Influencer marketing has become a major component of social media marketing. There are a lot of reasons for this: Consumers find influencers more authentic, more relatable, and more trustworthy than brands. Consumers often watch influencer videos for longer than they would a brand’s owned content, and it typically has higher ROIs when used for paid. Tapping into influencer marketing is an obvious move.
However, as marketers in the healthcare industry, there are more factors to consider than in most other industries. The social media space is rife with healthcare-related misinformation, and some influencers can be a factor in the spread of that misinformation. There are also, as with other marketing channels, significant compliance hoops to jump through in all healthcare marketing.
These complications don’t mean that influencer marketing should be avoided – just that extra care should be taken when working with influencers. Here are some tips to keep in mind to reap the benefits of influencer marketing while avoiding major pitfalls. When carefully executed, influencers can be a hugely effective piece of your overall marketing plan.
When it comes to compliance, loop in your legal/compliance team early and often. Checking in with your compliance team frequently throughout the process will save a lot of time and headaches down the line. Here are some touchpoints to keep in mind:
- Make sure your compliance team is aware that you’ll be working with influencers so they can give you any necessary guidelines or waivers that influencers may need to sign (for health information privacy or similar concerns).
- Get their insight on any topics or phrases that should be avoided in the content.
- Check on phrases or disclosures that are mandatory so they can be worked into the content right away.
- Have your compliance team view the content before it goes live and give final approval.
Finding the Right Influencers:
Start with focusing on influencers whose content often relates to your business needs. This could mean finding influencers who have a specific diagnosis that they talk about, caretakers, or professionals in the field.
When looking for the right influencer to work with, the size of their audience is less important than the topic and quality of their content and their audience composition. If an influencer consistently works on a topic that fits your needs and produces engaging and informative content, that influencer is worth considering. Some topics, like rare diseases, may only have a few influencers – but those influencers’ followers are likely to be the audience you’re trying to reach as well. With more general topics, a smaller following can be made up for by amplifying the content with a higher paid spend to reach your target audience.
Once you’ve developed a list of potential influencers to collaborate with, do a deep dive on each influencer’s social presence before reaching out about a potential partnership. Make sure that the influencer is trustworthy, shares good and reputable information, and hasn’t said or done anything that could cause problems for your brand’s reputation.
You’ll also want to check on whether the influencer’s values and priorities align with your brand. Having values that overlap will make the content feel more authentic, and therefore more effective. It makes sense to have content about a healthy diet coming from someone who already posts about healthy habits. That same content can feel jarring and strange coming from someone who posts humorous and self-deprecating content about their own bad habits, or someone who posts frequently about participating in fad diet trends.
On Content Creation:
Start by creating a set of guidelines for their content, explaining the overall message and tone you’re looking for. Again, it’s helpful to collaborate with compliance ahead of time on a creative brief for your influencers so that mandatories and unacceptable topics are laid out ahead of time.
Don’t forget that influencer marketing is a collaborative process. Once your content brief is put together, give the influencer room to interpret it in their own way. Influencer content is at its most effective when it feels authentic. A good content creator will be able to create your message in their own style and in a way that will resonate most strongly with their audience.
Keep an eye on an influencer’s other content while you’re working with them and for a few months after. If they post something that goes against your company’s values or something filled with misinformation, discontinue the partnership. There are plenty of other influencers out there!
To recap: Spend time to find influencers who fit with your needs, and work together with them to create impactful content. Keep the restrictions of your compliance team in mind throughout the process. When done correctly, influencers can be an invaluable piece of your marketing strategy.
Kim Funari is Brand Strategy Director for Horizon Media’s Blue Hour Studios.