Patient Leader Creative Boosts Engagement in Social Media Campaigns [case study]

You know your morning social media drill; you’re scrolling through your newsfeed, sharing funny videos, commenting on your aunt’s post—this is nothing new. However, there is also an audience using social media in a different way. These users are looking for condition-specific information being shared regarding clinical trials, new treatment options, resources to make treatment journeys less challenging, and coping mechanism tips – and they don’t have to look far for it.

Relevant, authentic health information is being distributed by online Patient Leaders every day.  Many of these Patient Leaders are members of WEGO Health’s network and these members reach on average 15,000 followers each per month. These Patient Leaders are trusted by their followers, and from a two-part Behavioral Intent Study that WEGO Health conducted, we found that:

“When health information is presented by someone influential:

  • 93% of participants will ask their physician about the information
  • 94% of participants will share the information with people they deem as interested”

We surveyed 433 online community members across seven different therapeutic areas for the Behavioral Intent Study, which also revealed that:

“If health information is presented by someone influential and trustworthy, it is more likely to be shared on social media than if it was presented by a pharmaceutical or healthcare company.”

In today’s competitive digital market, not only are Patient Leaders sharing condition-specific information on social media, but also pharmaceutical and healthcare companies are distributing and promoting their branded materials across the social media galaxy.

We wanted to find out to what extent each social media campaign type, Patient Leader creative vs healthcare company-branded creative, was engaging target audiences. What’s the differentiating factor in driving a successful campaign?

To compare the difference between the two, we ran two very similar social promotions with two key differences:

  • one that featured stock creative presented by a branded company
  • one that featured Patient Leader creative presented by WEGO Health

Our case study helps us better understand and answer:

  • How can healthcare companies make their creative stand out?
  • What makes creative content more trustworthy?
  • How can healthcare companies increase their level of engagement on each social media post?

Here are details of the case study we conducted that shows the value of custom Patient Leader creative when used in promotional social media campaigns.


The Challenge:

The healthcare company needed more engaging social media creative to:

  • Drive additional traffic to their branded resources
  • Increase overall social media engagement
  • Build trust between the patients and the company


The Approach:

WEGO Health saw this as a perfect opportunity to directly engage with Patient Leaders, and feature Patient Leader creative to capture their influence. This helped create stronger promotional campaigns for the healthcare company in order to generate more engaging actions.

We created an unbranded social media campaign that featured trusted Patient Leader creative in the form of short video clips. The traffic from this social media campaign went directly to a WEGO Health-branded Sharing Hub, which featured information about the brand’s treatment and condition-specific materials.


The Campaign Process:

In Phase II of the Sharing Hub program discussed in our case study The Value of Patient Leader Content, WEGO Health had a live Sharing Hub which housed branded resources, as well as custom Patient Leader videos.

WEGO Health worked with the Patient Leaders featured in the custom videos to record Facebook video promotions. There was a call-to-action directing to the Sharing Hub, where visitors could watch the videos on the branded hub, which was a high value action for the healthcare company.

Prior to launching the social media campaign that featured custom Patient Leader creative, WEGO Health had already launched a social media campaign which was designed to drive traffic to the branded Sharing Hub. This first campaign launch did not feature any Patient Leader creative, and instead featured only stock images.

Since the campaign featuring stock imagery was live first, we could compare results from this first campaign to the campaign featuring custom Patient Leader creative.


The Results:

The custom video campaign featuring Patient Leader creative drastically outperformed the stock imagery promotions that launched first. When comparing the top performing Patient Leader creative post with the top performing stock image post, it was clear that featuring Patient Leader creative made a huge impact on the success of the promotions.

Not only did the social promotions featuring Patient Leader creative receive more shares, reactions, and comments, but viewers were clicking on the link that directed to the branded Sharing Hub at a much higher rate vs the promotions featuring stock images. The top performing Patient Leader video ad had a click-through rate of 3.26%, while the top stock imagery promotion had a 2.10% click-through rate.


Patient Leader Creative is The Secret Sauce

With so many competing companies and brands on social media, featuring valued and trusted Patient Leader creative separates the promotions from the pack. In a recent WEGO Health Truvio® mobile insights study, one study participant stated;

 “There are so many companies out there now competing for the attention of the consumer in all areas…those accounts really need to have something unique and special for people to follow if they aren’t already using that company’s product…”

Including Patient Leader creative in social promotions makes social media campaigns shine brighter than others. However, it’s not just the uniqueness of the promotions that make them outperform others, but rather the trust that has already been developed between the Patient Leader and their followers that boosts social engagement.

It’s the trust in Patient Leader creative that gets viewers to click on the link. That level of trust is explained by one study participant here:

“When a Patient Leader shares content…they know and trust what that Patient Leader has to say. They value what that Patient Leader’s opinions are…the reason we are Patient Leaders is because we have a passion for understanding everything about [condition x] and sharing as much as we can. When we share on a post, it does have a pretty big impact.”


Benefits of Patient Leader Creative

Featuring Patient Leader creative in your social media campaigns will greatly benefit an entire campaign’s engagement level. This is an opportunity for companies to increase social engagement and click-through rates to branded resources, while also working on building trust amongst patients and target audiences.

How will you incorporate Patient Leader creative into your next social media campaign? How do you choose the correct Patient Leader for your brand or content focus? If you need help curating Patient Leader creative, consider hiring a freelance Patient Expert directly to create your trustworthy content for you.


Caitlyn has been a part of the WEGO Health Client Services team since 2015. As the day-to-day contact for pharmaceutical and healthcare company sponsors, Caitlyn manages the creation and launch of social media initiatives that work to bridge the gap between sponsors and the WEGO Health Network of online patient leaders. Often bridging that gap means working directly with patient leaders to create sponsored material that better represents the patient voice.

Caitlyn lives in Providence, Rhode Island where she actively wears her New York Yankees gear out of respect for her hometown in upstate New York. In her spare time, Caitlyn plays tennis and explores the restaurant scene to uphold her “Foodie” title.

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