I have recently written a number of articles around the topic of identifying your healthcare professional digital opinion leaders (HCP DOLs). However, I thought it was time to address another key question related to this topic which I am often asked when speaking to pharmaceutical clients: once we have identified our HCP digital opinion leaders, what do we do next?

Although the concept of an HCP DOL is becoming more commonplace we are still speaking to clients who are looking for the best way to engage with these HCPs once they have identified them – or even whether to engage them at all. They accept they are just as important as traditional Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), but how do they go about engaging with them in the right way?

We have been helping pharmaceutical companies with their HCP engagement strategies for the past 20 years, as well as specialising in HCP social media market research since 2013. Based on our experience and expertise here are some of our ideas on how to best engage with your HCP digital opinion leaders:

  1. Be where your HCP DOL customers are by finding out which congresses they are attending, which sites they are using and which social media platforms they are on. That way you can focus your outreach to them in the right place.
  2. If you decide to send field reps to engage with your HCP DOLs you can provide them with personalised insights for each DOL to ensure your sales reps are discussing the topics and areas that matter most to them.
  3. Run a training course specifically for your HCP DOLs to educate them in an area they may be expressing a lack of certainty about. They could then be empowered to share the learnings with their followers.
  4. Provide educational resources published in their preferred format which they would be able to easily digest and repurpose.
  5. Some of your HCP digital opinion leaders may turn out to be in roles that you do not traditionally engage with. If they are leading and driving the online conversation in your therapy area this could be a chance to re-think that?
  6. Correct any misinformation you see your HCP DOLs sharing. If they are saying something which is incorrect this could spread very quickly.
  7. Assist your HCP DOLs with developing a new social media channel / community for their therapy area.
  8. Develop your relationship with those HCP DOLs who you now know are your advocates.
  9. Amend your messaging based on an understanding of which HCP DOLs are advocates for your competitors and why.
  10. Run your own digital-only conference encouraging your HCP DOLs to spread the word.

Some of the ideas here might seem daunting in the regulated pharmaceutical industry, so we recommend that you envision your compliance colleagues as you develop your DOL engagement plans. If you would like help with that, ask us about a facilitated HCP engagement compliance workshop or invite them to our webinar on pharmacovigilance in HCP social media listening.

Once you have identified which healthcare professionals are your digital opinion leaders there are many ways you can engage with them. To understand more about this topic register for our free educational webinar on how to produce insight led HCP customer engagement.