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Patient and caregiver influencers in healthcare marketing


Influencer campaigns have revolutionized marketing strategy across many industries, and it is simple to see why — brands and businesses make $5.78 for every $1 they invest into influencer marketing.

As marketing evolves, influencers have offered a personal and trustworthy connection with consumers. Additionally, influencer campaigns can boost sales and create brand loyalty. Thus, it comes as no surprise that 84 percent of companies have planned to work with social media influencers this year.

In the healthcare space, two of the main types of medical influencers are patient influencers, who are living with a disease; and caregiver influencers, who document their experiences caring for someone affected by a disease.

Patient influencers

Health-focused content has grown significantly on social media and has gained a large audience. Patient influencers have risen in popularity on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok over the past few years.

Patient influencers generally struggle with long-term or chronic illnesses. They document various aspects of their life as someone living with a disease. That could be undergoing treatments, how their illness makes them feel, tips for dealing with the disease, as well as general information about the disease.

Many patients with a long-term or chronic illness feel isolated from their peers and family members, as they don’t understand what they are going through. Going online has helped them to build a support community. While they are providing support for others, they are also receiving support themselves.

Caregiver influencers

Caregiver influencers are also on the rise. While they don’t have the disease themselves, they have proximity to it, as they are caring for someone affected by a long-term or chronic disease such as elderly relatives or children.

Caregiving can be a difficult and isolating job. Frequently, these caregivers look to social media for support and a sense of community.

Caregiver influencers who document their day-to-day experiences and their struggles serve as a source of inspiration for other caregivers, help to create a sense of community and reduce the feeling of isolation that many caregivers might feel.

Like patient influencers, they are helping others while in turn helping themselves.

Why people trust influencers

Patient and caregiver influencers offer a very personal view into their experiences — this can cultivate a strong sense of trust and familiarity with viewers who have similar medical conditions or are in similar situations.

How pharmaceutical companies can partner with influencers to reach their audience

Faith in the pharmaceutical industry has decreased with each younger generation. Partnering with influencers is a great way for companies to actively reverse this trend and rebuild trust with consumers, especially with younger generations.

By partnering with patient and caregiver influencers, pharmaceutical companies can drive product awareness and increase education around treatment options and benefits. Patients can share their own stories and help to inspire others.

Caregiver and patient influencers offer important insights to viewers that may not be available outside of social media. For example, influencers can detail which treatment regimens they have tried. They can also describe their experience with medications, including side effects or lack thereof, and create “before and after” style videos to show the effects of treatments over time. This gives patients an idea of what to expect during treatment, so they are less affected when something occurs; this can help to increase patient adherence.

Additionally, influencers can detail processes such as finding a doctor and navigating medical insurance. They can also demonstrate how to use medical devices for conditions such as diabetes or asthma.

Influencers can also share different mental health effects of caregiving or chronic illness, which aren’t typically addressed in a doctor’s visit.

All of these efforts can help to reach Gen Z and millennial patients, many of which are turning to social media for medical advice over healthcare providers. 

When working with influencers, pharmaceutical companies need to make sure that they are providing them with parameters that they can operate within, as well as providing topics for them to share. However, influencers need to have freedom to create within the set boundaries. They know their audience the best and know best how to connect with them.

With the combined forces of healthcare providers’ expertise and influencers’ engaging skills, the pharmaceutical industry can understand and reach audiences on a more personal and stronger level. Ultimately, as the pharmaceutical industry heads into the future, influencer marketing should be considered a vital part of marketing strategy and a meaningful way to build valuable relationships with customers.

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