Influencer marketing is a powerful tool in the WEGO Health arsenal. Connecting patient influencers with life sciences companies can drive impressive results, not just in terms of ROI, but in building trust.
Our ability to help our clients successfully navigate the rapidly-changing influencer marketing landscape is made easier by having experts on our team who know the space well. People like Shannon Meskouris, our Patient Leader Network Recruitment Manager.
Before joining WEGO Health, Shannon worked in social media, PR, and influencer marketing in several industries, most recently with beauty brands at Rebel Gail and the hospitality industry while with Melange Media Group. She has had great success managing both macro- and micro-influencer marketing campaigns.
We took a few minutes to pry Shannon away from her desk to get her take on the evolving influencer marketing landscape in healthcare and what we can learn from other industries.
Influencer marketing has been around for a while now, but it’s often misunderstood. How would you describe it?
Influencer marketing has come a long way and it’s been growing exponentially thanks to social media. At its core, influencer marketing campaigns rely on influential people to drive brand awareness. It’s a collaboration between brands and their most passionate advocates. Brands want direct access to an influencer’s engaged community, and in return, an influencer can earn money or perks when they speak on behalf of a product or brand they are passionate about. Many brands choose influencer marketing over traditional marketing efforts because it works.
You have experience working with both macro- and micro-influencers. What’s the difference?
There’s actually a big difference. There are the obvious ones, like the size of an influencer’s audience, their costs per campaign, and what type of products they’re endorsing. But there are the not-so-obvious differences – ones that brands often consider when choosing which influencers to work with.
Macro-influencers have a very broad audience, which is why celebrities typically fall into this category. A macro-influencer’s audience is also very diverse, allowing brands the opportunity to promote across multiple markets with just a single post.
Micro-influencers tend to reach a niche audience, often yielding a high and more easily defined conversion rate. They have a lot of freedom and creative license, so their campaigns are often even more authentic than a macro-influencer campaign. By collaborating with micro-influencers, brands can target specific audiences and reach consumers at a more personal level.
It’s also worth mentioning nano-influencers. Nano-influencers are most often overlooked but shouldn’t be. They reach a niche market that other types of influencers can’t. At WEGO Health, we often work in rare disease spaces, which can feel challenging and limiting at times. In these cases, we rely heavily on nano-influencers for their insights on the wants and needs within their communities. Macro-influencers would be hard-pressed to provide the kind of insights into their audience that nano-influencers can, given the sheer size of their audience and volume of interactions.
Which type of influencer a brand works with will most likely depend on campaign objectives, budget, and the type of audience they want to engage with.
What can healthcare learn from other industries about influencer marketing?
Working in the hospitality industry taught me the powerful impact micro-influencers can have on any campaign. While working with small beauty brands, I learned how important authentic content is for brand and social media growth. Healthcare has so much untapped opportunity and many healthcare companies haven’t utilized influencer marketing in an effective way.
One thing healthcare can learn from other industries is that authentic campaigns matter. They create trust. Healthcare companies need to ensure that the influencer’s overall personal brand aligns with their core values. Choosing an influencer who already genuinely shares mutual interests with them or their product will help create that trusted bond. This helps promote and build trust between influencer, audience, and brand.
How is healthcare different? Are there unique challenges or opportunities in this industry?
One major challenge is advertising on specific social media platforms. For example, regulations on Pinterest have kept pharma from advertising on its platform. Not only does this limit certain brands, it also limits the caregiver and patient community who are already established on Pinterest.
This challenge also brings about a unique opportunity, which is a chance for healthcare brands to test their creativity and limits with influencer marketing.
What kind of results can an influencer marketing campaign achieve?
Influencer marketing yields big results. A well-designed and executed campaign can increase brand awareness and brand credibility. It tends to generate a higher ROI than traditional marketing efforts. It can also open doors to a larger audience and help brands grow their social media presence.
One of the most exciting things I’ve seen while working with influencers are the real-time results they can produce. I worked on a campaign that drove half a million impressions in one hour, and another that generated over 1.4 million impressions in one day. While working in the hospitality industry, I often saw customers come into an establishment simply because an influencer they follow tagged one of our products just hours before. Those results drove me to work with more and more influencers because I knew the quick turnaround a single post could produce.
What most excites you about influencer marketing in healthcare?
I’m excited about the potential for patient influencers to expand their advocacy and for certain condition areas to get a larger platform. Patient influencers are already using their voices to improve healthcare, but the industry currently offers few opportunities for these patients. Real patient stories have the authenticity that most influencer campaigns are lacking. By uniting life sciences companies with real patient influencers, we’re not only giving patients a platform, we’re also helping those who are caregivers, those who are newly diagnosed, and those who just want to learn more.
Influencer marketing is a way for brands to create awareness and credibility quickly and efficiently. I’m convinced that brands are doing themselves a disservice if they aren’t using influencer marketing to connect with patient communities.