Engaging Healthcare Influencers for Product Adoption

Updated on August 25, 2023
Man holding his hands out over the text, Influencer Marketing

Undoubtedly, social media influencers have changed the face of digital marketing. As of 2021, nearly 70% of mid-sized to larger companies were engaged with influencers. Today, more businesses are testing the influencer waters, including healthcare-related startups eager to introduce products to the marketplace.

It’s easy to see why healthcare marketers are excited to invest in partnerships with healthcare influencers. All influencers offer a streamlined conduit to target audiences. Since the influencers are trusted by their followers, that trust tends to extend to the brands and items the influencers talk about. When an influencer raves about using a new mental healthcare app or touts an at-home medical device that improves the outcomes of telehealth visits, the followers listen. Best of all, they listen without the usual skepticism consumers bring to advertisements.

There are other upsides to partnering with social media influencers, too. Influencers are seen as authentic. As a result, what they say is usually taken as an honest review. One study showed that 69% of people believe what influencers say over what companies say. It doesn’t matter that influencers are upfront about their collaborations with brands. Consumers still feel more confident that they’re getting the truth.

This doesn’t mean healthcare businesses seeking product activation and adoption should jump into the influencer waters without looking. Planning before adding an influencer element into any marketing mix is wise, especially in a regulated industry like healthcare. Brands can start by following a few best practices.

1. Influencer alignment over follower count.

Any brand must make sure its influencers are a perfect fit. Therefore, healthcare marketers must carefully select influencers based on several criteria, not the least of which is vision and mission alignment. The number of followers should be the last thing that should matter to a marketer seeking an influencer. A healthcare influencer with an active following of fewer than 10,000 users on Instagram could be a better match than one with ten times the follower amount.

2. Start with one influencer partnership.

A good way for any healthcare company to begin experimenting with influencer marketing is to set up a limited-time arrangement with a single influencer. That way, the healthcare brand’s marketing team can gain more knowledge on how the process works without trying to do too much at once. If the partnership goes well, it can become the springboard for similar relationships with additional influencers.

3. Measure influencer activity against KPIs.

Having an influencer talk about a healthcare product is one thing. Proving that the influencer is impacting lead generation, brand reputation, or direct sales is another. Tracking influencer activity is essential for providing supportive proof that this type of marketing tactic has the desired effect. Accordingly, marketers should consider the KPIs they want to measure as part of the process. 

4. Ensure legal and regulatory compliance.

Healthcare is an incredibly complex, regulated field. While top healthcare influencers — often medical professionals — probably know some of the boundaries, all healthcare influencers should be given clear outlines of what they can and can’t say about a product they’re touting. Working with a trusted influencer marketing agency with clients in similar situations is advisable if a startup or legacy brand is having difficulty creating this kind of “What to say/What not to say” document.

5. Integrate influencer marketing with other marketing approaches.

Relying on healthcare influencers to introduce a product and encourage its use shouldn’t be an isolated marketing approach. On the contrary, it should be part of a wider marketing plan that includes all digital (and perhaps offline) marketing forms. Integration on all levels makes sense because it provides a more seamless consumer experience. For instance, if all marketing is connected, a consumer moving through the sales funnel after hearing about a product through an influencer will have a friction-free journey.

Healthcare companies should consider folding influencer marketing into their outreach and advertising campaigns. Collaborating with an influencer who’s a great fit can tremendously expand a company’s reach. It can also lower barriers to product adoption across a niche target audience. The only caveat is that marketers need to spend time upfront planning to ensure that the process is successful for all stakeholders.

Erica Garman
Erica Garman

Erica Garman, VP of Marketing of Intero Digital, an experienced marketing strategist with over 12 years of experience in digital marketing. Erica has a passion for helping brands build meaningful connections with their audiences. With a deep understanding of consumer behavior and trends, she specializes in developing integrated marketing campaigns that leverage both traditional and digital channels for maximum impact.