This month on our blog, we’ve been focusing on successful medical device social media marketing. This week, we will focus on the differences between the most popular social media sites and how you should choose which ones to focus your marketing efforts on.
How to choose a social media platform
Before we dive into the differences between various platforms, it’s important to discuss how medical device companies should choose which platforms to target.
The importance of knowing your target audience
The most important point is that you need to know where your audience is. You might think a blanketed approach in which you target all platforms is best; the more people you reach, the better, right? Well, not necessarily.
Not carefully picking your platform is like going up on stage to perform for an empty room. You can shout about how amazing your company is, but if nobody is listening, what’s the point? Instead, a better approach is to focus all of your efforts on just a few platforms where you know your audience is. That way, you will achieve a higher reward with less effort.
That’s why knowing your audience is so important, to ensure that you are going to the right places to get in front of them. You need to have a good idea of their age, their gender, what their lifestyle is like, their job role, and more. All of this information will help you to make a decision.
Know your goals
Your business goals will affect which of the popular social media sites you should be targeting. People use different platforms for different reasons. For instance, LinkedIn is generally used by professionals looking to network, making it great for B2B companies. On the other hand, Instagram is often used for lifestyle inspiration, making it more suitable for B2C companies, who can sell directly to the consumer.
If you’re looking to increase your product sales to patients, you might choose to market on more commercial platforms, but if you’re looking to raise product or brand awareness among healthcare professionals, you may choose a site like LinkedIn or Twitter.
It’s important at this point to mention that social media should be a complementary part of medical device digital marketing, rather than your sole digital project. Your social media efforts should work in conjunction with your website, search engine optimisation, email campaigns and any other content that you produce. Your digital marketing strategy should all be driving towards the same goal, and should be working in tandem to achieve it. So, when it comes to your social media, you need to ensure that you are always thinking about how you’re going to drive your customer forward, and encourage them onto the next step of the journey. You can learn more about this in our article on medical device social media strategy.
The difference between social media platforms
In order to choose which social networks to target, you need to be aware of the differences between them, such as user information, what they are used for , and what you can do on each.
24-35 category , with the majority of engagement coming from younger users. This means that if you’re targeting a younger audience, Instagram might be a good place to focus. This particular platform is huge for e-commerce, with the growth of influencer marketing in recent years, where users with high numbers of followers endorse products. Because of the trust built up between an influencer and their followers, influencer marketing has been hugely successful for some brands.
One feature that draws digital marketers to Instagram is the shop feature, where users can click to find out more about products and make purchases through the app itself. This is what makes the app great for medical device companies that can sell directly to patients.
Instagram is a purely visual platform, with every post requiring a visual element, meaning it’s not the best option for medical device companies looking to share articles and links. But the choice of posts you can create is still impressive, going beyond basic videos and photographs but confusing for those who are not regular users. Here are some of the features:
Stories: You can post photos or videos that only last for 24 hours. The user has to click on them to view them, but they are extremely popular, with over 500 million people using and viewing stories every day.
IGTV: This allows users to livestream. These livestreams can be saved to your profile to be viewed whenever. Livestreams encourage real time engagement as viewers can comment to ask questions and get live answers or interact with emojis.
Reels: Inspired by the new social media platform TikTok, reels are videos that are fewer than 15 seconds. They can be edited to cut together different scenes or add effects and different sounds. Typically, trends develop across reels, which become extremely popular. If brands are able to get involved with trends, they could end up reaching a massive audience.
Top tip: You cannot include links on Instagram posts; one way around this is to include a Linktree on your page description and direct your users there instead.
Facebook is easily the most popular social media platform, with over 2.85 billion users. This platform is popular among all ages, with no standout demographic, but it’s worth noting that Facebook is the most popular choice for over 55s – so if your audience sits in this category, this is where you’ll want to target.
Facebook’s golden gem is its shareability, allowing some lucky companies to go viral. It’s also a great place to foster a community feel, as groups can be set up to encourage information sharing and discussions. Videos do particularly well
on Facebook, but you should upload videos directly to the site rather than risking sending users to another site where you might lose them because they get distracted by something else on that page, like a recommended video.
Facebook also allows users to post stories and post live streams, but these features haven’t proven as successful on Facebook as it has on Instagram.
Top tip: If using videos on Facebook, make sure you upload them directly to your page.
Twitter was launched in 2006 and since then has gained 330 million monthly active users, with most of those users being between the ages of 25 and 34. Users are only given 280 characters per post, which includes spaces, so all content has to be short to be effective, for this reason, visuals work well on Twitter, in fact, content with relevant visuals is 94% more effective than those without. The platform is best known for delivering breaking news and stimulating lively discussions, so brands that are able to do this are likely to win big with their audiences.
If your company is looking to share industry news or snippets of information about your medical device, then Twitter is a good choice.
Top tip: To get around the short word limit, you can use images with text on them and use Bitly to compress your links so they take up fewer characters.
LinkedIn is the go-to site for professional networking, meaning it is especially popular with business-to-business companies. There are currently over 660 million registered users on LinkedIn, with 8.6 million of those users being healthcare professionals. That is a huge potential market, especially when you consider that the context of LinkedIn suggests that users are engaged and ready to listen to brands.
Simply by the nature of users being on LinkedIn indicates that they are in a professional headspace and are therefore more open to new opportunities. So, when a user comes across your post on LinkedIn, they might be more likely to engage with it than they would for instance on Facebook, which they are more likely to be using for socialising. This means that this social media platform is ideal for medical device social media marketing.
Like other popular social networks, LinkedIn recently introduced a stories feature, but much like with the fate of Facebook’s stories, this feature has yet to take off.
Which platform is king?
There is no short answer to which social media platforms you should be using to market your medical device as it is completely dependent on your business and your target audience. There isn’t a top social media site that rules over them all as they are all so different and all come with pros and cons. Now that you know the differences between each platform, you are in a better position to choose where to focus your efforts, but don’t forget to check out our other articles to learn how to optimise what you are posting.
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