SML Joins Pfizer to Discuss Influencer Marketing for Consumer Health Brands
Social Media Link’s CEO, Susan Frech joined Pfizer Product Manager, Jim Sears, at this year’s Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s WOMM-U Conference in Chicago to help educate marketers about influencer strategies for consumer health brands.
It’s a known truth that Pharma companies, as well as other conservative brands, don’t have the luxury of diving head first into social media. Rather, they must approach advocacy and influencer marketing with strategic thinking and steadfast results. Pfizer’s portfolio of over-the-counter (OTC) brands help millions of consumers every day, and with the ever-growing channels of conversation, today’s discerning consumers rely on multiple resources for making decisions involving their health or the health of loved ones. More than ever, OTC brands must learn to leverage influencers, while balancing the uncertainty of social media marketing.
Understanding that social media doesn’t “turn off,” Pfizer executes influencer programs involving close to 30,000 consumers across multiple targets for many months of engagement with their Children’s Advil®, Advil® Congestion Relief, EmergenC® and Centrum® brands through SML’s Smiley360 engagement platform. Pfizer’s multi-brand programs aim to not only generate conversations, but also to arm consumers with the education to make the right choices for themselves and their household, and ultimately influence purchase consideration among the thousands of circles of friends that the Smiley Community touches.
Consumer health companies that manufacturer and promote medications or medical devices have additional responsibilities that require broader consideration when developing social media programs. In a recent study, health and pharma executives revealed their top concerns and challenges of using social media, and the top reasons were measuring effectives, regulatory concerns, legal concerns, compliance concerns and increasing education internally.
Social Media Link’s session tackled some of these concerns using real life scenarios and best practices from case studies with Pifzer brands.
Some key takeaways from the session include:
Consumers are using social media to help make health and OTC purchase decisions.
42% of consumers are using social media to access health-related consumer reviews and one-third of consumers are using the social space as a natural habitat for health discussions. Consumer reviews and recommendations are still considered one of the most trusted forms of advertising for brands as well, with over 90% of consumers trusting online recommendations from people they know.
Influencer Marketing can be done! Know the rules, laws, guidelines and best practices before building a program.
Conservative companies that operate in restrictive regulatory environments can leverage consumer advocacy without losing control. Consumer health brands have the opportunity to activate influencer marketing to leverage these trusted conversations. Key industry guidelines like Adverse Event reporting and monitoring, state restrictions and FTC disclosure requirements are important factors in developing influencer strategies. It’s important to have a plan in place for each of these considerations.
Marketing OTC products is different than marketing non-OTC CPG products.
Know what the industry guidelines are, and utilize companies who are experienced in this space to help with education. Make sure to bring all relevant cross-functional colleagues into the discussion early and ensure your review committee members fully buy in to avoid hurdles. Utilize your insights teams to help craft the effective surveys to get strong data back that tells you if the program moved the needle, or help you find new insights.
Focus on being relevant and “shareable”; give influencers a reason to share.
Consumers want to bring something of value to their networks; they don’t want to just push a brand. They want to share and show how your brand was relevant and meaningful in their life. Set up your influencer experience so that they have some staying power. Help seed conversation through easy-to-understand brand messaging and strong call-to-actions.
Start testing! Set KPIs up front and learn your brand’s success benchmarks.
Brands can learn and approach their social media hesitation by testing. It’s good to see what kind of results you can expect, and learn from what works and what doesn’t work. Start setting your brand’s benchmarks. Plan your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and know what you think success looks like, even if it might change by the end of the program.