Health-Condition Influencers Reveal Social Media Strategies

Influencers have been impacting the health and wellness marketplace for years, but only recently are we beginning to see pharma brands catch on to this trend.

Health influencers are an access point to patient communities, bringing forward the voices of people who live with a condition (e.g., psoriasis, diabetes, etc.).

For publishers and brands, health influencers can help deepen our understanding of how real people think and feel.

Healthline’s 2018 “Health & Wellness Influencer Survey” questioned health influencers across all social media channels to understand how they work, what they value, and what they’re planning for 2019.

In particular, the survey returned valuable insights into the activities and strategies of health-condition-specific influencers.

What they are sharing

  • Health-condition influencers’ primary message is to inspire and encourage others (53%) and raise awareness about a condition or issue (40%).
  • Top condition areas: neurological disorders (20%), mental health (17%), autoimmune disorders (14%), diabetes (9%), and gut health (9%).



What platforms they are using

  • 61% value their blog over their social-media accounts (39%).
  • Health-condition influencers are more likely to focus on Facebook than other types of influencers (37% vs. 16%), and less on Instagram (35% vs. 59%).
  • On Facebook, health condition influencers plan to use Groups (40%), Live (34%), and Stories (26%) the most.
  • On Instagram, they plan to use Stories (70%) and Q&A feature (21%) the most.

What are their social practices?

  • 36% post new content on social media one time per day, 45% post 2-9 times per day and 7% post 10 or more times per day.
  • 30% of health-condition influencers use post likes as a measurement of success on their social channels, followed by comments (20%), views (16%), and followers (12%).

Why they work with brands

  • 59% of health-condition influencers stated “their message aligns with mine” as the #1 reason to work with brands.
  • 56% of health-condition influencers work with brands because they want an increase in recognition and reach from brand partnerships, compared to receiving goods/services/products for personal use (17%), help marketing content (11%), or help creating content (9%).
  • Preferred methods of working with brands: sponsored post (31%), content creation & social promotion (31%), and speaking opportunities (26%)
  • 68% want to do more sponsored partnerships per month in 2019

What we learned

  1. Authenticity of intent to inspire others fuels organic and inspirational relationships.
  2. Influencers prefer their blog as their primary channel of communication, but rely on social media to drive distribution of message. 
  3. Alignment with a brand’s purpose enables successful influencer-brand relationships.

In a world of cluttered and often “fake” social content, health influencers offer health and pharma marketers an authentic and direct line to patients.

One influencer said it best: “Social media has become too much about working the algorithm and less about creating genuine content.” Marketers looking to invest in sustainable, engaged relationships with patients may want to consider working with health influencers.

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