Vantage Point: The Role of Social Media

Richard Vanderveer
Richard Vanderveer

As we consider the role of social media in healthcare marketing, there is likely no other measure more important than “clout.” A good working definition of this term is “power and influence.” Old-fashioned promotional concepts like “reach” and “frequency” are being replaced by this far more relevant metric.

“Klout,” a four-year-old web service that measures online influence based on “one's ability to drive action,” has Lady Gaga (93) edging out Barack Obama (91) on this 100-point scale. Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are all included in the determination of how many people you influence, how much you influence them and the power of your network.

As is always the case in promotional measurement, audience segmentation matters. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) respond to different elements of clout than do Generation X-ers (1965-1979). Those in Generation Y (1980-1996) show yet another profile. These “Millennials” are key players in social media, since they have seamlessly fused technology into their social lives. Fully 83% of them sleep with their mobile phones turned on in their beds. US teens average 3,146 texts each month, more than 10 texts every waking hour not spent in school.

Key promotional differences between ­generations abound. Generation Y-ers give high value to “Do's” (Have faith in yourself, Be honest) and react poorly to “Don'ts.” Crowd-sourcing is now a way to express personal worth. Conversely, celebrity endorsement is seen as a cop-out resorted to by brands that are so uncool that they need to borrow cool.

Clout. We will find it to be a lot more complicated than a single score, but well worth the time to understand!

Richard Vanderveer is chief solutions officer, rbV3.
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Features

Email Newsletters


As US pharma continued its quest for a Grand Prix at the Lions Health international festival of creativity, MM&M went on location to Cannes, France. Missed our coverage from June? Now, we're giving you an opportunity to catch up on some of what you missed. Download our e-book on the two-day festival, recapping the event, rounding up the best of the speakers, offering perspective and listing all of the winners. Click here to download.


The most recent MM&M Skill Sets Live event surveyed a range of issues relating to one of the hottest promotional spaces in healthcare. Speakers and panelists at the morning-long session, including promotional- and multichannel-minded executives from GSK, Epocrates, Treato and Montefiore Medical Center, weighed in on topics designed to help marketers demystify the challenges associated with non-personal promotion. Click here.