For as long as products have been advertised, marketers have relied on what we call “influencers” to help position products in the eyes of viewers. Whether it’s athletes on cereal boxes, celebrity endorsements, or brand advocates (think “Cover Girl”) – the influencer has been used to strengthen the brand identity of a particular product or service.
The role of these influencers is, in part, to fill in the gaps with respect to what you know about a particular product. The idea is that we as consumers tend to take what we know about a particular influencer and apply it to the product they are promoting. For example, if an athlete is endorsing a specific brand of deodorant, we are likely to make the assumption that it’s a high-quality product – given the athlete’s credibility in this area.
These days, however, influencers have extended far beyond the realm of celebrity. The rise of social media has made it possible for just about anyone to become an influencer with the right audience. Today, influencer marketing has taken on a whole new meaning – one that may present some opportunities for your pharmacy or durable medical equipment company.
This article will discuss how to identify your top influencers, some strategies for working with them effectively, and how influencer marketing can increase your sales and marketing success.
Finding Your Influencers
There are a few important things to consider when it comes to identifying and selecting your influencers – especially for a pharmacy or DME company. Chances are, a celebrity endorsement is not the best way to reach your target customer, and that’s ok. What is important is finding influencers that are relatable, authentic, and relevant. Let’s break that down:
- Relatable – Your influencers should ideally share some demographic traits with your target consumer. It’s important that things like gender and age are considered where appropriate to ensure that your prospective customers can connect with your influencers.
- Authentic – Particularly in the world of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, it’s so crucial that your influencers have authenticity. If you are marketing a DME product for individuals with diabetes, it almost goes without saying that your influencer should be someone who would benefit from that product.
- Relevant – Again, with smaller pharmacies and companies marketing in specific regions, geographic considerations should also come into play when assessing relevance. You might have the perfect influencer pop up, but if they live and work outside the region you do business in, you may want to reconsider.
Once you’ve found influencer candidates that are relatable, authentic, and relevant – there’s one last test they need to pass, and it’s the most important one: are they engaging?
Influencers that you select to work with your company and associate with your brand need to be compelling, creative, innovative, and above all else – professional. A great step to take before bringing in an influencer is to complete an “audit” of their online presence – followers, use of hashtags, content creation, etc. You want to find someone who has a fantastic online presence, a large audience, and a voice that aligns nicely with your brand or business.
NOTE: We’re all familiar with the news stories from companies who have partnered with individuals who have some unsavory content buried in their Twitter feed or Facebook pages – do your research up front to avoid any potential pitfalls.
Working With Your Influencers
Once you’ve selected your influencers, you need to determine how they’ll fit with your existing marketing program. What opportunities exist for them to play in role in furthering your message? It may be that they can help boost your online audience, or that they can draw a crowd to one of your physical retail locations to launch a new product or promotion. Depending on what you have in your marketing pipeline, your influencers are a fantastic asset to supplement your existing marketing initiatives.
One idea that may work well for your pharmacy or durable medical equipment company is to use your influencer marketing program to test new promotional ideas. If you have a particular promotion, coupon, incentive, or another marketing element that you’d like to test out – why not let your influencers run with and see how it fares? It will fall outside of your primary marketing channels, and you’ll get some great data as to whether prospective customers are interested in the promotion.
Finally, it’s important to give your influencers enough freedom that they can be true to their brand and their voice. The goal is to have them share your products, brand, and promotions – but do it in their style so that it appears authentic, genuine, and believable. To do this – it’s important to work closely with them to learn their style and determine what the best approach will be for their audience (and remember, they know their followers best!). Having another creative force behind your brand is also a great way to keep your marketing elements fresh and constantly be integrating outside perspectives.
NOTE: A quick note about influencer marketing and social media. The FTC has an extensive set of endorsement guidelines as to exactly how the connection between advertisers and endorsers are to be disclosed on channels like Twitter and Instagram. Always be sure that your business and your influencers are aware of these guidelines and marketing their posts accordingly.
Moving Towards Results
With your influencers in place, there’s still work to be done before seeing improved results on the sales end of the business. It is important to provide your influencers with tools that will allow them to generate business and drive new customers to your pharmacy or DME company. Some examples of this include coupon codes, influencer-specific discounts, or flash sales. You may also want to consider running a specific promotion tied to your influencer to generate sales either online or in-person (which is fantastic if your influencer is also a member of your community!).
Like all marketing programs, it is also important to work with your influencer marketing team to track the results of your campaigns. It’s important to have an understanding of how each individual influencer is performing – especially when they are targeting different segments of your target market.
We hope that this article helps you get starting on building an influencer marketing program for your pharmacy or durable medical equipment business. If you have more questions or are asking yourself what to do next – just give us a call! Our team at Prizm Media would be more than happy to chat all things “influencer” with you, and we’d love to work with you to develop your program. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (604) 326-0096, you’ll be glad you did!