Patients Love Social Media. But Will They See Your Clinical Trial?

Americans check social media 17 times a day -- that's nearly once every hour. They check their messages on Facebook, read news on Twitter, share photos on Instagram. Social networks let you advertise your medical research opportunities to a potential audience of millions. Here's how to promote clinical trials on social media in a compliant and effective way.

Why Is Social Media Marketing So Important?

Patients are on social media every day, multiple times per day. Sometimes patients come to social media sites like Facebook to seek community and support for their disease in one of the thousands of Facebook pages and groups dedicated to this effort. And sometimes patients are checking up on family and friends. Regardless, we can use the power of social media advertising to present them with information about your clinical study.

 Recruitment for clinical trials via social media is already on the rise. In one study, nine out 14 medical research companies planned to use social media to boost patient enrollment. Among organizations that already used social media for recruitment, Facebook was the most popular platform, followed by online patient communities, YouTube and Twitter.

The demographic is social media networks like Facebook is usually in the sweetspot of what researchers are looking for in trial participants. While you might think that social media skews to a young audience, 84 percent of people who check Facebook are aged between 30 and 49, and 72 percent are between 50 and 64. For a clinical trial for breast cancer, we found the highest degree of engagement on Facebook in women aged 50 and higher.

How to Use Social Media for Clinical Trials

Like any worthwhile effort, an effective campaign requires a solid strategy and great execution. Message and creative development are important as is having multiple options to test for optimization of the campaign.

It's important to stay compliant when promoting clinical trials. Facebook, for example, stipulates that all marketing must clearly represent the company and service being advertised. Twitter has a similar policy. In addition, all content shown to a potential subject must first be approved by IRB. Companies like Seeker Health offer customized compliance tools to suppress the comments on Facebook ads, which has become the gold-standard practice for clinical trials.

Accelerate Your Clinical Trial Enrollment Today

Research suggests that 80 percent of clinical trials in the United States are delayed by at least one month because of low enrollment. Social media marketing solves this problem by letting you advertise medical research opportunities to a huge audience.

If you want to accelerate patient recruitment through social media, we can help. Click here to contact us. 

Sandra Shpilberg is Founder and CEO of Seeker Health, a digital health company innovating the way that patients learn about and enroll in clinical trials. More information at seeekerhealth.com