How Influencers Can Enhance Marketing for Pharma

Historically, the pharmaceutical industry has been slow to embrace social media and other digital marketing channels due to strict regulations and concerns about patient privacy. But by partnering with influencers who speak to their target audiences, pharma marketers can help build brand awareness, shape opinions about their products and mission, educate potential consumers about specific pharmaceutical products and treatments, and reduce the time and cost usually spent identifying and engaging with their intended audiences.

What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing for Pharmaceutical Companies?

Many influencers have large followings on social media, so they could help you reach more people than you might otherwise be able to target on your own, but it’s important to be selective. First, you’d need to make sure their audience is relevant to you. For example, perhaps you have a new drug designed to help patients with Crohn’s disease. While that condition can occur at any age, it’s most often diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 30. So an influencer with followers in that demographic would be meaningful to you.

If that influencer has or is closely connected to someone who has Crohn’s disease, their voice could be even more impactful because they may have a pool of followers who connect with them because of that shared experience. Plus, they would naturally be more passionate about a product designed to relieve the symptoms and lifestyle challenges people with this condition face.

According to a recent study from Oracle and CRM Essentials, in addition to meeting certain demographics where they are, which in this case is on social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, 37% of consumers trust social media influencers over brands. Furthermore, the study found that Gen Z and Millennials are two times more likely than Baby Boomers to trust influencers. These audiences often see influencers as more authentic than traditional marketing strategies.

Younger generations especially are turning to social media more and more for both health information and support when they or a loved one is diagnosed with or suspected of having a specific illness or condition. Pharmaceutical marketers could see this as an important opportunity to ensure that the information and advice out there is accurate, safe, and presented in a way that could actually lead to better patient outcomes.

Of course, not only does your pharmaceutical brand need to approve the influencer before signing any contracts, ensuring that they are credible, trustworthy, and reach the right audiences – the influencer also must agree to endorse your pharmaceutical brand, so you’ll need to prove your trustworthiness as well.

Because you’re part of the healthcare industry, you must also ensure that you understand and adhere to policies set out in HIPAA and in guidelines set out by trusted organizations like the American Medical Association.

How to Manage Regulatory Compliance Issues

As a pharmaceutical marketing professional, you know your company must follow strict guidelines when promoting your medications and medical devices, so you need to ensure that any content you deliver through influencers is compliant and scientifically correct.

Working with influencers who are familiar with regulations is key. Additionally, you should have your own team of legal, compliance, information security, privacy, and technology experts to thoroughly vet your content and your chosen influencer. These experts should also be part of the team that monitors and manages ongoing influencer marketing campaigns.

Creating or updating your company’s own social media policy is vital to ensure that it complies with all relevant regulatory content. Putting contracts in place with your influencer partner is also essential for ensuring that they understand and agree to all data protection agreements, license agreements, and ethical standards. By doing so, you’ll safeguard your brand from potential legal issues and reputational damage.

6 Tips for Integrating Influencer Content into Your Marketing Strategy

Are you ready to start searching for the perfect influencers to enhance your marketing plan? Keep these helpful tips in mind for when you’re ready to start creating content.

  1. Understand Your Target Audience: Make sure you use the right social media platforms to engage your intended audiences. TikTok and Instagram might be great for those Gen Zers and Millennials dealing with Crohn’s disease, anxiety disorders, and certain thyroid conditions. However, you might fare better on Facebook to reach Gen Xers and Boomers with Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
  2. Choose Trusted Voices Over Traditional Celebrities: Unless a popular celebrity is known for living life with a chronic condition, your ideal audiences may be more likely to seek information from less broadly known influencers who are making an impact with health-specific content on popular social platforms. Research potential partners thoroughly to make sure they are trustworthy and that nothing about their account – or their followers – seems fraudulent.
  3. Know the Rules – and Follow Them: Understand the rules and regulations of the overall industry and your state, and adjust your influencer marketing tactics to avoid illegal, unethical, or easily misconstrued information.
  4. Stick to One Disease at a Time: Personalize the content your influencer is delivering by making it relevant, compelling, inspiring, and educational to the people you’re trying to help – the people who have a particular disease or condition and are in the process of choosing a therapy or treatment.
  5. Keep It Simple: Social media influencer audiences aren’t looking for a long educational webinar. Offer the information they seek in quick, punchy soundbites that will encourage them to learn more and engage with your brand.
  6. Be Direct With Your CTA: What should viewers or readers do next? Talk to their doctor about your product? Sign up to get more information? Seek genetic testing? Your calls to action should be clear and to the point.

Partnering with influencers in your marketing efforts can help you better reach your intended audiences, respond to their needs, and save precious time in the process. If you’re ready to learn more about how influencer marketing can augment your pharmaceutical marketing strategy, reach out to LIGHTSTREAM.