The way in which HCPs utilise social media channels to engage and collaborate is constantly evolving as new platforms emerge and current ones develop. Understanding your HCP customers’ behaviours online enables you to ensure your HCP digital engagement activities resonate.
In this white paper we explore some of the different behaviours HCPs are displaying within platforms like X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, YouTube and Threads and offer suggestions on what this means for pharmaceutical companies and the ways in which they can support their HCPs via these channels.
At CREATION.co, we’ve led the way in using data science to identify and profile healthcare professional Digital Opinion Leaders since we first introduced the concept in 2012.
Deciding how to identify, profile and engage DOLs is a process as unique as your own goals. So we work with you to define what’s most important in your particular DOL identification and profiling exercise.
Below is an illustration of 10 of our metrics to identify your DOLs.
10 ways to identify DOLs
To learn more visit our Digital Opinion Leader Mapping page
We have been helping pharmaceutical companies with their HCP engagement strategies for the past 20 years. Based on our experience and expertise, here are our top 3 ideas on how to best engage with your HCP Digital Opinion Leaders:
For the rest of our list, check out our HCP engagement strategies article.
Once you have identified your Digital Opinion Leaders, you need to consider how to engage effectively with them. However, before you start thinking about identifying DOLs, you need to put this into context with your long-term goals and think about what would make a Digital Opinion Leader for you. You need to consider:
If you start by answering these, and other strategic DOL questions, you will have a much clearer picture of what a perfect DOL would look like for your business.
Remember, there is no single set of metrics that defines DOL impact. Individual pharma companies should design goals that reflect outcomes aligned with their business objectives. As well as ensuring those objectives also align with the goals of the DOL and, in some cases, the patient community.
At CREATION.co, we spend time ensuring those objectives have been discussed and with a pre-qualified database of nearly 3 million global HCP social media profiles, we can adjust our metrics to ensure the DOLs we identify are the right ones to support your goals.
DOLs suitable for marketing or commercial teams might look different to those suitable for the medical teams. CREATION.co have therefore identified a subset of Digital Opinion Leaders – Digital Scientific Leaders (DSLs). DSLs are HCPs who possess all the qualities of a DOL but have a specific focus and influence in the scientific conversation within the therapy area.
DSLs are driving the discussion around latest study and trial data, testing and diagnosis, and mechanism of action of treatments. In other words, they have a natural inclination to lead and shape the scientific dialogue amongst their peers online. They usually have higher scientific credentials and use their media for peer learning, education, and collaboration.
To learn more, read our article about Medical Affairs: best practice for identifying online HCP thought leaders
DOLs are already regulated, in the sense that their behaviour as professionals is governed by their respective professional bodies. In the UK, for example, the General Medical Council (GMC), which governs medical doctors, has provided guidance for doctors on their use of social media since 2013. While controversial among some doctors, the guidance forbids doctors from anonymity on social media.
Furthermore, and relevant to the role of DOLs, the GMC guidance requires doctors to declare any commercial or financial interests in pharmaceutical companies: “When you post material online, you should be open about any conflict of interest and declare any financial or commercial interests in healthcare organisations or pharmaceutical and biomedical companies.”