What health and pharma brands need to know about the future of influencer marketing
SummaryThe pandemic has highlighted influencers’ power to spread health messages. Around the world, influencers played a key role in explaining the concept of “flattening the curve” and the importance of wearing a mask, hand-washing and practicing social distancing. Here is what people in the health industry need to know to get started with safe, successful influencer marketing.
- Author Company: Vamp
- Author Name: Aaron Brooks
- Author Website: Vamp
The pandemic has highlighted influencers’ power to spread health messages. Around the world, influencers played a key role in explaining the concept of “flattening the curve” and the importance of wearing a mask, hand-washing and practicing social distancing.
Influencers are effective because they bring a human touch to health and pharmaceutical marketing, something that traditional mediums can struggle with. By collaborating with influencers, brands can tap into an existing trust between a creator and their audience, sharing the creator’s endorsement of a product or service.
Content creators are also vital for reaching younger generations which turn to non-traditional media for healthcare information. Data shows that Gen Z – and especially young people in racial minority groups – are more likely to turn to trusted creators and other non-traditional sources than previous generations.
Here is what people in the health industry need to know to get started with safe, successful influencer marketing.
Find the right person for the job
For influencer marketing to succeed, the posts need to feel genuine. There’s no benefit to collaborating with a person that has never had a certain health condition, or will never need the product they’re discussing – that comes off as tone-deaf. Instead, choose the right person for the role.
The all important trust between creators and their audiences is easily broken when a post feels “fake.” This isn’t a symptom of influencer marketing itself. Sponsored content is a well-understood part of social media, and its widespread success is evidence that people aren’t opposed to it in principle. Rather, it’s a symptom of the mismatch between the voice and the brand.
The opposite is also true: when a creator and a brand form a perfect match, the numbers are out of this world. These pair-ups go above and beyond what traditional advertising could ever hope to achieve, merging a brand and a beloved personality in the eyes of the audience.
Stay on message
One of the major benefits of influencer marketing is the opportunity to seamlessly integrate the influencer’s authentic personal health stories with the promotion. This can really resonate with people and produce incredible results – but it’s also easy to stray off message. That is why, just as with more traditional advertising, it’s important to start the campaign with a clear, targeted brief.
The brief should make clear what the influencer can and can’t say, although it shouldn’t be a script. It should also clarify the overarching message that the brand is going for, enabling the influencer to naturally work it into their post. Modern influencer collaboration platforms such as Vamp include simple brief templates to make this process as straightforward as possible. Brands can also implement a content approval process to ensure that posts are factually correct and on message to ensure that both parties are happy with the content.
Honesty gets results
Some health topics can be tough or embarrassing to talk about, but adopting sugar-coated euphemisms or abstractions make it harder to take a post seriously. For instance, vaginal healthcare brand Kolorex has had success briefing Vamp creators with pragmatic terminology like “vaginal health” rather than the more euphemistic “feminine health.”
Similarly, brands benefit when influencers can discuss issues in an honest, human way. This vulnerability creates a connection with the audience, especially when they share a relatively uncommon health condition.
Regulations around medicines, medical devices, services, and other related products exist for a reason, and influencer marketing should remain within these clear lines. Different countries have different agencies responsible, such as the US Food and Drug Administration, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration. These agencies generally publish straightforward guidelines online, so check before launching a campaign that could land you in hot water.
It’s also important for influencer marketing to fit within a brand’s larger marketing efforts, so businesses should share their internal promotional guidelines with their influencers. Similarly, transparency is important, so posts should follow the site’s policies for disclosure, whether that’s including “#ad” or using Instagram’s Paid Partnership tag.
At Vamp, we have had great success working with influencers to spread the word for medical and pharma businesses such as Bayer, PharmaCare, Swisse and Care Pharmaceuticals.
For example, as part of Care Pharma’s campaign to promote their Little Range, they turned to us to deliver parent influencers who could create engaging social content. The parents used their personal experiences to establish the brand as the go-to for children’s health, achieving over 35,000 impressions and a 2 percent engagement rate – a 292 percent increase over the health industry benchmark.
Similarly, we paired Elementelle Probiotics+ with a diverse group of Vamp’s health and wellness influencers to increase awareness of their products. Elementelle provided creators with probiotics for their individual health needs, and the creators spoke to their audiences about the improvement they experienced in their daily lives. This strategy achieved over 97,000 impressions and a 1.7 percent engagement rate, which exceeded the health industry standard by 233 percent.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool, and its unique authenticity and blend between content and advertisement are ideally suited to the healthcare and pharma industries. By effectively using the medium, businesses in these sectors can achieve unparalleled ROI, establish more meaningful relationships with their customers, and set them on the path to better health.