Social media is no longer just about reconnecting with old friends, sharing your holiday pictures, or watching funny videos. It has grown far beyond those days, and there is now a diverse series of networks where businesses forge new relationships and seek to be seen by their ideal potential customers. Almost everybody uses social media and companies that don’t risk being left behind.
The problem is that companies don’t always have the correct approach to social media marketing. Either they will post sporadically, without a plan and expect their following to explode, or they will post with little thought to the outcome they are looking for and hope for a miracle to happen. Unfortunately, for medical device manufacturers, there are no miracles. Effective social media marketing for medical devices requires a comprehensive strategy, and luckily, we’re here to help you understand what that looks like.
How to create a successful medical device social media campaign
Understand your goals
Before planning your strategy, you need to understand what you actually want to get out of social media marketing. Your social media goals should mirror your business’ overall goals, and your strategy should be designed to help you achieve them.
If your goal is to generate more enquiries, you’ll need to ensure a clear customer journey. This will probably mean funneling users to your website,
where they can make a purchase (if you have a consumer side to the business) or contact you directly for more information or to set up a trial. For this to be effective, you need to ensure that your website is optimised for conversion – if you would like to learn more about that, you can visit our article ‘'How to make your medical device website convert”. But, it not just about conversions on your site, you’ll also need to plan the customer’s journey to your site. For instance, if you’re promoting a piece of content, your link will need to go to that content, not the homepage of your website, something we often see.
Raising brand awareness
If you’re looking to raise brand awareness so that your company stays in your customer’s mind, you need to remember that this isn’t just about having a recognisable logo. Branding is about so much more than that. In order for branding to work effectively, you’ll need to understand your brand’s persona (personality)so that it can resonate with your audience (think of the connection you have with your favourite company, it most likely is because you align with their values and what they do. Their ‘Why’ as Simon Sinek would say).
In this digital age, it’s more important than ever to create an emotional connection with your audience. Creating an authentic brand with qualities that people can relate to gives you more chance of cutting through the noise. Because you’re just trying to get on your customer’s radar at this point, your posts don’t necessarily have to direct them anywhere; instead, you may like to just focus on your company’s values.
Raising clinical/product awareness
This is similar to raising brand awareness, except that you’ll more likely need to direct users to take an action. For this, you should share useful information about the therapy area that you’re in, so you’re giving, not just taking. Once you have provided enough valuable content, you can then ask for something in return. Remember though, you are trying to build up a relationship with the customer, which takes time. Initially, social media is not a sales channel.
The importance of consistency
With so much content to easily consume, brands have to be seen a total of 7 times to be remembered. We have spoken about ‘The rule of 7’ before, but here we will be focusing specifically on how it effects medical device social media. Due to the rule of 7, you need to ensure that you’re posting consistently to increase your chances of being seen. It is important to remember that probably only 1/6th of your posts will be seen by your intended audience, and they will most likely only scan it, hence why it takes consistency and a plan to make an impact on social media.
How often you need to post depends on which platform you’re using, your company’s goals and how much you can manage. When posting on LinkedIn, a popular platform for medical device companies’ social media marketing, it is recommended that companies post at least once a day, but no more than 5 times a day. When posting, you’ll need to understand your customers. How often do they want to see posts? How engaged are they? Will they find posting too often annoying? This is all something that can be measured with analytics.
You also need to consider the best time to reach them. When are they free to engage? We recommend that you experiment with posting times for three months. You could post at the same time for a month e.g. 9 am and then adapt this to the following month to lunchtime. By the end of the three months, you can see how engagement changes as you change your posting times.
If you decide to post once a day, you’ll need to consider how you do so without your posts becoming repetitive or tedious. With LinkedIn receiving over 200 million posts a day, you’ll need to devise a way to stand out, and that is where creating a content plan comes in.
Create a content plan
Once you have clarified your aims, it’s time to develop a content plan, and for that, you need to get to know your audience. Knowing your audience, their challenges and the questions they have, you can create the content that will appeal to them.
One great way of planning your content is to choose a theme that can be broken down into topics and series.
For instance, you may have a theme like colorectal surgery that is broken down into the topics of best practices, latest trends and clinical data. A series is something that you would post regularly, like once a week, that isn’t part of your usual theme. This might include a ‘meet the team’ series, or ‘fun fact Friday’. Introducing a series is great as it doesn’t have to have an endpoint, and it is a chance to focus more on company values.
Having a structure like this for medical device social media means it is easier to keep track of what you should be posting and when. As well as that, it also makes coming up with ideas for content a lot easier. A great way to think of a content plan is placing little pieces of your story into your audience’s head. You are trying to complete the puzzle in their mind, so you must make sure each piece gets through in some way or another.
Best practices for creating posts
There are so many different options when it comes to what sort of posts you’ll actually create, which could include blogs/articles, infographics, animations or even videos. Videos are currently the most popular form of content across social media and that is probably because our brains process videos 60,000 times faster than text. If you would like more information on how to film high quality videos from home, you can see our article ‘How to create professional videos remotely.’
Creating content that is high quality, sleek and professional-looking should be a priority when bringing your posts together, and this might be harder than it seems. For instance, social media has created social media influencers who have high-quality posts, sleek images, and engaging videos.
The amount of work that goes into creating content for an influencer might be surprising. They often have makeup artists, videographers, and graphic designers working behind the scenes to make their content. The influencer might be the face of the brand, but there is a whole team dedicated to creating and maintaining that level of professional content. When it comes to making your company’s content, you will probably need a similar team, including copywriters and strategists.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 era, low quality content was more widely accepted as companies adapted to the new normal, but now, people have grown tired of low quality image and video content and companies need to produce high quality to impress an audience.
To find out more about creating posts that perform well, check out our article on social media best practices.
Increasing engagement rates
The algorithms that control when posts are seen are constantly changing and it is hard to keep up. One thing that will always have an effect is engagement rates. Engagement is any time a user interacts with a post by liking it, reacting to it, sharing it or commenting on it. This tells the algorithm that the post is worth seeing, and so it will be prioritised and shown to more people. That is why it is so important to always work on improving your engagement rate. We’ve gathered a few tips on how to do this.
Tips for better medical device social media engagement
Use hashtags – You should be using at least 3 hashtags per post.
Tag people in posts – They’re likely to engage and share with their network
Encourage comments – Try ending your post with a question
Don't post and ghost! - Reply to commenters
Do you need an agency for medical device social media?
With so much to think about, you might be considering working with a medical device marketing agency for your social media marketing, or you may be considering keeping it in-house instead. There are lots of pros and cons for both.
In-house social media marketing might help to keep costs down and it is always helpful to have someone who knows your business inside out, but without a team to bounce off, coming up with ideas may be tough. Not only that, but without a team, it may be a struggle to stay current as time is short and reading around the latest medical device digital marketing trends might not be the priority.
There is obviously a cost associated when working with an agency, and this will depend on how developed your social media already is and how often you would like to post. There will need to be an initial set up period to develop templates and strategy and then on top of that you will need to pay for content plan and the posts themselves. Although you could work with an agency and only post once a week to keep costs down, it is important to consider that the more you post, the more likely you are to see a higher ROI.
Working with an agency would also mean that you get a team of skilled individuals behind you, with expertise in all the different areas required to succeed in social media marketing. Not only that but creating high quality content for you will be a priority for them, and it will take the job off your plate – and as you’ve seen, there’s a lot more to consider than it might initially appear.
Medical device social media strategy – not as easy as it seems
There are lots of things to consider when developing a social media marketing strategy for medical device companies. It is not simply about throwing a few posts out there and hoping for the best. It needs to be a well thought out and meticulously planned strategy that works towards the aims of your business and considers your customer at every point. When social media marketing is done well, it looks effortless, but that is what makes it so effective.
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