“The growth and popularity of social media interaction is extremely impactful in the healthcare profession.” –Marketing Professor Jerome Christia, PhD1

With almost 50 million HCPs using social media worldwide, more and more companies are taking the plunge to meet them there. Despite healthcare’s traditional hesitancy to invest in HCP social media, it’s time to understand the reasons why HCP social media has become mission critical.

If you think that HCPs have adapted to social media more quickly than healthcare marketers, we would agree.2 If you or your company are one of the many pharma and medical marketers who have been reluctant to engage with HCPs in social media, these seven reasons will help you reconsider adding HCP social media to your communications strategy ASAP.

1. While virtually every physician uses social media for personal reasons, two-thirds use it for professional reasons, a number that is growing higher every day: HCPs are joining social media platforms in their professional capacities at the same rate as non-HCP users. And they’re not just on what we call the “walled gardens” such as Sermo, Doximity, and Figure 1: HCPs also use public social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, to connect in their professional capacities.3, 4, 5

2. Social media has helped advance communications to HCPs from simply providing access to articles, studies, and CMEs, to creating active educational and communications experiences.6 According to Sermo, two-thirds of physicians spend at least an hour a day on social media—with an average daily use of 2 hours and 22 minutes.7

3. Over half of HCPs say they notice relevant, professionally appropriate ads and posts on their social media feeds.8

4. Some of today’s hottest social influencers are HCPs, exploring the intersection between health information and the culture of social memes, earning followers numbering from thousands to millions.9

5. Yes, you can measure social media’s ROI: with the right partners and tools. (We’ve even written a book about it.)

6. Marketers using social media can, and do, stay compliant with all laws and regulations, with the right guidance, and partners who stay on top of ever-changing guidelines and platform capabilities.

7. Your competitors are ahead of you. The annual MM&M/Deloitte Healthcare Marketers Trend Report showed that 86% of diagnostic device companies, 65% of pharma marketers, and over half of biotechs use social as a critical part of their marketing mix to HCPs.10 In 2020, a whopping 68% of marketers have already increased their budgets for HCP social media marketing11—and three-quarters anticipate that their spending on HCP social will increase over the next 12 months.12

This audience, in this channel, cannot be ignored or glossed over any longer. It is far too important a way for HCPs to exchange ideas, information, questions, reviews, and concerns—and learn about brands for prescriptions, medical devices, and more. The world is changing: It’s time to start taking advantage of the true power of HCP social media marketing.

References:

1. Jerome Christia, “A Comparison of Demographics And Social Media Preferences In An Obgyn Office,” https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1455&context=ama_proceedings.

2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/273476/percentage-of-us-population-with-a-social-network-profile.

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103576.

4. http://www.pmlive.com/blogs/digital_intelligence/archive/2019/transformation_in_healthcare_professionals_digital_behaviours.

5. https://avanthc.com/digital-opinion-influencers-vs-kols.

6. Jerome Christia, “A Comparison of Demographics And Social Media Preferences In An Obgyn Office,” https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1455&context=ama_proceedings.

7. http://s.sermo.com/rs/239-PZX-356/images/Sermo_The_Digital_Day_of_an_HCP_2019.pdf?&utm_campaign=klickhealth&utm_medium=klick_wire&utm_source=klickhealth&utm_content=kwire_hcpday_20190520.

8. https://www.meddatagroup.com/resource/physician-online-in-app-behaviors.

9. https://nypost.com/2020/02/03/doctors-and-nurses-are-influencers-now-but-can-you-trust-them.

10. https://www.mmm-online.com/home/channel/features/mmm-deloitte-healthcare-marketers-trend-report-2019-budgets-surged-26-but-good-times-could-soon-go-up-in-smoke.

11. http://cdn.coverstand.com/17196/654807/0ab14a7833c4100c7bf173173ee2486728b619e1.1.pdf, p. 32.

12. Reuters Report: “COVID-19: Accelerating digital transformation in life sciences.”

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