31 Aug 2021
konectar Social - Connecting Life Sciences companies to the right Digital Opinion Leaders
For Life Sciences companies, social media is an effective platform to elevate their brand awareness and present the value of their products to the target audience. These companies collaborate with Digital Opinion Leaders (DOLs) and use the experts' influence to enhance their brand's visibility on digital platforms.
In this article:
- 1. Who are Digital Opinion Leaders ?
- 2. Why the Need to Engage Digital Opinion Leaders?
- 3. How to Identify the Right DOLs?
- $. Different Roles for which you can engage DOLs
- 5. Failure of DOL engagement strategy
- 6. Importance of a structured DOL engagement plan
- 7. Create a mutually winning strategy
- 8. Unleash the power of AI, MI – Save your team's time!
- 9. Identify Digital Opinion Leaders and understand their influence on the medical community with konectar Social
By collaborating with DOLs, life sciences companies can gain an insight into the audience's perception of the disease area, the sentiment of HCPs about different conditions, and more. Research indicates that nearly 88% of physicians actively use social media platforms to express their viewpoints and share information. Moreover, DOL engagement took a sudden surge during COVID-19 when all in-person meetings were canceled. Now while the world has gone back to pre-pandemic levels, the importance of these medical experts will not recede and will only continue to grow.
Who are Digital Opinion Leaders?
Digital Opinion Leaders could be physicians, researchers, or academicians engaged in healthcare practice or clinical trials or members of institutes or advisory boards. They could also be Key Opinion Leaders active on digital platforms and have a broad reach and influence among followers.
DOLs are tech-savvy, who also like to remain updated on the latest trends in healthcare and regularly share posts or videos on health conditions and diseases to raise awareness among the target audience. They also interact with people through social media, mainly influencing the local and national communities.
For instance, Oncology Digital Opinion Leaders’ influence spans across cancer care, guiding discussions on social media and improving patient outcomes. Partnering with these experts helps drive innovation and enhance the quality of care for cancer patients.
Since these influencers serve as a trusted voice, leading the digital and social conversations that are centered on healthcare, they are not just followed by patients or healthcare enthusiasts but also by their peers in the healthcare field.
Digital Opinion Leaders may not necessarily be actively practicing but they still are excellent communicators who disseminate complex healthcare topics and create engaging conversations in the digital space.
Why the Need to Engage Digital Opinion Leaders?
With the emergence of new-age HCPs and transformational technology in the health space, engaging DOLs has become increasingly important. Digital space offers a massive medium for life science companies to reach the pertinent audience.
Digital Opinion Leaders in healthcare influence their followers by expressing their viewpoints on diseases and therapies. They also share valuable insights on patient management.
As a result, they can play an essential role in planning an effective brand launch or marketing strategy for Life Science companies. Incorporating the input of DOLs into digital content development not only enhances the credibility of the content but also establishes a sense of authenticity. This also helps to further the brand's visibility or disease state initiative.
DOLs can thus support pharma companies to foster connections with niche audiences and provide input on the company's digital content development.
How to Identify the Right DOLs?
DOL Mapping is a strategic process used to identify and analyze influential healthcare experts active on online platforms. The process involves identifying them by monitoring their posts, posting frequency, follower count, engagement rates on their posts, how they influence the view or behavior of other health stakeholders through their digital activity and more.
Also, when exploring DOLs, you will come across hundreds of active members who have generated awareness around a disease. These medical experts might have thousands of followers who engage with them on every post, but there could also be some of their silent followers. In a disease state such as neoplasm, this community of followers could be even larger. Hence, it becomes very crucial to analyze their influence exhaustively. Failing to understand such intricacies can lead to tapping influencers that don't align with your goals and hamper your influencer project.
By precisely identifying and understanding Digital Opinion Leaders within their respective fields, companies can strategically leverage their influence to achieve various goals.
Profiling and Ranking the Influencers
DOLs, even with fewer followers, can be influential as their sphere of influence depends on the information they share and the relevancy of their followers. Therefore, while shortlisting these influencers, tracking their content on relevant diseases is also essential.
Thus, detailed profiling of DOLs, including their topics of interest, expertise, preferred channel, and relevancy of followers, should be considered when ranking and identifying experts that support your strategy.
The DOL identification process is different from KOL Identification. Traditional methods of identifying KOLs by tracking medical journals and locating them on social media may need to be revised. Many medical experts with strong online presence might not be published authors, but they have developed a strong reputation among the target audience in the digital sphere.
Also, tier-one leaders may not always be available due to their prior commitments, and second or third-tier influencers could be ideal partners for you. Hence detailed profiling of these leaders that gives insights about their activities, expertise, preferred channels, etc., is essential for developing long-term and fruitful partnerships.
Different Roles for which you can engage DOLs
After identifying the relevant DOLs, you can engage them in an appropriate role according to your objectives. This will enable teams to derive more value from their skills and influence.
DOLs can serve as a moderator in webinars or patient-led sessions. Their expertise in a particular disease state and excellent communication skills can help draw the best responses during such sessions. Moreover, they are at the top of trends and know the community's pulse, which can help drive impactful conversations.
When enrolled as panelists, these medical experts can suggest sales teams, board members, or steering committees with the best practices in the digital realm. Their valuable insights and ideas play a vital role in shaping effective product strategies.
Collaborating with the right opinion leaders to create content for branding purposes can significantly enhance the visibility of a life science company on social media. It also enables the company to gain new followers and improve reach and brand credibility.
Subject Matter Experts
Digital Opinion Leaders in pharma often stay updated on the latest trends in healthcare. They not just help the companies get a fresh perspective on drug discovery or development but also make their audiences acquainted with the development of new drugs or devices. All this can lead to more remarkable patient outcomes and bring significant value to healthcare companies.
Advisory Board Members
DOLs, when on-boarded as advisory board members, can bring innovative ideas to the team. Due to the democratizing effect of social media, this influencer's peer network comprises several influential HCPs and thought leaders based globally.
Pharma companies can benefit from this network of DOLs when participating in international healthcare conferences or therapy-specific events. Moreover, these experts can also encourage other advisory board members to adopt digital mediums to enhance personal branding and promote patient education.
Pharmaceutical companies can feature DOLs in podcasts or videos to share information about conditions, diseases, and treatment options with patients. In addition, such podcasts and videos can help drive social awareness.
Failure of DOL engagement strategy
In most scenarios, once the DOLs are on-boarded, the pace of activities slows down. This results due to a lack of a proper engagement plan. An unstructured engagement plan could lead to inconsistent posting on social media with no control over how and what content the medical expert shares. The collaboration can derail and fail to get the desired impact. Hence it becomes imperative to lay clear guidelines for successful engagement.
Importance of a Structured Engagement Plan
A structured approach to engaging healthcare influencers is essential for pharma marketers. To achieve this, marketers must first identify what they want to accomplish through DOL Engagement on digital platforms. Some questions to consider are - whom to target (audience), what actions you anticipate from the users after they read the content, how the content can enhance your brand visibility, etc.
The company's in-house team will then need to chart a calendar of activities with clearly defined roles stating which team should focus on what. This will help execute an end-to-end DOL engagement strategy.
For instance, a company engaging medical experts for a nutraceutical product promotion could first brief them about the focused products and content ideas. The plan should also focus on health topics to cover, content quality, posting frequency, and specific messages to be shared during awareness days, weeks, or months.
Teams could also decide on the content formats they would like these medical experts to post, such as posts with images, videos, infographics, slide shows, etc. Medical influencers' opinions and ideas should be considered when developing the content.
Create a Mutually Winning Partnership
Engagement with DOLs, much like KOLs, should be built on creating mutually beneficial goals. It can give impetus to your KOL marketing initiatives and permeate the company's message more profoundly into the communities where KOLs cannot reach.
DOLs are ultimately HCPs who seek long-term collaboration. Therefore, instead of engaging them in a few promotional activities, engage them strategically in other important projects, such as disease/condition awareness, patient education series, clinical trials, etc.
Unleash the Power of AI, MI – Save your team's time!
Identifying and engaging these medical experts by traditional methods, such as manually scouring digital platforms, can be time-consuming. You may miss out on tapping some outstanding profiles.
An automated system, such as a Digital Opinion Management platform, can give significant insights into these medical experts' profiles, ease the teams' tasks and help engage leaders who can bring the greatest value to your organization.
Life Sciences have started investing in analytics-related technologies, including AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), and cloud and edge computing. AI- and MI-powered SaaS platforms allow healthcare companies to gain reliable insights into KOLs and DOLs ecosystem, including their scientific credibility, influence, and expertise within a focused disease state/treatment area.
Medical affairs and marketing teams can use the platform to identify DOLs who meet their brand objectives. With the increasing use of digital media, opinion leaders will become integral in developing marketing strategies.
Identify Digital Opinion Leaders and Understand their Influence on the Medical Community with konectar Social
konectar Social is a powerful platform designed for opinion leaders. It incorporates the latest technology and utilizes an NLP framework to ensure accurate web crawling, disambiguation, and entity extraction.
konectar Social has several intriguing features that enable Life Sciences companies to identify and engage the right Digital Opinion Leader for their varied objectives, such as product promotion, brand development, and engagement. The platform's social media listening capability helps to analyze social media feeds and identify trends in the healthcare space.
With konectar Social, Life Sciences companies can:
- Identify the right Digital Opinion Leaders based on their business objectives.
- Get robust analytics and insights about every DOL.
- Discover how a DOL influences other healthcare professionals on social media.
- Monitor and analyze the posting frequency of these medical experts.
- Find out the top hashtags used by the experts and get to know their interests.
- Identify experts sharing content relevant to a specific disease area of interest.
- Evaluate the reach of DOLs among their audience.
- Analyze their level of engagement with the audience.
- konectar also features powerful tools to allow medical teams to track, record and manage all DOL interactions in one place. Opinion Leader engagement can be deemed successful only when a brand intelligently engages the passion of these experts to meet its objectives. Book a Demo today to see how konectar Social can help you find an expert who can accelerate your brand objectives on digital platforms.