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Leveraging Social Media to Amplify Engagement for Medical Device Companies

August 26, 2021

Social media has become a ubiquitous part of our lives. We check Facebook before we have our morning coffee, hop on YouTube to figure out how to rewire a light, and engage in Twitter arguments after dinner. But "doing it for the 'gram'" isn't just for influencers hoping to land free hotel accommodations. Medical device social media marketing allows you to build trust, reach stakeholders, and spread valuable medical information. 

Social Media Platforms and Statistics

Though over 70% of the US population has a social media account, not everyone uses all platforms equally. Understanding which platforms are most used by your desired audience will help you decide the best methods for investing your resources into social media marketing. Keep reading for information on the most influential platforms among adults. 

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media platform for adults, with over 2.8 billion monthly active users. It's the only platform that reaches over half of all social media users. Facebook's adoption rate among US adults includes:

  • 69% of all adults

  • 61% of men

  • 77% of women

  • 70% of people aged 18 to 29

  • 77% of people aged 30 to 49

  • 73% of people aged 50 to 64

  • 50% of people over 65

  • 67% of White people

  • 74% of Black people

  • 72% of Hispanic people

Facebook is the world's third most visited website, coming in behind Google and YouTube. It's the second-most downloaded app, with only TikTok outranking it. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the oldest of the major still-used social media platforms. It was established in 2003, the year before Facebook made its debut. Its numbers are nowhere near as impressive as Facebook's, but still with 756 million users. However, LinkedIn is the most trusted of all social media platforms and its focus is narrower. It was designed to be more professional than personal. LinkedIn is a great platform to position your company as an industry leader and make professional connections. Some more relevant statistics about LinkedIn users include: 

  • 80% of people on LinkedIn drive business decisions

  • LinkedIn is the top platform for business-to-business (B2B) content marketing

  • 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn

  • 51% of US college graduates use LinkedIn

  • 6 out of 10 users are actively looking for business insights

Twitter

Twitter is the social media platform most often used to debate and discuss ideas and follow trending news stories. People also use Twitter to keep up in real time with events from the serious, such as ongoing protests, to the frivolous, such as the latest episode of their favorite reality TV show. Because of this, Twitter is a fast-paced platform, with tweets having an average lifespan of 15 to 20 minutes. Some other things to know about Twitter:

  • Twitter has 192 million daily active users, with 55 million in the US.

  • Around 63% of users are between the ages of 35 and 65.

  • Twitter users are more likely to be male (66%) than female (34%).

  • Users only spend 3.39 minutes on Twitter per session. 

  • Journalists make up 25% of all verified accounts on Twitter.

  • 77% of users are impressed when a brand responds to a tweet.

  • 60% of users expect a brand to respond to a customer service request on Twitter within one hour. 

Instagram

Instagram has over 1 billion monthly users worldwide. It ranks sixth among all social media platforms. Instagram is a primarily visual platform that relies heavily on pictures and videos. 

  • In the US, Instagram is more popular among women (43%) than men (31%). 

  • 81% of users have used Instagram to research a business.

  • 130 million users click on shopping posts each month.

  • 50% of users have made a purchase on a brand's website after seeing it advertised on Instagram.

Y‌ouTube

YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of logged-in monthly active users. However, because you can use YouTube without creating an account or logging in, it actually surpasses Facebook as far as the percentage of US adults who use it. YouTube is the most popular online platform in the US, with 81% of adults using it. Unlike other platforms, YouTube maintains its popularity across a wide range of age groups, with its users including: 

  • 77% of Americans aged 15 to 35

  • 73% of Americans aged 36 to 45 

  • 70% of Americans aged 46 to 55

  • 67% of Americans over age 55

Building Communities

With 80% of internet users turning to the internet for medical advice, social media offers you a unique opportunity to provide information and resources directly to your end users. This goes beyond just content about your products. To build a sense of community, look for opportunities to provide your consumers with valuable information related directly to issues they're facing as a result of the conditions that lead to their needing your product. 

The way we communicate is changing

Before social media, communicating with people outside of your direct circle of contacts required a concerted effort. You were also mostly limited to interacting with people you either knew in person or who happened to be in the same location as you. One of the biggest differences social media has made is in the number of people you can interact with. For medical device companies, this means that marketing is not confined to trade shows and brochures aimed at healthcare providers. 

With so much information so widely available, patients are more aware of their options and more involved in making their healthcare decisions. Social media allows you to directly engage with the end users of your products. 

Real time: Conversations between brands and consumers are happening in real time. It's not uncommon for someone to reach out to a brand on social media with a problem or question and expect to receive an immediate answer. Monitoring your brand mentions on social media gives you the opportunity to address concerns in a way that builds trust in your brand. 

Public conversations: Unlike a phone conversation or even an email, social media exchanges are public. This means that answering a question for one person may mean you're answering it for many more. Unfortunately, it also means unsatisfied customers aren't just ranting to their close friends — their message is reaching a wide circle as well. 

With sharing options just a click away on most platforms, your content can be spread easily. Content that elicits a strong emotion is more likely to go viral, reaching thousands of people very quickly. In social media, it's important to talk to your audience, not at them. It's a mistake to just post your content and leave it at that. To be effective, you need to listen to and engage with your followers. 

Brand reputation on a large scale: Social media can offer you insight into what people think of your brand that may be impossible to learn elsewhere. Not only will people communicate with your brand directly, but they will talk about it with others. You should follow all mentions of your brand to get an idea of what people are saying. This is called social listening and lets you effectively address their pain points in the language that resonates best with them. 

Customer service is another place where your brand can shine on social media. Quickly addressing any concerns increases trust in your brand not only by the customer whose complaint you're dealing with, but also in the eyes of everyone who sees it. Don't stop at addressing complaints, however. Stay engaged with your followers' content as well. You can give a shout-out to customers to make them feel appreciated. This builds loyalty to your brand and results in word-of-mouth advertising.

Social groups and forums

Many social media platforms offer the option of creating groups, forums, or chats that revolve around a subject or theme. Creating or joining some of these groups gives you an insider's view of exactly what's on the minds of the people you’re trying to reach. Some of the most popular options are: 

  • Facebook groups focus on discussion among members about a shared interest or issue. 

  • LinkedIn offers public and private groups that let you establish your expertise and grow relationships. 

  • Twitter chats happen at a set date and time and center around a specific topic. 

Reaching Targeted Audiences

Social media marketing allows you to reach a targeted audience in a way few other forms of marketing can match. You've done the market research to understand who your market is and how your device solves their problem. Social media lets you leverage that research to reach only those specific people. You don't have to waste your money marketing to a wide audience, most of whom aren't your intended customers. 

There are several options for using social media advertising to reach your targeted audience, including: 

Paid social advertising: Social media platforms are able to gather a tremendous amount of information about their users based on the information they post as well as the people and content they interact with. Some advanced targeting features include: 

  • Interests and hobbies

  • Demographics, such as age, gender, and location

  • Job title

  • Behaviors, such as people who've visited your website

  • Partner connections, such as people who have purchased a related product

Paid social campaign options: Unlike traditional advertising, paid social advertising is often used for goals other than just selling your product. While that's often the end goal, social advertising can be focused on the steps in between that will build your brand and allow you to increase your reach. Before you launch a campaign, you need to define your goal such as:

  • Building brand awareness

  • Generating leads

  • Increasing website conversions

  • Increasing app downloads 

Boosting social posts: If you're following your analytics on social media, you've probably noticed your carefully created organic content isn't reaching very many people. While having a post go viral is great when it happens, many of your posts won't reach their intended audience due to the algorithm used by the platforms. Most platforms reward content users engage with, but it can be hard to get engagement when your posts aren't being seen. Paying to boost your social posts will increase the engagement on your existing posts.

Medical Device Social Media FAQs

Which social platforms should we be present on?

The key to successful social media for medical devices is clearly understanding who the stakeholders are and where they can be reached. For many medical device companies, this means casting a wide net that includes hospital administrators, healthcare providers, and patients themselves since all of these groups can drive purchasing decisions. The most important medical device social media platforms include: 

  • LinkedIn: As the most trusted social platform, LinkedIn reflects the serious, professional nature of the healthcare industry. 

  • Facebook: The sheer reach of Facebook makes it a valuable platform for targeting your audience. 

  • YouTube: This is the ideal platform for professional quality videos that demonstrate your product and tell more about your company. 

How much budget should we allocate toward paid social?

There are two main methods for determining your social media marketing budget: goal-based and revenue-based. In goal-based budgeting, you determine the number of leads you want to generate and the cost for each lead. In revenue-based budgeting, you allocate a set percentage of your digital marketing budget toward social media. A common percentage is spending 10% to 25% of your digital marketing budget on social media marketing. 

What kind of ROI can I expect from social media?

Because social media marketing has goals other than pure sales, calculating the ROI of your efforts looks a little different than it does with traditional advertising. It can be hard to measure the value of understanding your customers' pain points so you can more effectively address them. However, that doesn't mean you should just throw money at social media without worrying about your return. 

Establishing ROI starts with clearly defining your objectives and the value they create. Once you have that, you can quantify value and plug it into a formula of value divided by investment times 100. That equals the ROI. Value can include any of the goals discussed above, such as brand awareness, lead generation, or customer satisfaction.

Your Goals can be Reached Through Social Media

With nearly half of adults relying on social media for information about healthcare decision-making, medical device companies need to meet these customers where they are in order to remain relevant. Social media marketing isn't just for reaching patients, either. Over two-thirds of doctors use social media for professional purposes. Regardless of which stakeholders your company wants to reach, there's a social media platform and medical device social media strategy that can help you accomplish your goals. 

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