May 8, 2023

The Connection Between Healthcare Providers and Social Media

At Butler/Till, we are constantly searching for new and effective solutions to reach healthcare providers (HCPs) with relevant treatment content. Sermo, a leading physician social platform, recently published exciting insights into how HCPs use social media and how pharma marketers, like ourselves, can better tap into this growing audience and space.

Experts from our Integrated Planning team have outlined key trending highlights that are impacting the way we approach HCP media plans and social strategy.

Social Media Directly Impacts HCP Behaviors

A recent LiveWorld-Sermo study indicated that content from social channels can have a direct impact on which therapies healthcare providers choose to prescribe. 41% of the doctors surveyed indicated that they believe social media influences prescribing behavior. This is especially true for younger practitioners (ages 35 to 44) that are more active online and place a higher value on social media.

For healthcare and pharma marketers, these findings have the potential to have a big impact on engagement-focused campaigns and need to be taken into consideration when allocating budgets across media channels.

HCPs are Active on Online

HCPs are people too, and just like the rest of us, are increasingly using social media to connect with peers and other specialists via HCP-specific HIPAA compliant social media networks. So, when thinking about a social media strategy and approach, it is important to determine the best social placement for the campaign, which may vary based on specialty and category. Doximity and Sermo are two of the most popular private platforms that allow for this type of healthcare-focused social engagement. However, some respondents also indicate being active on Facebook and LinkedIn to access clinical information and follow other healthcare-related content and professionals.

HCPs Engage Social Media Differently

Not all healthcare providers engage social media the same way. Studies have found that HCP activity varies by treatment, demographic, social channel, and specialty. While some healthcare professionals are highly likely to engage with content, others make light use of social media.

The study found that the more diverse the patient population served by an HCP, the more likely they are to use social channels. For instance, the most socially active healthcare providers were in Primary Care, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Dermatology. In contrast, Hematologists, Neurologists, and Gastroenterologists make the lightest use of social media for professional purposes.

What does this all mean? It means that pharma marketers should not take a one-size-fits-all approach to social placement or messaging. Content needs to be produced specifically based on specialty or demographic and messaging needs to be placed on the social platforms that best align to the specific HCP population that is being targeted.

At Butler/Till, our experts are armed with best-in-class technology and partnerships that elevates our capabilities and services to meet our healthcare clients’ most complex business challenges.

Want to learn more? Connect with our healthcare experts.

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