How to reach Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) on Social Media

May 2024 | Read Time: 3 mins
Posted by Visual Abstract | Author: Celine Choukair
Three healthcare professionals standing in a row, illustrated in Visual Abstract style.
Social media has become a pervasive force, influencing many aspects of modern life—including healthcare. A growing number of healthcare professionals (HCPs) use social media both personally and professionally.

However, the potential of these digital platforms in professional settings is not fully realized.

This blog post explores the effectiveness of social media as a tool for reaching and influencing HCPs and identifies best practices for engagement.
The Current State of Social Media Among HCPs
A study by Hameed et al. (2021), titled Analysis of Physician Use of Social Media, found that 70% of healthcare professionals (HCPs) are digitally savvy and have at least one public social media profile. However, activity levels are low, with about 90% posting zero times per month.
Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are becoming increasingly Digital Natives
A May 2022 study found that two-thirds of HCPs now spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes daily on social media platforms  (3). According to a 2021 Indegene study, HCPs have embraced digital channels more between 2019 and 2021. On social media, 77% of HCPs primarily use digital platforms for personal education, while over half also engage professionally, sharing ideas, staying updated with news, conducting research, and teaching. Additionally, 80% seek health-related information online.
Influence of Social Media on Pharma Marketing
Notably, the use of social media for receiving medical and promotional information from pharmaceutical companies rose from 41% in 2019 to 52% in 2021. This trend highlights the growing influence of social media among digitally savvy HCPs, who are turning to platforms like LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and specialized medical communities for real-time insights and peer discussions. (2)
Shift in Communication Channels
E-mails from representatives (46% to 54%) and marketing emails (44% to 48%) gained traction , indicating a preference for more personalized digital communication. Meanwhile, other traditional channels like In-person meetings with reps (72% to 65%) and offline journals (68% to 58%) experienced declines. (Read our article on HCP e-Mail Marketing here) (2)
Overwhelmed HCPs Seek Relevant Content
A significant number of healthcare professionals (HCPs) feel overwhelmed by pharmaceutical content. In Germany, 58% (47% in the U.S. and 45% in the U.K.) are overwhelmed, especially by product promotions and event info, while 12% (14% U.S. and 13% U.K.) believe representatives don’t fully understand their needs. HCPs across regions want personalized, relevant content and easy access to representatives through their preferred channels. (2)
What HCPs Want from Pharma Companies Online
Recent data indicates that HCPs are seeking more meaningful ways to engage with pharmaceutical companies online. They want more findings from medical congresses (30%), case studies/real-world evidence (23%), continuing medical education (CME) content (19%), diagnosis support (15%), and educational videos (12%). These insights reveal that while HCPs may not actively post on social media, they are keenly interested in high-quality educational content that supports their professional growth and practice (3).
What HCPs Want from Pharma Companies Online
1. Understand Audience Preferences: Tailor content to each platform and audience segment.

2. Create Visual Abstracts and Infographics: Summarize complex studies into visual abstracts and infographics for quick insights.

3. Create Targeted Email Campaigns: Personalize emails to address specific needs.

4. Leverage Educational Videos: Provide high-quality videos on medical advancements and case studies.

5. Design e-Leaflets and Digital Brochures: Offer tailored e-Leaflets and digital brochures with CME content and clinical updates.

6. Offer On-Demand Accessibility: Ensure representatives and educational content are available through preferred channels.

7. Optimize Content Timing: Post and send emails when HCPs are most active.
Conclusion: The Path Forward for Pharma Marketers
These trends underscore the importance of pharmaceutical marketers embracing a strategic digital presence, particularly on social media, to engage effectively with HCPs in this evolving digital landscape.
Sources
1. Hameed I, Oakley CT, Ahmed A, Naeem N, Robinson NB, Hameed NUF, Gaudino M. Analysis of Physician Use of Social Media. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Jul 1;4(7):e2118213. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.18213. PMID: 34292338; PMCID: PMC8299311.

2. Indegene (2021), Digitally-Savvy HCP Report: Read the Report

3. Sermo (2019), The Digital Day of an HCP: Download the PDF

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