12 May How health and pharma brands can leverage influencer marketing – safely and effectively
Over the past year, as our collective focus on health has been heightened, we’ve seen more health and wellness content on social media.
Influencers have played a key part in this. At the start of the pandemic, The World Health Organisation leaned on content creators’ power to influence their audience, partnering with them to share hygienic hand washing practices. With fast developments and changing advice, they proved an effective way to communicate the latest guidelines and information.
Outside the pandemic, health and pharma brands are also finding benefit in influencer marketing. On the one hand, they’re like any other brand competing in a crowded market. They need engaging social content to help them stand out. Content that is informative, accurate and effective. But on the other hand, they face a unique pressure to follow stricter industry rules and regulations.
So how can they partner with content creators and attract their customers’ attention – not regulatory bodies? And how have other brands mastered it?
#1 Get clued up on regulations in your region
When it comes to promoting pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other health-related products, there will be certain disclaimers that need to be included.
In the US, posts will need to comply with Food and Drug Administration regulations and FTC guidelines. Meanwhile, in Australia it’s the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the UK has the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Your company will no doubt have internal guidelines when it comes to promotion, and influencer marketing should sit within that.
As with any paid partnership, clear disclosure is best practice. Whether that’s with an #ad disclosure at the start of the post, or by using Instagram’s Paid Partnership tag.
#2 A great campaign starts with a clear brief
Influencer marketing helps pharma brands because creators can share their personal health stories, layered with your product benefits. This really helps the content resonate. However, they shouldn’t be making unsubstantiated claims.
A clear, informative brief will ensure your influencer collaborators stick within your guidelines and know what they can and can’t say about your product.
Set out clear dos and don’ts to make things simple. If you’re using Vamp’s platform, this template is already set out for you and influencers can easily refer back to this at any time.
#3 Use a brand-safe content approval process
Depending on how strict your guidelines are, it may be a good idea to approve influencers’ images and captions, before they post. This helps you to collaborate with confidence, knowing that a post can’t go live without your permission.
Vamp’s platform has this brand safety tool built-in. Content and caption approvals are all managed through the central dashboard and share links make it easy for brands to get approval from multiple stakeholders. You can check the pending posts against your brief dos and don’ts to ensure they’re spot on. Learn more about brand safety here.
#4 Authentic partnerships are key
There’s no use in collaborating with a creator who has never needed to or will never need to use your products. Their audience will see right through them and it will put your brand’s reputation on the line.
Instead, use Vamp’s invite-only pool of vetted creators to find influencers who are open about the pharma products they regularly use and keep an open and honest dialogue with their audience. This authenticity will help drive campaign objectives, as their followers will be more open to trusting their advice and your products.
#5 Skip the euphemism
Using correct terminology and descriptions – whether they are considered ‘unpleasant’ or not – is important for health and pharma brands (and their campaigns) if they’re to be taken seriously by social audiences.
After all, social users are becoming more comfortable using the correct language when speaking about health. In recent years we’ve seen them praise sanitary brands who have shown more realistic depictions of menstruation blood in their ads.
When the vaginal healthcare brand Kolorex briefed Vamp creators, the brand spared the euphemism, using terminology like ‘vaginal health’ rather than ‘feminine health’. Creators knew exactly what they were dealing with and it set the straightforward tone of the campaign.
Best practice in action
Vamp has partnered with Bayer, PharmaCare, Swisse and Care Pharmaceuticals, to name a few.
When Care Pharma wanted to promote their Little Range as the go-to brand for children’s health and drive awareness of the family products, they turned to Vamp for help. Our parent influencers were able to create engaging social content that spoke from experience and connected with other families’ experiences. This strategy delivered over 35k impressions and a 2% engagement rate, beating the health industry benchmark by 292%.
Elementelle Probiotics+ was also keen to leverage the awareness-driving power of influencers. They collaborated with a diverse group of Vamp’s health and wellness influencers to create inspiring and re-shareable content. Creators were gifted probiotics best suited their health needs, which allowed them to authentically speak about the product’s benefits to their daily life. This strategy achieved over 97k impressions and a 1.7% engagement rate, beating the health industry benchmark by 233%.