials block ads, which means companies need other ways to reach prospective consumers. Even companies not currently targeting millennials or subsequent generations need to be aware of this trend because, as millennials age, the nature of advertising will continue to change.

On the other hand, a separate survey conducted by Twitter in 2015 found that 40% of respondents bought an item online as a result of having seen an influencer promote it. That’s called influencer marketing, and for many companies, it’s the answer to the problem of how to get around ad blocking.

The numbers are similar for people searching online for information about healthcare facilities. Patients talk online about their experiences and potential patients look up those reviews before deciding where to go for treatment.

What is Influencer Marketing?
An influencer is someone with a large following. Whether it’s social media, a popular blog, and/or videos, these are individuals who have influence. Their followers generally identify with and/or admire their style, and will therefore be more likely to purchase products and services those people publicly discuss.

Healthcare influencers include everyone from healthcare professionals who are active online to celebrities who talk openly and frequently about their health. Find the ones who are most likely to gush about the kind of care you provide and let them do the rest.

This is important because influencers can have a positive impact on healthcare services, build community health and influence patients’ healthcare choices.

As an example, Edward- Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, located near Chicago, is conducting a “Healthy-Driven” campaign, which focuses on healthy-driven moms, hearts, and cancer fights. Danica Patrick, a well-known auto race driver, is a spokesperson and influencer for this program. The program involves numerous aspects. Their nurses are also influencers by blogging and promoting lifestyle and wellness programs.

There are different types of Influencer Marketing

  1. Product Placement
    When you pay someone in entertainment (such as a movie or TV show) to place your product in a positive light on their program.

  2. Sponsored Reviews
    You can tip the review scales in your favor by paying influencers to write favorable reviews of your organization.

  3. Social Media
    Identify the people who are likely to love (or already love) your organization and harness that power by asking them to mention you to their millions of followers.

  4. Contests on Influencer Blogs
    Whether it’s inviting them to comment on your blog or post a selfie in your facility, there are all sorts of creative ways you can include influencers and their followers in your marketing.

  5. Influencer’s Quotes in Your Content
    All you need is one influencer to say one good thing about your organization and you can put it all over your marketing.

Involve Influencers with Your Campaign
Ask influencers to get involved with your campaign by posting links to your website, about an event you’re having, talking up promotional merchandise, or just your organization in general.

Dr. Melmut Oz brings us many topics on health from, boosting your brainpower to living a more healthy lifestyle, and shows the advantages and disadvantages. While Oz does not endorse products, he is an influencer and hosts many experts on trending topics.

Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, or co-factors found in our diet) get discussed by Dr.Rob Sinnot, chief scientific officer of USANA, as well as why they are important for health.

Another focus in healthcare today is Alzheimer’s, with an increase in the number of people expected to be affected by it. Dr. Richard Issacson, Director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weil Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, views significant progress in this area and has revealed game-changing clues. He is featured on Oprah’s website, another influencer.

If you need proof, here are some reasons, research, and opinions demonstrating insights here.

The Bad News
Influencer marketing is walking a fine line. The influencers are paid to promote your company, but because it’s posted directly from their account, it bypasses the adblockers. That’s a great way to get your organization in front of people, but it’s not always legal. Any time money is exchanged in order to promote something the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mandates that consumers must be notified that the person creating the post was paid to promote it. When trying out new forms of marketing, always make sure you’re still abiding by all the relevant laws.

What Does This Mean for Healthcare?
As with any industry, the types of influencers that will best align with your messaging will vary depending on the types of products and/or services you offer. You can find the highest-ranked social media influencers in health here. They mostly consist of individuals, but don’t forget you can also partner with other healthcare organizations.

What’s Coming?
As the world of marketing changes, healthcare strategists and marketing departments will need to change accordingly. As some roles become obsolete, new roles will arise to take their place. One of those new roles is that of brand-influencer relations. It’s always a good idea to have a dedicated person (or team) handling the organization’s interactions with influencers and their followers.

Influencer marketing can be bought, but it can also happen organically. Brand-influencer relations managers will be in charge of managing both types of influencer marketing and they might also be in charge of coming up with ways to measure the effectiveness of influencer marketing. Because it doesn’t always result in direct sales, measuring its effectiveness can be challenging, but not impossible, as demonstrated by the Twitter survey mentioned above. Something as simple as a questionnaire asking patients how they found you can be instrumental in telling you what’s working and what isn’t.