The rise of social media brought on the era of influencers, people who post their trendy outfits, $8 avocado toast, and unrealistically organized kitchens. They usually have thousands, if not millions of followers, and get brand deals from top companies in the marketplace. People look to them for advice on which products to buy and which trends to follow, but do they trust them enough to take their medical advice?
Many pharmaceutical marketers are asking this question, and the answer is not as straightforward as you’d think. While it’s true that beauty gurus and gamers won’t do you much good, it turns out there’s a new subcategory of influencers you should pay attention to—patient influencers.
Patient influencers are simply what their title suggests. They are people who have struggled with a disease or disability and are now sharing their stories with the world. Their followers consist of people who either share similar health problems, know someone who does, or are simply curious about the topic.
While patient influencers typically have a smaller following than their foodie and fashion counterparts, their followers tend to be more loyal and trusting.
According to a survey done by WEGO Health of their users,
only 14% trust Kardashian-type lifestyle influencers.
On the other hand, 51% said they completely trust patient influencers.
One caveat to keep in mind: if you decide to incorporate influencers into your marketing strategy, ensure they disclose your partnership by including an “#ad” or “#sponsored” hashtag in their post. You don’t want the Federal Trade Commission knocking on your door and you don’t want to go viral for repeating the Fyre Festival disaster.
Partnerships between influencers and pharmaceutical companies are relatively new. It’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy, but nothing worth having comes easy. Luckily, you can hop on the trend early and partner with patient influencers who are on track to grow. Will you take the plunge?